Apple and other technology giants are opting to pay fines rather than comply with orders they don’t like, the European Union’s antitrust chief warned.
“Some gatekeepers may be tempted to play for time or try to circumvent the rules,” Margrethe Vestager said in an online speech at a US awards ceremony.
“Apple’s conduct in the Netherlands these days may be an example,” she said. The iPhone maker “essentially prefers paying periodic fines rather than comply” with a Dutch antitrust order to offer alternative app payments.
A new EU law imposing curbs on big tech behavior should help tackle the problem, she added in the speech, delivered on Tuesday.
Apple is waging a global battle over fees for downloads and content on smartphones and tablets. The EU is separately probing Apple over curbs that hamper Spotify Technology and other music streaming services from taking payments outside the App Store.
Apple has now been fined €25-million by Dutch antitrust regulators for not fully complying with a December order to offer payments outside the app store to dating app providers.
The Authority for Consumers & Markets has been levying weekly fines and earlier this week criticized Apple’s offer to set up a separate payment mechanism as not serious and too difficult for developers.
Apple declined to comment immediately. — Aoife White, (c) 2022 Bloomberg LP