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.
Antitrust investigators in the Netherlands are reportedly coming to the end of a “years-long” investigation into Apple and its control of the App Store.
The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has been investigating this matter since 2019. It focuses on Apple’s “payments system” in the App Store, which charges developers 15% to 30% in commission. With its impending decision, it could become the first antitrust authority to rule on this contentious issue.
Apple has settled a long-running antitrust dispute in South Korea. The country’s Fair Trade Commission announced Wednesday that it has accepted Apple’s offer to spend $89.83 million in the country as part of a voluntary correction scheme.
“This is the first time that a correction scheme [to make up for unfair market practices] actually provides direct benefits to consumers such as repair and warranty cost discounts,” said FTC Chairwoman Joh Sung-wook in a press briefing. “[The FTC] shall thoroughly keep watch on whether Apple carries out the promised actions to contribute to the domestic ICT ecosystem.”
The App Store has been one of the main focuses when it comes to Apple and potential antitrust violations. However, Apple Pay could also be a rising vulnerability for Apple as it defends itself against accusations of monopolistic behavior, the Financial Times notes.
According to the report, citing Loup Ventures analysts, Apple Pay is now used by 507 million people. That’s around half of the people in thee world who own an iPhone. By 2025, Bernstein analysts think it could facilitate one in every 10 credit card transactions worldwide. Of these, Apple gets an estimated 0.15% of each transaction.
A French antitrust complaint against Apple targets an iOS 14 feature that makes it tougher for companies to indiscriminately use tracking technology for mobile advertising.
The anti-tracking feature previously faced criticism, unsurprisingly, from companies that work in mobile advertising. However, this is the one of the first legal actions taken against Apple due to the feature.
Italy has opened the latest investigation into potential Apple antitrust violations. Announced by the Italian antitrust authority Monday, this investigation will look into Apple’s iCloud cloud computing services.
Similar investigations will be carried out investigating Google parent company Alphabet and Dropbox.
Congress’ big tech antitrust hearings are done and now, weeks later, investigators are gearing up to deliver their findings.
According to David Cicilline, the Democrat leading the House antitrust investigation into tech giants including Apple, the investigatory committee could reveal its recommendations next month. And things aren’t looking too rosy for the companies involved.
Apple’s South Korea business has said that it will make a 100 billion won ($84 million) payout to support small businesses and help consumers. This is to address antitrust concerns raised in the country.
Korea’s Fair Trade Commission has been investigating Apple Korea for reportedly forcing mobile carriers to pay for advertising and warranty repairs. The payout — which is phrased like a pledge, but also sounds like a fine — will act as a make-good on Apple’s “unfair” terms.