NewsApple faces first EU fine over music streaming access, hitting $592M next month

Apple faces first EU fine over music streaming access, hitting $592M next month

Apple faces first EU fine over music streaming access, hitting $592M next month
Images source: © Licensor | THOMAS KIENZLE
5:13 AM EST, February 19, 2024

The fine, potentially amounting to approximately $592 million, is expected to be announced at the beginning of next month.

European Union levies a penalty on Apple

This penalty represents the climax of the European Commission's antitrust investigation. The probe aimed to determine if Apple exploited its own platform to favour its services over those of its competitors.

The objective of the investigation was to ascertain if Apple prevented apps from informing iPhone users of cheaper music subscription alternatives outside the App Store. The investigation was initiated after music streaming app Spotify lodged a formal complaint with regulatory authorities in 2019.

According to those familiar with the subject, quoted by the "Financial Times", "The Commission will rule that Apple's actions are illegal and breach European community principles, which enforce competition in the single market."

The newspaper's sources suggest that the EU will conclude that the terms imposed by the tech giant constitute unfair trade practices.

The fine for Apple would be among the most substantial penalties the EU has ever imposed on large tech companies. A series of fines imposed on Google over several years, which total around 9.48 billion dollars, is currently under reconsideration in court.

While Apple has never previously been fined by Brussels for antitrust violations, the company was penalized $1.3 billion in France for alleged anti-competitive behaviours in 2020. The penalty was later reduced to $440 million on appeal.

In the view of the "Financial Times", the EU's proceedings against Apple will rekindle the discord between Brussels and Big Tech at a time when companies are being challenged to demonstrate compliance with innovative new regulations. These regulations are intended to stimulate competition and facilitate the growth of smaller tech competitors.

In another antitrust case, Brussels is currently in discussions with Apple's competitors regarding potential concessions that the tech giant could make to alleviate concerns of it blocking financial groups' access to its mobile payment system, Apple Pay.

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