Brussels fines Apple $1.8 billion for restrictions on platforms like Spotify

He believes he has abused his position in the distribution of streaming music.

European Commission imposed sanctions on Apple of 1.8 billion euros for abuse of official position in the field of music distribution in streaming following complaints from platforms such as Spotify that the company does not allow the platform to inform users about iPhone or iPad alternative subscription forms for direct access from the App Store, which the multinational corporation installs on its devices.

“For decades Manzana abused its dominant position in the music market in streaming through its App Store,” said Community Government Vice President and Head of Competition Margrethe Vestager.

The investigation has been ongoing since 2020 and went through several stages before obtaining the final result. The original fine was 40 million euros, but it was revised and is now significant for the Cupertino giant’s revenues, reaching a final 1.8 billion euros.

“Apple’s rules ultimately harmed consumers. Important information was taken away from them so they couldn’t make an informed decision. Some consumers were able to pay more because they didn’t know they could have paid less if they didn’t.” Subscribe via the app,” Vestager emphasized.

The Danish politician insisted that preventing developers from informing consumers about “alternative and cheaper offers available outside the Apple ecosystem” was not only “illegal” but had an impact on “millions of European consumers” who did not. They were able to “choose freely.” “What services to hire.

The restriction for developers from companies like Spotify was not limited to just the price of advertising within the AppStore. Apple, for example, has blocked them from sending emails to users subscribed through its app store notifying them of cheaper subscription plans.

Apple reaction

The case began in 2022, when Brussels accused the company of acting as a “gatekeeper” of app access and abusing its dominant position in the music distribution market in streaming. The inevitable decision had been discussed in Brussels for several weeks, but the amount of the fine surprised everyone, including Apple itself.

In its statement, the technology company accuses the Commission of failing to provide “a single credible evidence of harm to the consumer” and of “ignoring the reality of the market.”

The company explicitly points to Spotify as the main beneficiary of the sanctions and the measures that need to be taken, while also highlighting its European nature and the 65 meetings that the Swedish company held with the Commission as part of the process.

“Today Spotify owns 56% of the music market in streamingmore than twice as much as the next competitor, and pays zero euros to Apple for the services that have made it one of the most recognizable brands in the world,” laments the company, which estimates the number of downloads at 119,000 “re-downloads.” millions” and Spotify updates on Apple devices.

The next one lies in the background effective March 7 DMA (Digital Markets Act), which will create new obligations for companies like Apple, indicating that they will appeal the fine.

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