Action On Big-Tech: EU Hands Apple With A Fine Of Nearly USD 2 Billion

Action On Big-Tech: EU Hands Apple With A Fine Of Nearly USD 2 Billion

European governmental agencies, especially the all-powerful European Union and his institutions have time and again reprimanded major companies.

Juviraj AnchilUpdated: Tuesday, March 05, 2024, 03:46 PM IST
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Representative Image | UnSplash

Big tech has been facing the ire regulation for some time now. In the past decade, the power that these Multi-National tech-oriented companies posses has only augmented in the past few years. This has also resulted in discourse surrounding the understanding and definition of the scope of regulation to rise in prominence as well.

European governmental agencies, especially the all-powerful European Union and his institutions have time and again reprimanded Big-tech, either for unfair practices or anti-competitive issues.

Apple music violates competitive norms

In a recent development, that dovetails to this trend, The European Union levelled its first antitrust penalty against Apple on Tuesday. Brussels handed the California-based firm with 1.8 billion Euro fine.

This decision came after Apple was found breaking the bloc's competition laws by unfairly espousing its own music streaming, Apple Music, undercutting its rivals.

In the past Apple, along with Google have been impaled with similar allegations of attempting to quell competition or extracting additional from application developers on their app platforms, App Store and Play Store respectively.

In the past major markets in the sector have brought these tech giants to scrutiny, in the recent past, The Competition Commission of India (CCI) took action against several Big Tech companies, including Google, Meta, Apple, and Amazon. Google has been fined for violating antitrust regulations.

In the recent development, The European Commission, the executive arm of the 27-nation bloc and its top antitrust enforcer, has accused Apple of prohibiting app developers from "fully informing iOS users about alternative and cheaper music subscription services outside of the app."

The commission accused the tech-giant of providing services, at a significantly inflated rate.

1.8 billion Euro fine

The EU has led global efforts to crack down on Big Tech companies, including a series of multi-billion-dollar fines for Google and charging Meta with distorting the online classified ad market. In addition, the body launched a separate antitrust investigation into Apple's mobile payments service.

The 1.8 billion-euro fine stems from a lengthy investigation initiated by Spotify five years ago. Spotify is one of the biggest players in the music streaming business.

Apple, on its part, hit back at the decision, and claimed, that it would launch an appeal against the penalty. It in turn insinuated, that Spotify stood to gain from the juridical move, as the latter holds major sway over the European market.

The commission's investigation revealed that Apple proscribed streaming services from informing users about subscription prices offered outside of their apps.

Actions in the past

In 2023, in a move that sounded alarm bells in the tech industry, the US has reconsidered its approach to regulating Big Tech, particularly concerning cross-border data flows, server localization, and source code disclosure and joined the statement issued by the WTO.

There have also been talks of break up of these major entities into smaller ones, similar to the action, that was carried out in the case of Standard Oil Company by the US Supreme court in 1911.

The fate of these companies is yet to be decided and is unpredictable, but such litigations, handing setbacks to Big Tech will perhaps burgeon in the time to come.

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