April 13, 2024

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Apple Hit with Record €1.8 Billion Fine by European Commission for Music Streaming Restrictions

2 min read
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Apple Hit with Record-Breaking Fine by European Commission

In a groundbreaking move, the European Commission has imposed a staggering €1.8 billion fine on Apple for imposing restrictions on music streaming apps within its App Store. This hefty fine marks the EU’s first penalty directed at Apple and stands as the third-largest ever announced by the European Commission.

Antitrust Violations and Spotify’s Complaint

The European Commission initiated an investigation in 2020 following a formal complaint from Spotify, alleging that Apple had taken measures to stifle the music service due to competition with its own platforms, iTunes and Apple Music. The Commission found that Apple engaged in the practice of anti-steering, which violates EU antitrust laws, by prohibiting music streaming app developers from fully informing iOS users about alternative and cheaper music subscription services available outside of the App Store.

Prohibition of Information and Steering Practices

The investigation revealed that Apple prohibited app developers from providing any instructions or information about subscribing to alternative services outside the App Store. This included concealing the price differences between in-app and outside purchases, as well as preventing developers from including links to alternative subscription purchasing pages on their websites or in emails. These practices have been in place for nearly a decade and may have led to inflated prices for music streaming subscriptions for iOS users due to the fees imposed by Apple.

Implications and Response

In addition to the financial ramifications, the European Commission noted that Apple’s actions led to non-monetary harm by creating a more frustrating user experience for iOS users. The Commission underscored that the size of the fine was deemed “sufficiently deterrent” to dissuade Apple from repeating such actions in the future. However, Apple has stated its intention to appeal this decision.

Key Points:

– The European Commission has fined Apple €1.8 billion for antitrust violations related to music streaming app restrictions.
– Apple prohibited developers from informing users about alternative subscription services outside of the App Store, violating EU antitrust laws.
– The practices may have led to higher subscription prices for iOS users and were found to create a more frustrating user experience.
– Apple plans to appeal the decision, signaling the possibility of prolonged legal proceedings in the future.

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