"We need to ensure that Apple's rules do not distort competition in markets where Apple is competing with other app developers.”
The first investigation follows two separate complaints from Spotify on March 11, 2019 and Rakuten on March 5 of this year.
Spotify accuses Apple of using its sales platform, the App Store, in a way that limits the consumer’s choice to access its products. Rakuten alleged that it is “anti-competitive” for the American giant to take a 30% commission on ebooks that are sold via the App Store, thereby boosting the Apple Books service.
“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,” said the Executive Vice-President of the European Commission, Margrethe Vestager, in a press release on Tuesday.
The second investigation concerns the assessment of Apple’s payment system, Apple Pay, in order to check for EU competition rules violations.
This follows a vote by German lawmakers in favor of legislation that could force Apple to allow other companies to access its phones’ NFC chips, according to the Verge.
“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,” said Vestager. “We need to ensure that Apple’s rules do not distort competition in markets where Apple is competing with other app developers.”
The European Commission’s follow-up is based on the consideration that Apple’s actions may harm consumers by preventing them from benefiting from greater choice and lower prices.
Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) “prohibits anti-competitive agreements and decisions of associations of undertakings that prevent, restrict, or distort competition within the EU’s Single Market,” while article 102 “prohibits the abuse of a dominant position.”