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Apple Fails to Skirt EU's Big Tech Law

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The European Commission announced its preliminary findings about Apple's non-compliance with the Digital Markets Act. The findings accuse Apple of breaching the DMA concerning the anti-steering practices, while the Commission is set to open a new investigation about Apple's terms related to the App Store.

In a press release, the Commission highlighted how Apple imposed terms with app developers that contravened the Digital Markets Act, limiting the developers from steering customers away from the App Store. For instance, it doesn't allow developers to inform customers of other cheaper alternative payment methods and to direct them to better app and service offers.

In addition, while Apple allows developers to provide external links, the Cupertino company has subjected it to restrictions that subsequently hinder third-party app makers from fully redirecting customers away from the App Store. Likewise, Apple mentioned it would charge sizeable commissions with services and goods made via external links from the app within seven days, which the Commission found to be “excessive.”

The European Commission has given Apple its preliminary decision to study and form a reply. If findings determine the company breached the DMA, Apple could be fined up to 10 percent of its worldwide revenue. The Commission added that the final ruling is due this March 2025.

Apple might have also infringed other DMA rules

Apart from these anti-steering practices, the EU also opened a new non-compliance investigation relating to Apple's contractual terms and requirements given to third-party developers to offer alternative app store distribution channels. Specifically, the Commission will investigate if Apple's Core Technology Fee valued at €0.50 per app installed is necessary and complies with the DMA.

It will also determine if requirements such as having a “membership of good standing” as part of the Apple Developer Program comply with the DMA. As noted, Apple requires developers to have a good standing before accessing the DMA's provisions.

Another part of this new investigation is the users' experience which Apple has placed when accessing third-party stores and sideloading apps outside of the App Store, which includes the information screens and verbiage. This is interpreted that Apple should make the installation process from app stores and apps more straightforward.

In line with the early findings, Apple has released a statement saying: 

“Throughout the past several months, Apple has made a number of changes to comply with the DMA in response to feedback from developers and the European Commission. We are confident our plan complies with the law, and estimate more than 99% of developers would pay the same or less in fees to Apple under the new business terms we created. All developers doing business in the EU on the App Store have the opportunity to utilize the capabilities that we have introduced, including the ability to direct app users to the web to complete purchases at a very competitive rate. As we have done routinely, we will continue to listen and engage with the European Commission.”

What are your thoughts about the EU's Commission accusing Apple of these DMA infringements? We're eager to hear your opinion.

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Jade Bryan

Jade Bryan
Junior Editor

I still remember how amazed I was when I first got hold of the Nokia 3210 back when I was a kid, and it was during that time I developed my love for technology, particularly for mobile phones. I started sharing my knowledge through writing in different blogs and forums back in Nokia Nseries era. I even make videos before where I put different phones side-by-side. Today, I'm still an avid enthusiast of smartphones, but my interests have evolved into smart devices and electric vehicles.

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