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Commission investigates Apple for abusing dominant position

Credit: Belga

The European Commission is opening several investigations against Apple on suspicion of antitrust violations, the Commission announced on Tuesday.

The first investigation follows a complaint from Spotify, accusing Apple of abusing its dominant position in the online music market.

The Commission also mentioned a complaint from an e-book/audio book distributor who is dissatisfied with the rules of the App Store applications. The Commission did not name the company, but the Financial Times has suggested it’s Kobo, the e-book subsidiary of Rakuten.

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The second investigation concerns the tech giant’s payment service, Apple Pay. “It is important that Apple’s measures do not deny consumers the benefits of new payment technologies, including better choice, quality, innovation and competitive prices,” said the EU’s Executive Vice-President in charge of competition policy, Margrethe Vestager.

“It is disappointing that the European Commission is bringing forward unfounded complaints from a handful of companies who simply want to take advantage of the situation without paying or playing by the same rules as the rest of the world,” Apple reacted.

“We don’t think this is fair – we want to maintain a level playing field where anyone with determination and a promising idea can prosper,” the company added.

The Commission has investigated Apple before. In the summer of 2016, Apple was forced to repay Ireland €13 billion in tax benefits that were deemed undue. The company has challenged this decision before the European Court of Justice, which has not yet made a decision.

“The Commission will carry out its in-depth investigations as a matter of priority,” it said, though “the opening of a formal investigation does not prejudge its outcome.”

Jason Spinks
The Brussels Times