EU to investigate App Store and Apple Pay complaints

Apple is facing up to two new antitrust investigations by the European Commission (EC) related to the App Store and Apple Pay following growing criticism from regulators and competitors.

The EU’s competition commission revealed on Tuesday that it would take a closer look at complaints about the App Store and the standard 30% rate that is charged for using its in-app purchase system.

A second restriction that prevents developers from informing users that they can also pay for digital content through other means outside of Apple’s system will also be investigated.

Music streaming giant Spotify has been particularly vocal about the restrictions, claiming that it has no choice but to stump up a large share of its revenue to feature on the App Store as customers may not know that they can subscribe elsewhere.

Spotify actually filed a complaint against Apple last year, but there has been no action taken as of yet.

eReader company Kobo took similar steps after it took umbrage at the 30% commission rate it has to pay for every book it sells on the Apple Store.

The company said that this makes it difficult to deliver profits when compared to Apple’s own Bookstore, which does not have to pay a fee.

The App Store is a big money-spinner for Apple, bringing in around $4.8bn in the UK last year, according to data published by Sensor Tower.

The second main investigation will focus on Apple Pay and whether it is restricting competition and innovation by limiting access to the tap-and-go functionality on iPhones.

Apple responded on Tuesday by stating that the EC was “advancing baseless complaints” and accused some companies of wanting a “free ride”.

The EU’s competition chief, Margrethe Vestager, added: “We need to ensure that Apple’s rules do not distort competition in markets where Apple is competing with other app developers, for example with its music streaming service, Apple Music, or with Apple Books.”

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About the author


I've been a passionate evangelist for Apple and the Macintosh throughout my working life, my first love was a Quadra 605 working with a small creative agency in the south of Norfolk UK in the mid 1990's, I later progressed to other roles in other Macintosh dominated industries, first as a Senior graphic designer at a small printing company and then a production manager at Guardian Media Group. As the publishing and printing sector wained I moved into Internet Marketing and in 2006 co-founded which grew to become one the top 200 visited sites in the US (according to Quantcast), at its peak receiving over 15 million visits per month. For the last ten years I have worked as an Affiliate and Consultant to many different business and start ups, my key skill set being online marketing, on page monetisation, landing page optimisation and traffic generation, if you would like to hire me or discuss your current project please reach out to me here.

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