Published On: Mon, Mar 4th, 2024

Apple blasts EU as it’s fined £1.5bn over controversial App Store rules | World | News

Apple has blasted the European Union after it was fined £1.5bn over its controversial App Store rules. An investigation by the EU found that the company had limited competition from other music streaming services such as Spotify.

The fine is reportedly four times higher than expected, outraging the tech giant. In a statement following the fine, a spokesperson for Apple said the commission had failed “to uncover any credible evidence of consumer harm, and ignores the realities of a market that is thriving, competitive, and growing fast”.

They added: “The primary advocate for this decision – and the biggest beneficiary – is Spotify, a company based in Stockholm, Sweden. Spotify has the largest music streaming app in the world and has met with the European Commission more than 65 times during this investigation.”

Apple also claimed that Spotify “pays Apple nothing for the services that have helped make them one of the most recognisable brands in the world” and that a “large part of their success is due to the App Store”.

Announcing the gargantuan fine, Margrethe Vestager, the European competition commissioner said that the fine was meant to deter Apple and other companies from acting in the same way in the future. She said that because of Apple’s actions customers were paying more than they should.

She explained: “I think it is important to see that if you are a company that is dominant and you do something illegal, it will be punished. We want to show our resolve that we will go into these cases.

“Apple’s rules ended up harming consumers. Critical information was withheld so that consumers could not effectively use or make informed choices. Some consumers may have paid more because they weren’t aware that they could pay less if they subscribed outside of the app.”

The Guardian reported the European Commission found that by restricting app developers from promoting potentially cheaper services that the company had been disadvantaging users.

In a statement, the European Commission said: “Apple bans music streaming app developers from fully informing iOS users about alternative and cheaper music subscription services available outside of the app and from providing any instructions about how to subscribe to such offers.”

Spotify had previously argued that the restrictions had benefitted its competitor, Apple Music.

In a statement, Spotify said: “From the beginning, the foundational belief of the internet is that it should be a fair and open ecosystem. That belief has fueled growth, innovation and discovery around the world. Today the leading way people access the internet is via their mobile phones. So why should the same principles not apply?

“And while we are pleased that this case delivers some justice, it does not solve Apple’s bad behaviour towards developers beyond music streaming in other markets around the world. Our work will not be done until we succeed in securing a truly fair digital marketplace everywhere and our commitment to helping to make this a reality remains unwavering.”

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