Proposed EU rules could require Apple to explain App Store rankings, defend take from subs...

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The European Union on Thursday proposed a new set of laws governing platform holders like Apple, Amazon, and Google, intended to improve transparency and non-discrimination in relation to the smaller businesses that depend on them.

iOS 11 App Store


The rules could require Apple to provide more details on how it ranks items on the App Store, and why it removes some apps, according to Reuters. Businesses would also have the right to launch collective lawsuits if they feel transparency or non-discrimination rules have been violated. Companies like Apple would be obligated to appoint mediators to handle complaints, and take on at least half of related expenses.

The terms and conditions documents platforms publish would have to explain any preferential treatment given to first-party services over others. That might be particularly relevant in the case of Apple, which typically claims a 30 percent cut from in-app transactions but gets to keep all of the revenue from services like Apple Music.

Spotify has been particularly vocal about this discrepancy, complaining to the E.U. alongside several other companies that Apple Music has an inherent advantage over rival streaming services. Until recently Spotify was charging more for Premium subscriptions through the App Store to compensate for Apple's cut -- to avoid confusion and complaints, it eventually removed in-app upgrades entirely, prompting people to sign up elsewhere.

Digital Music Europe -- an organization representing firms like Spotify, Deezer, and Soundcloud -- is pushing for a stronger anti-discrimination focus by the E.U.

"In order to be effective, the regulation must also address the discriminatory practices that arise when a platform provider is also the direct competitor with those third parties," said DME president Hans-Holger Albrecht.

The CCIA, a group representing companies like Amazon and Google, insisted that platform holders are already on the right track and that it's in their interest to maintain good relationships with client businesses.

"There is no evidence of a systemic problem that would justify regulation through the strongest legislative instrument available to the E.U.," the CCIA's Jakob Kucharczyk argued. "A more flexible approach, rather than an outsized, one-size-fits-all Regulation, would be more conducive to the growth of Europe's digital economy."

The proposed laws must still be approved by the European Parliament and member states, so there's no certainty any of them will take effect.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 26
    Spotify whining again. Have subscribers sign up via your website and then you keep 100% of the subscription fee.

    Oh wait, then you wouldn't have nearly as many subscribers, since it's a PITA to leave an App, go to a website, create an account and enter your credentials/payment information. As opposed to the sheer ease-of-use that comes with signing up in-App.

    Edited: I'd like to see this go to court and for Spotify to have to reveal numbers showing how many people sign up via the App and via their website. Especially at the beginning. I expect Spotify owes a lot of their subscriber base to iOS users who signed up in-App. Now that they have their subscriber base, they want to change the rules.
    edited April 26 red oakronnSpamSandwichracerhomie3bshankjony0
  • Reply 2 of 26
    rob53rob53 Posts: 1,831member
    I wonder when the EU will start demanding a cut of Apple’s 30% operating fee. They continue to mettle in everyone’s business and have to line their pockets so why not. If they want to use the non discrimination card, then quit attacking US companies. 
    jason leavittmwhitedarelrexracerhomie3bshank
  • Reply 3 of 26
    nunzynunzy Posts: 162member
    Companies like Apple should be left alone. Their first thought is customer satisfaction. Let the consumer decide where they want to shop.
    edited April 26 jason leavittmwhitedarelrexbshankjony0
  • Reply 4 of 26
    croprcropr Posts: 751member
    rob53 said:
    I wonder when the EU will start demanding a cut of Apple’s 30% operating fee. They continue to mettle in everyone’s business and have to line their pockets so why not. If they want to use the non discrimination card, then quit attacking US companies. 
    I don't think the EU will do it, they never create or raise taxes. (it is the authority of the member states to do that). 

    If the EU would take any action, it will be probable forcing companies like Apple and Google  to have a separate legal entity to operate the App store. As such the Apple Music app would also require to give the 30% cut to that new legal entity.

    racerhomie3
  • Reply 5 of 26
    If they're worried about rankings in digital app stores, what about product placement and displays in brick and mortar stores? For example, grocery chains are free to put their own 1st party brand products in the best position on the shelves of the stores or have big displays showcasing their own 1st party products and not their competitors etc. It's not that I don't think it's a good idea to keep a regulatory eye on these things, but more that there seem to be existing standards in the non-digital world that allow some of that type of "discriminatory" treatment.
    racerhomie3
  • Reply 6 of 26
    rob53 said:
    I wonder when the EU will start demanding a cut of Apple’s 30% operating fee. They continue to mettle in everyone’s business and have to line their pockets so why not. If they want to use the non discrimination card, then quit attacking US companies. 
    EU countries charge VAT so by extension, they already do take a cut. And btw, it's not just US companies affected by these probes, some of the biggest fines have been levelled against European companies
  • Reply 7 of 26
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,058member
    Bloody EU slimes.
    racerhomie3bshankmonstrosity
  • Reply 8 of 26
    NotsofastNotsofast Posts: 220member
    Glaring omission by the author in not pointing out that Apple reduced it's share to 15% for subscriptions that last 12 months or longer.  Most Spotify, etc., would fall under this.  
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 9 of 26
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 2,297moderator
    That might be particularly relevant in the case of Apple, which typically claims a 30 percent cut from in-app transactions but gets to keep all of the revenue from services like Apple Music.”

    Another way of saying this is that Apple Music remits 100% of it’s revenues to Apple, whereas Spotify remits only 30%, and only for subs signed up through the App Store/in-app purchases.  Seems Spotify has the better deal.

    2old4fundarelrexrandominternetperson
  • Reply 10 of 26
    Radarthekat: exactly right. Apple could pay itself the 30%, but that wouldn't mean anything. Apple, however, has to shoulder the burden of running the whole store, dealing with the credit card companies, etc. Its developers do not; that's why they pay 30% of their revenue to Apple. It's been over seven years since Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer publicly stated that Apple runs the App Store at "just a little over break even." What does the EU want, Apple to operate the App Store at a loss? And do they really think Apple will just go along with that?
    edited April 26 racerhomie3radarthekat
  • Reply 11 of 26
    IreneWIreneW Posts: 18member
    darelrex said:
    It's been over seven years since Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer publicly stated that Apple runs the App Store at "just a little over break even."
    Well, that's not the case anymore, is it?
  • Reply 12 of 26
    icoco3icoco3 Posts: 1,408member
    If they're worried about rankings in digital app stores, what about product placement and displays in brick and mortar stores? For example, grocery chains are free to put their own 1st party brand products in the best position on the shelves of the stores or have big displays showcasing their own 1st party products and not their competitors etc. It's not that I don't think it's a good idea to keep a regulatory eye on these things, but more that there seem to be existing standards in the non-digital world that allow some of that type of "discriminatory" treatment.
    The end caps at your local retailer costs extra to have your items displayed there.  No one claims discrimination there.
  • Reply 13 of 26
    The EU has gone insane. Tax small businesses insane taxes , then claim the App Store does discrimination. This is sick.
    edited April 26
  • Reply 14 of 26
    I bet Amazon doesn't charge itself a commission for selling Kindles and other Amazon gadgets either.  Is that unfair competition as well?
  • Reply 15 of 26
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 2,297moderator
    Hopefully the EU will also ask Alphabet to explain the rankings in Google searches.  Lol
    tallest skil
  • Reply 16 of 26
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,440member
    Hopefully the EU will also ask Alphabet to explain the rankings in Google searches.  Lol
    You don't remember that Google was fined by them just a few months back due to the rankings they gave their own properties? The EU said it put competitors at a disadvantage. Therefore it was anti-competitive. A few billion $'s apparently fixes it.

    And oh by the way, did you read the very first paragraph of this AI article? Yes these potential rules from the EU affects Google too. And Amazon
    edited April 26
  • Reply 17 of 26
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 42,953member
    gatorguy said:
    You don't remember that Google was fined by them just a few months back due to the rankings they gave their own properties?
    I rather think he means Google being caught artificially changing search results in favor of Hillary Clinton.
  • Reply 18 of 26
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,440member
    gatorguy said:
    You don't remember that Google was fined by them just a few months back due to the rankings they gave their own properties?
    I rather think he means Google being caught artificially changing search results in favor of Hillary Clinton.
    LOL... 
    I rather think he doesn't.  :)
    Politics are a big part of your life apparently. Personally I tired of attempts to manipulate me by both friends and foes quite a few years back. Friends can be the sneakier of the two, you expect it from an enemy. Coming from like-minded folks it takes longer to realize you're being fed crap rather than foie gras...
    edited April 26
  • Reply 19 of 26
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,058member
    gatorguy said:
    Hopefully the EU will also ask Alphabet to explain the rankings in Google searches.  Lol
    You don't remember that Google was fined by them just a few months back due to the rankings they gave their own properties? The EU said it put competitors at a disadvantage. Therefore it was anti-competitive. A few billion $'s apparently fixes it.

    And oh by the way, did you read the very first paragraph of this AI article? Yes these potential rules from the EU affects Google too. And Amazon
    Who knew? Extortion is easier and more profitable than running a business.
    tallest skil
  • Reply 20 of 26
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 42,953member
    gatorguy said:
    I rather think he doesn't.
    Then what else would he be talking about, since that case is already concluded? Come now. You can’t cover for them anymore.
    Politics are a big part of your life apparently.
    That they’re not of yours–and everyone else’s–is why we’re in this fucking mess.
    Friends can be the sneakier of the two, you expect it from an enemy.

    The first and fiercest punishment ought to fall first on the traitor, second on the enemy. If I had but one bullet and I were faced by both an enemy and a traitor, I would let the traitor have it. – Corneliu Zelea Codreanu

    bestkeptsecret
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