European consumer group joins EU antitrust case against Apple

FILE PHOTO: The Apple Inc logo is shown outside the company's 2016 Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) lobby group on Wednesday backed the European Union’s antitrust case against Apple which alleges it distorts competition in the music streaming market.

The European Commission filed its first antitrust charges against Apple in April following an initial complaint by the iPhone maker’s rival Spotify.

Apple has rejected the EU charges, saying that its App Store enabled Spotify to become the world’s largest music subscription service. It has been given 12 weeks to respond to the charges.

BEUC said it has been allowed to join as an interested third party in the antitrust regulator’s case, which could lead to a hefty fine of as much as 10% of Apple’s global turnover and force a change to its business practices.

“We look forward to working with the Commission to ensure that Europe’s consumers have access to a full range of music streaming services without their choices being unfairly restricted or prices being artificially inflated,” BEUC Director General Monique Goyens said in a statement.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Alexander Smith)