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  • Updated: March 04, 2024

Apple-Spotify showdown: Apple to appeal €1.84 billion EU fine for music antitrust

Apple-Spotify showdown: Apple to appeal €1.84 billion EU f

Apple has announced that it intends to appeal the alleged historic €1.84 billion fine imposed by the European Commission today for anticompetitive actions in the streaming music sector. 

In a press post, Apple singled out Spotify as the "primary advocate" and "biggest beneficiary" of the EC's decision, citing the streamer's 56% share of the European streaming music market.

The Cupertino-based tech behemoth had already expressed its concerns about Spotify in the days preceding the EC's decision, claiming that Spotify's lawsuit was about "trying to get limitless access to all of Apple's tools without paying."

Additionally, Apple had previously disclosed a number of private information regarding Spotify's operations on its platforms. These included the fact that the streamer used "thousands of Apple's APIs across 60 frameworks," tested its apps on Apple's Testflight platform, submitted over 420 versions of its app for approval, and had had its app downloaded, redownloaded, or updated over 119 billion times across Apple devices.

Apple cites the size of Spotify's customer base and the European digital music market in general when responding to the EC penalties today. As of last year, there were approximately 160 million Spotify users, up from 25 million in 2015.

Apple emphasised once more that Spotify solely sells its memberships on Apple's website, meaning that Spotify pays Apple no App Store commissions. 

This addresses the core of Spotify's grievance, which is that it wants to use its iOS app to inform users about those subscriptions as well as other sales and discounts. 

For many years, Apple's anti-steering policies mainly prohibited this, but in 2022, the company made an exemption for "reader apps," such as streamers, which permit apps to direct users to a website. Rather than just amending its policies to explicitly permit links, Apple is still in charge of determining who can apply this exception and manage the issue.

Apple claims that Spotify did not take advantage of the exception for reader apps and instead "wants to bend the rules in their favour by embedding subscription prices in their app, without using the App Store's In-App Purchase system," according to the announcement.

"They want to distribute on the App Store, use Apple's tools and technologies, and profit from the user trust we've built—and they want to do it without paying Apple anything," the company claims. "Spotify, in short, wants more."

Despite its respect for the European Commission, Apple claims that the decision is not supported by the facts and that it will appeal.

“Every day, teams at Apple work to keep that dream alive,” Apple wrote. 

“We do it by making the App Store the safest and best experience for our users. 

"We do it by giving developers the means to make incredible apps. 

"Most of all, we do it because apps have an incredible capacity to drive innovations that empower people and enrich their lives.”

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