EU lining up €500m fine for Apple over anticompetitive App Store


The ruling follows complaints made by Spotify in 2019 that Apple was abusing its App Store’s dominant position and limiting access to competitive services

This week, according to anonymous sources speaking to the Financial Times, European competition regulators are preparing to fine Apple €500 million for restrictive sales practices related to its iOS App Store.

The fine relates to an investigation launched following a formal complaint made by Spotify in 2019, when the music streaming service alleged that Apple was blocking apps from advertising cheaper alternative services not featured on the App Store to customers.

This constitutes anticompetitive practises, according to the sources, with the European Commission set to accuse Apple of leveraging its dominant market position to create “unfair trading conditions”.

The EU has been strengthening regulations on major tech firms for a number of years now, seeking to rein in companies like Apple, Google, and Meta that have enormous influence on the continent’s digital landscape. Over the past decade, this has seen the European Commission launch numerous investigations into these companies’ competitive practises, resulting in the tech giants being dealt billions of euros in fines by various regulatory bodies.

Alongside these investigations, the EU has also been working towards stronger regulatory legislation, most notably with the introduction of the Digital Markets Act (DMA) in November 2022.

The DMA features a raft of new regulations for large online platform companies – so-called ‘gatekeepers’ – particularly focussed on making the market fairer and more accessible for smaller digital players.

Companies have until next month to comply with the new DMA rules, hence major tech firms are beginning to introduce significant changes to meet the new requirements. This includes Apple last month announcing major changes to its iOS system, though the company warned that some changes, such as the sideloading of apps, could risk reducing customers security and privacy.

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