Spotify says Apple must make specific changes to its app store to achieve Digital Markets Act compliance in the European Union.
The European Commission held a stakeholder workshop today, seeking input on “app store-related provisions” as European Union officials work on implementing the Digital Markets Act (DMA) that formally went into effect late last year. Spotify attended the workshop as a panelist and shared three changes it feels Apple must make to its app store to be DMA-compliant.
Gene Burrus, Spotify’s Director of Global Competition Policy, spoke on the European Commission’s panel about “Giving choice to app developers: how to implement the rules relating to in-app payment systems, steering, and consumption-only apps?”
Burrus called out two fundamental changes that Spotify believes the DMA must force Apple into compliance concerning those issues: allow an alternative option for in-app purchases on iOS and allow developers and companies to communicate directly with consumers. These two changes would solve the problems Spotify has raised in the past with the 30% “Apple tax” and what Spotify calls “Apple’s suppression.”
Additionally, Spotify called out that it would like the European Commission to take action with the DMA to “prevent Apple from favoring its own Services.” This issue is trickier to address than the previous two, requiring the DMA to regulate Apple’s operation of its own App Store, including changes to approving app updates from third parties.
Still, the DMA may force Apple to open iOS to third-party app stores. A representative for Apple at the stakeholder workshop spoke on the topic of “Fostering contestability: Web-based apps, sideloading, and alternative app stores — compliance models.” Unsurprisingly, Apple’s stance remains unchanged: its closed App Store approach is the best for security and privacy.
Spotify and other companies voiced their contrasting belief that offering security and privacy is not exclusive to Apple and that encouraging competition benefits everyone. Apple has acknowledged that it will have a legal obligation to comply with the Digital Markets Act, and thus a project to allow alternative app stores on the iPhone and iPad has been in the works since late last year.