Kobo, the eBook Company, Joins Spotify in filing a complaint against Apple's App Store with the EU Antitrust Commission
As we await to learn whether Apple's CEO Tim Cook will be going to Washington to testify at the Antitrust probe as requested by Antitrust subcommittee chairman David Cicilline, we're now learning that Apple is facing yet another antitrust complaint in Europe, after the Japanese media and ecommerce group Rakuten joined the music-streaming site Spotify in asking Brussels to investigate its App Store.
The Financial Times has reported that "Rakuten’s ereader subsidiary Kobo claimed it was anti-competitive for Apple to charge it a 30 per cent commission for e-books sold through the App Store while promoting its own product, Apple Books.
Kobo said it loses out on business by forcing customers to go to its website to buy e-books, as it seeks to avoid the Apple commission, according to several people familiar with the complaint.
The case is a mirror of a March 2019 complaint from Spotify, which said Apple’s App Store charges allegedly tilt the playing field to disadvantage rivals and favour its own music service. The European commission has yet to rule on Spotify’s complaint.
Apple has defended the commission it charges some apps in the past by saying that it gives businesses the option to either sell their services through the App Store or not and that it provides the service to distribute apps for free.
Users of Kobo, for instance, can download the app for free from the App Store. People familiar with Apple’s thinking argue that it is fair for businesses to pay a commission if they want to sell through the App Store as it enables access to billions of users. The majority of apps do not pay a 30 per cent commission. To learn more, read the full Financial Times report (behind a paywall).