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Apple Faces Potential 500 Million Euro Fine Over Spotify's Antitrust Complaint

Apple faces potential EU sanction for alleged anti-competitive practices favoring Apple Music over rivals on the App Store.
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Apple to be fined half a billion euros

In an article published this Sunday, the Financial Times reports that the European Commission is preparing to fine Apple almost 500 million euros. The Californian company is accused of anti-competitive practices on its application store, the App Store.

Apple Faces Potential 500 Million Euro Fine Over Spotify's Antitrust Complaint

This possible sanction follows a complaint lodged by Spotify in 2019, which led to the opening of an investigation the following year. The cause: Apple had imposed a 30% commission on music streaming services present in the App Store. This forced the platforms to raise their prices, thereby strengthening Apple Music's position in the market.

This would be the first fine imposed by the European Union on Apple for non-compliance with competition rules. However, the Apple brand was fined 1.1 billion euros in 2020 by the French Competition Authority for an illegal agreement with distributors. The fine was subsequently reduced by a factor of three on appeal.

App Store: new measures adopted in January

Last January, Apple introduced changes to its App Store rules, to comply with the Digital Markets Act (DMA). The company opened up to competition by allowing alternative app stores. However, the rules dictated by Apple are proving particularly dissuasive. Developers whose applications exceed one million downloads and who choose to stop relying 100% on the App Store are obliged to pay Apple 50 cents per download. In return, the commission charged by the app store is halved.

Many companies, including Epic Games and Mozilla, have denounced what they see as a circumvention of the law. For his part, Spotify CEO and founder Daniel Ek described the new rules as a "farce" in a statement.

Under the false pretext of respecting the law and making concessions, they have presented a new plan that is a complete and utter farce. In fact, as the old tax had become unacceptable under the DMA, they created a new one, claiming that it complied with the law.

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