Apple fined $1.84BN in EU over anti-steering on iOS music streaming market

Mike Powers

The European Union has fined Apple €1.84 billion for breaching antitrust rules in the market for music streaming services on its mobile platform, iOS.

The penalty is focused on Apple’s application of anti-steering provisions, which put restrictions on music streaming apps’ abilities to tell consumers about cheaper offers outside Apple’s App Store.

The iPhone maker has its own music streaming service, Apple Music, and rivals — such as Spotify — have argued the restrictions put them at a disadvantage compared to the platform operator.

Today the Commission said the restriction had prevented European consumers from making a free choice.

The penalty follows a March 2019 antitrust complaint by Spotify — which argued Apple’s App Store rules “purposely limit choice and stifle innovation at the expense of the user experience”, and accused the iPhone maker of deliberately disadvantaging other app developers by being both “a player and referee”.

Back in June 2020, the EU announced a formal antitrust investigation of the App Store — saying then that it was concerned conditions and restrictions applied by the tech giant, such as anti-steering provisions preventing developers from informing users of cheaper ways to pay for content outside Apple’s store, may be distorting competition.

A formal EU statement of objections duly followed, in April 2021, when the Commission accused Apple of operating its App Store in a way that distorts competition in the market for music streaming services. Three years on the bloc has confirmed a finding that Apple violated its antitrust rules.

Last month, the FT reported Apple was facing a €500M antitrust penalty over music streaming. But the fine announced by the Commission today is considerably higher.

This story is developing… refresh for updates

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