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EU To Fine Apple €500 Million For Antitrust Violations

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The European Commission will impose a 500 million euro ($539 million) fine on Apple for violating EU competition laws.

The Financial Times first reported the news, citing anonymous sources with knowledge of the case. 

The European Commission began investigating claims in 2019 that Apple restricted third-party music services on its devices and favored its Apple Music.

This sparked a complaint by Spotify in 2019.

Apple's App Store policies restrict companies like Spotify from offering subscription payments directly within their apps.

It forces them to utilize Apple's billing system and surrender up to 30 percent in fees. 

The EU formally charged the tech giant for requiring developers to use its in-app payment system.

However, the EU narrowed its focus to investigate whether the company unfairly prevents apps from informing users about more affordable subscription options outside the App Store.

Sources said the European Commission's investigation findings will accuse Apple of exploiting its dominant market position.

They said it imposes "unfair trading conditions" on music subscription services and is poised to ban these practices.

Fine will be EU's biggest ever against tech company

If it happens, the fine would be one of the EU's largest against a tech giant.

It follows several significant fines against Google and Apple's previous €1.1 billion fine in France, which was reduced on appeal.

The EU has intensified its crackdown on tech giants’ anti-competitive behavior, which comes before implementing the Digital Markets Act.

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The act aims to address the anticompetition of leading tech companies called "gatekeepers" like Apple, Amazon, and Google. 

It will compel Apple to permit third-party app distribution outside the iOS Store and allow direct billing by those apps.

The law addresses long-standing grievances from smaller tech companies over restrictive business practices.

Apple has announced impending changes to its iOS, Safari, and App Store policies in the EU, including allowing alternative app stores. 

The European Commission is also investigating Apple's limitations on rival access to its Apple Pay system, with Apple already making concessions in this area.

The exact timing of the fine's announcement remains unspecified, but it signifies a steadfast continuation of the EU's antitrust investigation. 

Apple, which can appeal any decision, has not commented directly on these latest reports.

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