EU Planning to Force Apple to Give Developers Access to All Hardware and Software Features

The European Union is pressing ahead with legislation to heavily regulate companies like Apple, setting plans to force "gatekeepers" to open up access to hardware and software, and even set up an internal department to meet new rules, according to an endorsed agreement from the European Parliament's Internal Market Committee.

European Commisssion
The provisional agreement on the Digital Markets Act (DMA) was reached earlier this week by EU governments, with 43 votes in favor, one against, and one abstention, showing a broad consensus from European lawmakers to aggressively regulate big tech companies. Apple is almost certain to be classified as a "gatekeeper" and be affected by the regulation due to the size of its annual turnover in the EU, its ownership and operation of platforms with a large number of active users, and its "entrenched and durable position" due to how long it has met these criteria, and will therefore be subject to the rules set out in the DMA.

The DMA could force Apple to make major changes to the App Store, Messages, FaceTime, third-party browsers, and Siri in Europe. For example, it could be forced to allow users to install third-party app stores and sideload apps, give developers the ability to closely interoperate with Apple's own services and promote their offers outside the ‌App Store‌ and use third-party payment systems, and access data gathered by Apple.

One of the more recent additions to the DMA is the requirement to make messaging, voice-calling, and video-calling services interoperable. The interoperability rules theoretically mean that Meta apps like WhatsApp or Messenger could request to interoperate with Apple's iMessage framework, and Apple would be forced to comply.

The latest provisional agreement sets out plans to establish a "High-Level Group" of central European digital regulators to coordinate national regulators across EU member states and requires "gatekeepers" to create an independent "compliance function." The new group must include compliance officers to monitor their company's compliance with EU legislation using sufficient authority, resources, and access to management, and be headed by an "independent senior manager with distinct responsibility for the compliance function." The rule would effectively require companies like Apple to set up an internal department dedicated to meeting pro-competition regulations.

In addition, new rules specifically targeted to address companies like Apple that have "a dual role" with control over both hardware and software look to allow any developer to gain access to any existing hardware feature, such as "near-field communication technology, secure elements and processors, authentication mechanisms, and the software used to control those technologies." This could have major implications for the level of integration that developers can achieve on Apple platforms, such as allowing contactless payment services to operate on the iPhone and Apple Watch just like Apple Pay.

EU lawmakers provisionally approved the DMA in March. Next, the proposals will be put to a final vote in the European Parliament in July before being formally adopted by the European Council and published in the EU Official Journal. 20 days after publication, the DMA will come into force and affected companies will have six months to comply.

Beyond the European Union, Apple's ecosystem is increasingly coming under intense scrutiny by governments around the world, including in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, South Korea, and more, with a clear appetite from global regulators to explore requirements around app sideloading and interoperability.

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Top Rated Comments

LiE_ Avatar
10 months ago
While your at it EU, can I have access to all the engine management and infotainment systems for every car manufacturer ?
Score: 81 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macar00n Avatar
10 months ago
Time to pull out of the EU, Apple
Score: 71 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Onelifenofear Avatar
10 months ago
They have no idea what Security even mean - how can you make messaging systems interoperable.

Also are they PAYING for the huge amount of changes they are demanding for such a thing to happen which it can't ( see above ) - Also hilarious "they would have six months to comply."

Whats the point of making anything if the EU are effectively coming along and saying OPEN SOURCE all that. 40 Years of development, who cares, Redesigning communications ( along with Google ), 16 years of iOS upgrades and work - that's all ours now.

It's our consumer choice to have a closed system - I feel it's much safer and WAY more stable. Everything works as it should do for the most part.

Personally if I was in the EU, I'd get a class action suit ready to the EU for infringing my rights of security and substantially changing how our devices work behind our back.

There is of course one way around this. Create a 2nd OS iOS-EU that does all they want but can't access any Apple related features.
Score: 50 Votes (Like | Disagree)
xpxp2002 Avatar
10 months ago

Yep, I’m sure that pulling out of a relatively affluent market of almost half a billion potential customers is right at the top of Tim Cook’s to-do list. Just right after he closes down the much smaller US market. ?
If this passes, Apple should just send an email and notification to every customer in the EU saying something to the effect of, “due to your government’s heavy-handed overreach, they will be blocking Apple from providing safe and secure services, like our App Store. As a result, we can no longer legally offer these services in the EU and will cease operations within 30 days.”

Just the threat of millions of devices losing iMessage, FaceTime, and the App Store framed properly will get the public on their side. I guarantee it’d turn this whole thing around within 48 hours.
Score: 46 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Minato1990 Avatar
10 months ago
The EU need to go kick rocks like holy cow.
Score: 41 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Lihp8270 Avatar
10 months ago

Time to pull out of the EU, Apple
Only took 7 minutes for a ridiculous comment
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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