EU Slaps Apple with 500 Million Fine Over App Store Practices

The European Commission accuses Apple of EU antitrust violations, citing ‘unfair trading conditions’ due to the App Store’s ‘anti-steering obligations’

Brussels, Belgium – In a significant development, the European Commission is gearing up to slap Apple with a substantial €500 million ($538 million) fine for what they deem as anti-competitive practices in the music streaming market.

The roots of this move lie in a lengthy investigation prompted by Spotify‘s complaint, which accused Apple of unfairly favouring its own music service, Apple Music, through App Store policies.

apple music and spotify

The heart of the matter revolves around Apple’s “anti-steering” provisions, which prohibited music streaming apps from informing users about potentially cheaper subscription options outside the App Store.

This policy effectively directed users to subscribe through Apple, where the company collects a 30% commission on all in-app purchases. The EU sees this as an unfair practice, providing Apple Music with an undue advantage over its competitors.

While the impending ruling won’t mandate alternative payment methods within the App Store, it will compel music streaming services to freely link users to their own websites for subscriptions.

This move could potentially lead to lower prices outside the App Store, challenging Apple’s commission structure.

This decision underscores the increasing scrutiny of Big Tech’s control over app ecosystems. The EU’s focus on fostering competition in the music streaming sector may set a precedent for other app categories.

The upcoming Digital Markets Act, demanding stricter compliance from major players like Apple, adds weight to this fine, marking a noteworthy development in the ongoing struggle for fair competition in the digital landscape.

EU to hit Apple with first ever fine in €500mn penalty over music streaming
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Apple, previously untouched by EU antitrust fines, now faces pressure from various angles.

Their recent compliance efforts and App Store changes, announced last month, were met with skepticism from competitors like Spotify, who deemed them insufficient.

As Apple makes it’s way through these legal challenges, the actions taken by the EU emphasise the growing insistence on tech giants ensuring fair competition within their platforms.

This ruling could pave the way for additional antitrust cases, potentially reshaping the landscape of online competition.