Apple Challenges Antitrust Cases in E.U. and U.S. Over App Store Policies

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Key Takeaways

  • Apple has filed a lawsuit disputing the EU's $2 billion fine over App Store policies.
  • It's also asking the U.S. to dismiss an antitrust case.
  • Companies have complained Apple is using its rules to stifle competition.

Apple is challenging a nearly $2 billion European Union fine over App Store policies, and is calling on a U.S. judge to dismiss an antitrust case.

Bloomberg sources claimed that Apple filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the E.U. penalty. While the exact objections weren’t available, an Apple spokesperson pointed to an earlier company newsroom post maintaining that officials hadn’t found evidence of any harm.

The fine stemmed from a Spotify complaint that it had to raise prices to compensate for Apple’s App Store fees, which ranged from 15% to 30%. At the time, Apple required that all third-party apps in the E.U.  use its system for in-app purchases. It also barred developers from even mentioning that they could visit the company website to sign up.

Simultaneously, Apple said it would ask U.S. District Judge Julien Neals to dismiss a Justice Department antitrust lawsuit that accused the company of abusing its control of the premium smartphone market.

In its letter to Neals, Apple maintained that it faced “fierce competition,” and that the behavior at the heart of the lawsuit didn’t violate the Sherman antitrust act.

Apple argued that its control over platform access is legally protected, and that there haven’t been “anticompetitive effects.” There’s no evidence of a link between the ecosystem strategy and customers’ phone buying habits, the tech giant claimed.

The Justice Department suit maintained that Apple artificially limited digital wallets, messaging apps, and third-party smartwatches through its App Store rules. It claimed that Apple had a monopoly-level 70% dominance of the American “performance smartphone” category, and a 65% stake in the overall smartphone market in the country.

The opposition isn’t surprising. Apple has already had to make changes in the E.U. to accommodate the territory’s Digital Markets Act, including direct app installs on the web. These theoretically reduce App Store sales and make it easier to switch platforms. Apple doesn’t want a fine supporting the regulators’ arguments, and it also doesn’t want to expand its mandatory changes to other markets.

Any definitive outcomes will take a while. In the U.S., a hearing on the motion to dismiss isn’t likely to occur until at least September. A ruling would follow sometime later. Don’t expect either the U.S. or E.U. cases to affect Apple’s iPhone 16 launches this year.