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Apple Slapped With Nearly $2 Billion Fine After Spotify Complaint

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The European Union on Monday hit Apple with a fine of almost $2 billion in the bloc’s first antitrust penalty, saying the tech giant broke European competition rules by unfairly favoring its own music streaming service.

Announcing the decision, the European Commission said Apple had imposed restrictions on app developers which stopped them from informing users where they could find cheaper music subscriptions. Apple—which has vowed to appeal the decision—was also ordered to remove the restrictions.

“For a decade, Apple abused its dominant position in the market for the distribution of music streaming apps through the App Store,” Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition commissioner, said in a statement. “They did so by restricting developers from informing consumers about alternative, cheaper music services available outside of the Apple ecosystem. This is illegal under EU antitrust rules.”

The massive fine comes after an investigation prompted by an antitrust complaint from Spotify. Daniel Ek, the Swedish streaming platform’s founder, alleged in a 2019 blog post announcing the filing that Apple’s App Store rules “purposely limit choice and stifle innovation” and that Apple acted “as both a player and referee to deliberately disadvantage other app developers.”

Spotify welcomed the ruling in a new blog post Monday, calling the decision an “important moment in the fight for a more open internet for consumers.” “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,” Spotify said.

For its own part, Apple criticized the ruling and lashed out at Spotify as “the biggest beneficiary” of the decision. “Spotify has a 56 percent share of Europe’s music streaming market—more than double their closest competitor’s—and pays Apple nothing for the services that have helped make them one of the most recognizable brands in the world,” Apple said in a statement. “A large part of their success is due to the App Store, along with all the tools and technology that Spotify uses to build, update, and share their app with Apple users around the world.”

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Apple further claimed that Spotify “wants to rewrite the rules of the App Store” in a way “that advantages them even more.”

Source: The Daily Beast

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