Saturday, June 15, 2024

Apple Fights €1.8 Billion EU Fine Over Music Streaming Competition

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Apple is contesting a substantial €1.8 billion ($1.9 billion) fine imposed by the European Union (EU) for allegedly stifling competition from music streaming services such as Spotify Technology SA, according to Bloomberg reports.

The tech giant has lodged an appeal with the EU’s General Court in Luxembourg, seeking to overturn the decision issued in March. This legal action is based on insider information provided on the condition of anonymity.

The penalty is part of a broader EU initiative to ensure fair competition, which included a directive for Apple to allow music streaming apps to inform users about cheaper subscription options outside its App Store.

The investigation leading to the fine was initiated by a complaint from Stockholm-based Spotify around five years ago. Spotify argued that Apple’s App Store policies compelled it to increase the price of its monthly subscriptions to cover the costs imposed by Apple’s control over the App Store’s operations.

In response, the European Commission, which serves as the EU’s antitrust authority, expressed confidence in its decision and readiness to defend it in court, as reported by Bloomberg.

Apple, while declining to make an immediate comment, referred to a previous blog post asserting that the EU regulators did not present any credible evidence of consumer harm. This latest legal challenge adds to Apple’s ongoing disputes with the EU, including a notable €13 billion tax bill related to Irish state aid, where the final decision is still pending following an initial win for Apple.

This legal confrontation is part of a broader campaign by EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager, aimed at curbing the dominance of major Silicon Valley companies through hefty fines and regulatory measures. One of her significant achievements is the introduction of the Digital Markets Act, a comprehensive law imposing a series of operational guidelines on leading tech firms.

Under this new regulatory framework, Apple has had to make significant adjustments to its iOS, Safari, and App Store offerings within the EU. The company has launched additional legal challenges against these regulations as well.

Source: Bloomberg

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