EU To Slap a $539 Million Fine on Apple Over App Store Policies

HomeTech NewsEU To Slap a $539 Million Fine on Apple Over App Store Policies


  • EU set to fine Apple 500 million EUR ($539 million) for App Store antitrust violations.
  • Fine related to restrictive App Store rules on music streaming apps like Spotify.
  • Apple’s penalty significantly less than the potential maximum of $38.3 billion.
  • Upcoming iOS 17.4 to allow sideloading and alternative in-app purchasing in the EU.

The European Union is again being a thorn in the side of Apple and is poised to impose a hefty fine on tech giant amounting to 500 million EUR ($539 million).

This decision stems from a protracted legal battle that puts Apple’s App Store policies under scrutiny, particularly those concerning music streaming services like Spotify.

The Heart of the Matter

EU To Slap a $539 Million Fine on Apple Over App Store Policies
EU To Slap a $539 Million Fine on Apple Over App Store Policies

The controversy began in earnest in 2019 when Spotify lodged an antitrust complaint with the European Commission (EC).

The streaming giant’s grievance centered on the App Store’s stringent rules that barred developers from directing users to alternative payment options.

This policy effectively nudged developers towards using Apple’s in-app payment system, which incurs a fee ranging from 15% to 30% of the transaction value, dubbed by critics as the “Apple Tax.”

Spotify’s argument was not just about the fees but about the implications for competition and innovation.

By sidelining alternative payment methods, Apple made sure it secured a significant revenue stream but also tightened its grip on the app ecosystem, potentially stifling competition.

The European Commission’s Stand

Apple's penalty significantly less than the potential maximum of $38.3 billion
Apple’s penalty significantly less than the potential maximum of $38.3 billion

Reports from the Financial Times, citing sources familiar with the matter, indicate that the European Commission is set to announce its verdict next month.

The ruling is expected to accuse Apple of violating EU antitrust laws by creating “unfair trading conditions” for its competitors.

This decision is not taken lightly, as it underscores the EU’s commitment to ensuring a level playing field in the digital economy.

Apple, on the other hand, might find a silver lining in the reported fine of 500 million EUR.

Given that penalties for such infringements could reach up to 10% of a company’s annual revenue, Apple’s fine is relatively modest compared to the potential maximum of $38.3 billion, based on its fiscal year 2023 revenue of $383 billion.

Apple’s Response and Adjustments

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Apple’s Response and Adjustments

In response to mounting pressure and ahead of the EC’s ruling, Apple made notable changes to its App Store policies in 2021, with further adjustments in 2022.

These changes were particularly focused on “Reader apps”—applications that provide content such as music, video, and books.

The revised policy allows these apps to direct customers to their websites for payments, thereby avoiding the contentious Apple Tax.

However, Spotify and others have criticized these adjustments as superficial, arguing that they fall short of ensuring genuine competition.


What prompted the EU to fine Apple?

The EU’s fine against Apple is a result of antitrust complaints filed by Spotify in 2019, accusing Apple of creating unfair trading conditions through restrictive App Store policies.

How much is Apple being fined by the EU, and why?

Apple is facing a 500 million EUR ($539 million) fine for violating EU antitrust laws by imposing restrictive App Store rules that disadvantage music streaming competitors.

Could the fine against Apple have been higher?

Yes, the fine could have reached up to 10% of Apple’s annual revenue, potentially amounting to $38.3 billion, based on Apple’s fiscal year 2023 revenue.

What changes has Apple made to its App Store policies?

In response to criticism and ahead of the EU ruling, Apple revised its App Store policies in 2021 and 2022 to allow reader apps to direct users to external payment options.

What will iOS 17.4 introduce for EU iPhone users?

iOS 17.4 will bring significant changes for EU users, including the ability to sideload apps, use alternative web browsers, and choose different in-app purchasing platforms.

Also Read: Apple Adapts to EU Digital Markets Act with Developer Consultations and Q1 Earnings Success

Also Read: Apple’s Phil Schiller Warns of Privacy Risks with Third-Party App Marketplaces in EU

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