Apple Hit With $2 Billion Fine, Shares Tumble In Market Response

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The EU has fined Apple (AAPL) €1.8 billion ($1.9 billion) for anti-competitive practices in music streaming, marking Apple’s first such penalty—the fine targets Apple’s App Store restrictions that limit cheaper music service options. Led by Margrethe Vestager, this action is part of a broader crackdown on Big Tech’s influence. Apple disputes the findings and plans to appeal. This decision follows a Spotify complaint in 2019 and ranks as the EU’s third-largest antitrust fine.

Apple Fined $2 Billion for Violating EU Antitrust Rules

Brussels has fined Apple €1.8 billion ($2 billion) for violating European Union antitrust rules, marking the technology giant’s first punishment for stifling competition in the music streaming market. The European Commission found that Apple abused its dominant position with restrictive App Store policies that prevented developers from informing users about cheaper music subscriptions outside of its ecosystem.

The landmark decision is the latest salvo by the EU’s competition chief, Margrethe Vestager, in a broader effort to curtail the power of big tech companies. Apple plans to appeal the ruling, arguing the Commission’s findings lack credible evidence of consumer harm. The €1.8 billion fine is the third-largest antitrust penalty levied by Brussels, exceeded only by previous fines totaling €8 billion against Google (GOOG) for similar infringements. The investigation stemmed from a 2019 complaint by Spotify alleging anti-competitive behavior by Apple.

Apple Down in Premarket

Apple Inc. shares retreated further in pre-market trading Monday, trading at $176.71, down $2.95 or 1.64%, after declining $1.09 or 0.60% in the previous session to $179.66. The tech giant’s stock ranged between $177.38 and $180.53, with a trading volume of 73.6 million shares, significantly higher than the average of 56.6 million.

Despite the recent slide, Apple maintains a market cap of $2.774 trillion and a one-year target estimate of $201.41. The company, which has a forward dividend yield of 0.53%, is expected to report earnings between May 2-6, 2024. As of the last 12 months, Apple’s price-earnings ratio stands at 27.94, with earnings per share of $6.43.

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