Last week, the European Commission announced, in response to a complaint filed by Spotify, that it would be opening an investigation into Apple’s App Store practices, which potentially constitutes an illegal breach of EU competition laws.
Following years of advertising itself as a company that puts users first, Apple has increasingly aligned itself with oppressive governments and curtailed digital freedom. There was a time when Apple portrayed itself as a rebellious alternative to giants like Microsoft. Today, Apple has become a monopoly, crushing potential competitors with exploitative fees and conducting censorship on behalf of dictators.
American tech giants have long engaged in abusive behavior which is designed to stifle dissent and competition, and perpetuate their market dominance. The recent and ongoing antitrust investigations against Apple in the United States and Europe help to validate this.
Apple has created a dangerous new normal allowing it to abuse its monopoly power through punitive fees and censorship that stifles technological progress and creative freedom. Apple’s iOS controls 25% of the global smartphone market. and approximately 50% of the US market. This gives Apple enormous influence over the way software is created and consumed around the world. The most harmful expression of this power is Apple’s exorbitant 30% tax on developers, which is now the subject of antitrust investigations in both the United States and the European Union.
Apple attempts to justify these fees by arguing that the App Store is no different from a mall, where companies seeking to offer their products must pay rent to the owner of the mall (in this case, Apple). What is illegal, is exploiting the fact that it owns the only mall to charge excessively high pricing which harms competitors. This is virtually indistinguishable from a protection racket!
After the European Commission launched its investigation on June 16, Apple released a statement saying “the European Commission is advancing baseless complaints from a handful of companies who simply want a free ride.”
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