APPLE THWARTS COMPETITION ON APP STORE, EU DECLARES
The US tech giant Apple illegitimately squeezes music-streaming competitors active on its App Store, the European Commission said, following an investigation triggered by a complaint from Spotify, Ella Joyner reported for Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa).
"Our preliminary conclusion is that Apple abused its dominant position for the distribution of music streaming apps through its App Store, and distorted competition in the music streaming market," European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager told reporters in Brussels.
Apple's App Store is a crucial marketplace for developers, but the company charges rivals to its own streaming service, Apple Music, high commission fees on subscription sales via the store, Vestager said.
Apple generally takes a 30-percent commission on sales of digital items or services like subscriptions on its App Store.
For subscriptions lasting longer than a year, this commission drops to 15 percent, and recently also for developers who earn less than 1 million dollars a year.
According to the commission's preliminary findings, Apple's App Store rules on subscriptions choke competition in the music streaming sector and cause consumers to lose out.
For the millions of users of Apple devices in Europe, the company effectively has a market "monopoly" on the distribution of music streaming apps, Vestager said.
The commission, which acts as the competition watchdog for the EU single market, has notified Apple of its objections.
The company now has the chance to officially respond to the allegations it has violated EU antitrust rules, and present its case in an oral hearing.