EU: Apple likely to face €500 million fine for breaking EU law

As published on: neowin.net, Monday 19 February, 2024. 

Apple is likely to face a fine of around half a billion euros early next month according to five people with direct knowledge of an on-going investigation. These five sources reported these details to the Financial Times and said that an official announcement from the European Union could come early next month.

The investigation was seeking to find out if Apple was blocking its users from finding out about subscriptions that were cheaper on the provider’s own website. The complaint was made by Spotify to regulators way back in 2019.

According to the leaks, Apple will be told that its actions are illegal and will be forced to let music services tell customers about cheaper subscription offers available directly on their websites - rather than through Apple’s payment systems.

Providing that the EU doesn’t change its mind in the next month, it’s believed that it will label Apple’s actions as “unfair trading conditions” as it’s using its powerful position to hinder direct rivals to its own Apple Music.

Neither Apple nor the European Union have provided comments on this on-going investigation but if the EU comes out against Apple, the iPhone maker can appeal to EU courts which may rule in Apple’s favour.

Apple believes that its App Store has helped Spotify to become a leading streaming service in Europe and hopes that the EU will “end its pursuit of a complaint that has no merit.”

For those that don’t know, Apple charges a 30% tax on payments made through its systems, this is the main reason that Spotify is angry that it cannot redirect users to its website to pick up a subscription at a cheaper cost. Luckily for Spotify, the new Digital Markets Act (DMA), which is coming into effect in March, will prevent Apple from slapping this 30% tax on purchases of Spotify Premium and similar subscriptions.

We are not too far off the DMA coming into force now so we’ll soon see how it shakes things up.


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