Apple Fights €1.8 Billion Antitrust Fine Over App Store Fees

In a move with significant implications for app developers and consumers alike, Apple is contesting the €1.8 billion ($2 billion) antitrust fine levied by the European Union (EU) in March 2024. The fine stemmed from a complaint filed by Spotify in 2019, which challenged Apple’s App Store policy of charging app developers a 30% commission on in-app subscriptions for the first year and 15% thereafter.

Spotify vs. Apple Music: A Level Playing Field?

Spotify argued that this fee structure unfairly advantaged Apple Music, its direct competitor within the App Store. Since Spotify was forced to factor the App Store commission into its subscription pricing, it could not compete effectively with Apple Music on price.

Apple Appeals the Fine

As reported by Bloomberg, Apple has filed a lawsuit with the EU’s General Court in Luxembourg to overturn the fine. Apple contends that the EU failed to demonstrate how consumers were negatively impacted by its App Store policies.

Predatory Pricing and Antitrust Laws

While the specifics of the case will be debated in court, it’s important to note that predatory pricing practices are explicitly prohibited by antitrust laws. This raises questions about the validity of Apple’s argument.

Changes to App Store Policy

Previously, App Store policies prevented developers from informing users about alternative subscription options outside of the App Store, effectively limiting user choice. The EU has since implemented regulations mandating that Apple allows developers to advertise these alternative payment methods.