The EU fined Apple 2 billion dollars: the European Commission confirmed the fine

The commission said "Apple prohibits developers of music streaming apps from fully informing iOS users of alternative and less expensive music subscriptions available outside of the app"

by Sededin Dedovic
The EU fined Apple 2 billion dollars: the European Commission confirmed the fine
© Carl Court / Getty Images

The European Commission recently took a significant step in antitrust enforcement by imposing a hefty €1.8 billion fine on tech giant Apple. This is the first time the EU has directly targeted Apple and is the third largest fine ever imposed by the Commission.

The fine stems from Apple's alleged anti-competitive practices regarding alternative music streaming apps on the App Store, revealing a long-running investigation launched back in 2020. The landmark decision follows a lawsuit filed by Spotify, a major player in the music streaming industry, which accused Apple of using tactics to stifle competition, particularly with its own platforms, iTunes and Apple Music.

The Commission's decision echoes Spotify's concerns, arguing that Apple unfairly restricted music streaming app developers from informing iOS users of alternative, potentially cheaper subscription options available outside the App Store ecosystem.

This anti-competitive behavior, called "anti-diverting", violates strict EU antitrust laws aimed at encouraging fair competition and consumer choice. Central to the Commission's findings is Apple's systematic prevention of app developers from disclosing subscription prices or price differences between in-app and off-platform purchases.

In addition, Apple has restricted developers from providing links or information directing users to alternative subscription channels through their websites or email. This practice, which has been going on for nearly a decade, has effectively forced iOS users to pay inflated prices for music streaming services, creating a suboptimal user experience and violating consumer rights.

Apple's response to the Commission's decision was to appeal the decision, signaling a protracted legal battle ahead. However, the consequences of the Commission's decision extend beyond Apple's immediate actions. The massive fine handed down against Apple, significantly higher than the initial speculation of a fine of 500 million euros, is intended not only to punish past misconduct, but also to serve as a deterrent to future anti-competitive behavior.

By imposing significant financial consequences, the Commission aims to protect fair competition in the digital market and prevent similar infringements by Apple or other industry players. The Commission's decisive action underscores the increasing scrutiny tech giants face over their market dominance and treatment of third parties, developers and consumers.

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