European Commission hits Apple with record €1.8 billion fine

European Commission hits Apple with record €1.8 billion fine
Credit: Belga

Apple has been fined €1.8 billion for abuse of its dominant position in the music streaming market by the European Commission.

The American tech giant, Apple, has been adding stipulations that prevent app developers from informing users of cheaper music subscription services outside of its application. This statement was made by European Competition Commissioner, Margrethe Vestager.

The Commission’s investigation began in June 2020, following a complaint by the rival Swedish streaming platform Spotify. Apple’s behaviour over the past decade may have forced users to pay significantly higher prices for streaming music subscriptions, according to the European executive.

The fine’s amount was determined considering the duration and severity of the violation, coupled with Apple’s total revenue and market capitalisation. This €1.8 billion figure represents 0.5% of Apple’s global turnover, stated Commissioner Vestager. She also factored in that Apple had provided inaccurate information during the administrative procedure.

The Commission emphasised that the penalty should deter other major companies from repeating such actions, and also instructed Apple to eliminate targeted provisions.

Apple immediately announced its intent to appeal, citing that the decision was made despite the Commission’s inability to find any credible evidence of consumer harm. In a statement, the American giant claimed that the decision overlooks the realities of a thriving, competitive and rapidly growing market.

On the contrary, Spotify applauded the Commission’s decision, asserting that it marks "a significant step in the fight for a more open internet for consumers."

For a comparison, in 2018 Google was fined a record €4.3 billion by the European Commission for abuse of dominant position.

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