Apple hit with $2 billion EU antitrust fine in Spotify case

05.03.2024


On Monday, Brussels imposed a hefty fine of 1.84 billion euros ($2 billion) on Apple for impeding competition from music streaming rivals through restrictions on its App Store. This marks the iPhone maker’s inaugural penalty for violating EU rules. The European Commission, responding to a 2019 complaint by Spotify, accused Apple of hindering the Swedish streaming service and others from informing users about payment options outside the App Store. The penalty, originally set at 40 million euros, was substantially increased with an imposing lump sum intended as a deterrent—a unprecedented move by the European Union’s antitrust authorities.

The European Commission argued that Apple’s restrictions constituted unfair trading conditions, a relatively novel perspective in an antitrust case. This line of reasoning was also employed by the Dutch antitrust agency in a 2021 decision against Apple, related to a case initiated by dating app providers. The Commission ordered Apple to cease such conduct.

In response, Apple announced its intention to appeal the decision. However, a ruling from the Luxembourg-based General Court, Europe’s second-highest court, is anticipated to take several years. In the meantime, Apple is obligated to pay the fine and comply with the EU’s directives. Consequently, Apple’s shares experienced a 3.2% decline, reaching $173.88 on Monday afternoon.

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