Daily Dash: Spotify 'Outraged' By Apple's New 27 Percent Commission On In-App Payments

January 23, 2024
Spotify has condemned the outcome of a major antitrust lawsuit against Apple, Crédit Agricole has taken a minority stake in Worldline, and the payments department of a US government agency has been hacked for $7.5m.

Spotify 'Outraged' By Apple's New 27 Percent Commission On In-App Payments

Music streaming app Spotify has described Apple’s latest in-app payments policies as an “outrageous” affront to competition and user choice.

Following a three-year antitrust lawsuit brought by Epic Games, Apple has agreed to allow developers to redirect users to external payment methods, but the technology giant will still take a 27 percent commission on these payments.

“Once again, Apple has demonstrated that they will stop at nothing to protect the profits they exact on the backs of developers and consumers under their app store monopoly,” Spotify said in a statement provided to FT.

“Their latest move in the US is outrageous and flies in the face of the court’s efforts to enable greater competition and user choice.”

Spotify added that the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) will “finally put an end” to Apple’s gouging of developers through high commissions.

“We strongly urge the European Commission to act swiftly and decisively to prevent Apple from implementing similar fees, which are prohibited under the DMA,” the company said.

Crédit Agricole Becomes Worldline Minority Shareholder 

French banking giant Crédit Agricole has acquired a 7 percent stake in the global payment services company Worldline.

Crédit Agricole was already a commercial partner of Worldline, after the two companies entered into a long-term strategic partnership in merchant services last year.  

It is hoped that the partnership will enable the creation of a joint venture with the ambition of becoming a major player in France’s payments market.

The partnership will leverage the technological performance and innovation of Worldline and the commercial strength and distribution networks of Crédit Agricole, the companies said.

US Government Agency Loses $7.5m To Payment System Hack

Hackers who gained access to the payment system of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) managed to drain the agency of about $7.5m in a series of cyberattacks.

The attacks took place between March and November last year and targeted HHS Payment Management Services — the system that processes payments to grant recipients.

The attackers used “spear-phishing” emails to gain access to funds that were supposed to be sent to five grantee accounts.

Spear-phishing is when a hacker poses as a trusted sender to induce members of an organisation to reveal confidential information.

In an email statement provided to Bloomberg, an HHS spokesperson said: "This matter has been referred to the Office of Inspector General (OIG). As federal stewards of the taxpayer dollar, we take this issue with the utmost importance."

EU Launches New Sanctions Framework Targeting Hamas 

The Council of the European Union has established a framework that will allow the bloc to penalise any individual or entity who supports, facilitates or enables violent actions by Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).

Under the new regime, the EU may target those who support, materially or financially, Hamas or the PIJ. It may also target those who participate in the planning, preparation or enabling of violent actions by Hamas or the PIJ. 

In addition to these rules, which will remain in place until January 19, 2025, the Council designated six individuals of different nationalities for providing financial support to Hamas.

Included are Sudan-based financier Abdelbasit Hamza Elhassan Mohamed Khair; owner of Shuman for Currency Exchange SARL Nabil Chouman; the former's son, Khaled Chouman; senior Hamas financier Rida Ali Khamis; senior Hamas operative Musa Dudin and Algeria-based financier Aiman Ahmad Al Duwaik.

Those designated under the sanctions regime are subject to an asset freeze, meaning that the provision of funds or economic resources — directly or indirectly — to them or for their benefit is prohibited.

Trustly Completes SlimPay Merger Following Regulatory Approval In France

Stockholm-based open banking provider Trustly has merged with France’s SlimPay following regulatory approvals from the French Prudential Supervision and Resolution Authority (ACPR).

The merger will bring together Trustly's open banking platform, which is currently used by international brands including eBay and Booking.com, with SlimPay’s recurring payments technology.

The acquisition follows the launch of Trustly Azura, a payments engine that enhances user experiences through personalisation and data optimisation.

The addition of SlimPay's capabilities is expected to further augment the network effect of Azura, providing an easier and more efficient payment process for an expanding customer base.

Through the merger, Trustly aims to deliver faster and more convenient payments to consumers, as Trustly's presence at checkout means no more manual detail entry.

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