Updated March 4th, 2024 at 20:14 IST

Apple hit with $1.8 billion for violating EU’s antitrust laws on music streaming

The 1.8 billion euro fine follows a complaint from Swedish streaming service Spotify five years ago, triggering a long-running investigation by the EU.

Reported by: Business Desk
Apple office | Image:Unsplash
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EU’s antitrust action: The European Union has imposed its first antitrust penalty against Apple, fining the tech giant nearly $2 billion for violating the bloc's competition laws. The European Commission, the EU's executive arm, accused Apple of unfairly favouring its own music streaming service over rivals by prohibiting app developers from fully informing iOS users about alternative and cheaper music subscription services outside of the app.

Margrethe Vestager, the EU's competition commissioner, described Apple's behaviour as illegal and noted its impact on millions of European consumers. The commission stated that Apple's actions, spanning almost a decade, resulted in significantly higher prices for music streaming subscriptions.

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The 1.8 billion euro fine follows a complaint from Swedish streaming service Spotify five years ago, triggering a long-running investigation by the EU. This move reflects the EU's efforts to regulate Big Tech companies, including Google and Meta, to ensure fair competition in digital markets.

Apple intends to appeal the penalty, criticising the commission's failure to uncover credible evidence of consumer harm and underlining the competitiveness of the market. The company also highlighted Spotify's dominant position in the European music streaming market.

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The commission's investigation initially focused on Apple's in-house payment system but later shifted to how the company restricts app makers from informing users about alternative subscription payment methods. The fine coincides with the implementation of the Digital Markets Act, aimed at preventing tech giants from monopolising digital markets.

Apple has already outlined its compliance measures, including allowing iPhone users in Europe to access alternative app stores and enabling developers to offer alternative payment systems. Additionally, the commission has initiated a separate antitrust investigation into Apple's mobile payments service, prompting the company to promise to open up its tap-and-go mobile payment system to rivals.

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(With PTI inputs)

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Published March 4th, 2024 at 18:38 IST