Apple’s app store levies antitrust charge in EU
Ms Vestager was expected to hold a press conference to discuss the results later on Friday.
Spotify applauded the decision.
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“Ensuring the fair functioning of the iOS platform is an urgent task with profound implications,” said Horacio Gutierrez, head of global affairs and legal director of Spotify in a statement. The commission’s announcement, he said, “is a critical step in holding Apple accountable for its anti-competitive behavior, ensuring meaningful choice for all consumers and a level playing field for app developers.
Apple said its App Store policies don’t hurt competition, but rather give businesses a platform to reach customers. The company said developers can find payment alternatives, noting that Spotify pays Apple low in commissions because it entices customers to subscribe through a website. Apple said Spotify has become the world’s largest music streaming service thanks in part to the App Store.
“They want all the benefits of the App Store but don’t think they have to pay anything for it,” Apple said in a statement. “The argument of the commission on behalf of Spotify is the opposite of fair competition.”
The app store review is part of a larger debate about power of the technology industry, where a small number of companies like Apple, Facebook, Google and Amazon have the power, like government, to set policies on major parts of the digital economy. It determines how people find information and entertainment, communicate and buy.
This week, Apple showed more power by introducing a software update that gave customers more power to block app tracking of data, a change that sparked a rivalry with Facebook, who criticized the move as anti-competitive because it would undermine the ability to sell advertising online.
Companies are increasingly pushing regulators and courts to intervene. At a congressional hearing in Washington last week, companies such as Spotify, Tile, and Match Group told senators how the policies of Apple and Google, of which the Play Store is another hotspot for app developers, have hurt competition and pushed up app prices for customers. And next week, a trial is expected to start in California between Apple and Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite who has filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple on his fees.