Monday, May 3, 2021

EU and Australia on App Store Antitrust

Tom Warren (MacRumors, Hacker News):

The European Commission is issuing antitrust charges against Apple over concerns about the company’s App Store practices. The Commission has found that Apple has broken EU competition rules with its App Store policies, following an initial complaint from Spotify back in 2019. Specifically, the Commission believes Apple has a “dominant position in the market for the distribution of music streaming apps through its App Store.”

The EU has focused on two rules that Apple imposes on developers: the mandatory use of Apple’s in-app purchase system (for which Apple charges a 30 percent cut), and a rule forbidding app developers to inform users of other purchasing options outside of apps. The Commission has found that the 30 percent commission fee, or “Apple tax” as it’s often referred to, has resulted in higher prices for consumers.


Apple now faces a fine of up to 10 percent of its annual revenue if it’s found guilty of breaking EU rules, which could be as high as $27 billion based on Apple’s annual revenue of $274.5 billion last year. Apple could also be forced to change its business model, which has more damaging and lasting effects than a fine.

Nilay Patel:

The EU has found that Apple’s App Store rules drive up music streaming prices. Apple’s response is to… take credit for Spotify’s success?


“All the benefits of the App Store” is an incredible way to describe “any access to our platform.”

Michael Love:

Apple’s attitude in these press releases is consistently appalling - taking credit for developers’ hard work + completely misrepresenting the nature of the App Store.

Rick Kettner:

“At the core of this case is Spotify’s demand that they should be able to advertise alternative deals… a practice that no store in the world allows.”

Yet an iPhone bought at BestBuy presents me with the option to buy future accessories directly from the Apple Store app. Hmm…

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (via Hacker News):

The ACCC’s second Digital Platform Services Inquiry interim report finds that Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store have significant market power in the distribution of mobile apps in Australia, and measures are needed to address this.


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[…] Michael Tsai has a good collection of developer and press reactions to the App Store antitrust investigations in both of these regions. […]

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