Apple may face €500m penalty from EU for limiting music streaming options

Apple may face €500m penalty from EU for limiting music streaming options

The EU is preparing to impose a €500m fine on Apple for breaking the EU’s competition rules by restricting the choices of music streaming customers, according to a report by the Financial Times.
The EU’s investigation, which was launched after a complaint from Spotify in 2019, found that Apple abused its dominant position in the app store market by charging a 30% commission on all purchases and preventing music streamers from informing customers about cheaper alternatives outside the app store.

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The fine, which could be announced as early as next week, would be the first ever competition penalty imposed on Apple by the EU. It would also mark a significant victory for Spotify and other music streaming rivals, who have long accused Apple of using its app store to favour its own service, Apple Music.
The EU could also order Apple to stop the practice of blocking music services from advertising cheaper subscriptions outside the platform, which could have a major impact on Apple’s revenues from the app store.

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Apple has denied any wrongdoing and argued that its commission is justified by the security and quality of its app store, which provides access to hundreds of millions of customers. Apple also said that Spotify and other music streamers are free to distribute their apps on other platforms, such as Android or Windows.

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Apple has never faced a competition fine from the European Commission, although it received a €1.1bn fine from France in 2020 for anti-competitive agreements with two wholesalers. However, Apple and other big tech companies are under increasing scrutiny over competition concerns in the EU and elsewhere. Google is appealing against fines of more than €8bn levied by the EU in three separate competition investigations. Last month, Apple said it would allow EU customers to download apps without going through its own app store, in response to the bloc’s Digital Markets Act, which introduces new obligations for “gatekeepers” who control the choices of mobile phone users.

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