May 11, 2017:EC responds to Spotify / Deezer complaints on Apple / Google

Earlier this month, Spotify and Deezer signed a letter to the European Commission alleging that big internet platforms like Apple and Google “can and do abuse their privileged position” as the gatekeepers of app stores and search engines.

Now it seems the EC may have heard their pleas.

“The European Union’s executive is planning a possible law to deal with complaints about unfair trading practices by leading online players such as Apple and Google,” reported Reuters yesterday.

The process will get underway this year with plans to “address unfair contractual clauses and trading practices in relations between platforms and businesses”. The move has already been welcomed by independent music body IMPALA.

“There is a ‘power gap’ that distorts competition – it needs to be addressed and we hope the Commission’s upcoming proposals in this area will be up to the task,” said its head Helen Smith.

Tech association EDiMA, which includes Apple and Google in its membership, took the opposite view.

“Considering online platforms ‘key gatekeepers’ deviates greatly from the progressive thoughts put forward by the Commission in its platform communication in 2016,” said its statement.

Prepare for intense lobbying in the months ahead: as we reported yesterday, Spotify has just hired IFPI veteran Olivia Regnier as its legal director of EU regulatory affairs to bolster its Brussels clout.

Stuart Dredge
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