The European Commission claims that Apple Music violated antitrust laws by restricting developers’ access to advertising subscriptions. The tech giant is now facing a potential $39.4 billion fine.
EU accuses Apple Music of violating antitrust laws
The EC highlighted its concerns in the same matter back in 2021 and added that Apple had violated antitrust laws. But it was just an initial decision, and the Commission has since provided an update. The European Commission said the following in a press release:
Today’s Statement of Objections clarifies that the Commission does no longer take a position as to the legality of the IAP obligation for the purposes of this antitrust investigation but rather focuses on the contractual restrictions that Apple imposed on app developers which prevent them from informing iPhone and iPad users of alternative music subscription options at lower prices outside of the app and to effectively choose those.
So, the argument that Apple should not force developers to utilize its in-app purchasing system—at the heart of Spotify’s initial 2019 complaint to the EC—has effectively been refuted.
However, Apple must now reply to the claim that it restricted developers in the past. One example of this is when Apple specifically prohibited providers of services like Spotify from mentioning or linking to alternate ways to subscribe.
If the Commission concludes, after the company has exercised its rights of defence, that there is sufficient evidence of an infringement, it can adopt a decision prohibiting the conduct and imposing a fine of up to 10% of the company’s annual worldwide turnover.
There is no legal deadline for bringing an antitrust investigation to an end. The duration of an antitrust investigation depends on a number of factors, including the complexity of the case, the extent to which the undertakings concerned cooperate with the Commission and the exercise of the rights of defence.
Apple will now respond to the issues raised by the European Commission in regard to Apple Music. Following that, there will be a final decision and a fine of up to 10% of Apple’s annual global revenue.
In regards to the EC’s update on Apple Music, Apple has not yet commented.