EUROPEAN UNION LAW MAKING has been influenced by Spotify of all companies, following the streaming firm's call for regulators to tackle the way Apple treats it in the App Store.
Last year Spotify complained that Apple imposes "unfair contractual clauses" in the App Store whereby Cupertino takes a 30 per cent cut from in-app subscription purchases making services like Spotify, Deezer and other music apps less competitive in the face of Apple Music.
At the time of the complaint, the EU had plans to bring in new legislation toward the end of 2017 to tackle the issues, because the EU seemingly likes nothing more than getting its fingers stuck into tech company practices.
It's almost a year later, and Reuters reports that the EU has proposed new rules that will specifically target app stores, search engines, hotel booking websites, and e-commerce sites to force them to be more transparent in how they rank search results and delist some services. The idea is to facilitate an environment where there's a reduction in anti-competitive behaviour and company discrimination on popular platforms.
Furthermore, the new proposals, which need to be first approved by EU parliament and member states to become enshrined in law, will require online platforms to have mediators in place to deal with complaints and bear half the cost of them.
"We are taking a very important step with clear rules on transparency, efficient dispute settlement and the launch of an observatory to analyse online platforms' practices in greater detail," said Mariya Gabriel, EU Commissioner for the Digital Economy.
The proposed laws will likely have more of an effect on the likes of Google and Amazon than music companies, not that the two firms particularly agree with EU meddling.
Jakob Kucharczyk, vice president of competition & EU regulatory policy at the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA), which represents the likes of Google, Amazon and eBay, made these such sentiments clear.
"There is no evidence of a systemic problem that would justify regulation through the strongest legislative instrument available to the EU. 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," he said.
Conversely, Spotify and streaming pals reckon the proposed laws don't do enough, as Hans-Holger Albrecht, president of Digital Music Europe which represents companies such as Spotify, Deezer and Soundcloud, noted more needs to be done about addressing problems with platform providers hosting companies with rival services to theirs and potentially putting in anti-competitive measures.
"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," he said.
So while Spotify has made its influence felt at a political level, it looks like it could still end up butting heads with Apple despite still using the App Store. µ
Though it's not exactly an even playing field
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