Apple is abusing its dominant position in the streaming music market having restrictive rules, the European Commission says in a statement. Swedish music streaming service Spotify had submitted a complaint saying Apple unfairly restricts competitors to its owning music streaming service Apple Music on iPhones.
The Commission’s preliminary view is that Apple’s rules distort competition in the market for music streaming services by raising the costs of competing music streaming app developers. This in turn leads to higher prices for consumers for their in-app music subscriptions on iOS devices.
In a so-called “statement of objections” the Commission stressed the issue is Apple’s restrictive rules for its App Store that force developers to use its own in-app payment system and prevent them from informing users of other purchasing options.
“By setting strict rules on the App store that disadvantage competing music streaming services, Apple deprives users of cheaper music streaming choices and distorts competition,” European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.
“This is done by charging high commission fees on each transaction in the App store for rivals and by forbidding them from informing their customers of alternative subscription options,” she said.
This is the first EU antitrust charge against Apple. Maximum fine is 10% of its global turnover.
Next step is that Apple has the opportunity to answer to the charges before a final ruling is made by the Commission.