European Union has fined Apple nearly $2 billion for hindering competition in music streaming

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European Union has fined Apple nearly $2 billion for hindering competition in music streaming

European Union has fined Apple nearly $2 billion for hindering competition in music streaming

The European Union imposed its first antitrust fine against Apple on Monday, banning the U.S. tech giant from rivals like Spotify for unfairly favoring its own music streaming service, forcing consumers to fine nearly $2 billion. To tolerate cheaper subscriptions than to tell them how. Play outside. From iPhone applications.

Apple has banned streaming services by not informing users of payment options through its websites, preventing people from paying a 30% fee when paying for apps downloaded from the iOS App Store. The National Bloc is the highest anti-monopoly institution.

EU Competition Commissioner Margaret Vestager said: "This is illegal. It affects millions of European consumers who cannot freely choose where, how, and at what price they subscribe to music streaming." During a press conference in Brussels.

He added that Apple - which is appealing the decision - has been doing this for a decade, resulting in "millions of people paying two or three euros a month more than they should for their music streaming service ".

It's the culmination of years of fierce competition between Apple and Spotify for music streaming supremacy. A complaint filed five years ago by the Swedish Broadcasting Service sparked an investigation that resulted in a fine of 1.8 billion euros ($1.95 billion).

The decision comes the same week as new rules are being introduced to prevent tech giants from controlling digital markets.

The European Union has led a global effort to crack down on tech giants, including imposing three fines worth more than €8 billion on Google for disrupting the online advertising market on Meta and Amazon because of its business practices, which it accuses of forcing change.

The commission said Apple's fine was excessive because it included an additional amount to deter Apple from repeating violations or other technology companies from committing similar violations.

And that's not the only punishment the tech giant faces, as Apple continues to settle an EU antitrust investigation into its mobile payment service by promising to open its mobile payment system to its competitors.

Apple responded to the committee and Spotify said it would appeal the fine imposed on Monday.

“This decision comes despite the Commission's failure to provide any credible evidence of consumer harm and ignores the reality of a thriving, competitive, and rapidly growing market,” the company said in a statement.

He said Spotify could benefit from the EU decision, saying the Swedish broadcaster, which spoke to the commission more than 65 times during the investigation, has a 56% share of the European music market. music streaming and gives it to Apple for use. don't pay for Its app store. 

Ironically, today's decision, made in the name of competition, only strengthens the dominant position of a successful European company at the forefront of the digital music market, Apple said.

Without commenting on Apple's allegations, Spotify said it welcomed the fine imposed by the European Union.

“This decision sends a strong message that no company, not even a monopoly like Apple, can abuse its power to control how other companies treat their customers,” Spotify said in a statement.

The commission's investigation initially focused on two areas of concern. One such move was the iPhone maker's decision to force app developers that sell digital content to use its internal payment system, which charges a 30% commission on all subscriptions.

But the EU then focused on how Apple could prevent app makers from offering their customers cheaper ways to get subscriptions that don't require an app.

The investigation found that Apple blocks streaming services from telling users how much subscriptions exceed the price of their apps, placing links in their apps to pay for alternative subscriptions, or even sending e-mails. emails to customers regarding different pricing options.

“As a result, millions of European music streaming customers were unaware of all the options available,” Vestager said, adding that the commission's research showed that only 20 percent of customers using the company's premium service, Spotify, were subscribers. ? No, I do it because of the limitations.

The fine comes ahead of new EU rules aimed at preventing tech companies from taking over digital markets.

The Digital Markets Act, which takes effect Thursday, imposes a series of do's and don'ts on "backup" companies, including Apple, Meta, Alphabet, parent of Google, and ByteDance, parent of TikTok.

The goal of the DMA's decisions is to prevent tech giants from engaging in the type of behavior that is the subject of the Apple investigation. Apple has already revealed how it works, including allowing iPhone users in Europe to use app stores other than its own and allowing developers to offer alternative payment systems.

Vestager warned that the committee would closely monitor how Apple complies with the new rules.


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