Apple faces antitrust pressure from both sides of the Atlantic.

Apple faces antitrust pressure from both sides of the Atlantic. The computer giant received a $2 billion European Commission (EC) fine Monday for allegedly violating competition laws abroad, as it prepares for a massive US Justice Department case.

Apple will challenge the EU antitrust regulator's ruling. According to media accounts, it has been urging Justice Department officials not to sue. Amazon (AMZN), Google (GOOG, GOOGL), and Meta (META) have faced government-induced antitrust issues, but Apple (AAPL) has not. However, that is changing.

Apple's shares fell over 2.5% after the European Commission's ruling and is down over 5% this year. Specifically, the EC penalized the business for abusing its control in the music streaming app distribution industry.

Swedish music streaming company Spotify (SPOT) filed a formal protest against the store's policies in 2019, prompting an EU probe. The EC found that Apple prevented app developers from adequately notifying iOS customers about other ways to access and pay for streaming services outside of Apple's app store for nearly a decade, raising music streaming expenses.

Through Apple's contracts, the EC argued Apple illegally pushed app purchases through the App Store, where Apple takes 30%.

Apple's almost ten-year conduct may have caused many iOS users to pay significantly higher prices for music streaming subscriptions due to the high commission fee Apple imposed on developers and passed on to consumers in the form of higher subscription prices on the Apple App Store "The commission summarized its findings.

Apple challenged the EC for failing to find solid evidence of consumer harm and ignoring the robust, competitive, and fast-growing music streaming market. "The primary advocate for this decision — and the biggest beneficiary — is Spotify," Apple blogged. Spotify became the world's largest music streaming app without paying Apple.

Apple attributed that achievement to the App Store, saying Spotify owns 56% of Europe's music streaming market, more than double their nearest competitor. Apple has called Spotify's EC complaint an attempt to acquire "limitless access" to its tools for free.

Media reports say the US antitrust inquiry is broader. Investigations are looking into whether Apple's integration of iPhones, the App Store, Apple Watch, iMessage, and AirTags limits competition. Apple's revenue streams would be threatened by a DOJ lawsuit to deconstruct its "walled garden" ecology.

Apple's $200.6 billion iPhone sales in 2023 made up most of its $383.3 billion revenue. Apple's iPhone-related services and hardware are also lucrative. Last year, Apple's wearables, home, and accessories division, which includes Apple Watch and AirPods sales, earned $39.8 billion, while its booming services business, which includes Apple Music+ and App Store subscriptions, earned $85.2 billion.

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