Apple defends itself against accusations of Spotify


The iPhone maker has to fight on many fronts for its market power.

(Photo: AP)

BrusselsIn mid-March, Daniel Ek blew up the attack Apple, The corporation gains an “unfair advantage,” complained the founder of the Swedish music streaming service Spotify – filed a complaint with the EU competition watchdogs. The app store of the iPhone manufacturer, Ek said, “limit the free choice and impede innovation”.

Apple rejects the allegations of the competitor. The US company recently submitted its response to the EU Commission to avert proceedings. According to Handelsblatt information, Apple argues that Ek's practice concerns only a fraction of Spotify's customers. Specifically, it's about the 30 percent revenue share that Apple requires from developers when customers subscribe to certain apps. This fee is like a tax and penalize Spotify in the price war with the competing Apple Music, criticized Ek.

Apple opposes that a fee falls at only about 680,000 of the more than one hundred million payment customers of Spotify – that is less than one percent. In addition, the company would not have to relinquish 30 percent, but 15 percent or less. It is according to Apple to customers who have completed a subscription of the streaming service between 2014 and 2016. Then Spotify shutdowns via the app turned off, users could book the paid premium offer only via the web browser – no charge.

In a blog entry, Apple previously denied discriminating against Spotify in his app store. That providers such as the driver agent Uber or the delivery service Deliveroo would have to pay any fees, is because Apple basically exempted apps for the sale of physical goods.

The Group also argues that it has no dominant market position with an iPhone market share of a good 20 percent in Europe. The own service Apple Music also has only half as many payment customers as market leader Spotify.

In industry circles, however, it is expected that the EU Commission will initiate a formal procedure against the Group. The legal hurdles are low and the political pressure is high, they say. A commission spokesman did not want to comment.

Margrethe Vestager, EU Competition Commissioner, has long argued that the growing market power of digital companies requires stricter rules. This is especially true for large platforms that even compete with their dependent vendors. In these cases, the platform operator is “both a player and a referee,” she said. This dual role brings with it a great deal of responsibility.

Against the online retailer Amazon The Commission is already investigating on suspicion of discriminating against other providers in its marketplace. Quite possibly, then, that Vestager will also take a closer look at the Apple case.

More: Apple is paying more attention to devices like the iPad and the Apple Watch. The iPhone is highly profitable for Apple, but no growth field, says Handelsblatt reporter Christof Kerkmann.

Apple (t) Spotify (t) Competition (t) Monopoly (t) Antitrust Policy (t) Product Policy (t) Recordings (t) Copyright (t) Deliveroo (t) Amazon (t) Daniel Ek (t) Margrethe Vestager (t) Digital Music Market


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