EU to Impose $538 Million Fine on Apple for Music Streaming Restrictions Apple faces a hefty €500 million fine from the European Union for allegedly violating competition laws concerning music streaming services.

Apple Music

The European Commission has targeted Apple for its practices that limit users’ access to cheaper music streaming options outside of the App Store.

Initiated by a complaint from Spotify in 2019, the probe scrutinized Apple’s policy that bars streaming services from informing users about less expensive subscriptions available directly from their websites, bypassing the App Store’s fees.

The investigation, which formally charged Apple in 2021, concluded that such policies contravene EU’s competition rules.

This decision marks a significant turn in the EU’s efforts to ensure a level playing field in the digital market, potentially ending Apple’s restrictions that have been criticized for giving its own service, Apple Music, an undue advantage.

By prohibiting these “anti-steering” practices, the EU aims to foster fair trading conditions, enhance consumer choice, and prevent inflated prices for music streaming services on iOS devices.

While Apple allows “reader” apps like Spotify to include a link for account management on their websites, direct promotion of cheaper subscription options within their iOS apps remains off-limits.

This fine, unprecedented for Apple in terms of EU antitrust actions, echoes a previous penalty in France for anti-competitive behavior, highlighting the increasing regulatory scrutiny on tech giants’ market practices.

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