The European Commission on 28 February announced that it is narrowing down the scope of its 4-year-old probe on the App Store to focus on the anti-steering obligation imposed by Apple. The Commission launched an antitrust investigation into the App Store in June 2020 following a complaint by Spotify filed in 2019. In April 2021, the Commission sent a Statement of Objections to Apple in which it conveyed its preliminary view that Apple abused its dominant position by: IAP obligation: imposing its own in-app purchase (IAP) system on music streaming app developers Anti-steering obligation: restricting app developers' ability to inform users about alternative payment methods The Commission yesterday stated that it is no longer looking into the legality of the IAP obligation, but rather focusing on the anti-steering obligation, which prevents developers from pointing users towards payment options at lower prices outside of the app. Why is this important: Apple severely limits the ability of developers to communicate alternate billing options and pricing information with users. Spotify, for example, to avoid paying any commission to Apple, doesn't let users subscribe to its service on the iOS app. But it also cannot inform users that they can subscribe on the web. The company basically works on an "if you know, you know" policy. Even though Apple changed its policy in March 2022 to allow certain apps (referred to as Reader apps) like Spotify to include an in-app link to their website for users to set up or manage an account, these apps still cannot convey…
EU’s App Store probe to focus on the anti-steering obligation imposed by Apple
Anti-steering obligation prevents developers from pointing users towards payment options at lower prices outside of the app.
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