EU fines Apple nearly $2 billion for ‘blocking’ alternative music apps

After months of speculation The European Commission has officially fined Apple, and is much higher than originally expected. Apple is willing to pay 1.8 billion euros ($1.95 billion) for restricting alternative music streaming apps on the App Store — the EU’s first fine for Apple and the third largest ever announced. This follows an investigation originally opened in 2020 Spotify complained It claimed that Apple was taking steps to shut down the music service due to competition from iTunes and Apple Music.

The commission announced that “Apple prohibits music streaming app developers from fully informing iOS users of alternative and less expensive music subscription services available outside of the app, and from providing any instructions on how to subscribe to such offers.” The practice, known as anti-steering, is illegal under EU antitrust laws.

Investigation found that Apple has prohibited app developers from telling users the price of any internet subscriptions or the price difference between in-app and out-of-app purchases. The company also prevented developers from including information or links to alternative subscription purchase pages on their websites or emails. Apple has engaged in these practices for nearly 10 years, and the fees it imposes can cause iOS users to pay more than they should for music streaming subscriptions (which developers then factor into their pricing). The commission found that Apple’s actions also “caused non-monetary harm” and created a more frustrating user experience.

The news follows rumors in February Apple will be fined 500 million euros ($542.6 million) due to the antitrust app store policy – less than a third of the final figure. The European Commission claims it imposed the €1.8 billion fine to be “sufficiently deterrent” to prevent Apple from repeating its actions. However, Apple plans to appeal the decision.

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