Apple’s European Antitrust Troubles and Their Implications for U.S. Consumers

26th March, 2024
Apple’s European Antitrust Troubles and Their Implications for U.S. Consumers

The challenges Apple faces with European regulators offer a preview of potential shifts in the American market. The ongoing U.S. lawsuit aims to prevent Apple from hindering competing technologies in areas like streaming, messaging, and digital payments, as well as from embedding provisions in its contracts that could perpetuate a monopoly.

While it may take years for the U.S. government’s antitrust case against Apple to conclude, recent developments in Europe shed light on similar concerns. European authorities have long been at odds with Apple over alleged violations of competition laws and have enacted stringent digital regulations to prevent tech firms from monopolizing digital markets.

These European efforts are poised to influence Apple’s business practices and the user experience for iPhone owners in Europe. Consequently, they may foreshadow changes that American Apple consumers could experience, particularly if the U.S. Department of Justice prevails.

Here’s a closer examination:


Previously, users of music streaming services like Spotify encountered limitations when attempting to subscribe directly through iPhone apps or receive information about subscription offers via email. Apple’s stringent app restrictions favored its own Apple Music service.

Following complaints from Spotify, European antitrust regulators initiated a thorough investigation. This probe led to an order for Apple to cease such practices, accompanied by a substantial 1.8 billion euro ($2 billion) fine to deter future violations.

Margrethe Vestager, the European Commission’s competition chief, labeled Apple’s actions as “illegal,” noting their adverse impact on millions of European consumers’ ability to freely choose their music streaming subscriptions.


In another antitrust case, Apple proposed granting third-party mobile wallet and payment service providers access to its iOS tap-and-go payment function to resolve EU concerns. This proposal followed accusations of Apple abusing its dominant market position by restricting access to its mobile payment technology.

The European Commission is currently reviewing Apple’s proposal and seeking feedback from stakeholders before making a final decision on the case.


Traditionally, Apple has maintained a strict monopoly over app distribution on its devices. However, recent EU regulations, such as the Digital Markets Act (DMA), aim to dismantle closed ecosystems controlled by major tech companies.

Under the DMA, tech giants like Apple are prohibited from preventing consumers from accessing businesses outside their platforms. Consequently, Apple has been compelled to permit European users to download iPhone apps from alternative stores, a practice it previously resisted.

In response to accusations of blocking Epic Games from establishing its own app store, Apple eventually relented and allowed the gaming company to proceed with its plans.

These developments underscore the evolving regulatory landscape in both Europe and the United States, with potential implications for Apple’s business operations and consumer experiences worldwide.