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EU Slams Apple with $2bn Fine for Breaking Competition Laws and Favoring its Own Streaming Service over Rivals

Apple

European Union hit Apple with a massive $2 billion fine after finding that the tech giant unfairly favored its own music streaming service over rivals such as Spotify.

The company banned app developers from ‘fully informing iOS users about alternative and cheaper music subscription services outside of the app,’ said the European Commission, the 27-nation bloc’s executive arm and top antitrust enforcer.

That is illegal under EU antitrust rules. Apple behaved this way for almost a decade, which meant many users paid ‘significantly higher prices for music streaming subscriptions,’ the commission said.

The fine follows a long-running investigation triggered by a complaint from Spotify five years ago.

In response to the fine, Apple released a statement alleging that the commission had failed to find ‘any credible evidence of consumer harm, and ignores the realities of a market that is thriving, competitive, and growing fast.’

‘While we respect the European Commission, the facts simply don’t support this decision,’ the statement continued. Apple has promised to appeal the ruling.

The statement goes on to remark that Spotify pays Apple ‘nothing for the services that have helped to make them one of the most recognizable brands in the world.’

‘We’re proud to play a key role supporting Spotify’s success — as we have for developers of all sizes,’ the statement remarked.

At a press conference Monday, Margrethe Vestager, the European Commission executive vice president, accused Apple of ‘abusing’ its position.

‘For a decade, Apple abused its dominant position in the market for the distribution of music streaming apps through the App Store. From now on, Apple will have to allow music streaming developers to communicate freely with their own users.’

‘[The fine] reflects both Apple’s financial power and the harm that Apple’s conduct inflicted on millions of European users,’ Vestager said.

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