Home Apple faces record $539m fine from EU amid competition probe

Apple faces record $539m fine from EU amid competition probe

Apple could be set to face a massive fine of around $539 million (€500m) from the European Union over alleged breaches of its competition laws.

As reported by the Financial Times, the issue stems from an antitrust complaint filed by Spotify in 2019, relating to Apple’s anti-competitive App Store functions which hindered third-party music streaming services on its devices.

The App Store rules, at that time, made it difficult for developers to direct users to alternative subscription models outside the app, which presented a possible saving of the 30% fee applied by the Cupertino-based tech giant.

Sources close to the story indicated to the FT a significant fine is incoming with the European Commission set to present its findings. It is part of the executive body of the EU, which carries the remit to ensure legislation is properly applied within the bloc.

It has been reported it will state Apple has broken EU antitrust laws, enabling “unfair trading conditions” for its rivals with the App Store’s “anti-steering obligations.”

Apple’s ongoing issue with EU

The company was formally charged in 2021, under another anti-competitive investigation, but it benefited from a reduced scale of the probe last year as the EU discounted a charge of pushing developers to use its own in-app payment system.

The report further indicated Apple will be hit with a ban on its “unfair trading conditions” in what would be one of the most severe penalties to be meted out to a major tech company. The maker of the iconic iPhone was slapped with a landmark €1.1 billion antitrust sanction by the French authorities in 2020, but this was later reduced to €372 million on appeal.

It has the right to appeal any upcoming fine in the EU courts but the response to this case will be interesting, given the relevance of the Digital Markets Act rules, set to apply from the beginning of March.

This incoming legislation will allow third-party developers to distribute their apps outside the confines of the iOS store with the functionality. to directly bill customers for services rendered.

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The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Graeme Hanna
Tech Journalist

Graeme Hanna is a full-time, freelance writer with significant experience in online news as well as content writing. Since January 2021, he has contributed as a football and news writer for several mainstream UK titles including The Glasgow Times, Rangers Review, Manchester Evening News, MyLondon, Give Me Sport, and the Belfast News Letter. Graeme has worked across several briefs including news and feature writing in addition to other significant work experience in professional services. Now a contributing news writer at ReadWrite.com, he is involved with pitching relevant content for publication as well as writing engaging tech news stories.

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