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The EU Antitrust Commission has narrowed its case against Apple, dropping the Key charge of Apple 'Abusing its Dominant Market Position'

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In late April 2021, Patently Apple posted a report titled "In a 'Statement of Objections' The EU Commission warns Apple that it's App Store is abusing its dominant position. The reported noted that "The European Commission has informed Apple of its preliminary view 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."

Today, the EU Antitrust Commission issued a revised Statement of Objections to Apple over App Store rules for music streaming providers. The "preliminary view" that Apple was abusing its dominant market position has been dropped in the new "Statement of Objections" which is a big win for Apple, making it more difficult for other Antitrust bodies around the globe to use this charge against Apple.

The revised Statement of Objection "focuses on the contractual restrictions that Apple imposed on app developers which prevent them from informing iPhone and iPad users of alternative music subscription options at lower prices outside of the app and to effectively choose those.

The Commission takes the preliminary view that Apple's anti-steering obligations are unfair trading conditions in breach of Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (‘TFEU').

In particular, the Commission is concerned that the anti-steering obligations imposed by Apple on music streaming app developers prevent those developers from informing consumers about where and how to subscribe to streaming services at lower prices.  These anti-steering obligations: (i) are neither necessary nor proportionate for the provision of the App Store on iPhones and iPads; (ii) are detrimental to users of music streaming services on Apple's mobile devices who may end up paying more; and (iii) negatively affect the interests of music streaming app developers by limiting effective consumer choice." For more details, review the full EU Antitrust press release.

An Apple spokesperson sent out a statement that the company would continue to promote competition and work with the Commission to respond to their concerns.

The statement read: "We’re pleased that the Commission has narrowed its case and is no longer challenging Apple’s right to collect a commission for digital goods and require the use of the In-App Payment systems users trust. The App Store has helped Spotify become the top music streaming service across Europe and we hope the European Commission will end its pursuit of a complaint that has no merit."

The company said it has always worked to promote competition, and that it will continue to promote choice for European consumers.

10.0F - Apple News


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