Apple faces more than $500 million fine for breaking EU rules to silence Spotify, other rivals


Apple faces a fine of close to 500 million euros ($539 million or about Rs 4,475 crore) in the European Union over the regulator's investigation into allegations it silenced music-streaming rivals including Spotify Technology SA on its platform.

It comes after the EU watchdog found that Apple violated competition rules by preventing rival music services from informing users that cheaper alternatives existed outside its App Store, according to people familiar with the matter. Fine will be imposed. ,

When Apple was contacted for comment, it referred to a previous statement, which said that “the App Store has helped Spotify become the top music streaming service across Europe.” The European Commission declined to comment. The Financial Times first reported the fine.

EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager has made it her main strategy to try to end Big Tech's dominance in the bloc through fines and regulatory actions. It has fined Alphabet's Google more than 8 billion euros (roughly Rs. 71,577 crore) and also ordered Apple to repay 13 billion euros (roughly Rs. 1,16,325 crore) in allegedly improper tax exemptions from Ireland.

Apple has also faced pressure from individual EU member states. It was fined EUR 1.1 billion (roughly Rs. 9,842 crore) in France in 2020 for anti-competitive behavior, though the total fine was later reduced to EUR 372 million (roughly Rs. 3,328 crore) following an appeal. .

The EU investigation into Apple's App Store began nearly four years ago following a complaint by Spotify, which claimed it had to pay its monthly taxes to cover costs associated with Apple's alleged stranglehold on the way the App Store operates. Was forced to increase the price of subscription.

In a closed-door meeting between EU officials and Apple in June last year, the tech firm told regulators it had already addressed any potential competition concerns arising from Spotify's complaint.

In a separate investigation, Apple is set to accept its settlement offer in the European Union's investigation into its tap-and-pay technology, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Commission is set to accept a 10-year proposal to open up access to its iconic near-field communications chip on the iPhone for Apple's rival digital wallet, after receiving a largely positive response following market testing. Said, because the matter is personal.

Apple's move to settle the case comes after the EU watchdog previously raised formal concerns that the company had restricted access to the technology, an alleged abuse of its market power.

Vestager is now getting ready to implement the bloc's flagship Digital Markets Act – which is set to come into effect on March 7. The sweeping new rules aim to prevent competition violations by tech companies in the first place.

Under the DMA, it would be illegal for the most powerful companies to prioritize their services over those of rivals. They would be barred from combining personal data across their different services, prohibited from using the data they collect to compete with third-party merchants, and prohibited from allowing users to download apps from rival platforms. Will happen.

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