Apple under investigation as EU launches two probes against tech giant

Apple under investigation as EU launches two probes against tech giant

Spotify and an unnamed e-book distributor have claimed Apples rules hurt their ability to compete with the tech giant. The complaint was first launched by Spotify in March 2019, but has resurfaced in recent months, with the e-book distributor bringing the complaint in March of this year.

The investigations concern in particular the mandatory use of Apple’s own in-app purchase system and restrictions on the ability of developers to inform iPhone and iPad users of alternative cheaper purchasing possibilities outside of apps.

The Commission said: “The investigations concern the application of these rules to all apps, which compete with Apple’s own apps.”

Executive vice-president Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “Mobile applications have fundamentally changed the way we access content.

“Apple sets the rules for the distribution of apps to users of iPhones and iPads. It appears that Apple obtained a “gatekeeper” role when it comes to the distribution of apps and content to users of Apple’s popular devices.

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“We need to ensure that Apple’s rules do not distort competition in markets where Apple is competing with other app developers, for example with its music streaming service Apple Music or with Apple Books.

“I have therefore decided to take a close look at Apple’s App Store rules and their compliance with EU competition rules.”

A second probe will look into how Apple Pay operates.

Ms Vestager said of this: “It appears that Apple sets the conditions on how Apple Pay should be used in merchants’ apps and websites. It also reserves the ‘tap and go’ functionality of iPhones to Apple Pay.

“It is important that Apple’s measures do not deny consumers the benefits of new payment technologies, including better choice, quality, innovation and competitive prices.”

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Apple has recently revealed that its online ecosystem facilitated “half a trillion dollars” of trade in 2019.

Developers have pushed back on this, calling on the computer-maker to lower the fees it charges, ahead of a conference next week.

Apple said in a statement: “We follow the law in everything we do and we embrace competition at every stage because we believe it pushes us to deliver even better results.

It’s disappointing the European Commission is advancing baseless complaints from a handful of companies who simply want a free ride, and don’t want to play by the same rules as everyone else. We don’t think that’s right — we want to maintain a level playing field where anyone with determination and a great idea can succeed.”

Published at Tue, 16 Jun 2020 13:50:00 +0000