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04th Mar 2024

Apple fined €1.8 billion by EU after Spotify complaint

Simon Kelly

Apple music fine

“Apple’s rules ended up harming consumers.”

Apple have been fined an eye-watering €1.8 billion euro by the EU, after it was said to have limited competition from music streaming services like Spotify.

Nearly four-times higher than expected, the fine is said to be a deterrent to any companies breaching their EU competition laws.

As a result of anti-competitive practices, European competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said that subscribers ended up paying more than they should have for the streaming service.

Apple fined €1.8 billion by EU after Spotify complaint

Vestager said: “I think it is important to see that if you are a company who is dominant and you do something illegal, it will be punished. We want to show our resolve that we will go into these cases.

“Apple’s rules ended up harming consumers. Critical information was withheld so that consumers could not effectively use or make informed choices.

“Some consumers may have paid more because they weren’t aware that they can pay less if they subscribed outside of the app.

A case was set up after Spotify made complaints against the music streamer and involved the fact that Apple’s App Store was the sole gateway for iPhone apps.

Spotify argued that Apple’s App Store stifles competition by charging a 30% fee on apps and in-app purchases.

“Apple’s conduct, which lasted for almost 10 years, may have led many iOS users to pay significantly higher prices for music streaming subscriptions,” the European Commission said in a statement.

As a result, Vestager said consumers may have paid two or three euros more a month due to the lack of open competition.

The fine, which represents 0.5% of Apple’s annual turnover, will not be paid for by customers, but rather the individual member states involved.

Reacting to the news, Spotify said: “This decision sends a powerful message – no company, not even a monopoly like Apple, can wield power abusively to control how other companies interact with their customers.

“It is a basic concept of free markets – customers should know what options they have, and customers, not Apple, should decide what to buy, and where, when and how.”

Apple said they intend to appeal the decision.

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