EU to focus Apple antitrust scrutiny on concerns raised by streaming platforms

28 Feb 2023

Image: © Vitalii Vodolazskyi/

The EU now plans to focus its inquiry solely on the rules Apple imposed on app developers which prevent them from informing users of other music subscription sites.

The European Commission has issued a statement of objections to Apple that seeks to clarify the EU’s concerns over the tech giant’s app store rules for music streaming providers.

Apple was already on the European Commission’s radar for alleged antitrust breaches. This latest statement of objections narrows down some of the EU’s broader concerns regarding Apple’s antitrust practices.

Today’s (28 February) statement comes only one month after several big streaming platforms united to write a letter to the Commission to call on it to take action against what they said were Apple’s “unfair practices” and “anti-competitive behaviour.”

The letter was signed by companies Spotify, Bandcamp and Deezer among others. It was made public, as was a statement by Spotify on the matter, which outlined the efforts the company had previously made to address Apple’s “abuses” of its platform.

In 2019, the Swedish streaming giant filed a formal antitrust complaint with the European Commission, alleging anti-competitive behaviour from Apple and its impact on the market.

The letter that was sent to the European Commission last month was a renewed call for antitrust authorities to address the issue.

Today’s statement from the Commission clarifies that it plans to focus its investigations on the contractual restrictions that Apple imposed on app developers which prevent them from informing iPhone and iPad users of alternative music subscription options at lower prices outside of the app.

It will no longer focus on Apple imposing its own in-app purchase payment technology on music streaming app developers.

Instead, it will focus mainly on ensuring Apple does not breach competition and trust rules by preventing developers from informing consumers about cheaper streaming services.

The Commission is concerned about protecting consumer choice as well as fair market rules.

Reuters reported that Apple said it was pleased that the Commission had narrowed the case against it and it would respond to the regulator’s concerns.

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Blathnaid O’Dea is Careers reporter at Silicon Republic