Apple is once more being called out, this time by the audio service industry, which includes the likes of Spotify, Deezer, and others. Together, a group has written a letter to the EU’s Commissioner of Competition, Margrethe Vestager, asking her to start an investigation against Apple and its ‘abusive behavior.’
A total of nine companies and their CEOs wrote the letter, believing that Apple is partaking in illegal, anti-competitive behavior involving music streaming services
The letter is titled ‘Subject: Call for swift and decisive action against anti-competitive practices by digital gatekeepers’ and was written by Spotify CEO and founder Daniel Ek, along with executives belonging to other companies such as Proton and more. MacRumors, who spotted the letter, reports that its contents urge the EU to take regulatory action against Apple’s app distribution practices and put an end to its monopolistic practices.
“We are writing to you to call for swift and decisive action by the European Commission against anti-competitive and unfair practices by certain global digital gatekeepers, and Apple in particular. For years, Apple has imposed unfair restrictions on our businesses. These restrictions hamper our development and harm European consumers.
They include the tying of the App Store to Apple’s proprietary payment system, with its excessive commissions for app developers; the creation of artificial obstacles that prevent our businesses from freely communicating with our customers; restrictions to developers’ access to data of their own users; and capricious changes to terms and conditions. Apple benefits from a monopoly position over its mobile ecosystem and extracts exorbitant rents from app developers who have no choice but to remain on the App Store to reach European consumers.”
The EU has targeted Apple and other companies on a number of occasions. Not only has the organization forced the technology giant to adopt the USB-C interface for various products, including iPhones, but its interference has also stretched to the software front. The company’s App Store may also be forced to allow sideloading and the option to allow other app stores for developers. In regards to the letter that Spotify and other companies have penned, the EU might have another excuse to take a jab at Apple and its business practices.
“We therefore call for a rapid decision in the competition case against Apple for its illegal, anti-competitive behaviour involving music streaming services. Many of the anti-competitive behaviours described in the Commission’s Statement of Objections against Apple are felt not only by music streaming services but by countless other app providers who wish to offer goods and services via the iOS App Store.
That Statement of Objections is nearly two years old and the abuses and consumer harm will continue until a remedy is enforced. Beyond the specific App Store case, the EU authorities urgently need to look at Apple’s abusive behaviour in other areas as well, such as publishing, web softwares, communications, and marketplaces.”
However, It is unknown, for now, the kind of action the EU intends to take against Apple simply because of a letter, which you can read in its entirety here. It is possible the anti-trust watchdog does its due diligence in the form of an impartial investigation and comes up with a decision later.