EU executive Commission says it objects to Apple’s way of doing business, which allegedly squeezes out rivals like Spotify and ends up costing its music streaming consumers more. Apple has rejected accusations.

FILE PHOTO: A 3D-printed Apple logo is seen in front of a displayed European Union flag in this illustration taken September 2, 2016.
FILE PHOTO: A 3D-printed Apple logo is seen in front of a displayed European Union flag in this illustration taken September 2, 2016. (Reuters)

European Union regulators have accused Apple of violating the bloc's antitrust rules, alleging that the company distorts competition for music streaming through rules for its App Store.

The EU said it was concerned that Apple forces app developers selling digital content to use its in-house payment system, which charges a 30 percent commission on all subscriptions. Its investigation found that fees end up being passed on to consumers.

The investigation follows up on a complaint from the popular music-streaming service Spotify.

The EU also raised concerns that Apple prevents developers from telling users about cheaper payment methods.

“Our preliminary finding is that Apple is a gatekeeper to users of iPhones and iPads via the App Store," the EU's competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, said in a press release. 

“By setting strict rules on the App Store that disadvantage competing music streaming services, Apple deprives users of cheaper music streaming choices and distorts competition."

"This is done by charging high commission fees on each transaction in the App Store for rivals and by forbidding them from informing their customers of alternative subscription options," she said.

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Fair competition

This is the first EU antitrust charge against Apple, a move that could lead to fines of as much as 10 percent of its global turnover.

Apple on Friday firmly rejected accusations by EU regulators that it was illegally using its App Store to squeeze out music streaming rivals.

Spotify wants "all the benefits of the App Store but doesn't think they should have to pay anything," an Apple spokesperson said, adding that the EU's case was "the opposite of fair competition."

The EU charge comes a week before Apple's face-off with Epic Games in a US antitrust trial following a lawsuit by the "Fortnite" creator alleging that Apple has abused its dominance in the market for mobile apps.

Epic has complained to the Commission on the same issues.

Last month, the UK Competition and Markets Authority opened an investigation into Apple after complaints the iPhone maker's terms and conditions for app developers were unfair. 

READ MORE: France slaps Apple with record $1.22B fine

Source: TRTWorld and agencies