Exclusive: Apple faces EU charges over Spotify complaint - sources

FILE PHOTO: An Apple logo hangs above the entrance to the Apple store on 5th Avenue in the Manhattan borough of New York City, July 21, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo/File Photo

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Apple could face an EU antitrust charge sheet in the coming weeks after a complaint by rival Spotify that it unfairly pushed its own music streaming service, two people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

The European Commission could send the statement of objections setting out suspected violations of the bloc’s antitrust rules to Apple before the summer, one of the people said.

The case is one of four opened by the EU competition enforcer against Apple in June last year. The EU charge sheet usually indicates whether a fine is merited and what companies have to do to halt anti-competitive practices.

The Commission declined to comment.

Apple referred to its March 2019 blog which said its App Store helped Spotify to benefit from hundreds of millions of app downloads to become Europe’s largest music streaming service.

Spotify in its 2019 complaint to the Commission said Apple unfairly restricts rivals to its own music steaming service Apple Music and also protested against the 30% fee levied on app developers to use Apple’s in-app purchase system (IAP).

In addition to the Spotify case, the Commission is also investigating Apple’s App Stores rules for all competing apps, for e-books and audio books as well as its terms and conditions for its mobile payment service Apple Pay.

The UK competition watchdog on Thursday opened an investigation into Apple’s practices while the Dutch agency is close to a decision on its own case.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee, editing by Susan Fenton and Elaine Hardcastle