Photo: Timothy A. Clary Agence France-Presse
The european Commission has announced the opening of several investigations against Apple.
The european Commission crosses again the iron with Silicon Valley : it was announced on Tuesday the opening of several investigations against Apple, accused of anti-competitive practices.
It has been almost four years, the eu executive had already struck a great blow against apple, in the summing to refund Ireland € 13 billion of undue tax advantages. Apple has immediately risen on Tuesday : it found that the complaints of the companies in the original investigation opened by Brussels were ” unfounded “, and accused the plaintiffs of wanting to ” take advantage of the situation without paying “.
This new front opened by the EU occurred a few months before the proposals of Brussels long-awaited reform of the european law that would limit the power of the american giants of the Internet. Apple, but also Amazon, Google and Facebook are, in effect, accused by many of their smaller competitors to be “gatekeeper ” or ” access controllers “, which, because of their hegemony, prevent them from developing, or even to survive.
The first survey launched Tuesday following a complaint by the Swedish Spotify, which accuses Apple of abusing its dominant position on the market of online music. Spotify accused the u.s. firm, owner at the time of the operating system iOS and the App Store, to impose a right of 30 % to online music services that sell their subscription via his shop, bidding its cost to the users.
In the context of this initial investigation, Brussels also mentions the complaint of a distributor of electronic books/audio books unhappy with the rules of the App Store applications. The european executive does not appoint, however, not this company, which, according to the british daily Financial Times would be Kobo, a subsidiary of electronic books by the japanese firm Rakuten.
“Mobile applications have fundamentally changed the way we access content. It is Apple that sets out the rules applicable to the distribution of applications to users of iPhones and iPads, ” notes the executive vice-president of the european Commission, responsible for competition, Margrethe Vestager. However, warns in a press release, ” it is necessary to ensure that the rules of Apple (as gatekeeper) does not distort competition on the markets where the company competes with other developers of applications, for example with its service of music-streaming Apple Music, or with Apple’s “Books”.
The second survey opened on Tuesday by the eu executive concerning the terms, conditions, and other measures imposed by Apple for the integration of its payment service Apple Pay in the business applications and commercial Web sites on iPhones and iPads.
Thanks to Apple Pay, the owners of iPhone or Apple Watch can directly pay for their purchases at the merchant, by applying their device on the same terminal as Visa cards without the need to enter code. However, and this is where the competition problem : Apple reserves the use of its antenna NFC (Near Field Communication to exchange data less than 10 centimeters, between two devices equipped with this device) to Apple Pay. Therefore, any bank wishing to use this technology on an iPhone has to go through Apple and Pay a fee.