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Apple To Face A 500 Million Euro Fine From The EU As Part Of An Antitrust Investigation

Apple To Face A 500 Million Euro Fine From The EU As Part Of An Antitrust Investigation
The European Commission is planning to punish Apple approximately 500 million euros ($539 million) for alleged violations of EU competition rules, according to reports citing anonymous persons with knowledge of the situation.

After Spotify formally complained to regulators in 2019, Brussels began looking into claims that Apple discriminated against other music services on its devices and promoted its own Apple Music service.
According to Apple's App Store policies, businesses like Spotify are not allowed to charge customers for subscriptions within the app in the majority of locations. Instead, they must use Apple's App Store billing service, which charges a maximum of 30% in fees.
Brussels officially filed charges against Apple in 2021 as part of an anti-competitive probe, but this year it trimmed its charges and dropped the accusation that it was pressuring developers to use its own in-app payment system.
The most recent iteration of the investigation was on whether Apple had broken EU competition laws by preventing apps from telling customers about less expensive subscription options available outside of its own App Store.
According to insiders, the Commission will accuse Apple of abusing its strong position and prohibit its "unfair trading conditions" with reference to its music service subscription policies after reviewing the investigation's results.
If levied, the amount would rank among the highest monetary sanctions the EU has ever placed on a significant IT business. It comes after several sizable, contentious fines filed against Google.
Although Apple has previously been hit with fines for antitrust activity, such as the €1.1 billion fine in France that was ultimately lowered to €372 million after an appeal, this would be the company's first fine from Brussels.

The EU's historic Digital Markets Act is scheduled to be enacted in March, and the rumoured fine is a part of a wider crackdown in the EU. The goal of the new rule is to combat anti-competitive behaviour by major internet firms known as "gatekeepers," which includes Google, Amazon, Apple, and other corporations.
Smaller internet companies and other digital companies, like Spotify, have long complained that the business methods of big major giants unfairly limit their operations.
The Digital Markets Act will force Apple to permit independent developers to distribute their apps outside of the iOS Store and to charge users for those apps directly.
Apple has announced modifications to its iOS, Safari, and App Store in the EU in response to laws from the EU. It has also stated that it will soon permit software developers to offer their products to Apple devices through other retailers.
The European Commission is investigating how Apple prevents competitors from using its Apple Pay mobile system in a different antitrust lawsuit. Concerning the matter, Apple has already bowed down.
The FT report states that although the Commission has not yet announced the timing of the penalty, it will not alter the course of the antitrust probe.
Apple is able to file an appeal with EU courts about the ruling. The internet giant refrained from commenting on the report, citing a prior statement to CNBC expressing satisfaction with the regulators' decision to focus the investigation more narrowly.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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