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EU Fines Apple $2 Billion for Unfairly Favoring Its Own Music Streaming Service


The European Union has imposed a massive $2 billion fine on Apple, concluding a long-running investigation into allegations of unfair practices against the tech giant. The European Commission found that Apple favored its own music streaming service, Apple Music, over competitors like Spotify.

The investigation revealed that Apple had banned app developers from fully informing iOS users about alternative and cheaper music subscription services outside of the app. According to the European Commission, this behavior violated EU antitrust rules, and Apple continued these practices for almost a decade. As a result, many users paid significantly higher prices for music streaming subscriptions.

This fine stems from a complaint filed by Spotify five years ago, triggering the extensive investigation. In response to the fine, Apple released a statement challenging the commission’s decision, claiming a lack of credible evidence of consumer harm and emphasizing the thriving, competitive nature of the market. Apple intends to appeal the ruling.

The European Commission accused Apple of abusing its position, and Margrethe Vestager, the commission’s executive vice president, stated that Apple must allow music streaming developers to communicate freely with their users. The fine reflects both Apple’s financial power and the harm inflicted on millions of European users, according to Vestager.

This development coincides with the upcoming implementation of the Digital Markets Act (DMA), a set of rules aimed at preventing tech companies from dominating digital markets. The DMA imposes regulations on gatekeeper companies, including Apple, Meta, Google’s parent Alphabet, and TikTok’s parent ByteDance. Apple has already outlined its compliance measures, including allowing iPhone users in Europe to use alternative app stores and enabling developers to offer alternative payment systems.

The European Commission has initiated a separate antitrust investigation into Apple’s mobile payments service, and the company has committed to opening up its tap-and-go mobile payment system to rivals to address this matter.

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