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EU drops charge against Apple in Spotify court battle

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The European Union and Spotify are continuing a case against Apple for its alleged "anti-competitive behavior and unfair practices"

The EU’s executive arm, European Commission, launched an antitrust probe into Apple in 2020.

The investigation came after Spotify’s complaint against Apple’s license agreements in 2019. 

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The agreements required app developers to pay a 30 percent commission on all subscription fees received through the App Store.

On Tuesday, February 28, the commission revised its preliminary "statement of objections" against Apple issued in 2021.

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The statement initially claimed that Apple had “abused its dominant position” by forcing music streaming app developers to use its own in-app purchase payment system.

It also alleges that Apple has curtailed developers' ability to notify iOS users of alternate music subscription services available.

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On Tuesday, the commission canceled the first charge and said it would now focus on Apple's anti-steering obligations.

Spotify’s general counsel, Eve Konstan, said: “Today, the European Commission sent a clear message that Apple’s anti-competitive behavior and unfair practices have harmed consumers and disadvantaged developers for far too long.

“We urge the Commission to reach a swift decision in this case to protect consumers and restore fair competition on the iOS platform.”

Spotify, a direct rival of Apple Music, is “by far” the most popular music streaming service in the US and UK, among other countries.

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US iPhone users spend 50 percent more time on Spotify than Apple music, and in the UK, the count is even larger.

An Apple spokesperson said the firm would keep encouraging competition and cooperate with the commission to address its concerns.

The spokesperson said: “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.”

Source: CNBC

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