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Streamer Deezer cheers Apple antitrust fine but calls tech giant’s DMA response ‘deceptive’

Streaming music service Deezer is joining Spotify in cheering the European Union’s €1.84 billion fine imposed on Apple for breaking antitrust rules in the streaming music market. However, the company urges the EU Commission to assess Apple’s response to the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which it says is “deceptive” and “an attempt to bypass European regulations.”

In a statement issued today, Deezer CEO Jeronimo Folgueira only cautiously praised the incoming fine, noting, “It’s very positive to see that the EU is taking action against Apple and is showing readiness to firmly sanction anti-competitive practices.”

However, the streaming music exec also pushed the EU Commission to reexamine Apple’s DMA terms in light of this new fine to make it clear that what Apple has proposed is not enough to comply with the new regulation.

Apple’s new DMA rules, introduced in January, are a complicated means of providing a path forward for app developers to distribute apps from alternative app marketplaces. Along with the changes to Apple’s rules and commission structure, the company introduced new business terms for any developers who choose to step outside Apple’s own App Store. If developers opt into the DMA terms, they will have to pay a new “Core Technology Fee,” which charges them €0.50 for each first annual app install per year over a 1 million threshold. Instead of leveling the playing field for developers, as the DMA intended, this fee ensures Apple can still tap into the revenues of larger businesses that operate outside its App Store.

Deezer is among those developers who drafted an open letter to the EC last week, claiming Apple was making a “mockery” of the DMA. Other signers include Epic Games, 37signals, Proton, Spotify, and others, who collectively urged the EC to take “swift, timely, and decisive action against Apple,” to protect developers.

The streaming company reiterates its complaints in a company blog post, which was updated to comment on the new fine, saying that Apple’s DMA rules are an “attempt to circumvent the new regulation with an alternative to the current business term.” It points out that although Apple reduced its commission, it introduced a new fee — the Core Technology Fee — which is “excessive” and “makes it prohibitively expensive to scale any app business profitably.”

As a result, Deezer said it saw no benefit in switching to Apple’s DMA rules.

Few developers have publicly said they would switch to Apple’s new terms.

So far, we’ve only heard from MacPaw, the maker of a subscription service for apps, Setapp, which announced it was switching to Apple’s DMA terms last week. Today, Germany-based mobivention said it would also introduce an alternative app marketplace for B2B and B2C iOS apps. However, larger developers, like Apple critics Spotify and Epic Games, as well as tech companies like MetaMozilla, and Microsoft have criticized Apple’s new rules.

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