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Apple has been hit with a fine of nearly $2 billion by the European Commission over music-streaming restrictions

Jyoti Mann   

Apple has been hit with a fine of nearly $2 billion by the European Commission over music-streaming restrictions
  • The European Commission fined Apple 1.8 billion euros for abusing its market dominance.
  • Apple restricted app developers from informing users about other, cheaper music services, it found.


Apple has been hit with a fine of 1.8 billion euros, or about $1.95 billion, by the European Commission, part of the European Union.

The governmental body found the company was "abusing its dominant position on the market" in the way it distributed music-streaming platforms through its App Store, it said in a press release Monday.

"The Commission found that Apple applied restrictions on app developers preventing them from informing iOS users about alternative and cheaper music subscription services available outside of the app," it said.

The EU regulators said iOS users might have paid "significantly higher prices for music streaming subscriptions" as a result of Apple imposing the fees on developers, a practice that went on for nearly a decade.

This meant that users either had to find offers for cheaper subscriptions outside the app or that they didn't subscribe to any service because they couldn't find one on their own, the commission said.

It added that Apple's restrictions amounted to "unfair trading conditions" and were illegal under EU antitrust rules.

Apple said in a press release it would appeal the decision. It also hit out at Spotify, claiming it was the "biggest beneficiary" of the decision.

The tech giant also said the commission reached the decision despite a "failure to uncover any credible evidence of consumer harm, and ignores the realities of a market that is thriving, competitive, and growing fast."

Apple also accused Spotify of wanting "to bend the rules in their favor by embedding subscription prices in their app without using the App Store's In-App Purchase system."

Spotify on Monday welcomed the imposed fine and decision in a blog post. It said, "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."

It added that the EU was "putting consumers first" by requiring Apple to "stop its illegal conduct in the EU."

The commission started investigating Apple after Spotify lodged a complaint in 2019. The streaming firm claimed Apple's App Store rules "purposely limit choice and stifle innovation" by imposing a 30% commission on app developers.

Apple announced changes in the EU in a bid to comply with the Digital Markets Act, a law designed to increase competition and limit tech giants' dominance in the digital marketplace.

The iPhone maker said in its press release Monday that the commission's decision was "not grounded in existing competition law" and instead an "effort by the Commission to enforce" the Digital Markets Act ahead of it becoming law.

Spotify shares rose almost 1.9% in Paris following the announcement.

Spotify and Apple didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.




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