EU accuses Apple of antitrust breach over App Store rules

European Union regulators are accusing Apple of violating the bloc’s antitrust rules, alleging that the company distorts competition for music streaming through rules for its App Store

LONDON -- European Union regulators are accusing Apple of violating the bloc's antitrust laws, alleging that the company distorts competition for music streaming through rules for its App Store.

The EU's executive Commission said Friday it objected to how Apple applies rules in its App Store to music streaming services competing with its own Apple Music service, saying that it ends up costing consumers more and limiting their choice.

One of the main concerns outlined by the EU centers on Apple's practice of forcing app developers selling digital content to use its in-house payment system, which charges a 30% commission on all subscriptions.

The EU's investigation, which followed up on a complaint from the popular music-streaming service Spotify, found that fees end up being passed on to consumers.

A second concern is that that Apple prevents developers from telling users about cheaper payment methods.

“Our preliminary finding is that Apple is a gatekeeper to users of iPhones and iPads via the App Store," the EU's competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, said in press release. “By setting strict rules on the App Store that disadvantage competing music streaming services, Apple deprives users of cheaper music streaming choices and distorts competition."

Apple didn't respond immediately to a request for comment.

Under EU competition law, companies can be fined a percentage of their annual revenue for breaches, which in Apple's case could run into billions of euros.

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