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  • Updated: March 04, 2024

EU fines Apple €1.8B for unfair music competition

EU fines Apple €1.8B for unfair music competition

In response to a complaint from Spotify, the European Commission fined Apple 1.8 billion euros (two billion US dollars) for unfair competition practices regarding its music streaming service, Apple Music.

EU Competition Commissioner Margarethe Vestager stated that consumers of Apple devices "were not able to make a free choice as to where, how, and at what prices to buy music streaming subscriptions," during a press conference.

The fine is related to Apple's policy of withholding thirty percent of sales from businesses using apps that run on the company's iOS mobile operating system, which powers iPhones and iPads.

Companies that wished to avoid the fee and hence offer lower rates had to conduct sales outside of the app.

However, Apple prohibited them from using the iOS app to notify users about rates or to give a link to a sign-up page, the commission stated.

“For example, Spotify sells subscriptions through its website, but not through the Spotify app for devices running Apple’s iOS operating system.

“Users can sign up to Apple’s own music streaming service, Apple Music, through the “Music” app that comes with iOS.

“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.

“This is illegal under EU antitrust rules.”

“From now on Apple would have to allow music streaming developers to communicate freely with their own users,” including within iOS apps,” the EU competition chief said. 

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