EU accuses Apple of anticompetitive App Store policies
The European Commission on Friday said it is formally accusing Apple of engaging in anti-competitive behavior. The Commission said Apple is guilty of abusing its dominate position and has an unfair advantage when competing against other apps in the App Store.
The ruling follows an initial complaint from Spotify back in 2019, and takes issue with an App Store policy related to the mandatory use of Apple’s in-app purchase system. The Commission said it’s also concerned with a rule that prevents developers from informing users about alternative ways to purchase software or services. These strict rules “disadvantage competing music streaming services” and “deprive users of cheaper music streaming choices,” the Commission said (via The Verge).
Additionally, the Commission said that Apple’s App Store policies result in higher prices for consumers. Apple imposes a 30% commission fee on all in-app purchases, which is passed onto consumers because companies raise subscription prices.
The Commission’s accusation only relates to the App Store’s practices for music streaming. Apple is also being investigated over practices related to ebooks and the App Store in general, so more rulings could soon follow. The Commission may also look at the App Store’s policies related to games, which has become a major topic of debate over the last several months.
This is just the first step in proceedings, where the Commission informs Apple, who will have an opportunity to respond. Apple is facing a fine of up to 10% of its annual revenue if found guilty, and could also be forced to completely change how the App Store operates.
Apple is facing a number of accusations over its policies, with its fight against Epic Games being among the most high profile. In a separate case, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission said there were “significant issues” with how Apple (and Google) operate its App Store, and the control the company has over third parties.