Apple Braces for EU Decision on App Store Rules Amid Spotify Dispute
Apple is poised for a significant regulatory blow in the EU as authorities gear up to issue an antitrust order concerning its App Store practices, particularly in its dispute with Spotify (via Bloomberg).
The EU’s regulatory body is finalizing its decision on Apple’s alleged maneuvers to hinder competitors in the music-streaming sphere from diverting users away from the App Store to cheaper subscription options.
Sources familiar with the investigation anticipate this decision to surface in early 2024.
Apple faces the possibility of a substantial fine amounting to as much as 10% of its yearly sales, although EU penalties typically fall short of this level.
However, potential directives for Apple to amend its business practices could have more profound ramifications.
The investigation stemmed from a complaint lodged nearly four years ago by Spotify, alleging that Apple’s policies compelled it to inflate its subscription prices.
The European Commission honed in on Apple’s anti-steering rules, branding them unnecessary and leading to higher costs for consumers.
During a private hearing held in June as part of the EU case, Apple maintained that it had already addressed concerns about potential competition.
The tech giant began permitting services like Spotify to direct users to the web within their apps for subscription sign-ups, bypassing Apple’s commission fees and granting consumers more pricing options.
Despite Apple’s modifications, Spotify rebuffed these efforts, asserting that restrictions persisted and the alterations were superficial.
EU’s Margrethe Vestager, known for taking on Silicon Valley giants, has a track record of confronting Apple and other tech leaders. She has imposed substantial fines on Google and ordered Apple to reimburse allegedly unfair tax benefits from Ireland.