The European Commission believes that Apple is violating European competition laws and raising prices for consumers in how it operates its App Store. The Spotify case is a good example of why reality is more complicated than that.
Last Friday, the European Commission announced its preliminary view that Apple is violating European competition laws in how the company operates its App Store. The particular focus was on the knock-on effects in the music streaming market, but the issues are obviously broader, and also related to the Epic v. Apple antitrust trial, which started this week in a federal district court in California.
A key issue in both of those settings is the fees that Apple charges. The Commission focused on Apple’s rules for in-app purchases and a related provision—the anti-steering rule—which Apple uses to boost the odds that purchases occur inside the app. The Commission’s statement focuses on the music streaming market, but that is something of a red herring as the rules in question do not target that market and apply generally across the App Store. Nothing in what the Commission did last week offers a real vision of how fees are supposed to work on these two-sided platforms.
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