Apple to appeal against $2bn EU antitrust fine over Spotify case

iPhone maker accuses Spotify of trying to 'rewrite the rules of the App Store'

The EU accused the Apple of unfairly shutting out music-streaming rivals on its platforms in handing down the fine. AFP
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Apple said it would appeal a $2 billion fine from Brussels after the European Commission imposed its first antitrust penalty on Monday, in which it accused the iPhone maker of unfairly shutting out music-streaming rivals on its platforms.

The EU opened the investigation following a 2019 complaint filed by Spotify over the restrictions as well as Apple's 30 per cent commission fees on the App Store.

The commission said its investigation had found Apple bans music-streaming app developers such as Spotify from informing iOS users about cheaper music services outside the App Store.

“For a decade, Apple abused its dominant position in the market for the distribution of music streaming apps through the App Store,” European Competition Commissioner Margarethe Vestager said in a statement.

The commission said it had added a lump sum of $2 billion to act as a deterrent to Apple, and because a significant amount of the harm caused was non-monetary.

In addition, the fine must be sufficient to deter Apple from repeating the present or a similar infringement; and to deter other companies of a similar size and with similar resources from committing the same or a similar infringement, the commission said.

Apple has also been ordered to remove its anti-steering provisions and to refrain from repeating the infringement in the future.

The California-based company said it plans to appeal the fine, arguing the commission's investigation did not find evidence of anticompetitive behaviour.

Apple accused Spotify of wanting to “rewrite the rules of the App Store” in a way that favours them.

It also said Spotify does not pay Apple anything for being on the App Store, and that Apple does not collect commission on Spotify subscriptions purchased on the Spotify website.

Spotify celebrated the decision and said the commission is “putting customers first” by imposing the fine on Apple.

“This decision sends a powerful message – no company, not even a monopoly like Apple, can wield power abusively to control how other companies interact with their customers,” Spotify said in a statement.

Updated: March 04, 2024, 5:54 PM