EU fines Apple $2 billion for violating competition regulations

The European Commission accuses Apple of using its App Store to prevent developers from publicizing cheaper alternative options to its music streaming service.

The European Commission decided this Monday to penalize Apple with a fine of 1.84 billion euros ($2 billion) for violating the European Union's competition regulations. Specifically, the Brussels-based body accused the company using its App Store to prevent developers like Spotify from reporting cheaper alternative options for its music streaming services, which can be downloaded to iPhone, iPad and MacOS devices.

For all this, explained the head of the digital age and competition commissions of the European Union, Margrethe Vestager, the organization decided to impose the antitrust sanction, the first that the American tech giant has received from the E.U.:

According to Vestager in statements reported by CNN, Apple has "abused its dominant position" as a distributor of different streaming music applications, causing European consumers to lose "a free choice as to where, how and at what prices to buy music streaming subscriptions."

"For decades, Apple abused its dominant position in the streaming music market through its App Store ... This is illegal and it has impacted millions of European consumers," Vestager said during the press conference announcing the fine.

Apple defends itself

The technology company defended itself and assured that the penalty was disproportionate, since it was imposed despite "its failure to uncover any credible evidence of consumer harm, and ignores the realities of a market that is thriving, competitive, and growing fast." In addition, the company assured in a statement that all application developers "compete on a level playing field" in the App Store.

Along with this, the company led by Tim Cook assured that the investigation came from a lawsuit filed by Spotify in 2019. In it, the music platform accused Apple of forcing it to pay a 30% fee on purchases made through the payment system within the App Store, while the company's own application, Apple Music, was exempt from paying the fee.

In addition, Spotify also claimed that Apple had prevented it from sharing information about the various subscription offers with iPhone. The Cupertino-based company denied by ensuring that the streaming platform does not pay them any type of commission since they sell their subscriptions through their website and not via the App Store.