Apple Faces $539 Million Fine Following Spotify Antitrust Complaint

Apple Faces $539 Million Fine Following Spotify Antitrust Complaint

According to a Financial Times report Sunday, Apple is facing a hefty €500 million (roughly $539 million USD) fine from European regulators. This penalty apparently comes after an investigation into Spotify’s 2019 complaint that Apple’s App Store policies unfairly limit competition against its own Apple Music streaming service.

Essentially, Spotify called out Apple for requiring apps to use its payment system, which stops them from telling users about cheaper subscription options outside the App Store. After looking into it, regulators narrowed their objections down to Apple’s policy banning developers from even including links within their apps directing users to alternative subscription sign-ups. Apple finally relented on that specific rule last year amid similar regulatory pressure in Japan.

 

Spotify

 

While $539 million sounds substantial, Apple was originally facing a much steeper potential fine of around $40 billion – 10% of their annual global revenue – when the EU issued updated charges in 2022. And when Apple got hit with over $1 billion by French authorities in 2020, they managed to get the fine reduced to about $366 million on appeal.

When asked about this latest EU fine, Apple declined comment and stood by previous statements defending their App Store policies. Meanwhile, the European Commission also declined to comment. Spotify, who kicked this all off with their initial complaint, did not respond. So we’ll have to wait and see if this speculative $539 million penalty ultimately comes to fruition.