According to a person familiar with the case who asked not to be identified because the procedure isn’t public, Apple Inc. may face a European Union antitrust lawsuit as soon as this week, escalating an investigation into Spotify Technology SA’s claims that App Store regulations are discriminatory.
The move raises the possibility that the EU will order improvements to Apple’s App Store or issue fines as a result of the move. Before regulators make a final decision, Apple will have the opportunity to defend itself against any EU suspicions. Apple is also being investigated by the EU for e-books and payments.
Spotify’s Complaint against Apple Regarding Music Streaming Service
Spotify had complained in 2019 that Apple unfairly stifles its music streaming service with ever-changing rules and a high app store sales commission. To cover the additional costs, it has been forced to “artificially” raise monthly subscriptions for its premium service. In June of last year, the EU competition enforcer opened four cases against Apple. Typically, the EU charge sheet states whether a fine is appropriate and what companies must do to stop anti-competitive behavior.
Apple’s regulatory troubles have gotten worse in recent months, as software developers chastise Apple and Alphabet Inc.’s Google for the fees they charge outside developers to use their digital distribution channels. Last week, app executives urged the US Senate to investigate Apple’s dominance over the App Store.
Apple’s Reaction on the Charges
Apple refused to comment on the EU investigation, citing a blog post from 2019 in which the company said Spotify was attempting to retain “substantial revenue that they draw from the App Store’s customers without making any contributions to the marketplace.”
Spotify did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and neither did the European Commission. Separately, the EU is battling Apple’s victory in a 13 billion euro ($15.7 billion) tax dispute in an attempt to overturn a landmark ruling that targeted Apple’s tax structure.
This battle between two big brands seems no ending soon and it will be interesting to find in which way it turns in the future. Till then stay tuned for more updates.