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Apple fined £1.5 billion for failing to tell users about cheaper music streaming options

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Apple has been fined €1.8 billion (£1.54 billion) by the EU for favoring its own music streaming service over rivals.

Apple failed to fully inform users of its devices that alternative, cheaper subscription services existed for more than a decade, the EU executive, the European Commission, has said.

As a result, iPhone and iPad users paid “significantly higher prices for music streaming subscriptions,” it says.

The fine was issued following a complaint from streaming service Spotify that launched a five-year investigation focused on how Apple blocked app developers from telling users cheaper ways to pay their subscriptions without using an application.

It revealed that Apple had blocked streaming services, such as Spotify, from informing users of the cost of subscription offers outside of Apple apps, such as Apple Music.

The tech giant has banned app makers from “fully informing iOS users about alternative and cheaper music subscription services outside of the app,” EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said .

“It is illegal and has impacted millions of European consumers.”

To comply with this finding, Apple said it would allow iPhone users in Europe to use app stores other than its own and allow developers to offer alternative payment systems.

In response, Apple said it would appeal.

“The decision was made despite the commission’s failure to uncover any credible evidence of consumer harm and ignores the realities of a thriving, competitive and rapidly growing market.”

Although the sum is significant, it only represents 0.5% of Apple’s global turnover and it could have been fined 10% of global turnover.

It is the first time Apple has been subject to an EU antimonopoly tax and the third largest imposed by the commission.

The largest is the €4.34 billion (£3.8 billion) case filed against Google for abusing its control over the Android operating system by forcing vendors to pre-install apps.

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