In the week that Spotify has launched an EU competition case against Apple for imposing unfair and discriminatory conditions on competing services in its app-store, European Publishers Council Chairman and CEO of de Persgroep, Christian Van Thillo, highlights that this same challenge is also faced by news publishers offering apps for media consumers.
Van Thillo said: “The dominance of the two main App-stores of Apple and Google is also harming news media providers. We share Spotify’s concerns as Apple dictates all terms and conditions for each app that passes via their store, they take ownership of the customer relationship, keep the valuable data, insist on using their own payment system and impose a levy of 30 per cent of the fees paid by the consumers. Furthermore, the Apple App Store prohibits news media companies from offering apps to their readers directly from their own websites – which is not only indefensible but further entrenches their abusive behaviour. This enforced shopping via the App-stores, under the unilateral conditions of Apple and Google, deeply affects how we want to offer our news to our subscribers via apps.
Van Thillo concluded: “Mobile news apps are crucial for news brands to be able to provide a digital news experience to consumers, and fair competition is essential. The European Publishers Council thus fully supports Spotify’s EU competition case which seems set to become a landmark-case in an issue that affects all European media players and consumers.”
Apple has taken the unusual step of replying via a public statement clarifying how the App store worked and the fees it charged. “Spotify wants all the benefits of a free app without being free,” it said.