App Store faces barrage of antitrust charges in Europe | Cult of Mac

App Store faces barrage of antitrust charges in Europe

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App Store faces barrage of antitrust charges
Government agencies in the EU and UK are looking into whether the iPhone App Store violates their antitrust laws.
Photo: Sora Shimazaki/Pexels CC

Spotify’s accusation to the European Union that Apple uses its control of the App Store to squeeze out competition reportedly will soon result in antitrust charges being filed against the iPhone-maker. This comes on the same day the UK begins an investigation of the App Store.

The two antitrust agencies could force Apple to lower the commissions it charges software developers. Or even require rival iPhone app stores.

Spotify helped launch the EU investigation

The EU investigation started in 2019 after the streaming service Spotify filed a legal complaint against Apple. Spotify and Apple Music are direct competitors, but Spotify must give its rival 15% to 30% of subscription fees that go through the App Store.

Details of the charges that are being finalized by the EU competition commission are not yet known. But Reuters reports they could be sent to Apple this spring.

UK has App Store antitrust questions too

The United Kingdom announced Thursday that it’s started a similar investigation. “The investigation concerns Apple’s conduct in relation to the distribution of apps on iOS and iPadOS devices in the UK, in particular, the terms and conditions governing app developers’ access to Apple’s App Store,” reads a statement from the Competition and Markets Authority.

The UK is just getting started and has not yet decided whether there’s evidence that laws have been broken.

Don’t forget the US

Not to be left out, the US congress included Apple into a multi-year antitrust investigation of Big Tech. But most of the focus was on Facebook and Google, not the App Store.

For example, during hearings in summer 2020, Apple CEO Tim Cook had little to do. So far, the primary result of the investigation was a move to break up Facebook.