Apple and Google are the two biggest companies in mobile, and some rivals think they’re abusing that power.
The chief executives of European tech firms including Spotify, Deezer, and the German startup factory Rocket Internet wrote to the EU complaining that big internet firms “can and do abuse their privileged position” when it comes to mobile. The Financial Times first reported the story on Friday.
They complained that Apple and Google don’t just act as “gateways” to apps via their app stores, but increasingly act as “gatekeepers.” Specifically, they complained that it was difficult to get hold of customer data about their own apps, and that Apple and Google promoted their own services over rival versions on their respective app stores.
The letter doesn’t actually name Apple or Google, but it’s clear who the signatories are referring to when they write about “major online platforms.”
Now they want extra rules that would govern how Apple and Google behave with companies who run apps on their app stores.
The letter was signed by 10 people including Spotify CEO Daniel Ek and cofounder Martin Lorentzon, Deezer CEO Hans-Holger Albrecht and founder Daniel Marhely, and Rocket Internet CEO Oliver Samwer.
Other companies on the letter included Apple News rival LeKiosk, mobile agency FaberNovel, music streaming service Qobuz, AI platform Snips, and German ISP United Internet. You can read the full letter below.
Apple and Google, according to IDC, account for almost 100% of the mobile operating system market.
And this isn’t the first time Spotify has rattled Apple’s cage.
Last month, the company wrote to Apple’s top lawyer complaining that the company had rejected its updated iOS app.
Apple rejected the update because Spotify wasn’t using Apple’s billing system to charge customers, according to Recode.
Apple charges a 30% levy to any app using its billing system, and doesn’t allow apps to use an alternate payment system. At the time, Spotify’s general counsel Horacio Gutierrez complained of a “troubling pattern” of “anticompetitive conduct” designed to promote Apple’s own streaming service Apple Music over Spotify.
Here’s the letter from European tech companies to the European Commission: