The European Commission (EC) slapped Apple with a €1.8 billion fine for alleged uncompetitive behaviour related to the music streaming app market, a decision which provoked a lengthy tirade against the regulator and Spotify from the iPhone maker.

Following a lengthy investigation, the regulator concluded Apple placed illegal restrictions on developers in preventing them from informing app users about cheaper and alternative music subscription options available outside of the iOS ecosystem.

In its judgement, the EC asserted so-called “anti-steering provisions” employed by Apple amounted to “unfair trading conditions”, with the regulator claiming they were “neither necessary nor proportionate for the protection of Apple’s commercial interests in relation to the App Store on Apple’s smart mobile devices”.

It is claimed the practice lasted almost ten years and “may have led many iOS users to pay significantly higher prices for music streaming subscriptions”.

In response, Apple indicated it planned to appeal while panning the decision, describing it as being made despite a “failure to uncover any credible evidence of consumer harm” and ignoring the “realities of a market that is thriving”.

Following a detailed argument protesting its innocence, the company made a final swipe at the authority claiming it issued “this decision just before their new regulation, the Digital Markets Act (DMA), comes into force. Apple is set to comply with the DMA in days, and our plans include changes to the rules challenged here”.

“What’s clear is that this decision is not grounded in existing competition law. It’s an effort by the commission to enforce the DMA before the DMA becomes law”.

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What’s clear is that this decision is not grounded in existing competition law

Company statement Apple

The company also used the opportunity to fire accusations at Spotify, which made the complaint sparking the EC’s investigation.  

Apple identified the music app provider of being the “primary advocate for this decision and the biggest beneficiary”, claiming the Swedish streaming company met with the regulator 65 times during the investigation.

It also highlighted Spotify had built a dominant position in the market with a “large part” of this deemed by Apple to be related to its App Store.

However, it now claims the streamer is aiming to “bend the rules in their favour by embedding subscription prices in their app without using the App Store’s in-App Purchase system”.

“They want to use Apple’s tools and technologies, distribute on the App Store, and benefit from the trust we’ve built with users and to pay Apple nothing for it,” it added.