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E.U. to Launch Investigation Into Apple After Spotify’s Complaint (Report)

The European Union will open a preliminary investigation into Apple following Spotify’s antitrust complaint, according to a report published in the Financial Times.

In its complaint filed to the European Commission in March, Spotify, which ranks as the the market leader in music streaming, said Apple was “tilting the playing field to disadvantage competitors” and favor its own Apple Music streaming service through a 30% cut that Apple takes from subscriptions made via the App Store. Spotify also claimed that Apple was blocking their access to products and updates to their app.

Quoting unnamed sources, the Financial Times said that the European Commission, the E.U.’s executive arm, was expected to confirm the date for the start of the preliminary investigation in the coming weeks. It will be led by the office of Margrethe Vestager, who has taken aim at tech giants such as Google during her tenure as the E.U.’s antitrust commissioner.

Spotify said in its complaint in March that Apple had abused its position. “In recent years, Apple has introduced rules to the App Store that purposely limit choice and stifle innovation at the expense of the user experience – essentially acting as both a player and referee to deliberately disadvantage other app developers,” Spotify founder and CEO Daniel Ek said.

Apple responded to Spotify’s complaint by saying that it has “approved and distributed nearly 200 app updates on Spotify’s behalf, resulting in over 300 million downloaded copies of the Spotify app.”

“After using the App Store for years to dramatically grow their business, Spotify seeks to keep all the benefits of the App Store ecosystem – including the substantial revenue that they draw from the App Store’s customers – without making any contributions to that marketplace,” said Apple, adding that Spotify “distributes the music you love while making ever-smaller contributions to the artists, musicians and songwriters who create it – even going so far as to take these creators to court.”

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