Spotify and a group of European companies are calling on the European Commission to take “swift and decisive action” against Apple over what they describe as anti-competitive practices that have hindered their businesses.
The letter, which is also signed by Basecamp, Deezer and five others, focuses primarily on the App Store. It says that Apple is putting “artificial obstacles” in their path, charging “excessive” fees and making “erratic changes” to the rules along the way.
“[The European Union] must act quickly, because every passing day is a loss for innovation and for the well-being of European consumers,” the companies write.
Nearly two years later, the Commission has yet to complete its investigation
Spotify has resisted Apple’s unyielding control of the App Store for years. The company filed an antitrust complaint in Europe in 2019, saying Apple’s rules stymied innovation and harmed consumers through higher prices and poorer experiences when it came to music streaming apps.
The European Commission sided with Spotify in its initial 2021 findings, writing that Apple had “abused its dominant position” over music app distribution. But nearly two years later, the Commission has yet to complete its investigation or demand changes from Apple.
Spotify and the other companies appear to be sending this letter now in hopes of making a ruling while the DMA is in the implementation phase. If designated as a gatekeeper, Apple should meet the requirements of the DMA by March 2024 at the latest. The group of companies is calling for a “quick decision” and says the alleged anti-competitive behavior “will continue” until Apple is forced to make changes.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The companies’ complaints revolve around a handful of restrictions Apple is imposing around iOS and the App Store. Apple requires all iOS apps to be offered through its own retail store, where companies generally pay 15 to 30 percent less revenue for digital purchases. Apple is limiting app makers’ ability to educate their customers about cheaper options elsewhere, putting companies like Spotify in a difficult position and handing over a significant amount of revenue to the operator of competing music streaming service Apple Music.