Apple polls in EU rush as epic trial unfolds in US
(Bloomberg) – The European Union is continuing its Apple Inc. investigations without being distracted by the tech giant’s anti-competitive behavior allegations taking place in a California courtroom, according to the bloc’s antitrust chief.
The Apple Pay investigation is “pretty advanced” and European regulators must “do our own thing” regardless of what happens in the US lawsuit against Epic Games Inc., Margrethe Vestager said in an interview with Bloomberg News.
Apple CEO Tim Cook is planned to testify as early as this week in the high-stakes lawsuit with Epic Games, which could shake up the multibillion-dollar market for apps that run on mobile phones around the world
“We are monitoring this very closely,” due to the Epic complaint filed in the EU in February and the bloc’s digital rules that could require phones to authorize a rival app store, which Apple does not allow, a she declared.
European Commission builds second antitrust investigation into Apple Pay, after last month climbing an investigation into how Apple is forcing app developers to use its in-app purchasing system.
“We will have to do our own thing regardless of the outcome of the US case,” she said, highlighting the differences between the EU and US antitrust laws and markets.
Apple Pay is the only mobile payment solution that can use the iPhone’s “tap and go” near-field communication functionality to make contactless payments. British and Dutch competition authorities are also reviewing Apple Pay.
“The case in itself is something that we are pushing forward,” Vestager said. “I think it’s quite advanced.”
As the EU weighs potential rules on how phones should allow access to competing payment providers, she sees the need for more urgent action by antitrust authorities.
“Legislation also takes a long time and a lot can happen in the market in the meantime if we don’t investigate,” she said.
Epic is one of several developers who have accused the iPhone maker of locking down developers of its App Store with heavy contractual obligations. Apple has refuted the claims saying its iPhone payment system protects customers.
Regulatory concerns for the Cupertino, Calif.-Based company have intensified in recent months, as software companies lined up to criticize the royalties Apple and Alphabet Inc. charge outside developers for using the software. their digital distribution platforms.
Apple declined to comment on Vestager’s remarks. The company said last month that developers “want all the benefits of the App Store, but don’t think they should pay anything for it.”
Apple already reacted last year by reduce by half the fees it charges most developers who sell software and services on the App Store.
It lowered fees from 30% to 15% for developers who generate up to $ 1 million in annual revenue from their apps and those new to the store. Apple says many apps pay no fees in return for the company’s efforts to host and maintain store security.
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