A few days ago it was revealed that a number of music streaming services, including the likes of Spotify and Deezer, had complained to the EU about the likes of Apple and Google abusing their 'privileged position' at the top of the market. Now it seems as though the EU is taking notice.
The original complaint is vaguely worded, but it targets “some” mobile operating systems, app stores, and search engines with accusations that they are abusing their power and becoming 'gatekeepers' rather than 'gateways'. In simple terms, those companies are abusing their power to encourage people to subscribe to first party services, rather than their third party competitors.
According to Reuters, the EU is planning to address new legislation that deals with this sort of thing before the year is up. yesterday the European Commission said it would prepare legislation to address unfair contractual clauses and trading practices in relations between platforms and businesses. This announcement comes following a previous investigation that concluded that app stores and search engines already have too much power, which lets them act 'unreasonably'. The investigation specifically mentions platforms that delisted products and services "without due notice", restricting access to certain data, and not making the way they rank search results transparent enough.
If any of this sounds familiar, it's because something similar happened with Internet Explorer. The EU had issue with Microsoft bundling Internet Explorer with Windows 7, claiming it to be detrimental to browser competition.
This isn't the first time Spotify has been involved in an Apple-related spat. Last year it was reported that the service was burying artists that signed exclusive deals with Apple, as well as having its lawyers complain about Apple blocking a new version of the Spotify app. There's also that business of Apple taking a 15% cut of all in-app purchases, leading to Spotify raising its prices when people pay via iTunes. Spotify has since stopped new subscribers from being able to pay this way.
The aim of the Commission's legislation is to establish fair practice criteria, implement measures that will improve transparency, and a new system that will help solve future disputes. [Reuters via 9to5Mac]