Apple fined $2 billion by European Union for thwarting music streaming competition

Apple pledged to appeal the decision, arguing that "the facts simply don’t support" it.
An Apple store in Buford, Georgia

European Union regulators on Monday fined Apple 1.8 billion euros, or nearly $2 billion, for its App Store rules that the E.U. says thwart competition from music streaming rivals.

The European Commission, the E.U.'s antitrust regulator, accused Apple of "busing its dominant position on the market for the distribution of music streaming apps" through its App Store and applying "restrictions" that prevented app developers from informing users about "alternative and cheaper music subscription services available outside of the app." This is illegal under antitrust rules in the European Union.

Apple pledged to appeal the decision. "While we respect the European Commission, the facts simply don’t support this decision. And as a result, Apple will appeal," the tech giant said.

The audio streaming platform Spotify, one of the biggest rivals to Apple Music, initiated the five-year investigation that resulted in the penalty. Spotify lauded the decision as "an important moment in the fight for a more open internet for consumers."

Apple, meanwhile, said it is largely responsible for the success of Spotify, which is based in Stockholm, Sweden.

"Spotify has a 56 percent share of Europe’s music streaming market — more than double their closest competitor’s — and pays Apple nothing for the services that have helped make them one of the most recognizable brands in the world. A large part of their success is due to the App Store, along with all the tools and technology that Spotify uses to build, update, and share their app with Apple users around the world," Apple said. 

The commission said that Apple's actions, which lasted for nearly a decade, may have led many users to pay higher streaming subscription prices due to the commission fee that Apple imposed on developers, who in turn, passed that on to consumers. 

Spotify agreed, arguing that Apple's rule "muzzled" it and other streamers from sharing benefits in their app.

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