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Apple set to face nearly €500 million EU fine in Spotify dispute

Apple set to incur nearly €500 million fine from EU in significant antitrust case involving Spotify competition dispute.

As you delve into this piece, discover that Inc. is nearing a significant financial challenge. The European Union is set to impose a fine close to €500 million (US$539 million) on Apple, in light of allegations that the tech giant unfairly suppressed competition from music streaming services such as Spotify Technology SA.

The EU's first financial sanction against Apple

This fine marks an unprecedented move as it's the first financial penalty the EU has imposed on Apple. At the heart of the matter is the EU watchdog's conclusion that Apple violated competition rules by preventing other music services from informing users about more affordable alternatives outside its App Store. This information is based on sources familiar with the situation, although an official statement from the European Commission is still pending.

Previously, Apple defended itself against these allegations, stating that the App Store had been essential in aiding Spotify's rise to become the top music streaming service in Europe.

The origins of the EU's investigation

The EU's probe into Apple's App Store practices began nearly four years ago, following a complaint from Spotify. Spotify claimed that Apple's control over the App Store forced them to increase their subscription prices to cover the costs associated with Apple's stringent policies.

In a confidential meeting with EU officials last June, Apple reportedly addressed the competition concerns raised by Spotify's complaint. However, the decision to impose a fine suggests that Apple's efforts were not sufficient to assuage the EU's concerns.

Concurrent settlement in another probe

In a parallel , Apple is on the brink of reaching a settlement in another EU investigation focusing on its tap-and-pay technology. Sources indicate that the EU is likely to accept Apple's proposal to grant access to its near-field communication chip on iPhones to competing digital wallets, following positive feedback from a market test.

This settlement move follows earlier concerns by the EU that Apple might have been abusing its market power by restricting access to this technology.

The EU's broader strategy against Big Tech

Margrethe Vestager, the EU competition chief, has been actively challenging the dominance of Big Tech within the bloc. Her strategy has led to Alphabet Inc.'s Google being fined more than €8 billion (US$8.6 billion) and Apple being ordered to repay €13 billion in what was considered unfair tax breaks in Ireland.

With the impending enforcement of the Digital Markets Act (DMA) on March 7, EU regulators are gearing up for more stringent oversight of tech companies. The DMA is designed to preempt anti-competitive practices in the tech sector.

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Gabriela Gavrailova
Gabriela Gavrailova
Gabriela is a freelance news editor at Tech Edition, where she writes about technology and often does listicles and product reviews. Based in Austria, Gabriela is a person with many and diverse hobbies. If you don't find her reading a book at home or baking something, she will probably be out hiking or taking some classes to learn a new skill.

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