The EU makes Apple face the music

Together with

The Future. The EU handed down a €500 million (~$539 million) fine to Apple after investigating Spotify’s complaint that Apple prohibits iPhone apps from informing users about cheap alternatives to Apple’s music service. If the fine stands, Apple will likely have to give third-party apps more freedom than ever before.

History time
The story of the recent half-billion-dollar fine starts five years ago.

  • In 2019, Spotify accused Apple of anticompetitive practices, specifically targeting the App Store tax.
  • 2020 saw the EU begin their investigation into Apple.
  • By 2021, the EU narrowed their complaint down to Apple’s prohibition of apps’ linking to their services within their own apps.
  • In April 2022, Apple got rid of that prohibition.
  • Then, in 2023, the EU sent Apple a new list of objections, threatening fines of up to $40 billion.
  • The current fine concerns Spotify’s 2019 complaint regardless of Apple’s recent policy changes.

Sour grapes
Apple will likely appeal this fine since fighting back has worked for them before. But all this pressure will discourage them from cracking down on third-party apps — which will start getting bolder with their services and demands.

Apple probably can’t stop them — and definitely shouldn’t try.

Luke Perrotta


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