EU to hit Apple with €500m fine over antitrust music streaming complaint from Spotify

Apple Logo from Apple Store light
(Image credit: iMore)

Apple has been accused of breaking EU law over access to music streaming services on its platforms, and will be hit with a €500 million fine from the European Commission.

The news comes via a report from the Financial Times (paywall), which has spoken to five sources with direct knowledge of the ongoing case.

While the verdict isn't public until its announcement "early next month", the report suggests Apple unfairly prevented apps from suggesting payment methods outside of the App Store.

Spotify brought the initial complaint to regulators back in 2019, but it appears a verdict is finally forthcoming after half a decade and that Apple's terms will be deemed as "unfair trading conditions".

Another case, focused on Apple's decisions on which financial groups can use Apple Pay, is also continuing.

Apple hit by big fine in the EU

Despite the ongoing furore over the Digital Markets Act, aimed at preventing "walled garden" marketplaces, which rolls out early next month, this is the first time Apple has been hit by a fine from Brussels (a €1.1bn fine from France was revised down to €372m fine upon appeal).

Still, €500m may be the easiest part of this for Apple to swallow. The company has already allowed Epic Games, its longtime courtroom rival, a developer account in the EU to develop its own storefront and bring Fortnite back to the iPhone, while it's also been forced to alter the scope of web apps on iOS.

The biggest concern for the company is likely to be sideloading, with EU users expected to be able to install apps from outside of the App Store, and potentially away from the watchful eye of Apple's vetting process.

Apple's previously closed ecosystem is on the precipice of a dramatic shift, it seems, but it's not all bad news. Just a few days ago, the European Commission confirmed iMessage won't need to be opened up to other platforms.

Lloyd Coombes
Contributor

Lloyd Coombes is a freelance writer with a specialism in Apple tech. From his first, hand-me-down iMac, he’s been working with Apple products for over a decade, and while he loves his iPhone and Mac, the iPad will always have his heart for reasons he still can’t quite fathom.

Since moving from blogging to writing professionally, Lloyd’s work can be found at TechRadar, Macworld, TechAdvisor and plenty more.

He’s also the Editor in Chief at GGRecon.com, and on the rare occasion he’s not writing you’ll find him spending time with his son, or working hard at the gym (while wearing an Apple Watch, naturally). You can find him on Twitter @lloydcoombes.