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Apple fined nearly $2 billion for “abusing” the App Store

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The European Commission on Monday fined Apple nearly $2 billion for “abusing” its control over music streaming services by stifling competition through its app store, a major step forward as regulators around the world are working to curb the tech giant’s alleged antitrust violations.

The Commission said it found that Apple had violated European competition rules by preventing app developers from informing users about “alternative and cheaper” music services. The fine is the result of a years-long investigation stemming from an antitrust complaint filed by rival Spotify.

Margrethe Vestager, executive vice president and antitrust chief of the commission, said in a post that Apple’s behavior “had an impact on millions of EU consumers, who were not able to freely choose where, how and at what price to purchase music streaming subscriptions.”

In 2019, Spotify accused Apple of abusing its power over its App Store and unfairly “taxing” competitors’ applications. By imposing fees on companies offering competing products, Apple was “essentially acting as a player and referee to deliberately disadvantage other app developers,” CEO Daniel Ek said. written at the time.

The European Commission took costs against the tech giant in 2021, criticizing the company for requiring developers to use its in-app payment systems and for imposing a 30% commission on these transactions, an approach it says “distorts competition” . The commission said Monday its investigation found “unfair trading conditions.”

Apple said in a statement in response, it will appeal the fine of 1.8 billion euros.

“Today, the European Commission announced a decision affirming that the App Store constitutes a barrier to competition in the digital music market,” the company said. “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.”

Spotify said in a statement Monday’s decision marks “an important moment in the fight for a more open Internet for consumers.” But the company said that while it was “pleased” with the decision, “it does not address Apple’s poor behavior toward developers beyond music streaming in other markets around the world.”

Apple has won a separate antitrust challenge against its app store in the United States, where Epic Games, maker of the popular Fortnite video game series, alleged that the tech giant abused its monopoly by forcing developers to using Apple’s payment processing service without informing consumers. alternatives. A federal appeals court last year, confirmed a decision that Epic Games had failed to prove that Apple had violated federal antitrust laws.

The Justice Department is also currently investigating whether Apple violated U.S. antitrust law by stifling its competitors and could face prosecution as soon as late March. according to reports.

correction

A previous version of this article misstated the name of Spotify CEO Daniel Ek. This has been fixed.



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