EU set to investigate possible anti-trust behavior by Apple, based on Spotify's complaints
Spotify has been running a public-relations campaign for some time now. Its subject is the ecosystem built around the Apple App Store, and the adversity that the music-streaming company perceives exists within it. This disadvantage allegedly affects Spotify itself, as well as other third-party streaming services like it. Now, the 'Play Fair' campaign may have paid off, in that it has reportedly drawn the attention of the European Union (EU) and its relevant regulatory bodies.
A recent Financial Times report indicates that the EU's competition authority will shortly mount an investigation into the company's potential anti-trust practices. These arguments, unsurprisingly, mainly revolve around the so-called 'Apple Tax': a 30% cut taken by the Cupertino company for the use of its App Store-linked payment system. They apply to third-party services like Spotify, but not to non-subscription-based apps or to Apple Music.
However, Spotify has other potentially valid points against Apple. They include the argument that its app is locked out of "experience-enhancing" aspects of the electronics giant's software ecosystem. For example, Apple Music users can talk to their HomePods in order to find or select tracks, whereas third-party customers cannot.
On the other hand, Apple counters these points by arguing that Spotify could not have built its business on iOS without the presence of the App Store. Should the EU conduct the FT's putative investigation, and find that the complaints hold water, this company could be liable for fines in at least the hundreds of millions of euros. And, don't forget, this body has a decent track record of levying these kinds of charges, even against the biggest of tech companies.