Apple fined by EU for anti-competitive behavior in response to Spotify complaint

European Union antitrust regulators have slammed tech giant Apple with a hefty €1.84 billion fine for allegedly violating antitrust rules over its App Store regulations. The EU Commission accused Apple of inhibiting music streaming apps from advertising cheaper subscription deals outside of its platform, thus limiting competition and consumer choice.

Specifically, the EU investigation focused on Apple’s restrictions on developers informing users about alternative music services, with the tech company allegedly preventing developers from directing consumers to cheaper deals outside of the App Store. This practice led the EU Commission to conclude that Apple had breached antitrust regulations by stifling competition in the digital music market.

In response to the fine, Apple has vehemently denied any wrongdoing, stating that there is no evidence of consumer harm or anti-competitive behavior. The company plans to appeal the decision, arguing that Spotify and other competitors are attempting to gain unfair advantages by attempting to rewrite the rules of the App Store.

This investigation was initiated in 2020 following an antitrust complaint filed by music streaming giant Spotify. While Apple has introduced some concessions, such as allowing developers to advertise payment methods outside the iOS app and link to their own websites, the EU Commission is demanding further changes to comply with the Digital Markets Act.

In addition to the fine, US courts have ruled that Apple must permit developers to link to alternative payment methods but will continue to take a percentage of digital purchases. Furthermore, Apple has also faced scrutiny over its policy of limiting NFC payments to its own services, leading to the company offering third-party access to the iPhone’s NFC feature.

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As Apple gears up to overhaul its app distribution rules in the EU, the tech giant continues to navigate the complex landscape of antitrust regulations and competition concerns in the digital marketplace.

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