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Apple Targeted By European Union Competition Regulators

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BRUSSELS, Belgium (CelebrityAccess) — The European Commission officially launched not one but two investigations of tech giant Apple over concern about anti-competitive business practices.

The the two investigations will examine Apple’s mobile app store and payment platform and their effects on developer and consumer choices in the digital marketplace.

The investigations concern in particular the mandatory use of Apple’s own proprietary in-app purchase system and restrictions on the ability of developers to notify end users of alternative cheaper purchasing possibilities outside of apps.

The Commission will also examine Apple’s requirement that developers use the company’s own proprietary in-app purchase system “IAP” for the distribution of paid digital content. Apple charges app developers a 30% commission on all subscription fees through IAP.

The EU’s inquiries follow complaints from Apple’s streaming music competitor Spotify, which raised issued about the two rules in Apple’s license agreements with developers and the associated App Store Review Guidelines, and their impact on competition for music streaming services.

“Mobile applications have fundamentally changed the way we access content. Apple sets the rules for the distribution of apps to users of iPhones and iPads. It appears that Apple obtained a “gatekeeper” role when it comes to the distribution of apps and content to users of Apple’s popular devices. 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. I have therefore decided to take a close look at Apple’s App Store rules and their compliance with EU competition rules,” said Commission Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, who has oversight of competition policy.

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