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Antitrust: EU To Fine Apple €500m For Music Streaming Practices

The EU is gearing up to fine Apple €500m for favouring its own music streaming service over competitors, the Financial Times (FT) has reported.

Citing five people with knowledge of the ongoing investigation, the FT said the fine is likely to be announced next month.

It follows a lengthy investigation over concerns that it was leveraging its iOS operating system to favour Apple Music over alternatives such as Spotify and YouTube Music. The probe is looking into whether Apple blocked the rival firms from informing iOS users that subscriptions would be cheaper if accessed from outside the App Store.

If paid for via an app downloaded through the store, Apple takes 30% of all transactions for in-app purchases and 15% or 30% for subscriptions depending on various factors. This has forced many firms to raise subscription prices for users purchasing through the app itself while offering cheaper plans on their own sites.

The probe was originally launched in 2019, after Spotify complained about the practice. According to the FT, the European Commission is expected to rule that Apple’s actions are illegal because they breach its competition rules.

In 2022, the EU brought forward landmark rules designed to curb the powers of major tech firms like Google, Amazon, Apple, Meta and Microsoft. The Digital Markets Act (DMA) set out rules for online gatekeepers, those companies that control data and platform access. Under the DMA, tech firms have to make their messaging services interoperable and provide business users with access to their data. Business users will also be able to promote competing products and services on the platform and reach deals with customers off the platforms

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Apple has long rested on a business model that relies on forcing iPhone users to acquire software solely through its own distribution channels. However, from next month, users in the EU will be able to install alternative app stores  on their devices due to recent rulings from the Commission.

The DMA requires companies with more than 45 million monthly active users and a €75bn (£64bn) market capitalisation to make their apps compatible with those made by rivals and let users decide which apps to pre-install on their devices.

Source: E&T


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