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Apple Yields to EU Demands on Music Streaming

Apple has reversed course in the battle over music-streaming services in Europe.

The tech giant said Friday (April 5 it has accepted demands by the European Union that it stop blocking music apps from notifying listeners of cheaper services outside the Apple app store. 

Now, Apple says music apps can link to developer websites and inform users of other ways to purchase subscriptions. The announcement came after the company was hit with a record $1.9 billion fine from European regulators who accused Apple of “abusive behavior.”

However, the Bloomberg report noted that Apple still plans to charge a commission of as much as 27% on app sales made on a developers’ webpage, once a user has clicked on an external link from the app and makes a purchase within seven days.

The European Commission in March ordered Apple to do away with the “abusive” terms in its contracts with developers while also giving the company its record fine. The case stemmed from a complaint by Spotify, which said it was forced to increase subscription fees to offset the cost of doing business with Apple.

Apple had said it was going to appeal the decision, and issued a statement saying the EC had failed “to uncover any credible evidence of consumer harm.”

The company’s latest decision comes as Apple deals with a host of regulatory issues tied to its app store.

For example, Russia’s antitrust regulator, the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS), last week said the company was limiting access to banking and payment services. 

Most of Russia’s banks had been removed from the App Store, and the FAS said Apple has barred users from installing apps from anywhere other than the App Store, thus making it impossible for Russian banks and contactless services to conduct business.

Apple is also facing an antitrust suit by the U.S. Department of Justice, which alleges that Apple’s actions hamstring the development of super apps that would make it easier for consumers to switch between smartphone platforms.

Apple said in a statement provided to PYMNTS that the suit threatens principles that help its products stand out, and if successful, “would hinder our ability to create the kind of technology people expect from Apple — where hardware, software, and services intersect.”