The European Commission has nearly finished its antitrust investigation into Apple and is going to sue the company for violating these rules. Apple may be charged before the summer. Spotify complained to the EU in early 2019 about the alleged unfair situation within the App Store.
Two sources tell Reuters that the European Commission is now finalizing the letter of indictment. One of those sources says the letter may go to Apple before the summer. The sources do not yet provide any details about the content of the letter. In the letter of complaint, the European Commission writes which rules Apple has violated and what the consequences are. Normally it is a fine and the European Commission indicates what the company should stop doing.
The European Commission started in June last year with the abuse of power investigation into Apple. This investigation is about the alleged abuse of power on the App Store. Spotify complained to the European Commission at the beginning of 2019 about the ‘unfair’ conditions of the app store. Apps that provide digital services, such as Spotify, must hand over thirty percent of the revenue they generate through Apple’s payment system to the California company. Apps like Uber and Deliveroo do not have to pay that thirty percent, which is unfair according to Spotify.
In addition, the music streaming service does not consider it fair that Apple is both a provider of the App Store and a developer of competitor Apple Music. As a result, Apple would disadvantage services that compete with Music. Apple again states that Spotify wants to use the benefits of the App store, without paying for it. According to Apple, the advantages are the platform, the development tools and the payment environment.
Should Apple be fined, it could in theory be up to ten percent of its annual revenue. There are currently three other European competition investigations against Apple. This includes the restrictions imposed by Apple on the NFC chips in iPhones and the fact that app developers are not allowed to advertise cheaper alternatives to in-app purchases. For example, Spotify cannot tell customers that a subscription taken out via the Spotify site is cheaper than one taken out via the iOS app.