EU slaps Apple with $1.9B antitrust fine over App store abuses

EU regulators on Monday dealt a hefty blow to tech giant Apple, slapping the company with a staggering €1.8 billion ($1.9 billion) fine for "abusing its dominant position on the market for the distribution of music streaming apps."

The penalty marks the first time the European Commission has fined Apple and ranks as the third-largest antitrust fine in history, trailing only behind significant penalties imposed on Google for its shopping search and Android cellphone software.

Apple restricted “app developers' ability to inform users of Apple devices about alternative, cheaper options to purchase music available on the internet outside of the Apple ecosystem," the commission said in a statement on Monday.

"This is illegal. And it has impacted millions of European consumers, who were not able to make a free choice as to where, how, and at what price to buy music streaming subscriptions," it noted.

These "anti-steering provisions," as described by the commission, are deemed unfair trading conditions that violate antitrust regulations, serving Apple's commercial interests rather than fostering a fair marketplace.

The commission has mandated that Apple remove terms preventing developers from informing users about alternative subscription methods.

"From now on, Apple will have to allow music streaming developers to communicate freely with their own users, be it within the app, or by email, or any other way of communicating," it said.

"Now, it is of fundamental importance to hold companies like Apple accountable for their violations of EU law. If Apple abuses its dominant position, we will detect such illegal behaviour, we will bring it to an end and we will punish Apple for it," it added.

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