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New apples charged with old conflicts – POLITICO



It’s a personal matter again.

Less than a year after her defeat in court in a 13 billion euro case against Apple, top EU antitrust law enforcement Margrethe Vestager has returned to target the iPhone maker.

This time, Vestager is aiming for one of CEO Tim Cook’s crown jewels: Apple’s App Store.

In the charges announced on Friday, Danish politicians accused the iPhone maker of abusing the dominant position to pervert competition in the music streaming market, giving the head of the complaint a win over Spotify in the case. In sweden

The lawsuit marks a return to center stage for Vestager, who suffered a setback in EU courts in her flagship case against Big Tech, including Apple.

But it was poised to revive the tense dynamics between European enforcers and prison, which made public prominence in 201

6 when she announced her decision against Apple in the tax case.

“It was ironic, it was disappointing. Obviously this came from a political place, it had no basis in truth or law,” Cook said at the time. When the group’s top court overturned a tax decision last year, Vestager’s office is appealing the ruling.)

This time, Cook avoided public commenting on the commission’s new case. But in the midst of a heated public relations war between Apple and other tech companies such as Facebook following the App Store changes, the latest costs are set to raise temperatures again.

Vestager’s new case targets a key source of Apple’s revenue, charging app developers to feature in the App Store, the second most profitable business after iPhone sales.

“Our initial finding is that Apple maintains users of iPhones and iPads through the App Store,” Vestager said Friday at a press conference to release charges. Distort the competition “

Controversial practices include charging a high commission fee on individual App Store transactions and preventing competitors from informing customers of alternative subscription options.

Apple now has the opportunity to respond to the antitrust charges that could lead to negotiations to settle the case, or the Commission pushes for fines and orders to change its practices.

But Vestager wasn’t ready for just one case.

The commission last year released two more checks in Apple’s App Store, one on e-books and audiobooks, the other on apps competing in games and separate iCloud open an investigation into Apple. Pay

“This is not the last case we have when it comes to the App Store,” Vestager told reporters on Friday.

As for Apple, the claim made by Spotify is one of the most successful streaming platforms in Europe, if not only. But being harmed by the App Store policy doesn’t depend on the service’s popularity.

“At the heart of this case is the demand for Spotify that they should be able to advertise alternative offerings on their iOS app, a practice that no other store in the world allows,” an Apple spokesperson said.

Again, they want all the benefits of the App Store, but don’t think they have to pay for that.The commission’s arguments on behalf of Spotify are in stark contrast to fair competition.

Cook avoided comment. For now.

Simon Van Dorpe contributed reporting.

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