Apple reportedly faces its first EU antitrust fine

  • Apple could be fined about 500 million euros by the European Union, according to reports.
  • The penalty is related to “unfair trading conditions,” the Financial Times reported.
  • Apple blocked rivals from telling users about cheaper options, the EU is expected to say next month.

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Apple is expected to be fined by the European Union for the first time, according to reports by the Financial Times and Bloomberg.

The EU is set to impose a penalty of about 500 million euros ($539 million) in early March, the FT reported

It will reportedly find that Apple’s actions to stop rival music streaming services from telling users about cheaper options outside its App Store breached EU competition rules.

The EU is expected to find that Apple placed “unfair trading conditions” on rivals to its Apple Music service, per the reports. 

The body began investigating Apple after Spotify lodged a complaint in 2019. The streaming company claimed Apple’s App Store rules “purposely limit choice and stifle innovation” by imposing a 30% commission on app developers. 

Last month Apple announced changes in the EU in a bid to comply with the Digital Markets Act, a law intended to limit tech giants’ dominance in the digital economy.

The changes reduce the commission from 30% to 17%, with an extra 3% fee for use of its payment processing. Developers will now need to pay a “core technology fee” of 50 euro cents for “each first annual install per year” over one million in the past 12 months. 

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek hit out at the changes in a statement on X: “In Apple’s ‘new’ world, the fees could be astronomical. Picture this: A popular free app with tens or hundreds of millions EU users, now faces a tax on every download and update annually.”

He added: “Imagine the impact on popular apps like WhatsApp, Duolingo, X, and Pinterest, all free to users, but now potentially incurring fees to the tune of tens to hundreds of millions of €. Essentially this means they cannot accept being on alternative App stores.” 

Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider, made outside normal working hours.

The EU declined to comment.

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Jyoti Mann