EU Antitrust Regulators To Investigate Apple’s App Store And Apple Pay

Two antitrust investigations have been started by the European Union against the business policies and tactics of App Store and Apple Pay of United States based tech giant Apple Inc on Tuesday. This move by the antitrust regulator of the EU is a part of the efforts of the bloc to put scrutinize online gatekeepers over alleged anti-competitive business practices targeted ot block off and put competitors at a disadvantage.

One of the investigations will examine the mandatory use of Apple’s proprietary in-app purchase system and the rules that Apple implements in it which allegedly is aimed at preventing app developers from informing users of iPhones and iPads about any other cheaper options that is available from them elsewhere, said the European Commission.

This investigation has been initiated after a complaint last year lodged by the Swedish music streaming service Spotify in which the company had alleged that access of Apple’s rivals were being curbed by it to Apple’s music steaming service Apple Music in an unfair manner.

The decision of eh EU to probe on the basis of its complaint was welcomed by Spotify welcomed and said that it hoped that the case would be treated with urgency by the EU regulators. In March this year, a similar complaint related to e-books and audiobooks was filed against Apple by a smaller rival.

“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,” European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.

The other case that has been initiated by the EU relates to the terms and conditions that Apple imposed on the manner in which its mobile payment service Apple Pay should be used in merchants’ apps and websites as well as the refusal of the company to allow its competitors in the mobile payment segment to the payment system.

The fact that Apple Pay is the only mobile payment service that is allowed by the company to be used by iPhone users that has “tap and go” functionality on iPhones is also one of the concerns for the regulators.

Apple has however been critical of the decision of the EU to investigate its businesses.

“It’s disappointing the European Commission is advancing baseless complaints from a handful of companies who simply want a free ride, and don’t want to play by the same rules as everyone else,” the iPhone maker said in a statement. “We don’t think that’s right — we want to maintain a level playing field where anyone with determination and a great idea can succeed,” it added.

(Adapted from Reuters.com)

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