Three Antitrust Suits Seek to Pare Apple

by: The Knowledge Group

April 17, 2019


Antitrust suits are piling up against Apple. Three separate cases are underway:

  • Spotify filed an antitrust complaint with the European Commission, claiming Apple promotes its music service to the detriment of other services. Spotify also objects to the “Apple tax”—30% of the revenue for apps in their first year on the App Store, and 15% thereafter. Spotify has ratcheted up its price by 30%, forcing its subscribers to cover Apple’s take.
  • In Russia, the security group Kaspersky Lab filed an antimonopoly suit against Apple, claiming that Apple forced it to remove essential features from the Kapersky Safe Kids app. Apple then implemented very similar features in Apple’s own Screen Time app.
  • Now, Dutch regulators are examining Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store for anti-competitive business practices. The regulators make a point of observing that these corporations create platforms as well as apps that use them. The large companies are thus well positioned to collect and exploit app makers’ customer data.

This is hardly the beginning of challenges against Apple’s dominance in the app arena. The company paid out a $450 million settlement in an electronic books price-fixing case in 2016.

An Antitrust Analysis of Platforms in the Digital Economy

The digital economy has given rise to explosive growth in multi-sided platforms. Apple, as well as Google, Amazon and Facebook offer users single, seamless experiences—as they dominate the playing field. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Ohio v. American Express has furthered the appropriate legal analysis of anticompetitive conduct, while international challenges raise yet more issues.

Join The Knowledge Group for our lunchtime webcast offering an Antitrust Analysis of Multi-Sided Platform Businesses. This live webcast will take place on April 17 at noon to 1 p.m. ET, and provide 1 CLE credit.