Spotify, Epic, Deezer, Qobuz, and More Come Out in Favor of Justice Department Action Against Apple, Double Down on Legislation Push

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Spotify, Epic Games, Deezer, Qobuz, and the other members of the Coalition for App Fairness have come out in support of the Justice Department’s action against Apple.

The four-year-old Coalition for App Fairness, technically created by Epic but long supported by Spotify, just recently voiced its approval of the DOJ lawsuit against Apple. Of course, the Fortnite developer Epic previously engaged in a much-publicized courtroom confrontation with Apple over its App Store policies, which Spotify and CEO Daniel Ek have for some time criticized.

Moreover, Spotify’s pushback against said policies – and particularly the 30 percent “tax” at hand – includes a 2019 EU complaint that produced a $1.95 billion fine against the iPhone developer earlier in March of 2024. Nevertheless, the music streaming giant’s efforts to drive stateside regulatory action against Apple have thus far failed to bring about the desired result.

And it’s against this backdrop – and an ongoing dispute as to Apple’s compliance with the EU’s Digital Markets Act – that the Coalition for App Fairness has opted to applaud the Justice Department’s complaint.

The Justice Department “is taking a strong stand against Apple’s stranglehold over the mobile app ecosystem, which stifles competition and hurts American consumers and developers alike,” Coalition for App Fairness executive director Rick VanMeter relayed in a statement.

“The DOJ complaint details Apple’s long history of illegal conduct – abusing their App Store guidelines and developer agreements to increase prices, extract exorbitant fees, degrade user experiences, and choke off competition,” VanMeter proceeded in part.

“As this case unfolds in the coming years more must be done now to end the anticompetitive practices of all mobile app gatekeepers. It remains imperative that Congress pass bipartisan legislation, like the Open App Markets Act, to create a free and open mobile app marketplace,” he concluded.

Notwithstanding this easily explainable focus on Apple’s App Store, the DOJ’s 88-page complaint concerns several areas of the Cupertino-based company’s operations. “This case is about freeing smartphone markets from Apple’s anticompetitive and exclusionary conduct and restoring competition to lower smartphone prices for consumers, reducing fees for developers, and preserving innovation for the future,” the multifaceted action reads in part.

In any event, it’ll be worth monitoring the suit, besides the more immediate fallout of the above-noted showdown between Apple and Spotify in the EU. Following the aforementioned $1.95 billion fine, Spotify claimed that Apple was blocking its App Store updates; it doesn’t appear that Apple has publicly refuted the allegation, but the Apple Music developer touched on the topic and many others in a public message one month ago.