Spotify and other companies criticize Apple in letter to EU

Apple will soon roll out major changes to iOS users in the EU as part of the Digital Markets Act (DMA) antitrust legislation. However, many developers have been unhappy with Apple’s proposals to comply with the DMA. Because of this, Spotify and dozens of other companies have now shared a letter to the European Commission complaining about “Apple’s lack of DMA compliance.”

Letter says Apple is not complying with the DMA

The full letter, which is available on Spotify’s website, was signed by 34 companies and associations from different sectors, including aviation, publishers, gaming, streaming, payments, crypto, and marketplaces. The group says it represents “tens of thousands of businesses of all sizes” while serving “hundreds of millions of customers across Europe.”

These companies and associations say they are “very concerned” about Apple’s DMA proposals. They claim that the proposals do not comply with the requirements of the law and that they inhibit developers from taking advantage of the benefits of the DMA “as soon as possible.”

“Apple’s new terms not only disregard both the spirit and letter of the law, but if left unchanged, make a mockery of the DMA and the considerable efforts by the European Commission and EU institutions to make digital markets competitive,” the letter says. “There are a myriad of elements in Apple’s announcement that do not comply with the DMA.”

The letter highlights that Apple is offering an “unworkable choice” between its current terms or new terms to developers. It also questions the new Core Technology Fee (CTF) for developers distributing apps under the new model.

To succeed, the DMA must create opportunities for real competition, including alternative app stores and sideloading. New app stores are critical to driving competition and choice both for app developers and consumers. Sideloading will give app developers a real choice between the Apple App Store or their own distribution channel and technology. Apple’s new terms do not allow for sideloading and make the installation and use of new app stores difficult, risky and financially unattractive for developers. Rather than creating healthy competition and new choices, Apple’s new terms will erect new barriers and reinforce Apple’s stronghold over the iPhone ecosystem.

In addition to Spotify, the letter was signed by, Deezer, Epic Games, Mustang, and other companies.

EU to fine Apple $500 million for anti-competitive App Store policies

The EU commission is preparing to hit Apple with a $500 million fine over anticompetitive App Store policy for music streaming services. The decision from the EU investigation comes following a complaint from Spotify that began in 2013. The EU reached its preliminary conclusion in 2021 that the App Store unfairly favored Apple Music over Spotify and other music streaming services.

In addition to the $500 million fine, the EU’s ruling will likely force Apple to allow Spotify and other streaming music services to direct users to outside payment methods. This is commonly referred to as Apple’s “anti-steering” rules.

Apple reiterated its belief that Spotify’s complaint is about it “trying to get limitless access to all of Apple’s tools without paying anything for the value Apple provides.”

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