EU to charge Apple with anti-competitive behaviour this week

Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition chief, will late this week publicly issue charges against Apple over concerns that the rules it sets for developers on its App store break EU law, according to several people with direct knowledge of the announcement.

The case started two years ago after music streaming app Spotify brought a complaint alleging that Apple took a hefty 30 per cent subscription fee in exchange for featuring it on its App Store, but refused to let users know of cheaper ways of accessing it outside the Apple ecosystem.

The case is among a number against Apple and is one of the most high profile antitrust cases in Europe against a US tech group. The people warned that the timing could still slip.

Brussels officially opened the probe in June when Vestager said that Apple seemed to have become a so-called gatekeeper “when it comes to the distribution of apps and content to users of Apple’s popular devices”. 

Apple, which has denied any allegations of anti-competitive behaviour, did not immediately reply to a request for comment. However, at the time of the complaint Apple said Spotify was using “its financial motivations in misleading rhetoric”.

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