Tech

Apple is reportedly set to face an EU investigation over Spotify's competition complaint

Key Points
  • The EU competition authority has decided to launch an antitrust probe into Apple's conduct, the FT reports.
  • Spotify's complaint alleges Apple Music gives the U.S. tech giant an "unfair advantage" over rivals.
  • Apple has refuted the Sweden-based music streaming firm's complaint.
The Spotify application is seen on an iPhone in this photo illustration.
Jaap Arriens | NurPhoto | Getty Images

Apple will reportedly be hit with a formal investigation in the next few weeks over Spotify's antitrust complaint.

The EU competition authority has decided to launch an antitrust probe into Apple's conduct after considering the complaint and surveying customers, rivals and others in the market, the Financial Times reported, citing three unnamed sources.

Spotify filed a complaint with the European Commission's antitrust regulators earlier this year, alleging Apple Music gives the U.S. tech giant an "unfair advantage" over rivals.

The claim centers around Apple charging a 30% fee on developers for in-app subscription purchases made through the App Store. The firm says those fees make it nigh impossible to keep its prices competitive with Apple Music.

"If we pay this tax, it would force us to artificially inflate the price of our Premium membership well above the price of Apple Music," Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said in a blog post back in March. "And to keep our price competitive for our customers, that isn't something we can do."

Apple at the time refuted the Sweden-based music streaming firm's complaint, saying the vast majority of apps pay nothing to Apple, and that the 30% rate drops to 15% after the first year of an annual subscription.

The European Commission did not comment on whether it had yet made a decision, but a spokesperson told CNBC: "The Commission has received a complaint by Spotify, which we are assessing under our standard procedures."

Apple and Spotify were not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC.

You can read the full FT report on Apple's EU antitrust probe here.