EU accuses Apple of unfair competition in music distribution

The EU accused the tech giant Apple of distorting competition through “abuse of a dominant position” in online music distribution, according to a European Commission note released on Friday.

The European institution had opened an investigation following a complaint filed by Spotify in 2019 for unfair competition against Apple for the abusive use of the App Store online store to promote its Apple Music service.

“By setting strict rules in the App Store that put competing music streaming services at a disadvantage, Apple deprives users of cheaper music streaming options and distorts the competition,” said Margrethe Vestager, curator. European for Competition.

The statement added that Apple “distorts competition in the online music market and abuses its dominant position in distributing music through the App Store.”

For his part, an Apple spokesman rejected the Commission’s view and in turn accused Spotify of profiting from its participation in the App Store without wanting to “pay anything for it.”

“Spotify became the largest music subscription service in the world, and we are proud of the role we have played in that,” said the Apple spokesman.

In his vision, Spotify’s demand to “be able to promote alternative businesses on the App Store” constitutes “a practice that no store in the world allows.”

Spotify’s lawyer, Horacio Gutierrez, said in a statement that the European Commission’s position is “a fundamental step to hold Apple accountable for its anti-competitive behavior.”

The position of the EU is known at a time when Apple faces a real rebellion from companies that want to free themselves from the strict terms and fees imposed in order to use the App Store.

This case is one of four that the European Commission took against Apple last year and could force the company to change its business model.

The other cases focus on the Apple Pay system, as well as the supply of electronic books.

At the center of the cases is Apple’s role as the Internet’s gatekeeper, a situation in which rival software developers or companies have no choice but to meet the company’s demands to reach hundreds of millions of consumers.

ahg/mar