Technology

European Commission to accuse Apple of unfair competition towards Spotify

Spotify accuses Apple of putting its Apple Music app forward in its App Store. (Photo: 123RF)

The European Commission, which ensures compliance with competition rules in the European Union, will “imminently” file a formal indictment against Apple for having unfairly ousted its rivals in the music broadcasting sector by continuous (streaming), two sources close to the matter told AFP on Tuesday.

The investigation by the European executive follows a complaint by the Swedish company Spotify accusing the Cupertino company of using its App Store in an unfair manner to promote its own Apple Music application.

In this complaint, filed in 2019, Spotify accuses Apple of imposing a 30% duty on online music services that sell their subscription through its store, which, according to the Swedish company, constitutes a violation of the rules of fair competition. .

According to Financial Times, the first to report information, the “statement of objections” – official term of the procedure – could be sent this week by Brussels.

If this is confirmed, Apple will have the opportunity to defend its position, but also to offer answers to the criticisms made, before the EU renders a final verdict, which may go as far as fines or the obligation to change. its practices.

Contacted by AFP, the European Commission declined to comment on an ongoing investigation.

App Store conditions criticized

Apple, for its part, referred to a statement from 2019 stressing that its App Store had helped Spotify to become the largest music streaming service in Europe.

The technology group is facing a growing rebellion from companies around the world against the terms of use of the App Store, its software download platform for its computer and mobile terminals.

The American, British and South Korean competition authorities are also interested in the issue.

The case also comes as Apple prepares for an epic battle with Facebook over its new policy to better protect the personal data of iPhone users.

The case is one of four opened last year by the European Commission against Apple. It could force the company to change some of its rules.

Four years ago, the Californian giant had already found itself in the crosshairs of the EU, which had ordered it to repay 13 billion euros (14.7 billion dollars at current rates) in a tax case against Ireland.

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