Apple to appeal $2 billion EU antitrust fine in Spotify case

  • The European Commission charged Apple with preventing Swedish streaming service Spotify and others from informing users of payment options outside its App Store. EU fined Apple 1.84 billion euros ($2 billion) for thwarting competition from music streaming rivals via restrictions on its App Store on Monday.
  • Apple criticised the decision and said it will appeal the decision.

Apple, the tech giant, has been hit with a hefty fine of 1.84 billion euros ($2 billion) by the European Union for allegedly impeding competition from music streaming rivals through restrictions on its App Store. This marks the first time the iPhone maker has faced such a penalty for violating EU regulations.

European Commission’s accusations against Apple

The European Commission accused Apple of preventing companies like Spotify from informing users about payment options outside of the App Store, following a complaint by Spotify in 2019. The Commission argued that Apple’s actions constituted unfair trading conditions, a relatively new angle in antitrust cases, and ordered the company to cease such conduct.

Apple’s intention to appeal and potential legal battle

In response, Apple has stated its intention to appeal the decision, signaling a potential protracted legal battle ahead. The Luxembourg-based General Court, Europe’s second-highest court, is expected to handle the case, with a resolution likely to take several years. Until then, Apple will be required to pay the substantial fine and comply with the EU’s directives.

In a statement, Apple criticised the decision, asserting that the Commission failed to uncover credible evidence of consumer harm and disregarded the realities of a thriving and competitive market. The company also highlighted Spotify’s involvement in advocating for the decision, emphasizing the extensive engagement between Spotify and the European Commission during the investigation.

Also read: Apple reverses decision to disable home screen web apps in EU

Financial impact on Apple

Apple’s stock experienced a 3.2% decline to $173.88 following the announcement of the fine, reflecting investor concerns about the potential long-term effects on the company’s operations and financial performance.

Despite the significant monetary impact, analysts believe that Apple can absorb the financial blow without an immediate cash impact. However, this development is viewed as a significant step in dismantling the walled gardens that Apple has established around its ecosystem over the years, potentially signaling broader implications for the company’s operations.

Also read: Apple pilots ChatGPT-like tool called ‘Ask’ for customer service

Broader trend of regulatory scrutiny

The EU’s fine on tech companies is part of a broader trend of regulatory scrutiny. For example, the EU has fined Google 8.25 billion euros in the past decade, indicating a consistent focus on curbing anticompetitive practices in the tech industry. Apple also faces challenges under the Digital Markets Act (DMA), mandating the removal of App Store restrictions by Mar 7, highlighting ongoing regulatory pressure within the EU.


Cherry Qiu

Cherry Qiu was an intern reporter at BTW media covering AI. She majored in journalism and has various working experiences.

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