EU regulators accused Apple on Friday of anti-competitive practices in the music streaming market, siding with Sweden-based Spotify, in a move that could threaten Apple’s profits and lead to a significant fine. The news comes ahead of a federal trial in the U.S. brought by “Fortnite” maker Epic games.
The European Commission issued a “statement of objections” to Apple for forcing App Store developers to use its in-app payment system, and for allegedly preventing them from informing users of other purchasing options.
European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said that developers depend on Apple App Store as a gatekeeper to access users of Apple’s iPhones and iPad.
“This significant market power cannot go unchecked as the conditions of access to the Apple App Store are key for the success of app developers”, Vestager told the press.
Apple denounced the claims, stating that Apple facilitated the growth of Spotify, to the point that Spotify became the largest music subscription service in the world.
“They want all the benefits of the App Store but don’t think they should have to pay anything for that. The Commission’s argument on Spotify’s behalf is the opposite of fair competition,” the company insisted.
Spotify welcomed the EU move, describing it as “a critical step toward holding Apple accountable for its anticompetitive behavior, ensuring meaningful choice for all consumers and a level playing field for app developers.”
“Europe’s consumers expect and deserve access to a full range of music streaming services without their choices being restricted or prices being inflated unfairly by internet gatekeepers,” said European consumer organization BEUC.
Next week, Epic’s distaste of Apple fees will go to trial before a federal judge in Oakland, California. The judge must decide whether Apple is missing its power to quash competition of if Epic is trying to break its contract with the iPhone maker in an effort to grow profits.
Shares of Apple (AAPL) traded down 0.22% at $133.17. Share of Spotify Technology (SPOT) lost 1.08% trading at $259.32 in mid-daymarkets.
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