Apple Wins Backing of EU General Court Over 13 Billion Euro Tax Bill

Apple Shares Humorous ‘Working-From-Home Thing’ Video

Apple today shared a funny video focused on the problems that people working from home have to deal with, including noisy children, chaotic schedules, communication issues, and more.
The video focuses on showing off Apple products and their capabilities that can be useful when working from home, such as the ability to scan a document with an iPhone, mark up a PDF, Siri Reminders, and more.The…

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EU Announces Investigations into App Store In-App Purchase Rules and Apple Pay

The European Commission today said it has opened two formal antitrust investigations into Apple’s App Store and Apple Pay mobile payment system.


The first investigation will assess whether Apple’s rules for app developers on the distribution of apps via the ‌App Store‌ violate EU competition rules.

It will focus in particular on the mandatory use of Apple’s own in-app purchases system and restrictions on the ability of developers to inform iPhone and iPad users of alternative cheaper purchasing possibilities outside of apps.

The investigation follows up on separate complaints by Spotify and ebook distributor Kobo on the impact of the ‌App Store‌ rules on competition in music streaming and e-books/audiobooks.

Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “Mobile applications have fundamentally changed the way we access content. Apple sets the rules for the distribution of apps to users of iPhones and iPads. 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. We need to ensure that Apple’s rules do not distort competition in markets where Apple is competing with other app developers, for example with its music streaming service Apple Music or with Apple Books. I have therefore decided to take a close look at Apple’s ‌App Store‌ rules and their compliance with EU competition rules.”

The second investigation into ‌Apple Pay‌ follows a preliminary EC investigation that flagged concerns regarding Apple’s terms, conditions, and other measures related to the use of ‌Apple Pay‌ that may distort competition and reduce choice and innovation. In addition, the EC notes that ‌Apple Pay‌ is the only mobile payment solution that can access the NFC “tap and go” technology embedded in Apple’s devices for in-store payments.

Responding to the announcements, a spokesperson for Apple gave the following statement:

“We developed the ‌App Store‌ with two goals in mind: that it be a safe and trusted place for customers to discover and download apps, and a great business opportunity for entrepreneurs and developers.

“We’re deeply proud of the countless developers who’ve innovated and found success through our platform. And as we’ve grown together, we’ve continued to deliver innovative new services — like ‌Apple Pay‌ — that provide the very best customer experience while meeting industry-leading standards for privacy and security.

“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. 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.”

There is no legal deadline for bringing an antitrust investigation to an end, and the duration of an antitrust investigation depends on a range of factors that can take years to work through, but the EC said it will carry out its investigations “as a matter of priority.”

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Apple Faces New EU Antitrust Complaint Over 30% App Store Commission Rate

Apple is facing another European antitrust complaint, this time over its 30 percent cut on ebooks in the App Store. The complaint was made to the European Commission by Rakuten’s Kobo subsidiary, which alleges that Apple’s commission rate is anti-competitive when it also promotes its own Apple Books service.


According to a Financial Times report, Kobo argues that having to pay Apple 30 percent commission on each ebook that it sells through the ‌App Store‌ via the Kobo app makes it next to impossible to turn a profit, whereas Apple’s own Bookstore means it doesn’t have to take an equivalent revenue cut.

The complaint is similar to one that Spotify filed with the EC in March 2019. Spotify specifically took issue with Apple’s 30 percent fee collected on ‌‌App Store‌‌ purchases, which has forced Spotify to charge subscribers through the ‌‌App Store‌‌ $12.99 per month for its Premium plan instead of the $9.99 per month fee it normally collects.

Spotify argued that the iPhone maker enforced ‌‌App Store‌‌ rules that “purposely limit choice and stifle innovation at the expense of the user experience.”

Apple swiftly hit back at the accusation, labeling it as “misleading rhetoric” and arguing that “Spotify wants all the benefits of a free app without being free.” Spotify’s antitrust complaint is still under investigation.

The EU can force companies to change business practices they deem unlawful and levy fines of up to 10 per cent of a company’s global turnover. However, investigations by the European Commission can take years to resolve unless the companies involved offer to settle the probes by making legally binding agreements to change their behavior.

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