Apple fined €1.8 billion by the EU for violating antitrust rules 

The European Commission has issued a €1.8 billion penalty against Apple for misuse of its dominant position in the music streaming market. 

The Commission said Apple’s “anti-steering provisions” prevented app developers from informing iOS users about alternative and potentially more cost-effective music subscription services outside the app.

In a statement, the Commission said, “For a decade, Apple abused its dominant position in the market for the distribution of music streaming apps through the App Store. They did so by restricting developers from informing consumers about alternative, cheaper music services available outside of the Apple ecosystem.”

This is the third-largest fine ever imposed under EU regulations, with Google holding the top two spots: a €4.34 billion fine in 2018 and a €2.42 billion fine in 2017. 

The anti-steering provisions are designed to stop app developers from informing iOS users about prices available online outside of the app and about differences in pricing between in-app subscriptions sold through Apple’s system and those offered elsewhere. 

Additionally, developers are unable to include links within their apps directing iOS users to their websites where alternative subscriptions can be purchased. They are also restricted from reaching out to newly acquired users via email or other means to inform them about alternative pricing options after they’ve created an account.

According to the decision, Apple’s anti-steering provisions create unfair trading conditions and this goes against the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. 

Over nearly a decade, Apple’s actions potentially led to numerous iOS users paying higher prices for music streaming subscriptions due to significant commission fees imposed on developers, which were then passed on to consumers through inflated subscription rates on the App Store for essentially the same services.

 This situation forced iOS users to either endure a complicated search process to find alternative offers outside the app or refrain from subscribing altogether because they couldn’t find suitable options independently.

The Commission imposed the fine on Apple, considering the duration and severity of the violation, as well as Apple’s turnover and market capitalization. Furthermore, it mandated that Apple remove the anti-steering provisions and refrain from similar infringements in the future.

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