EU fines Apple $2bn after Spotify complaint

The European Union has levied a record-breaking antitrust fine of over 1.8 billion euros ($1.95bn) against Apple, prompted by a complaint from music streaming giant Spotify. This marks the first-ever antitrust penalty imposed on the tech behemoth by Brussels.

Apple swiftly pledged to contest the penalty, emphasizing its intention to appeal the decision. The European Commission initiated the charge after Spotify raised concerns in 2019, alleging that Apple hindered music-streaming services from informing users about payment alternatives outside its App Store.

Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s antitrust chief, rebuked Apple’s actions, stating that for a decade, the company abused its dominant market position by limiting developers from informing consumers about cheaper music services available outside its ecosystem. She condemned this practice as illegal under EU antitrust regulations.

In response, Apple criticized the EU’s ruling, asserting that it would challenge the decision in court. The company argued against the existence of credible evidence of consumer harm and highlighted the thriving competitiveness of the market.

The EU’s move reflects its broader crackdown on Big Tech firms, with previous multibillion-dollar fines imposed on Google and Meta for antitrust violations. Apple’s fine, though substantial, represents only a fraction of the penalties imposed on Google over the past decade.

Vestager has also initiated a separate antitrust probe into Apple’s mobile payments service, with the tech giant offering concessions to settle the matter. The order for Apple to lift its App Store restrictions aligns with the requirements of the Digital Markets Act, underscoring the EU’s commitment to fostering fair competition in the digital realm.– Web desk