Apple under EU antitrust scrutiny over proposal for Spotify and App Store

Apple risks facing antitrust charges and further fines if the proposal fails to satisfy the regulators.

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The EU antitrust regulators are scrutinising a proposal by Apple to determine if it meets their directive allowing Spotify and other music streaming services to inform users of alternative payment methods outside of Apple’s App Store. This review follows the European Commission‘s recent order and hefty fine imposed on Apple for breaching competition rules. Under Apple’s proposal, services like Spotify can now include links on their apps directing users to their websites to purchase digital content or services, circumventing Apple’s payment system.

However, there’s a catch: any transactions resulting from these links will incur a 27% fee to Apple, including subsequent auto-renewing subscriptions. The European Commission is evaluating whether Apple’s proposal fully aligns with its decision. If there’s suspicion of non-compliance, the Commission may issue a Statement of Objections to address the concerns.

Apple insists that its plan adheres to the Commission’s decision, although Spotify has expressed frustration over Apple’s delay in complying with the EU order, which was issued five weeks ago. Meanwhile, the Commission is conducting a separate investigation into Apple’s App Store rules and its recent measures to comply with the Digital Markets Act (DMA) amid concerns that these could restrict developers from freely communicating and promoting their offerings.

Why does it matter?

The outcome of the EU’s assessment will determine whether Apple faces additional antitrust charges and penalties if its proposal is found to fall short of the Commission’s requirements. The ongoing dispute highlights the broader regulatory scrutiny facing tech giants like Apple over their market practices and dominance in the digital ecosystem, particularly concerning payment systems and app store policies.