EU fines Apple $2 billion for anti-competitive behavior towards Spotify

by Hartley Charlton

The European Commission today fined Apple €1.8 billion ($1.95 billion) for anti-competitive behavior towards rival music streaming services. In a response published on its website, Apple vehemently criticized the Commission's decision, as well as Spotify's behavior.

The fine follows a long-running EU investigation triggered by Spotify's complaint about Apple's handling of third-party music streaming services on the App Store. Now the Commission says Apple abused its dominant market position by preventing music streaming apps from telling users about lower subscription prices outside of the app.

The European Commission has fined Apple more than €1.8 billion for abusing its dominant market position to distribute music streaming apps to iPhone and iPad users (“iOS users”) through its App Store. Specifically, the Commission found that Apple imposed restrictions on app developers by preventing them from informing iOS users of alternative and lower-cost music subscription services available outside of the app (“anti-regulatory provisions”). This is illegal under EU antitrust rules.

In a lengthy public response, Apple noted that while Spotify has a dominant share (56 percent) of the European music streaming market and “much of their success comes from ​​‌App Store‌”, the company does not pay anything to Apple. because it refuses to sell subscriptions on its app. Apple has listed a large number of services that it provides to Spotify for free, such as distribution, APIs, platforms, TestFlight, app review, and personal engineering assistance. But being free isn't enough for Spotify, Apple says. “They also want to rewrite the rules of the ‌App Store‌ — in such a way as to get even more benefits.”

Instead, Spotify wants to bend the rules in its favor by building subscription pricing into its app without using the App Store's in-app purchase system. They want to use Apple's tools and technologies, distribute them to the App Store, and benefit from the trust we've built among users, without paying Apple anything for it.

Apple said that Spotify said in 2015 when it launched an investigation with the European Commission that “the digital music market has stalled and that Apple is holding back competitors.” “Unfortunately for their case, Spotify continued to grow,” Apple added.

Apple noted that three different related cases brought against it by the European Commission over the past eight years have consistently found no evidence of harm harm to consumers and no evidence of harm to consumers. evidence of anti-competitive behavior.

The reality is that European consumers now have more choice than ever. Ironically, today's decision in the name of competition only strengthens the dominant position of a successful European company that is the runaway leader in the digital music market.

Apple also said it intends to comply with the requirements of the EU Digital Markets Act ( DMA) within a few days, hinting at the release of iOS 17.4, which includes a number of significant changes for users in Europe to comply with legal requirements. He believes today's fine is “an attempt by the Commission to enforce the DMA before the DMA becomes law” as it is “not based on existing competition law.” Apple plans to appeal this decision.

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Tags: Apple Antitrust, Europe, European Commission, European Union, Spotify[ 396 comments ]

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