EU questions whether Apple has changed anything after its $1.95 billion fine

Posted:
in Apple Music

Following the European Union's fining Apple for blocking music streaming firms from promoting cheaper alternatives to the App Store, regulators are assessing whether Apple has now complied.

European Union flags fluttering with a backdrop of modern glass building facades.
EU flags in Brussels



The $1.95 billion fine on March 4, 2024, was specifically regarding this anti-steering issue. Apple at the time objected, saying that the EU had failed "to uncover any credible evidence of consumer harm."

According to Bloomberg, Apple has subsequently accepted the EU's decision. In a change made on Friday to the App Store rules, Apple said it will no longer block developers in the EU from linking out to alternative methods of payment.

However, it will still charge a 27% fee for subscriptions bought this way.

Now according to gamesfray, the EU is "currently assessing whether Apple has fully complied with the decision."

This could in theory be the latest of multiple compliance investigations brought by the EU against Apple. However, it's unlikely to be a full compliance investigation along the lines of the previous inquiry, because the answer should be plain.

It will be straightforward for the EU to spot whether Apple has really lifted its anti-steering processes. Then although Spotify continues to complain over Apple's fees, there is nothing in the Digital Markets Act that says Apple can't charge for sales generated through links on App Store apps.

Spotify claims to not agree and has recently re-issued a comment that was originally made before Apple was fined.

"Following the law is not optional, but Apple continues to defy that decision," said Spotify's Jeanne Moran. "Effective April 6th, the Commission can start noncompliance proceedings and impose daily fines."

"It's time for decisive action to once and for all give consumers real choice," continued Moran. The statement about consumer choice comes despite 56% of streaming consumers having already chosen Spotify over Amazon Music, YouTube Music, and Apple Music, in that order.

Apple's latest App Store rules include a section about how "music streaming apps in specific regions can use Music Streaming Services Entitlements to include a link (which may take the form of a buy button) to the developer's website to purchase digital music content or services."



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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 26
    Apple at the time objected, saying that the EU had failed "to uncover any credible evidence of consumer harm."

    Why would they bother to provide such evidence? The law isn't about preventing "consumer harm", because there isn't any.  It's about bringing Apple to heel, and making them answer to their rightful masters.


    S8ER95Zwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 26
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 7,774member
    Apple at the time objected, saying that the EU had failed "to uncover any credible evidence of consumer harm."

    Why would they bother to provide such evidence? The law isn't about preventing "consumer harm", because there isn't any.  It's about bringing Apple to heel, and making them answer to their rightful masters.


    There is definitely consumer harm: Anti-steering.

    Also, never allowing competition to exist in certain areas. Alternative app stores, NFC, being the sole voice on what is and isn't acceptable... 

    The 'no credible evidence' is simply Apple's opinion. A PR blurb to say something that actually means little. 

    Obviously the EU thought differently and the anti-steering related fine, AFAIK, wasn't DMA/DSA related.

    It was also open to appeal so I'm surprised that Apple is now rumoured to have just swallowed the decision. 

    As for their being nothing in the DMA against Apple imposing a 27% commission on transactions outside its realm, I'd argue that there doesn't need to be, as the whole point was to stimulate competition and Apple taking a cut from everywhere there is app related business going on flies directly in the face of that so I doubt it will pass the sniff test again. 
    muthuk_vanalingamspheric
  • Reply 3 of 26
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,259member
    As I've said many times before, people have plenty of choices on what products they want to buy. If you don't like Apple's way of doing things go with an Android platform or demand a company in the EU to build a new platform. Just because Apple's platform is the one many people want to use doesn't mean the EU has any right to tell Apple what to do. If you don't like what Apple is doing, find another platform. It's just like wine. If you don't want to pay for wine made in the EU, then grow your own, which the USA has done. 
    danoxwilliamlondonjbdragonteejay2012watto_cobratmay
  • Reply 4 of 26
    avon b7 said:
    Apple at the time objected, saying that the EU had failed "to uncover any credible evidence of consumer harm."

    Why would they bother to provide such evidence? The law isn't about preventing "consumer harm", because there isn't any.  It's about bringing Apple to heel, and making them answer to their rightful masters.


    There is definitely consumer harm: Anti-steering.

    Also, never allowing competition to exist in certain areas. Alternative app stores, NFC, being the sole voice on what is and isn't acceptable... 

    The 'no credible evidence' is simply Apple's opinion. A PR blurb to say something that actually means little. 

    Obviously the EU thought differently and the anti-steering related fine, AFAIK, wasn't DMA/DSA related.

    It was also open to appeal so I'm surprised that Apple is now rumoured to have just swallowed the decision. 

    As for their being nothing in the DMA against Apple imposing a 27% commission on transactions outside its realm, I'd argue that there doesn't need to be, as the whole point was to stimulate competition and Apple taking a cut from everywhere there is app related business going on flies directly in the face of that so I doubt it will pass the sniff test again. 
    Nonsense.  Some people decided that they have a right to what Apple created, even if Apple doesn't want to give it to them, and since they have political power, and the legal authority to use force to get their way, they get their way.

    Benito would be proud.
    edited April 8 danoxjbdragonteejay2012watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 26
    avon b7 said: There is definitely consumer harm: Anti-steering.
    Anti-steering has always been flimsy in regards to consumer harm and the EU knows it. According to Spotify's own timetoplayfair web site, their preferred method for customers to sign up for premium subscriptions was to have them go to Spotify's web site and pay. They didn't have any links in the app to accomplish that. That's because an iPhone provides multiple other avenues for users to get information about Spotify's apps/services/subscriptions other than inside the app or inside the App Store. You can do a web search or browse the internet.You can use social media apps. You can get emails, texts and direct messaging. An iPhone is a communication device and communication isn't limited to apps or the App Store. 
    danoxwilliamlondonjbdragonAlex1Nteejay2012watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 26

    avon b7 said: As for their being nothing in the DMA against Apple imposing a 27% commission on transactions outside its realm, I'd argue that there doesn't need to be, as the whole point was to stimulate competition and Apple taking a cut from everywhere there is app related business going on flies directly in the face of that so I doubt it will pass the sniff test again. 
    A link isn't "outside its realm". It's in the app just like IAP. The links are largely pointless anyway. Spotify never needed them. Netflix never needed them. Amazon Kindle never needed them. Those are all mainstream consumer apps. Mainstream consumers knew they could search the internet for company web sites and purchase things on the internet through their iPhone.
    edited April 8 thtdanoxwilliamlondonjbdragonAlex1Nteejay2012watto_cobratmay
  • Reply 7 of 26
    blitz1blitz1 Posts: 439member
    rob53 said:
    As I've said many times before, people have plenty of choices on what products they want to buy. If you don't like Apple's way of doing things go with an Android platform or demand a company in the EU to build a new platform. Just because Apple's platform is the one many people want to use doesn't mean the EU has any right to tell Apple what to do. If you don't like what Apple is doing, find another platform. It's just like wine. If you don't want to pay for wine made in the EU, then grow your own, which the USA has done. 

    williamlondon
  • Reply 8 of 26
    blitz1blitz1 Posts: 439member
    Of course the EU has every right to tell Apple what to do. It’s called the law. And if Apple doesn’t like the EU legislation, then they can call it quits.
    muthuk_vanalingamsphericPanda_Mickctt_zhwilliamlondon
  • Reply 9 of 26
    sphericspheric Posts: 2,578member
    rob53 said:
    As I've said many times before, people have plenty of choices on what products they want to buy. If you don't like Apple's way of doing things go with an Android platform or demand a company in the EU to build a new platform. Just because Apple's platform is the one many people want to use doesn't mean the EU has any right to tell Apple what to do. If you don't like what Apple is doing, find another platform. It's just like wine. If you don't want to pay for wine made in the EU, then grow your own, which the USA has done. 
    And in Rob53istan, where Rob53 decides what laws are made and what those laws should mean, that's the way it works. I'm a little surprised that in Rob53istan, the lawmakers don't have any rights to tell companies that operate there what to do and what not. Maybe the ruler of Rob53istan doesn't understand what laws are, how they work, and why they exist? 

    At any rate, in all other places, including the very real European Union, it is not Rob53 who decides how laws work and to whom they apply. 
    muthuk_vanalingamctt_zhwilliamlondon
  • Reply 10 of 26
    sphericspheric Posts: 2,578member

    avon b7 said: There is definitely consumer harm: Anti-steering.
    Anti-steering has always been flimsy in regards to consumer harm and the EU knows it.
    You will be filing an appeal on Apple's behalf, I take it? 
    ctt_zhwilliamlondon
  • Reply 11 of 26
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 7,774member
    avon b7 said: There is definitely consumer harm: Anti-steering.
    Anti-steering has always been flimsy in regards to consumer harm and the EU knows it. According to Spotify's own timetoplayfair web site, their preferred method for customers to sign up for premium subscriptions was to have them go to Spotify's web site and pay. They didn't have any links in the app to accomplish that. That's because an iPhone provides multiple other avenues for users to get information about Spotify's apps/services/subscriptions other than inside the app or inside the App Store. You can do a web search or browse the internet.You can use social media apps. You can get emails, texts and direct messaging. An iPhone is a communication device and communication isn't limited to apps or the App Store. 
    For 'flimsy' we'd have to look at Apple's defence which, as it stands today, is isn't even an attempt at defence.

    Anti-steering is directly, knowingly and wilfully anti-competitive. Consumer harm is implicit in the action. 

    How do you think they thought this through? I can guarantee you consumers weren't even considered.

    It was all about limiting competition and abusing dominant position. 

    sphericmuthuk_vanalingamgatorguy
  • Reply 12 of 26
    The fine should be applied every quarter if not complied.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 13 of 26
    Apple should have remedied the anti steering, as this was the ONE point that they lost on in US federal court with the Epic case. So it was not going to go away in the EU either. Why Apple resisted goes along with their naturally obstructive nature I guess. But the EU claiming this harms EU companies like Spotify when 99% of their paid users signed up through the web seems a stretch. Apparently signing up on the web is not a closely guarded secret. No. The real issue for the EU is that Apple still insists on charging 'something' for  subscriptions regardless of the path and the EU want it to be 'nothing'. That is also a stretch but the EU will still keep fining Apple. I had wondered if there will be an EU court pathway for an appeal like as in the Irish-Apple tax case, where EU regulators lost?  As for some comments here that Apple should 'just leave' the EU, why would you want that if you owned an iPhone? That would be a disaster imo for users and Apple. I suspect they actually do not own an iPhone and have no standing in this debate, except to stir the pot with hyperbole and illogical comments.
    edited April 9 williamlondonwatto_cobratmay
  • Reply 14 of 26
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,259member
    For those of you supporting the EU, Apple created, manufactured and sold their products following the laws of every country they’ve sold in AT THE TIME OF ORIGINAL SALES. The EU has enacted new laws specifically to force changes to Apple products that benefit the EU, not necessarily consumers. The EU wants money and suing Apple is their way of getting it. 
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 26
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 7,774member
    rob53 said:
    For those of you supporting the EU, Apple created, manufactured and sold their products following the laws of every country they’ve sold in AT THE TIME OF ORIGINAL SALES. The EU has enacted new laws specifically to force changes to Apple products that benefit the EU, not necessarily consumers. The EU wants money and suing Apple is their way of getting it. 
    The fine was for years of abuse so Apple clearly wasn't complying at the time of original sale. 

    This years long practice was mentioned in the official documents that accompanied the fine. 

    If nobody had complained then it's possible Apple would have not been fined but that doesn't mean it was complying with existing legislation. 
    spheric
  • Reply 16 of 26
    blitz1blitz1 Posts: 439member
    rob53 said:
    For those of you supporting the EU, Apple created, manufactured and sold their products following the laws of every country they’ve sold in AT THE TIME OF ORIGINAL SALES. The EU has enacted new laws specifically to force changes to Apple products that benefit the EU, not necessarily consumers. The EU wants money and suing Apple is their way of getting it. 
    Rob, my man, you should be on Apple’s legal team.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 17 of 26
    tmaytmay Posts: 6,382member
    avon b7 said:
    Apple at the time objected, saying that the EU had failed "to uncover any credible evidence of consumer harm."

    Why would they bother to provide such evidence? The law isn't about preventing "consumer harm", because there isn't any.  It's about bringing Apple to heel, and making them answer to their rightful masters.


    There is definitely consumer harm: Anti-steering.

    Also, never allowing competition to exist in certain areas. Alternative app stores, NFC, being the sole voice on what is and isn't acceptable... 

    The 'no credible evidence' is simply Apple's opinion. A PR blurb to say something that actually means little. 

    Obviously the EU thought differently and the anti-steering related fine, AFAIK, wasn't DMA/DSA related.

    It was also open to appeal so I'm surprised that Apple is now rumoured to have just swallowed the decision. 

    As for their being nothing in the DMA against Apple imposing a 27% commission on transactions outside its realm, I'd argue that there doesn't need to be, as the whole point was to stimulate competition and Apple taking a cut from everywhere there is app related business going on flies directly in the face of that so I doubt it will pass the sniff test again. 
    I understand that the EU wants to "stimulate competition" through regulation, but the truth of the matter is that the EU has set itself up to fail in technological innovation. outside of some industrial niches. Regulation isn't now, and won't ever, increase the EU market, and it is ultimately just an attempt to shift the revenues to some homegrown companies, a zero sum solution.

    Perhaps it's a culture of risk aversion, and likely as much, the high taxation that discourages investment, or even the inability to scale across various languages and borders. Whatever the cause, the EU is uncompetitive in the technology sector.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcKzantanX0
    edited April 10
  • Reply 18 of 26
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 7,774member
    tmay said:
    avon b7 said:
    Apple at the time objected, saying that the EU had failed "to uncover any credible evidence of consumer harm."

    Why would they bother to provide such evidence? The law isn't about preventing "consumer harm", because there isn't any.  It's about bringing Apple to heel, and making them answer to their rightful masters.


    There is definitely consumer harm: Anti-steering.

    Also, never allowing competition to exist in certain areas. Alternative app stores, NFC, being the sole voice on what is and isn't acceptable... 

    The 'no credible evidence' is simply Apple's opinion. A PR blurb to say something that actually means little. 

    Obviously the EU thought differently and the anti-steering related fine, AFAIK, wasn't DMA/DSA related.

    It was also open to appeal so I'm surprised that Apple is now rumoured to have just swallowed the decision. 

    As for their being nothing in the DMA against Apple imposing a 27% commission on transactions outside its realm, I'd argue that there doesn't need to be, as the whole point was to stimulate competition and Apple taking a cut from everywhere there is app related business going on flies directly in the face of that so I doubt it will pass the sniff test again. 
    I understand that the EU wants to "stimulate competition" through regulation, but the truth of the matter is that the EU has set itself up to fail in technological innovation. outside of some industrial niches. Regulation isn't now, and won't ever, increase the EU market, and it is ultimately just an attempt to shift the revenues to some homegrown companies, a zero sum solution.

    Perhaps it's a a culture of risk aversion, and likely as much, the high taxation that discourages investment, or even the inability to scale across various languages and borders. Whatever the cause, the EU is uncompetitive in the technology sector.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcKzantanX0
    None of that has anything to do with Apple and consumer harm. 
  • Reply 19 of 26
    tmaytmay Posts: 6,382member
    avon b7 said:
    tmay said:
    avon b7 said:
    Apple at the time objected, saying that the EU had failed "to uncover any credible evidence of consumer harm."

    Why would they bother to provide such evidence? The law isn't about preventing "consumer harm", because there isn't any.  It's about bringing Apple to heel, and making them answer to their rightful masters.


    There is definitely consumer harm: Anti-steering.

    Also, never allowing competition to exist in certain areas. Alternative app stores, NFC, being the sole voice on what is and isn't acceptable... 

    The 'no credible evidence' is simply Apple's opinion. A PR blurb to say something that actually means little. 

    Obviously the EU thought differently and the anti-steering related fine, AFAIK, wasn't DMA/DSA related.

    It was also open to appeal so I'm surprised that Apple is now rumoured to have just swallowed the decision. 

    As for their being nothing in the DMA against Apple imposing a 27% commission on transactions outside its realm, I'd argue that there doesn't need to be, as the whole point was to stimulate competition and Apple taking a cut from everywhere there is app related business going on flies directly in the face of that so I doubt it will pass the sniff test again. 
    I understand that the EU wants to "stimulate competition" through regulation, but the truth of the matter is that the EU has set itself up to fail in technological innovation. outside of some industrial niches. Regulation isn't now, and won't ever, increase the EU market, and it is ultimately just an attempt to shift the revenues to some homegrown companies, a zero sum solution.

    Perhaps it's a a culture of risk aversion, and likely as much, the high taxation that discourages investment, or even the inability to scale across various languages and borders. Whatever the cause, the EU is uncompetitive in the technology sector.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcKzantanX0
    None of that has anything to do with Apple and consumer harm. 
    I have yet to see the consumer harm that you and the EU do, hence why i stated regulation is "zero sum". Mostly, I see that the EU has tilted this towards developers, not consumers. Anti-steering isn't the benefit to consumers that you and the EU think it is, but it is a benefit to developers that want to reduce customer acquisition costs.

    An economic block that has lost its way in innovation, and regulation is the EU's response, and that response won't change the status quo.

    From a current AI post;

    https://appleinsider.com/articles/24/04/10/apple-wants-to-hire-a-pr-heavyweight-to-battle-the-eu-on-its-own-soil?utm_source=safari_push#P__lCS1zU_7YY-mtYED-13VyiK

    Apple is far from dominating streaming as the EU says it is, and the company has to have concluded that it simply isn't being heard. Or perhaps that Europe-based firm Spotify is being heard more, since Apple has made a point of noting how Spotify has met with EU regulators 65 times.
    Yeah, fair play, EU.
    edited April 10 tht
  • Reply 20 of 26
    croprcropr Posts: 1,129member
    rob53 said:
    As I've said many times before, people have plenty of choices on what products they want to buy. If you don't like Apple's way of doing things go with an Android platform or demand a company in the EU to build a new platform. Just because Apple's platform is the one many people want to use doesn't mean the EU has any right to tell Apple what to do. If you don't like what Apple is doing, find another platform. It's just like wine. If you don't want to pay for wine made in the EU, then grow your own, which the USA has done. 
    As I've said many times before, the current issue is not about users having choice, it is about  the ant-competitive laws that are applicable in the EU.  These laws are one of the cornerstones of EU, going back to the founding of the EU.   The anti-competitve laws are mainly there to protect smaller companies from the power abuse of larger companies.

    And the ant-steering rule that Apple was imposing in its App Store guidelines to tthe app developers, is without discussion (even Apple acknowledges it now) a schoolbook example of anti-competitive behaviour.

    It remains a big question mark whether the 27% cut rule Apple is using now iso. the anti-steering rule, will not be considered as anti-competitive.

    In case you wonder, the EU anti-competitive laws are applied evenly strictly to large EU companies.  AB Inbev, the Belgian brewer who owns Budweiser, got also a huge fine for anti-competitive behaviour.   If Apple want to do business in the EU, it must comply to these EU laws.

    sphericmuthuk_vanalingamgatorguy
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