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Apple fined $2 billion by EU in dispute with Spotify alleging ‘abuse of dominant position’


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Apple has been hit with a staggering €1.8 billion ($1.95 billion) fine by the European Commission. This unprecedented penalty, the first of its kind for Apple, was imposed for violating antitrust rules in Europe over music streaming.

 

The case, which began in 2019, was instigated by a complaint from Spotify, the Sweden-based music streaming service. The crux of the issue was Apple’s alleged abuse of its dominant position in the market for the distribution of music streaming apps. The European Commission found that Apple had prevented companies like Spotify from informing consumers about “alternative and cheaper music subscription services” outside of the App Store.

 

The Commission stated that Apple’s practices, which lasted nearly a decade, reduced consumers’ ability to make informed choices about their purchases and may have forced them to pay "significantly higher prices for music streaming subscriptions because of the high commission fee imposed by Apple on developers,". This fee could have been passed on to consumers.

 

Apple has been ordered to remove anti-steering provisions that lead consumers away from other services and told to refrain from repeating the infringement or adopting similar practices in the future. Despite the ruling, Apple has criticized the decision and stated that it will challenge it, claiming there was no evidence consumers had been harmed.

 

This case has undoubtedly sent ripples through the tech industry and raises questions about the future of digital marketplaces. What are your thoughts on this landmark ruling? Do you believe it will lead to more transparency and fairness in the digital marketplace, or could it potentially stifle innovation? We’d love to hear your views.

 

 

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Top image: Apple Spotify © Mikhail Primakov | Dreamstime.com

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