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Parliamentary questions
PDF 41kWORD 19k
26 September 2019
E-002996-19
Question for written answer E-002996-19
to the Commission
Rule 138
Carmen Avram (S&D)

 Subject:  Official complaint by Spotify against Apple for discrimination and Apple Music's unfair advantage over Spotify: the power of digital platforms
 Answer in writing 

The behaviour of powerful digital platforms is jeopardising competition law. They often act as bottlenecks for third-party services and favour their own services, preventing consumers from enjoying the fruits of unfettered competition and innovation.

The Commission has received a series of complaints that big digital platforms prevent their competitors from offering consumers their best deals and from directly communicating with their customers, and make it difficult for consumers to use rival services.

Spotify’s complaint against Apple is a good example(1)(2)(3). Apple charges Spotify a 30% fee to use the App Store(4) and limits how it can communicate with its users. Apple is the owner of the iOS platform and the App Store and is a direct competitor of Spotify(5).

EU consumers want to be able to use competing apps and services on iOS(6)(7). The EU needs to uphold its competition law and swiftly restore a level playing field in digital markets to protect European innovators and consumers. Any delay in addressing the anti-competitive behaviour of big platforms only prolongs the damage to consumers and start-ups.

1. What progress has the Commission made in its preliminary enquiries into the Spotify case?

2. When will an official investigation be launched and when will a decision be taken?

3. How will the Commission tackle harmful ‘self-preferencing’ practices and will it prevent platforms from imposing disproportionate restrictions on their competitors?

(1)https://www.timetoplayfair.com/timeline/
(2)https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-03-13/spotify-s-apple-music-complaint-was-a-near-decade-in-the-making
(3)https://www.ft.com/content/1cc16026-6da7-11e9-80c7-60ee53e6681d
(4)https://www.timetoplayfair.com/facts/
(5)https://www.timetoplayfair.com/the-case/
(6)https://gs.statcounter.com/os-market-share/mobile/europe
(7)https://deviceatlas.com/blog/android-v-ios-market-share

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