Apple is known for having complete control over both hardware and software in a phone and tablet. Control also extends to the mandatory and fee-based app store, which made the 30 percent high fee of Epic Games, among other things, look red – a dispute escalating to a lawsuit and a closed Fortnite app.
In addition to providing the digital store, Apple offers its own services that compete with other players. Apple Music is a competitor to Spotify and the phone giant has on several occasions been criticized for creating a competitive environment and exploiting its position in similar situations. Spotify has notified the European Commission about the phone giant, and now the latter is presenting its conclusion and proposed penalty: heavy fines.
They (app developers) rely on the Apple App Store as a gateway to access Apple’s iPhone and iPad users. This huge market power cannot go unchecked because terms of access to the Apple App Store are the key to app developers’ success
EU Commissioner Margrethe Vestager explains that the regulations for the App Store have a clear impact on the streaming music market, as well as on app developers in general. Apple requires that all sales pass through the app store’s payment system, in addition to this, developers are prohibited from informing users of alternative methods of purchase, for example, subscriptions.
They want all the benefits of the App Store but don’t think they have to pay anything for it. The panel’s argument on behalf of Spotify is the opposite of fair competition,
Concerned parties now have the opportunity to comment on the matter, but if it does, Apple could be fined up to 10 percent of last year’s revenue. This translates to a maximum of about $ 27.5 billion, or just over SEK 230 billion. As expected, Apple is not satisfied with the result and believes that the company’s app store is an important component of Spotify’s success and that the European Union’s decision is not in line with the good competition.
In the United States and Australia, similar investigations are taking place into Apple’s anti-competitive practices, while the same discussions are taking place, for example, in the streaming gaming industry. Microsoft recently launched a web-based version of its Cloud Gaming (formerly known as Project Xcloud) gaming service to overcome the problem. It can only be speculated whether the developers choose to circumvent the restrictions or whether Apple will amend the rules in the future.