In the summer of 2016 the fight began. Spotify complained to Apple, which forced it to go through the hoop of its payment gateway if it wanted to be in the App Store. That, of course, meant that Spotify had to pay a monthly fee of up to 30% of that subscription income.
Things did not improve in the following years, and Spotify ended up suing Apple in the European Union in March 2019. Now the Financial Times reveals that the EU investigation points to charges against Apple for this dominant position of the App Store.
Many others protest the App Store’s 30% fee
Spotify may have been the most notable case in this battle for the dominant position of the App Store, but it is by no means the only company that has attacked Apple on this issue.
In September Epic Games – iOS and macOS users still cannot play Fortnite, let’s remember-, Spotify, Basecamp – whose CEO accused those responsible for Apple of being” gangsters” – and ten other companies joined to voice a complaint coral for that rate that they consider abusive and from which it is currently almost impossible to escape. If you want to be on an iPhone, you have to go through the App Store, and if you want to be in the App Store, you must pay the fees imposed by Apple.
In the case of the monthly subscription model of services such as Spotify, the economic cost is remarkable: 30% of the income during the first year, to later become 15%.
All these companies consider that rate abusive, and in fact Apple took a small step back in November, when it announced that the rate was reduced to 15% from the first moment … but only for small developers.
It pleased the long line, but not the giants of the industry, who got even more angry: Epic Games sued Apple to the European Union a few weeks ago to add fuel to the fire. Like Spotify, for those responsible for Epic Games they thought that Apple “eliminates the competition completely.
Apple defends itself against these accusations by indicating how, for example, Spotify “wants all the benefits of a free application without being one”, and certainly this is a battle for control of the benefits in a market, that of iOS devices, whose share is very important and that it does not offer other stores or parallel channels for developers.
The situation is becoming really problematic for the Cupertino giant, which has also been sued in the United States – the trial has been underway for almost two years– and is now also being investigated in the United Kingdom.
According to the Financial Times, the investigation in the EU points to an upcoming lawsuit and an antitrust trial, but as they indicate there, that process could take months to start and even longer to resolve. In fact, they clarify, “the case could end up being filed” without there being a formal demand. The pressure, however, is notable for Apple.