Apple faces anti-trust investigation in the Netherlands

Apple is facing an anti-trust investigation in the Netherlands over allegedly “giving preferential treatment to its own apps”.

As reported by Bloomberg yesterday (April 11), the Netherlands’ Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) “will investigate whether Apple abuses the position it has attained with its App Store”.

The investigation in the Netherlands comes a month after Spotify filed an anti-trust complaint against Apple with the European Commission.

Spotify’s complaint was regarding Apple’s controversial ‘app tax’ –  the 30% commission the company currently charges any third-party app developer on all sales made through the App Store – including music streaming subscriptions.

According to the ACM, it took the decision to launch an investigation following complaints made by app providers during a market study into app stores published yesterday (April 11).

While the investigation will focus on Apple initially, the ACM has also called on app developers to come forward “if they experience similar problems with Google’s Play Store”.

“In the market study, ACM has received indications from app providers, which seem to indicate that Apple abuses its position in the App Store.”

Henk Don, ACM

Said the ACM in a statement: “Apps have increasingly become important parts of our daily lives. Businesses that provide apps depend on the app stores of Apple and Google for offering their apps to users.

“Given the significant importance of these app stores to app providers, ACM expects Apple and Google to exhibit fair and transparent behavior.

“ACM will investigate, among other aspects, whether Apple acted in violation of the prohibition of abuse of dominance, for example, by giving preferential treatment to its own apps.

“At first, the investigation will focus on Apple because, at the moment, the most detailed reports have been received about Apple’s App Store. ACM believes that these reports may indicate conduct that is at odds with competition law.

“Given the significant importance of these app stores to app providers, ACM expects Apple and Google to exhibit fair and transparent behavior.”

Authority for Consumers & Markets

Henk Don, Member of the Board of ACM, said: ‘To a large degree, app providers depend on Apple and Google for offering apps to users.

“In the market study, ACM has received indications from app providers, which seem to indicate that Apple abuses its position in the App Store.

“That is why ACM sees sufficient reason for launching a follow-up investigation, on the basis of competition law.’Music Business Worldwide

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