The group of publishers of online services (Geste), a professional association of publishers of content and online services, announced on December 1, 2021 that it had filed a complaint against Apple with the Competition Authority.
Chaired by the deputy director of the News division of the Figaro Bertrand Gié Group, the Geste brings together 140 online publishers from various sectors, such as online press, music platforms or even “mobile and voice services”. Among its members, we find for example Canal +, Binge Audio, Challenges, Arte, Konbini, Infopro Digital or even Google.
Through this complaint, filed in mid-November 2021, the association wishes to address “all excessive restrictions that may undermine competition and stifle the French online publishing market,” perhaps, as the press release reads.
In detail, they denounce Apple’s “pricing policies.” They target the famous 30% tax on all income generated by smartphones, including monthly subscriptions. They also regret “restrictions on access to essential data on publishing activity.” The “self-referral for Apple services”, as well as the “total absence of any support in the event of an incident or suspension” of an application, are also the subject of this complaint.
These practices have a “negative impact” on the French online publishing industry and are likely to “greatly harm consumers,” Le Geste replies. It also highlights the “particular” nature of the online press, which is “of capital importance in the democratic debate.” And he concludes: “treating these contents as any good or service is a competition problem but also a social problem.”
The association hopes to obtain concessions from the firm on the block, as was the case in the United States in the framework of a class action lawsuit by developers. Attacked from all sides, Apple is reviewing some of its practices. Thus, from the end of October 2021, application developers can inform their users of the existence of alternative means of payment to the App Store by email or through their website. This allows you to avoid the 30% tax.
But these changes are far from solving all the ongoing conflicts. The European Commission has been investigating the operation of the Apple store since June 2020 following a complaint by Spotify for abuse of a dominant position. The Swedish company, in the same situation as Deezer, a member of Gesture, claims that Apple favors Apple Music to its detriment.
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