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Apple appeals huge EU fine for music streaming restrictions

Apple is challenging a 1.8 billion-euro ($1.9-billion) fine by the EU for thwarting access to information about cheaper music streaming services.

Brussels hit US-based Apple with the fine in March
Brussels hit US-based Apple with the fine in March - Copyright GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File Sarah Silbiger
Brussels hit US-based Apple with the fine in March - Copyright GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File Sarah Silbiger

Apple is challenging a 1.8 billion-euro ($1.9-billion) fine by the European Union for thwarting access to information about cheaper music streaming services, an EU court said Tuesday.

The iPhone maker filed an appeal with the EU’s General Court in Luxembourg on May 16, the court told AFP.

The European Commission, the EU’s powerful competition regulator, hit Apple with the fine in March in a long-running saga dating back to a 2020 investigation launched after a complaint by Swedish streaming giant Spotify.

It was the first ever antitrust fine against Apple by Brussels.

The commission said Apple prevented app developers from informing iOS operating system users about cheaper music subscription services available outside the App Store.

Apple had said at the time it would appeal against the penalty.

The US tech giant did not wish to comment but pointed to its statement in March in which it said EU regulators had not found evidence of consumer harm.

A commission spokesperson would not comment on Apple’s appeal, but said Brussels “stands ready to defend all its decisions in court”.

The fine is not the only legal tussle between the commission and Apple.

The two have butted heads in the EU courts over a 13-billion-euro order on Apple to pay Ireland in back taxes.

The case is currently at the bloc’s highest court where the commission is appealing against a 2020 decision that annulled the order for Apple to repay the money.

Another bone of contention is the EU’s new legal armoury to bring big tech to heel.

While Brussels says its Digital Markets Act (DMA) will lead to fairer competition, Apple has criticised the law, saying it risks endangering users’ privacy and security.

The DMA targets the world’s biggest tech companies like Apple but also other firms including Meta and Microsoft, all of which must adhere to a list of obligations.

The commission in March launched its first probe into Apple under the DMA.

AFP
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With 2,400 staff representing 100 different nationalities, AFP covers the world as a leading global news agency. AFP provides fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the issues affecting our daily lives.

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