EU competition chief ignores Spotify's dominance and wants to punish Apple instead

The European Union suspects that big tech companies are shirking their responsibilities to society

Spotify doesn't pay 30% for all the clients it keeps, and not even close to most of them. This 30% applies to the first year of a continued subscription, and 15% is paid for subscribers who are retained for more than a year.

How many customers Spotify will have at each tier in April 2024 is unclear. However, in a 2019 regulatory filing, Apple said it received 15% of the 680,000 customers from its more than 100 million Premium subscribers worldwide.

Spotify itself has never disclosed this information. The company also continues to insist on this 30% commission in blog posts and lawsuits, and Vestager continues to repeat this.

“So it is very important for us to get Apple to comply with this requirement,” she continued, “and we view this as a very high priority.”

Vestager, executive vice-president of the European Commission for a Digitally Ready Europe, said the EU is concerned about all the big technology companies. “We have a suspicion that these companies are not living up to their commitments,” she said of Apple, Google, Meta and others.

“They play a very important role in digital markets,” she continued, “and if they close the market, then literally no other business will have a chance to reach their customers.”

Smartphone monopolies and artificial intelligence

CNBC asked Vestager if she thinks that Apple has a monopoly on smartphones. The Department of Justice and politicians pointlessly blamed him for this, despite the fact that the iPhone is only available to 51% of the US population.

Vestager emphasized that she is not involved in the US Department of Justice case. But she had a better answer than the latest proponent of breaking up Apple's defunct monopoly, Senator Elizabeth Warren.

I think what we're seeing is that there are indeed very different and very separate markets when it comes to smartphones, Vestager said, and that very expensive high-end phones are not among the numbers in the same market , which is also a very, you know, affordable and cheap phone.”

“So you have to be very careful when it comes to comparing phones,” she continued. “Because those who are looking for very expensive phones don't want to buy other phones.”

Vestager was also asked about AI and called it “an existential risk for all of us,” especially in an election year.

“We have put our European house in order and now we have an artificial intelligence law that will come into force within six, 18, 24 months,” she said. “But right here and now, you know, we're also asking AI vendors to be very careful.”

“This is a huge election year,” she continued. “We need service providers to have confidence that when AI enters this space, that artificial content can be recognized and deep fakes can be dealt with, because otherwise, well, then the integrity of our elections is at risk.” .”

In addition, in March 2024, the EU launched a series of massive investigations into violations of the Digital Markets Act against Apple, Google and Meta.

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