EU Antitrust Chief Warns Apple About App Store Fees and Safety Warnings

Key parts of Apple's compliance with the Digital Markets Act (DMA) are set to be investigated by European regulators based on developer feedback, the EU's antitrust chief warned on Tuesday.

App Store vs EU Feature 2
In an interview with Reuters, the European Commission's Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager said that Apple's introduction of new fees was already being looked at as a potential attempt to dissuade developers from using alternative app stores.

"There are things that we take a keen interest in, for instance, if the new Apple fee structure will de facto not make it in any way attractive to use the benefits of the DMA. That kind of thing is what we will be investigating," she told Reuters.

Apple enabled alternative app stores in the EU earlier this month, allowing third-party app stores to offer a catalog of other developers' apps as well as the marketplace developer's own apps. Apple also has a new fee structure as part of the change that has already come under fire from several developers and EU associations.

In addition, Vestager warned Apple and other companies against discouraging users from switching to other app marketplaces by disparaging them, saying this kind of behaviour could trigger an investigation. Apple has already claimed some of the DMA-enforced changes could expose users to security risks that they are otherwise protected against when using the App Store.

"I would think of it as unwise to say that the services are not safe to use, because that has nothing to do with the DMA," said Vestager. "The DMA is there to open the market for other service providers to get to you and how your service provider of your operating system, how they will make sure that it is safe is for them to decide."

"And of course, if we see or get the suspicion that this is in order to say that someone else are not doing their job of course, we might take initiatives to look into that," she added.

Vestager said feedback from developers was key to whether she would launch investigations into companies that must comply with the DMA. Asked whether she had received any comments from third parties, she replied: "Quite a lot."

Apple's app ecosystem changes in the European Union went into effect with the launch of iOS 17.4 on March 6. Apple has since been tweaking the app ecosystem rules that it introduced based on developer feedback and discussions with EU regulators.

For example, third-party app stores are now able to offer apps directly from their own catalog, and developers will soon be able to distribute apps directly from their websites as long as they meet Apple's requirements.

Apple says it is also working out a solution that would prevent its 0.50 euro Core Technology Fee (CTF) from bankrupting developers if their free app goes viral.

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Top Rated Comments

danieldk Avatar
18 weeks ago

One App Store makes the most sense. Go Android if you don't like it.

Open vs closed system. Customers win. Customer lose when they no longer have the option of choosing a closed system.
People can strongly prefer iOS and still not like having a single app store. Why does it always have to be so black and white (if you don't like this particular thing Apple does, go to Android)? Apple is a company, so therefore they are fallible. People choose iOS or macOS for a weighted mixture of preferences.

Also, I guess following your reasoning, Apple should close up macOS as well to offer more 'choice' in the laptop market?
Score: 57 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bobbie424242 Avatar
18 weeks ago
Instead of making it like ****ing macOS which most developers would have been happy with, Apple had to over-complicate it with new lame rules the size of the book and 600 new APIs they are super proud of just to publish software.
Unsurprisingly, Schiller and his extortion exec mafia clique are ready to die on that hill. These people have to go.
Score: 43 Votes (Like | Disagree)
StuBeck Avatar
18 weeks ago
I never quite understand someone defending a trillion dollar company whose sole intent with the changes they've done is to make more money.
Score: 37 Votes (Like | Disagree)
hagar Avatar
18 weeks ago

One App Store makes the most sense. Go Android if you don't like it.

Open vs closed system. Customers win. Customer lose when they no longer have the option of choosing a closed system.
If you don’t like the third party options, stick with the App Store. Done.

And people that want choice can go and shop outside the Main Street. Everybody happy.

Well, everyone except Apple.
Score: 33 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bradman83 Avatar
18 weeks ago

One App Store makes the most sense. Go Android if you don't like it.

Open vs closed system. Customers win. Customer lose when they no longer have the option of choosing a closed system.
There is nothing stopping you from continuing to solicit apps solely from the App Store if iOS and iPadOS were to be opened up. Many developers on Android have found that their sales suffered when they pulled out of the Play Store and went solo so they just wound up back on the Play Store anyway. You can vote with your wallet and your usage by not using apps that aren't part of the closed system.
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mdnz Avatar
18 weeks ago

Instead of making it like ****ing macOS which most developers would be OK with, Apple had to over-complicate it with new lame rules the size of the book and 600 new APIs they are super proud of, just to publish software.
Unsurprisingly, Schiller and his extortion exec mafia clique are really to die on that hill. These people have to go.
It’s not gonna fly for the EU, I don’t understand why Apple puts this much developer work in when they have to remove the restrictions later on anyway
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)