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Brussels accuses Apple of unfair competition over its restrictions on music apps

The European Commission maintains its accusation against Apple for unfair competition against Spotify and other music providers stream, but limited its accusations to the restrictions it imposes on those apps when it comes to informing iPhone or iPad users of alternative services where they can take advantage of lower prices outside the Apple Store. Community authorities consider these to be “unfair” commercial terms that violate European standards. However, it refuses to be accused of imposing payment technology on these apps.

Brussels has amended the charges against Apple, which are part of one of the most important antitrust cases it has opened following a complaint by Spotify, which complains about the high fees (up to 30%) and the rules it imposes. Company to reach millions of customers through Apple Store. The procedure can result in a penalty of up to 10% of your total billing.

The first formal charge was made by the European Commission in April 2021, when it accused Apple of violating European rules by saying it was abusing its dominant position in the online music market by imposing its own integrated payment technology on developers. applications. It also found the restriction imposed on providers to provide information on cheaper alternative services a violation.

Now the commission focuses on the second point and stops the first. “Today’s statement of objections clarifies that the Commission will no longer address the legality of the IAP (In-App Purchases) obligation as a target of this antitrust investigation, but will focus on the contractual restrictions that Apple imposes on developers.” They inform iPhone and iPad users about alternative music subscription options at lower prices,” he said in a statement.

The Commission believes that there is a breach of competition rules – in particular Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which covers abusive practices in the internal market – by restricting the information of consumers to subscribe to the cheaper option. It therefore considers that these obligations are neither “necessary nor proportionate” and that they are detrimental to users of Apple devices who “may pay more”. It also notes that they may “negatively affect the interests of music application developers stream Limits their ability to choose as customers.

The procedure, which is slow, now allows interested parties to file a written response or request an oral hearing. If the EU government finds that Apple has broken EU law, it could be fined up to 10% of its global turnover. When the European Commission announced its first charge, Apple recalled that Spotify pays it “no commission on more than 99% of its subscribers and only pays a 15% commission on the remaining subscribers they acquire through the App Store.” “At the heart of this case is Spotify’s request that they be able to advertise alternative offers on their iOS app, a practice that no store in the world will allow. Again, they want all the benefits of the App Store, but don’t think they have to pay anything for it. The Commission’s argument on behalf of Spotify is the opposite of fair competition,” the company defended itself, according to a version collected by the Financial Times.

Close the investigation with Coca-Cola

On the other hand, the European Commission closed an antitrust investigation launched against Coca-Cola, because the company and bottlers abused their dominant position in the market by offering discounts to retailers in various member states in order to harm the entry or expansion of other drinks in the market.

“Today’s decision to terminate the preliminary investigation is based on an evaluation of all available evidence, including an evaluation of information received from Coca-Cola, its bottlers, retailers and competitors. “Based on the evidence gathered, the Commission has concluded that there are insufficient grounds to continue the investigation,” the statement said, adding that it would continue to monitor the sector’s commercial practices.

Source: El Diario





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