EU Fines Apple $2 Billion USD After Spotify Complaint

Antitrust regulators hit Apple with its first-ever EU fine for impeding competition among music streaming apps.

Tech & Gadgets
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Apple has been hit by its first-ever EU fine; antitrust regulators have charged Apple €1.84 billion – about $2 billion USD – for impeding competition through the App Store, specifically for music streamers.

The fine comes nearly five years after Spotify initially filed its complaint against Apple, in which it deemed the tech giant was breaking competition laws by failing to inform consumers of additional ways to subscribe to streaming platforms (like Spotify) outside of the App Store for a cheaper price point.

Spotify also cited Apple’s 30% commission on transactions made via Apple’s in-app payment system as a major area of contention, deeming the fine unfair and excessive as Apple Music does not have to pay the same fee.

“For a decade, Apple abused its dominant position in the market for the distribution of music streaming apps through the App Store. They did so by restricting developers from informing consumers about alternative, cheaper music services available outside of the Apple ecosystem. This is illegal under EU antitrust rules, so today we have fined Apple over €1.8 billion,” said Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s executive vice president.

“This decision sends a powerful message — no company, not even a monopoly like Apple, can wield power abusively to control how other companies interact with their customers,” Spotify responded to the ruling.

“Apple’s rules muzzled Spotify and other music streaming services from sharing with our users directly in our app about various benefits — denying us the ability to communicate with them about how to upgrade and the price of subscriptions, promotions, discounts, or numerous other perks. Of course, Apple Music, a competitor to these apps, is not barred from the same behavior.”

Though Apple has made it clear it’ll be appealing the charges, stating that all apps housed in the App Store “compete on a level playing field.”

“While we respect the European Commission, the facts simply don’t support this decision,” Apple said in a statement.

Stay tuned to Hypebeast for more updates on the developing story.

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