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Apple to Encounter a $539 million Fine After Spotify’s Antitrust Complaint

According to a report from the Financial Times on Sunday morning, regulators are imposing a €500 million (approximately $539 million USD) fine in response to an investigation spurred by a complaint from Spotify. The complaint alleges that Apple’s policies inhibit iPhone apps from informing users about cheaper alternatives to Apple’s music service.

The crux of the issue lies in Apple’s efforts to maintain control over apps and users within its App Store payment ecosystem. Spotify lodged the complaint in 2019, asserting that Apple’s policies stifled competition against its own Apple Music service, prompting an EU investigation the following year. Eventually, the EU narrowed its objections to Apple’s prohibition of developers linking out to their own subscription sign-ups within their apps — a policy that Apple altered in 2022 under regulatory pressure in Japan.

While $539 million appears substantial, it pales in comparison to the much larger fine of nearly $40 billion (equivalent to 10 percent of Apple’s annual global turnover) that was initially under consideration when the EU updated its objections last year. In 2020, Apple faced a fine exceeding $1 billion, although French authorities reduced it to approximately $366 million following the company’s appeal. When reached for comment, Apple representative Emma Wilson declined to provide specifics, referring to previous statements made by another Apple spokesperson, Hannah Smith, who expressed hope that the Commission would cease pursuing the case, asserting it lacked merit. European Commission spokesperson Lea Zuber also declined to comment on the matter.

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