The EU imposes a €1.8 billion fine on Apple for violating antitrust laws

The EU imposes a €1.8 billion fine on Apple for violating antitrust laws

Apple was found guilty of “anti-steering” practices, not allowing app developers to inform users about cheaper music services outside its App Store.

Photo credit: Laurenz Heymann on Unsplash

The European Commission has imposed a substantial antitrust fine of €1.8 billion on tech giant Apple for maintaining a dominant and abusive position in the music streaming market.

This significant decision signifies the end of an investigation that began in June 2020, revealing Apple’s engagement in “anti-steering” practices. These practices prohibited app developers from informing Apple users about alternative music subscription services outside of Apple’s App Store.

The commission pointed out that this prevented users from exploring more cost-effective platforms and accessing pricing information. As a result, Apple’s customers faced increased costs. The official statement emphasized that due to the high commission fee Apple charged developers, which was ultimately passed on to consumers, iOS users might have paid considerably more for music streaming subscriptions.

This penalty, the first of its kind for Apple by the European Union, is one of the largest ever levied against a tech company by the bloc. The investigation was prompted by a complaint from Spotify in 2019, accusing Apple of preventing users from learning about payment options outside the App Store.

Apple has announced its intention to appeal the decision and has criticized the ruling for lacking “any credible evidence of consumer harm.” The company defended its practices by insisting that all developers “compete on a level playing field on the App Store.

Apple also accused Spotify of attempting to manipulate the rules in its favor. According to Apple, Spotify sought to include subscription prices in their app without using the App Store’s In-App Purchase system, essentially wanting to take advantage of Apple’s platform without paying for it.

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