The relationship between Apple and Europe, at an institutional level, is not going through its best moments. Quite the contrary, it seems that Apple is accumulating open fronts in the old continent, without any of them seeming to show light at the end of the tunnel for those in Cupertino. If we analyze the entire history of Apple, from its birth until now, in Europe, there is no moment in which the legal and regulatory pressure has been so strong.
And it is that, in addition to the actions that are circumscribed to specific regions and states, as in the case of the Netherlands, at a European level there are nothing less than four fronts that, to a greater or lesser extent, concern Apple. I am not talking, yes, of judicial fronts, because in that case the account is reduced to one, but to market regulation measures that affect, quite directly, certain aspects related to Apple, its devices and its services. . We quickly remember them.
The first has to do with the lightning connector, which faces the intentions of Europe to establish a universal connector for devices. It is possible that Apple will opt for a 100% wireless device first, to give in at this point and accept that iPhones have to make the leap to USB-C.
The right to repair is getting closer to becoming a reality throughout Europe. Apple has already made some movement (or, rather, has announced that it will make some movement) to adapt to a legislative framework that goes against planned obsolescence and that aims to extend the useful life of devices above current levels.
With the approval of the Digital Markets Law, alternative stores and alternative payment systems They are, without a doubt, the biggest concern today in Cupertino, and more the former than the latter. And it is that Apple has already verified in other geographies, as in South Korea, which may include third-party payment platforms. However, if the arrival of new app stores to iOS, already out of Apple’s control, is liberalized, this could lead to a more than substantial loss of income for the company.
And now we go with the fourth, which is the one that concerns us in this news, and that has its origin in 2019, when Spotify denounced before the European institutions the disadvantage faced by subscription music streaming services against Apple, with regard to their payment through the Apple payment system.
Spotify’s approach is quite simple, and from the first moment it had a good fit with the European institutions. Spotify argued that, since all services that use this modality must pay their commission to Apple, the company’s own streaming music service, Apple Music, has more favorable conditionsWell, even if Apple Music must pay a commission to the App Store, that amount will also end up in the coffers of those in Cupertino.
Thus, two services that compete in the same sector and with the same price, 9.99 euros per month, will not enter the same. Spotify, and any other service, will see that part of those 9.99 euros go to Apple’s commission, so their income will be lower. However, Apple can charge 9.99 euros, knowing that 100% of said income will go to your accounts.
In this context, last year, the European Commission accused Apple of distorting competition in the market for music streaming services through restrictive rules in the App Store, which force developers to use their own in-app payment system and prevent them from informing users of other purchase options. This is not new and, although it was discussed by Apple, it is something that is practically taken for granted.
The surprise is that, according to the Reuters Agency, an additional charge could be made public in the coming weeks that would add to this cause and, consequently, could complicate things even more for Apple. Its reason for being is unknown, and it is unlikely to be related to the new Digital Markets Lawbecause after its approval there is still a margin of two years for companies to adapt.
Thus, and without declarations in this regard by the parties involved, we must remember that companies found guilty of violating the antitrust rules of the European Union may face penalties of up to 10% of your global turnoverwhich are also accompanied by the obligation to desist from such practices.