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EU says Apple distorted music streaming market competition

The Apple Music logo with a concert in the background

The European Union has published its Statement of Objections against Apple’s App Store rules with regards to music streaming. It said that Apple is effectively creating a monopoly for its Apple Music service against the likes of Spotify with the 30% in-app purchases fee and its restrictions on third-party apps using steering techniques.

Apple Music is available to customers in the EU for €9.99 per month, which is typical according to the European Commission. Due to Apple’s 30% fee and rivals typically passing on the costs to customers, this results in rivals’ prices going up to €12.99 which the EU believes is market distortion.

As a response to Apple’s fees, you might wonder why the rivals do not ask users to become premium members online, outside of the Apple ecosystem. While signing up to premium in this way is an option, Apple has anti-steering provisions in place which forbid app developers from informing iOS users of the cheaper subscriptions available elsewhere so users are forced to find these cheaper alternatives themselves.

The EU Commission said that Apple restricts alternative app stores on its platform so it’s difficult for app developers to release their apps in any other fashion free of these restrictions. The Commission did not say what measures it would like to see introduced at this stage but it’s now waiting for Apple to respond to the concerns.

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