Apple fined £1.5bn for not notifying users of cheaper music streaming options

Business

Apple has been fined €1.8bn (£1.54bn) by the EU for favouring its own music streaming service rather than rivals.

Apple didn’t fully inform their device users there were alternative and cheaper subscription services for more than a decade, said the EU executive, the European Commission.

As a result, iPhone and iPad users paid “significantly higher prices for music streaming subscriptions”, it said.

The fine has been issued due to a complaint by streaming service Spotify which launched a five year investigation focused on how Apple prevented app developers from telling users of cheaper ways to pay for subscriptions without going through an app.

It found that Apple stopped streaming services, such as Spotify, from letting users know how much subscription offers cost outside of Apple apps, such as Apple Music.

The tech giant banned app makers from “fully informing iOS users about alternative and cheaper music subscription services outside of the app,” said the EU’s competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager.

“This is illegal, and it has impacted millions of European consumers.”

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To comply with the finding Apple said it will allow iPhone users in Europe to use app stores other than its own and enable developers to offer alternative payment systems.

In response Apple said it would appeal.

“The decision was reached despite the commission’s failure to uncover any credible evidence of consumer harm, and ignores the realities of a market that is thriving, competitive, and growing fast.”

While the sum is significant, it accounts for only 0.5% of Apple’s worldwide revenue and it could have been fined 10% of global turnover.

It’s first time Apple has been subject to an EU anti-monopoly law levy and the third largest one issued by the commission.

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