• European Commission Fails to Find Evidence of Apple Colluding with Record Labels

    The recent European Commission inquiry into Apple Music found no evidence that Apple colluded with major record labels to impede free-to-stream services as part of the company’s Apple Music business strategy. Sources who are familiar with the matter said that the EU antitrust watchdog was looking for evidence that Apple colluded with labels to stifle competition from the likes of Spotify but ended up ultimately determining that the dealings to be in the clear. Although it didn’t find any evidence of illegal activity, the European Commission did state that they will continue to monitor the streaming industry for the time-being.

    For those of you who didn’t know, word of EU involvement originally came previously in April when the Commission sent out questionnaires asking record labels and several digital music companies to provide details regarding potential streaming deals that were struck with Apple. The inquiry was initiated before Apple Music was officially announced in June. The recent report notes that the EU has since turned its focus towards the iOS App Store policies and is asking streaming music companies such as Spotify about Apple’s mandatory fees, restrictions and other potentially anti-competitive guidelines instead.

    Back in July, the US Federal Trade Commission also began its own investigation into allegations that Apple was leveraging its iOS platform advantage along with strict App Store policies to artificially stifle its competition. To be more specific, Apple takes a 30% cut of all App Store transactions, including that of rival streaming music services that sell in-app subscriptions through their iOS App Store. This creates the problem where the rivals have to either charge more or absorb the profit loss in an effort to stay competitive. The problem is compounded by rules restricting the advertisement of billing services outside the App Store as well such as Web-based charges. A few companies have tried to thwart App Store regulations to varying success. Spotify for example, sent out emails notifying iOS subscribers that a switch to Web-based billing would save them roughly $3 per month. Subscribers who signed up to Spotify’s paid tier through their iOS app end up having to pay a 30% premium to help the company offset App Store fees.

    We’ll have to see what the European Commission decides regarding the iOS App Store policies and what Apple has to end up changing as a result.

    Source: Re/code
    This article was originally published in forum thread: European Commission Fails to Find Evidence of Apple Colluding with Record Labels started by Akshay Masand View original post
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