Science & Technology

Apple Set to Face EU Fine

Apple is facing a fine of about €500 million from the European Union as part of an investigation into the possible application of illegal practices by the technology giant against its music streaming competitors, including Spotify Technology SA.

Apple Set to Face EU Fine

The potential fine may be the first such measure of influence against the mentioned company in the entire history of its presence in the European market. An EU watchdog has found that the California-based tech giant violated competition rules by preventing third-party music services from informing users of the existence of cheaper alternatives outside the App Store.

Apple, commenting on the accusations against itself, said that its specified digital platform helped Spotify become the leading music streaming service across Europe. The European Commission has refused to make any statements to the media on this issue.

The head of the European Commission on Competition, Margrethe Vestager, considers as the main strategy of activity an attempt to eliminate the dominance of Big Tech through fines and regulations. She fined Google more than €8 billion. Margrethe Vestager also ordered Apple to pay €13 billion of unfair tax breaks from Ireland.

Apple has also faced pressure from individual EU member states. In 2020, the tech giant was fined €1.1 billion in France. The reason for this measure of influence was the anti-competitive behavior of the company. After the appeal, the amount of the fine was reduced to €372 million.

The EU investigation into the Apple App Store was initiated by a nearly four-year-old complaint from Spotify. The company, which complained about the specifics of the technology giant’s activities, said that it had to increase the price of its monthly subscriptions to cover the costs associated with Apple’s alleged interference in the functioning of the App Store.

At a closed-door meeting between EU and Apple officials last June, the firm informed regulators that it had addressed any possible competition concerns arising from Spotify’s complaint.

Media outlets, citing insiders, report that as part of a separate probe, the tech giant is set to have its settlement proposal in the EU’s investigation into its tap-and-pay tech accepted.

The European Commission is ready to accept Apple’s 10-year offer to open access to its coveted near-field communication chip on the iPhone to competing digital wallets. The relevant information was also provided by insiders who used the right of anonymity, since this issue is discussed exclusively in private.

Apple decided to settle the case after the EU watchdog expressed official concerns that the tech giant had restricted access to technology, which amounted to an abuse of market power.

Margrethe Vestager is currently preparing for the entry into force of the Digital Markets Act. The new rules, which some experts have described as radical, are designed to prevent technology companies from disrupting competition before they take root. It will be illegal for the most powerful brands to favor their services over those of competitors.

As we have reported earlier, Spain Antitrust Watchdog Fines Amazon and Apple.

Serhii Mikhailov

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Serhii’s track record of study and work spans six years at the Faculty of Philology and eight years in the media, during which he has developed a deep understanding of various aspects of the industry and honed his writing skills; his areas of expertise include fintech, payments, cryptocurrency, and financial services, and he is constantly keeping a close eye on the latest developments and innovations in these fields, as he believes that they will have a significant impact on the future direction of the economy as a whole.