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Apple Fined with Over 1.8bn euro EU in Spotify Case

Apple Fined with Over 1.8bn euro EU in Spotify Case.

EU Fines Apple €1.8 Billion for Antitrust Violations in Spotify Case

Apple has been hit with its first-ever EU antitrust fine of €1.8 billion ($1.95 billion) for preventing music streaming services like Spotify from informing users about alternative payment options outside the App Store.

This landmark decision marks a significant development in the ongoing battle against tech giants and their alleged anti-competitive practices.

The Case and its Underlying Issues:

  • Complaint: The European Commission’s (EC) decision stems from a 2019 complaint filed by Spotify against Apple’s restrictions and its 30% App Store fees.
  • Antitrust Concerns: The EC ruled that Apple’s actions constituted unfair trading conditions by hindering competition and user choice. This “unfair trading conditions” argument, while relatively new in antitrust cases, is gaining traction, as seen in a similar 2021 Dutch case against Apple brought by dating app providers.
  • Fines and Rationale: The EC determined a €1.8 billion fine, citing both the non-monetary harm caused by Apple’s conduct and the need for deterrence. An additional lump sum was added to the base amount, further emphasizing the seriousness of the offense.

EU’s Position:

  • Margrethe Vestager, EU antitrust chief, stated that Apple’s dominant market position in music streaming app distribution was abused for a decade.
  • Restricting user information about alternative payment options was deemed illegal under EU antitrust rules, as it limited consumer choice and stifled competition.

Apple’s Response:

  • Apple vehemently denied the allegations and pledged to challenge the decision in court. They claim the EU failed to find evidence of consumer harm and misinterpreted a thriving, competitive market.
  • Apple highlighted Spotify’s role in the investigation, stating they met with the EC over 65 times and benefit from not paying App Store commissions due to selling subscriptions outside the platform.

Implications and Future Outlook:

  • Vestager’s ruling aligns with the upcoming EU Digital Markets Act (DMA), which mandates similar measures against app store restrictions.
  • While significant, the fine is considerably smaller than the €8.25 billion Google received from the EU in previous antitrust cases.
  • Apple proposes to offer concessions by opening its mobile payment systems to competitors in another ongoing EU investigation, potentially avoiding further fines.


This landmark EU ruling sets a precedent for holding tech giants accountable for potential anti-competitive practices. While Apple intends to fight the decision, the case raises critical questions about app store policies, user choice, and fair competition in the digital marketplace. As the EU continues to enforce stricter regulations and other countries explore similar measures, the future of app stores and music streaming services will likely be shaped by the ongoing battle between tech giants and regulators.

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