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The European Commission’s Investigation Into Music Streaming: Why Spotify Has Good Reasons To Be Impatient

 |  January 23, 2023

By: Damien Geradin (The Platform Law Blog)

Yesterday, group of app developers and trade associations urged the Commission to take swift action to bring Apple’s anticompetitive conduct to an end.

It is easy to sympathize with their impatience. Almost two years ago, i.e., in April 2021, the Commission sent a statement of objections to Apple on the ground that “it distorted competition in the music streaming market as it abused its dominant position for the distribution of music streaming apps through its App Store.”

The Commission’s concerns related to the combination of the following two rules that Apple imposes in its agreements with music streaming app developers: (i) the mandatory use of Apple’s proprietary in-app purchase system (“IAP”) for the distribution of paid digital content, which allows Apple to charge a 30% commission and (ii) “anti-steering provisions” which limit the ability of app developers to inform users of alternative purchasing possibilities outside of apps.

Since then, not much has happened, but for the fact that Apple has fought tooth and nail regulators in Europe and elsewhere that sought to bring these practices to an end. In the meantime, the harm to app developers and consumers has continued unabated…