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Parliamentary questions
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8 April 2020
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 138
Carmen Avram
 Answer in writing 
 Subject: Market power issues related to dominant platforms and their app stores

Large online platforms have been accused of excluding smaller rivals or of taking advantage of their dependence on them, harming both business users and consumers. The recent Spotify complaint against Apple (1) and the inquiry by the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (2) focus on the way Apple treats providers on its App Store, which is considered a closed market. Apple’s practices lead to higher prices and less choice for consumers, and are under particular scrutiny, as is its rigid pricing policy. These practices are not limited to Apple, as shown by the recent decision of Epic Games not to feature its Fortnite on Google Play (3) .

In its communication entitled ‘Shaping Europe’s Digital Future’, the Commission announced it would explore ex ante rules to ensure that ‘large platforms with network effects acting as gatekeepers’ behave fairly towards their users. Furthermore, Parliament recently adopted its Annual Competition Report, calling for the review of the notion of ‘abuse of dominance’.

As part of the upcoming Digital Services Act, does the Commission intend to prohibit exploitative conditions imposed by dominant platforms, such as the obligations imposed by Apple to use its in-app payment system, its 30 % fee, and unjustified restrictions on the ability of app providers to run special offers?

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