Following an initial complaint from Spotify back in 2019, the European Commission is issuing antitrust charges against Apple as it has found that the company broke EU competition rules with its App Store policies.
The Commission believes Apple has a “dominant position in the market for the distribution of music streaming apps through its App Store”.
“Apple’s rules distort competition in the market for music streaming services by raising the costs of competing music streaming app developers,” The Verge quoted the Commission as saying in a statement.
“This, in turn, leads to higher prices for consumers for their in-app music subscriptions on iOS devices,” it added.
The EU has focused on two rules that Apple imposes on developers — the mandatory use of Apple’s in-app purchase system (for which Apple charges a 30 per cent cut) and a rule forbidding app developers to inform users of other purchasing options outside of apps.
The Commission has found that the 30 per cent commission fee, or “Apple tax” as it is often referred to, has resulted in higher prices for consumers.
“Most streaming providers passed this fee on to end-users by raising prices,” according to it.
The EU has also sent Apple a statement of objections, which is essentially a list of how the Commission believes Apple has violated competition rules.
This is the initial, formal stage of antitrust proceedings against Apple, and the company will have the chance to respond to the Commission’s list of objections within the next 12 weeks, the report said.
This specific case is limited to Apple’s App Store practices for music streaming and the EU is investigating additional separate cases on ebooks and the App Store in general, it added.