EU imposes $1.84BN fine on Apple for anti-steering tactics in iOS music streaming market

The European Union has fined Apple €1.84 billion for breaching antitrust rules in the market for music streaming services on its mobile platform, iOS. The penalty is focused on Apple’s application of anti-steering provisions, which put restrictions on music streaming apps’ abilities to tell consumers about cheaper offers outside Apple’s App Store. The iPhone maker has its own music streaming service, Apple Music, and rivals — such as Spotify — have argued the restrictions put them at a disadvantage compared to the platform operator. A formal EU statement of objections duly followed, in April 2021, when the Commission accused Apple of operating its App Store in a way that distorts competition in the market for music streaming services. Last month, the FT reported Apple was facing a €500M antitrust penalty over music streaming.

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European Union Fines Apple €1.84 Billion for Restricting Music Streaming Services on iOS

The European Union has handed down a hefty fine of €1.84 billion to tech giant Apple for violating antitrust rules in the market for music streaming services on its popular mobile platform, iOS.

The penalty stems from Apple’s implementation of anti-steering provisions, which impose limitations on music streaming apps’ ability to inform consumers of cheaper offers outside of the App Store. This has given Apple Music, the company’s own streaming service, an unfair advantage over rival platforms such as Spotify.

In a statement, the EU Commission stated that these restrictions have prevented European consumers from having a free choice in their streaming service options.

“Apple’s App Store rules purposely limit choice and stifle innovation at the expense of the user experience,” Spotify argued in their March 2019 antitrust complaint. They also accused Apple of abusing their position as both a player and referee in the market to disadvantage other app developers.

In June 2020, the EU launched a formal antitrust investigation into the App Store’s conditions and restrictions. This was prompted by concerns that these rules, including the anti-steering provision, were distorting competition.

In April 2021, the Commission issued a formal statement of objections accusing Apple of operating their App Store in a way that hinders competition in the music streaming market. And now, after three years of investigation, the EU has confirmed that Apple has indeed violated their antitrust rules.

Earlier this year, it was reported that Apple was facing a €500 million antitrust penalty specifically for music streaming. However, the fine announced by the Commission today has surpassed that amount significantly.

The story is still developing, so be sure to refresh for any updates.

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Ava Patel

Ava Patel is a cultural critic and commentator with a focus on literature and the arts. She is known for her thought-provoking essays and reviews, and has a talent for bringing new and diverse voices to the forefront of the cultural conversation.

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