Apple to be hit by antitrust order in the EU over its App Store anti-steering rules

Macworld

According to a Bloomberg report that cites “people familiar with the investigation,” regulators in the EU are getting ready to hand down a decision prohibiting Apple’s anti-steering rules for music services.

Currently, Apple requires that digital subscription services on iPhone or iPad offer subscriptions only through Apple’s own payment processing, for which the company takes 15 to 30 percent of every purchase. Services like Spotify can allow you to subscribe on the web or somewhere else where they don’t have to pay Apple a big cut of the in-app-purchase fee, but they’re very limited in their ability to direct customers to do so. Apple prohibits companies like Spotify (and others) from actually providing links or other direct means of letting customers go somewhere else to pay.

Spotify has been fighting this for years, arguing that it gives Apple an unfair advantage with its own Apple Music service, and requires them to raise prices to compensate for Apple’s revenue cut.

The report claims that the commission is, “putting the finishing touches to a decision that would prohibit Apple’s practice of blocking music services from pushing their users away from the App Store to alternative subscription options.” The decision is expected to be handed down early next year.

It is unclear what exactly the decision would demand of Apple. With past decisions, Apple has been forced to change its policies (at least in the EU). The company is likely to be given some deadline after which it must allow competing music services to offer subscription options other than Apple’s own in-app-purchase system. It could be more broad, demanding such concessions beyond just music services. A monetary fine could even be involved: the penalty for running afoul of the EU’s antitrust regulations in this matter can be as high as 10 percent of a company’s total annual global revenue, which in Apple’s case would be tens of billions of dollars. Such maximum fines are rare, though.

Apple Inc

​Macworld Macworld

According to a Bloomberg report that cites “people familiar with the investigation,” regulators in the EU are getting ready to hand down a decision prohibiting Apple’s anti-steering rules for music services.

Currently, Apple requires that digital subscription services on iPhone or iPad offer subscriptions only through Apple’s own payment processing, for which the company takes 15 to 30 percent of every purchase. Services like Spotify can allow you to subscribe on the web or somewhere else where they don’t have to pay Apple a big cut of the in-app-purchase fee, but they’re very limited in their ability to direct customers to do so. Apple prohibits companies like Spotify (and others) from actually providing links or other direct means of letting customers go somewhere else to pay.

Spotify has been fighting this for years, arguing that it gives Apple an unfair advantage with its own Apple Music service, and requires them to raise prices to compensate for Apple’s revenue cut.

The report claims that the commission is, “putting the finishing touches to a decision that would prohibit Apple’s practice of blocking music services from pushing their users away from the App Store to alternative subscription options.” The decision is expected to be handed down early next year.

It is unclear what exactly the decision would demand of Apple. With past decisions, Apple has been forced to change its policies (at least in the EU). The company is likely to be given some deadline after which it must allow competing music services to offer subscription options other than Apple’s own in-app-purchase system. It could be more broad, demanding such concessions beyond just music services. A monetary fine could even be involved: the penalty for running afoul of the EU’s antitrust regulations in this matter can be as high as 10 percent of a company’s total annual global revenue, which in Apple’s case would be tens of billions of dollars. Such maximum fines are rare, though.

Apple Inc 

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