Margrethe Vestager, the head of EU competition, will file charges against Apple later this week alleging its App Store rules violate EU law, according to several people with direct knowledge of the situation.
The charges relate to a complaint filed two years ago by music streaming app Spotify, that Apple receives a 30 percent commission to distribute apps through the iPhone App Store and prohibits apps from encouraging users to buy subscriptions elsewhere. to pay.
Brussels opened an official antitrust investigation in June, when Vestager said Apple appeared to be a so-called gatekeeper “when it comes to distributing apps and content to users of popular Apple devices”.
Apple, which has denied all allegations of anti-competitive behavior, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. At the time of Spotify’s first complaint, Apple said the music app wanted to keep “all the benefits” of its App Store “without making any contribution to that market”.
The case is one of the most high-profile antitrust cases in Europe against a US technology group. Those familiar with the process warned that the timing could still slip.
Brussels is also investigating that Apple has allegedly broken EU laws when it comes to promoting its own ebooks against rivals in the App Store and over concerns it undermines competition in mobile payments by restricting access. to limit the near-field communication chips in iPhones for rivals of Apple Pay.
If Apple is ultimately found guilty of violating EU rules, the company could face a fine of up to 10 percent of global revenues after a lengthy period of potential appeals.
Separately, Brussels is pushing through a new Digital Markets Act, which seeks to define when Big Tech companies behave in an anti-competitive manner so that remedies can be applied more quickly.
Spotify’s complaint against Apple
March 2019: Spotify launches official complaint against Apple in the EU. Spotify CEO Dan Ek warns of rising prices due to App Store fees.
May 2019: EU officials say they are preparing an official investigation.
June 2020: The EU begins investigations against Apple Music, Apple’s ebook business and Apple Pay.
March 2021: The EU says it is considering formal charges against Apple over Spotify’s complaint.
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