EU Approves Landmark Legislation to Regulate Apple and Other Big Tech Firms

European Union lawmakers have approved landmark legislation to heavily regulate Apple, Google, Meta, and other big tech firms.

European Commisssion
The Digital Markets Act (DMA) and Digital Services Act (DSA) were proposed by the European Commission in December 2020. Now, collected in a "Digital Services Package," the legislation has been formally adopted by the European Parliament and seeks to address "gatekeeper" big tech companies.

Apple is almost certain to be classified as a "gatekeeper" 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. Under the DMA, gatekeepers may have to:

  • Allow users to install apps from third-party app stores and sideload directly from the internet.
  • Allow developers to offer third-party payment systems in apps and promote offers outside the gatekeeper's platforms.
  • Allow developers to integrate their apps and digital services directly with those belonging to a gatekeeper. This includes making messaging, voice-calling, and video-calling services interoperable with third-party services upon request.
  • Give developers access to any hardware feature, such as "near-field communication technology, secure elements and processors, authentication mechanisms, and the software used to control those technologies."
  • Ensure that all apps are uninstallable and give users the ability to unsubscribe from core platform services under similar conditions to subscription.
  • Give users the option to change the default voice assistant to a third-party option.
  • Share data and metrics with developers and competitors, including marketing and advertising performance data.
  • Set up an independent "compliance function" group to monitor its compliance with EU legislation with an independent senior manager and sufficient authority, resources, and access to management.
  • Inform the European Commission of their mergers and acquisitions.

The DMA also seeks to ensure that gatekeepers can no longer:

  • Pre-install certain software applications and require users to use any important default software services such as web browsers.
  • Require app developers to use certain services or frameworks, including browser engines, payment systems, and identity providers, to be listed in app stores.
  • Give their own products, apps, or services preferential treatment or rank them higher than those of others.
  • Reuse private data collected during a service for the purposes of another service.
  • Establish unfair conditions for business users.

The Digital Services Act (DSA), which requires platforms to do more to police the internet for illegal content, has also been approved by the European Parliament.

The DMA says that gatekeepers who ignore the rules will face fines of up to 10 percent of the company's total worldwide annual turnover, or 20 percent in the event of repeated infringements, as well as periodic penalties of up to 5 percent of the company's total worldwide annual turnover. Where gatekeepers perpetrate "systematic infringements," the European Commission will be able to impose additional sanctions, such as obliging a gatekeeper to sell a business or parts of it, including units, assets, intellectual property rights, or brands, or banning a gatekeeper from acquiring any company that provides services in the digital sector.

So far, Apple has heavily resisted attempts by governments to enforce changes to its operating systems and services. For example, Apple simply chose to pay a $5.5 million fine every week for months in the Netherlands instead of obey orders from the Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) to allow third-party payment systems in Dutch dating apps.

EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager has set up a DMA taskforce, with about 80 officials expected to join, but some lawmakers have called for an even bigger taskforce to counter the power of big tech companies. The Digital Services Package now simply needs to be adopted by the European Council before coming into force in the fall.

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, Japan, South Korea, and more, with a clear appetite from global regulators to explore requirements around app sideloading and interoperability. Further cooperation is expected between governments around the world on the issue and experts are anticipating a "brutal battle" between Apple and global regulators.

Note: Due to the political or social nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Political News forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Top Rated Comments

I7guy Avatar
21 weeks ago
If the cost to apple to comply with these regulations is close to the revenue, I can see apple exiting the EU and let the citizens use android.
Score: 53 Votes (Like | Disagree)
diddl14 Avatar
21 weeks ago
Baffled. The EU should come up with their own competitive alternative to Apple, Google, etc. instead of trying to kill the business model of these successful companies. Consumers have all the choice they need. They can either buy an iPhone or not. What more of a regulation do you need?
Score: 53 Votes (Like | Disagree)
squirrellydw Avatar
21 weeks ago
They are overstepping. I agree with some of it but not all. I wish Apple, Google and MS would just leave the EU and stop all support.
Score: 43 Votes (Like | Disagree)
incoherent_1 Avatar
21 weeks ago
While I agree with some of these (browser engine flexibility!), most go way overboard.

Not to mention, if Apple were a French or German company, we all know these rules would be very different.
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SpotOnT Avatar
21 weeks ago

1. share metrics with competitors
I don't want my metrics collected at all, let alone shared with competitors....
Score: 39 Votes (Like | Disagree)
NotTooLate Avatar
21 weeks ago

The DMA will require "gatekeeper" companies like Apple to:

1. share metrics with competitors
2. ensure that all apps are uninstallable
3. not preference their own apps and services
4. allow users to utilize third-party app stores, payment systems, and app sideloading
5. not require developers to use a particular browser engine
6. allow users to change the default virtual assistant to a third-party option
7. give developers access to any existing hardware feature, such as NFC technology and secure elements
8. make messaging, voice-calling, and video-calling platforms interoperable with other services

Oh is that all? Is there anything else? Now's your chance EU lawmakers!

?
- Give developers access to all existing HW features , to secure elements ?
EU , please , I am trying to give developers LESS Access to my HW , I dont want them to know where I am , listen to what I do , see what im looking at , now you want them to be able to access secure elements ? why ?

Developers are not my friends , they will create new stores to sell my info to others , they will use **** payment system to get more money and again share my details , I dont want them to have more access , I want them to have LESS.
Score: 37 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

European Commisssion

Impending EU Regulation to Force Apple to Allow Third-Party App Stores and Open Up iMessage

Monday April 25, 2022 6:21 am PDT by
Apple will be forced to allow users to utilize third-party app stores and payment systems, as well as make iMessage interoperable with other messaging services, by the European Union's Digital Markets Act (DMA), according to a newly published document from the European Commission. In a questions and answers document on the Digital Markets Act titled "ensuring fair and open digital markets,"...
European Commisssion

EU Plans to Regulate Apple Delayed to Spring 2023 Amid Preparations to Enforce New Rules

Thursday May 5, 2022 5:52 am PDT by
The European Union's wide-reaching new regulations to target Apple and other big tech companies will come into effect in early 2023, according to EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager (via TechCrunch). The EU's Digital Markets Act (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...
European Commisssion

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

Friday May 20, 2022 5:05 am PDT by
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. The provisional agreement on the Digital Markets Act (DMA) was reac...
european parliament

EU Provisionally Agrees on Law That Would Force Apple to Allow Alternative App Stores, Sideloading, and iMessage Interoperability

Friday March 25, 2022 4:46 am PDT by
European lawmakers have provisionally agreed upon a new law that would force Apple to allow user access to third-party app stores and permit the sideloading of apps on iPhones and iPads, among other sweeping changes designed to make the digital sector fairer and more competitive. The European Council and European Parliament said on Friday they had reached a political agreement on the...
European Commisssion

New EU Law Could Force Apple to Allow Other App Stores, Sideloading, and iMessage Interoperability

Tuesday November 1, 2022 8:05 am PDT by
New EU rules came into force today that could compel Apple to let users access third-party app stores and permit app sideloading on iPhones and iPads, among other sweeping changes designed to make the digital sector fairer and more competitive. Under the Digital Markets Act (DMA), the rules will apply to tech giants that meet its "gatekeeper" criteria and force them to open up their various...
european parliament

Leaked EU Document Could Spell Major Changes for App Store, Messages, FaceTime, Browsers, and Siri

Friday April 22, 2022 9:22 am PDT by
A leaked version of the European Union's Digital Markets Act (DMA) indicates that Apple could be forced to make major changes to the App Store, Messages, FaceTime, third-party browsers, and Siri. According to a leaked working document intended to reflect the "final" version of the DMA, seen by MacRumors, the EU is planning to enact changes that seek to have a significant impact on the way...
app store blue banner uk fixed

UK Planning Huge Fines for Companies Like Apple That Do Not Meet New Rules

Friday May 6, 2022 5:04 am PDT by
Following reports that the UK government had dropped plans to heavily regulate Apple and other big tech companies using a new Digital Markets Unit (DMU), the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has assured that it will empower the DMU with statutory powers to penalize firms that do not meet its rules (via Reuters). The government announced plans to set up the DMU in 2020, stating...
app store blue banner uk fixed

UK Seemingly Abandons Plans to Regulate Apple and Other Big Tech Companies

Tuesday May 3, 2022 5:58 am PDT by
The UK is set to abandon plans to heavily regulate Apple and other big tech companies using a new competition authority, the Financial Times reports. In a paywalled report, the Financial Times claims that the British government's new legislative agenda, due to be set out in the Queen's Speech next week, will not include a bill to empower the Digital Markets Unit (DMU). The government...

Popular Stories

iphone 14 pro hands snowflakes 1

Best Black Friday iPhone Deals Still Available

Wednesday November 23, 2022 1:55 pm PST by
Cellular carriers have always offered big savings on the newest iPhone models during the holidays, and Black Friday 2022 is no different. Right now we're tracking notable offers on the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro devices from AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile. For even more savings, keep an eye on older models like the iPhone 13. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors....
apple watch gold ornaments

Best Black Friday Apple Watch Deals Still Available

Wednesday November 23, 2022 9:31 am PST by
We're tracking all of the best Apple product discounts for Black Friday this week, and the Apple Watch always makes a great gift around the holiday season, so you're guaranteed to find solid discounts right now. In this article, you'll discover the best Black Friday sales on Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch SE, and Apple Watch Ultra. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these...
new airpods lineup black friday

Best Black Friday AirPods Deals Still Available

Tuesday November 22, 2022 10:01 am PST by
Although we've been tracking Black Friday deals for a few weeks now, the shopping holiday is officially kicking off this week and we're highlighting the best sales for each of Apple's product lines. In this article, you'll find the best Black Friday sales on AirPods 2, AirPods 3, AirPods Pro, AirPods Pro 2, and AirPods Max. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors....
ipad holiday bulbs

Best Black Friday iPad Deals Still Available

Thursday November 24, 2022 12:25 pm PST by
Black Friday deals have been in full swing for the better part of a month, and now that the shopping holiday is officially here we're seeing even more solid discounts on Apple devices. We're highlighting the best sales for all of Apple's product lines, and in this article you'll find the best Black Friday sales on iPad, iPad Pro, iPad Air, and iPad mini. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner ...
mac imac snowflakes

Best Black Friday iMac and MacBook Deals Still Available

Thursday November 24, 2022 1:07 pm PST by
Our Black Friday coverage continues today with the best deals you can find on MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and iMac. As with all Black Friday deals, we aren't sure how long any of these will last, and prices are always fluctuating, so if you see something you want, be sure to buy it soon. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a...
General Black Friday Deals 2022 Green

All the Apple Black Friday Deals You Can Still Get

Friday November 25, 2022 4:40 am PST by
Although Black Friday is now technically over, many Apple products are still seeing major discounts. In this article, you'll find every Apple device with a notable Black Friday sale that's still available. We'll be updating as prices change and new deals arrive, so be sure to keep an eye out if you don't see the sale you're looking for yet. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of...
General Black Friday Deals 2022 Blue

All the Apple Black Friday Deals You Can Get Right Now: AirPods, Apple TV, Mac, iPad, and More

Saturday November 19, 2022 8:00 am PST by
Last week was jam-packed with early Black Friday deals, and now that the shopping holiday is right around the corner, we're going back through all of the best sales you might have missed over the past week and updating as prices change and new deals arrive. As with all holiday shopping, there's no guarantee that better prices won't come around later in the season, but if you want to shop early,...
Best Buy November Deals Hero

Best Buy Reveals Black Friday Plans With Sitewide Sales Available Now

Tuesday November 22, 2022 3:49 pm PST by
Following in the footsteps of Target and Walmart, Best Buy this week detailed its plans for the Black Friday shopping holiday and its schedule looks a lot like other retailers. In terms of sales, Best Buy has the expected list of TVs, appliances, video games, computers, streaming devices, and more. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Best Buy. When you click a link and make a...