EU Opens Non-Compliance Investigations into Apple, Meta, and Google

Apple's compliance with new EU laws designed to rein in the market power of big tech companies is set to be investigated by regulators, the European Commission has announced.

Apple EU iOS Changes
The Commission said on Monday that non-compliance investigations have been opened against Apple, Google, and Meta, under the new Digital Markets Act (DMA).

The probe into Apple will look at whether the company allows developers to "steer" users away from its App Store, as well as its default web browser choice screen. Google's rules on steering in Google Play and self-preferencing in Google searches are also being looked at, as is Meta's "pay or consent model."

The Commission has opened proceedings to assess whether the measures implemented by Alphabet and Apple in relation to their obligations pertaining to app stores are in breach of the DMA. Article 5(4) of the DMA requires gatekeepers to allow app developers to "steer" consumers to offers outside the gatekeepers' app stores, free of charge.

The Commission is concerned that Alphabet's and Apple's measures may not be fully compliant as they impose various restrictions and limitations. These constrain, among other things, developers' ability to freely communicate and promote offers and directly conclude contracts, including by imposing various charges.

[...]

The Commission has opened proceedings against Apple regarding their measures to comply with obligations to (i) enable end users to easily uninstall any software applications on iOS, (ii) easily change default settings on iOS and (iii) prompt users with choice screens which must effectively and easily allow them to select an alternative default service, such as a browser or search engine on their iPhones.

The Commission is concerned that Apple's measures, including the design of the web browser choice screen, may be preventing users from truly exercising their choice of services within the Apple ecosystem, in contravention of Article 6(3) of the DMA.

The Commission said it is also taking other investigatory steps to gather facts and information to clarify whether Apple's new fee structure and other terms and conditions for alternative app stores and distribution of apps from the web (sideloading) may be defeating the purpose of its obligations under the DMA.

The Commission has also adopted five retention orders addressed to Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Meta, and Microsoft, asking them to retain documents which might be used to assess their compliance with the DMA obligations. The Commission intends to conclude the proceedings opened today within 12 months.

In cases of infringement, the Commission can impose fines up to 10% of the company's total worldwide turnover. Such fines can go up to 20% in case of repeated infringement under the DMA. The Commission also has the power to adopt "additional remedies" such as "obliging a gatekeeper to sell a business or parts of it," or banning the company from acquisitions of additional services related to the non-compliance.

Apple earlier this month implemented several major changes to the way the ‌App Store‌ and apps operate in the EU in order to comply with the DMA. These changes are included in iOS 17.4, but are generally limited to countries that are in the European Union.

Popular Stories

Apple WWDC24 Apple Intelligence hero 240610

Apple Explains iPhone 15 Pro Requirement for Apple Intelligence

Wednesday June 19, 2024 4:48 am PDT by
With iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia, Apple is introducing a new personalized AI experience called Apple Intelligence that uses on-device, generative large-language models to enhance the user experience across iPhone, iPad, and Mac. These new AI features require Apple's latest iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max models to work, while only Macs and iPads with M1 or later chips will...
Apple Intelligence General Feature

Apple Intelligence Features Not Coming to European Union at Launch Due to DMA

Friday June 21, 2024 9:44 am PDT by
Apple today said that European customers will not get access to the Apple Intelligence, iPhone Mirroring, and SharePlay Screen Sharing features that are coming to the iPhone, iPad, and Mac this September due to regulatory issues related to the Digital Markets Act. In a statement to Financial Times, Apple said that there will be a delay as it works to figure out how to make the new...
iPhone 16 Pro Max Generic Feature 2

5 Biggest Changes Rumored for iPhone 16 Pro Max

Wednesday June 19, 2024 5:00 am PDT by
Given Apple's rumored plan to add an all-new high-end tier to its iPhone 17 series in 2025, this could be the year for Apple to bring its boldest "Pro Max" model to the table — the kind of iPhone 16 upgrade that stands tall above its siblings, both figuratively and literally. If you have been holding out for the iPhone 16 Pro Max, here are five of the biggest changes rumored to be coming...
Apple Vision Pro 2 Feature 2

Apple Reportedly Suspends Work on Vision Pro 2

Tuesday June 18, 2024 8:17 am PDT by
Apple has suspended work on the second-generation Vision Pro headset to singularly focus on a cheaper model, The Information reports. Apple was widely believed to have plans to divide its Vision product line into two models, with one "Pro" model and one lower-cost standard model. The company is said to have been deprioritizing the next Vision Pro headset over the past year, gradually...
back to school 2024

Apple's 2024 Back to School Sale Launches, Up to $150 Gift Card With Mac or iPad

Thursday June 20, 2024 4:29 am PDT by
Apple has launched its annual Back to School promotion for college students in the United States. This year's promotion offers a free Apple gift card with the purchase of an eligible Mac or iPad. Apple is also offering students 20% off AppleCare+ plans. Apple is offering a $150 gift card with any new MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, or iMac, and a $100 gift card with the purchase of any new M4 iPad ...
iOS 17

Apple Releases First Public Beta of iOS 17.6

Thursday June 20, 2024 10:18 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the first betas of upcoming iOS 17.6 and iPadOS 17.6 updates to public beta testers, with the betas coming a few days after the initial iOS and iPadOS 17.6 developer betas. Public beta testers can get the beta by opening up the Settings app, going to the Software Update section, tapping on the "Beta Updates" option, and toggling on the iOS 17 or iPadOS 17 Public Beta....

Top Rated Comments

mvwoensel Avatar
13 weeks ago

Precious engineering resources being wasted on this
Then maybe Apple should've complied in good faith.
Score: 55 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ItsASpider Avatar
13 weeks ago
I'm shocked. Shocked, I say.

Not really, tho. That these companies weren't actually following the rules properly was kinda clear (and yes people, the rules are perfectly clear). It's telling that Microsoft of all companies is not being investigated.
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Smartass Avatar
13 weeks ago

20% of worldwide turnover as a penalty? I would say that is a good enough reason to exit that region.

Why didn't Tim Cook just start selling Android phones instead in the EU? The solution is so simple. Then it is Google their problem.
And when they're hit in China for similar reasons, they should exit that market as well? And what would happen when DOJ starts anti-trust case against Apple? Quit US market as well, and sell only to penguins in Antarctica?
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DelayedGratificationGene Avatar
13 weeks ago
Ya well whatever. The real news is the overwhelming majority growing consensus that the DoJ case against Apple is a joke.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
contacos Avatar
13 weeks ago

Maybe the EU should employ better lawyers to stop companies easily circumventing the new rules

I'm surprised that there isn't a fine structure set up so that malicious compliance isn't a trigger for a % of revenues-level fine.
Isn’t this the point of this investigation? Seems like those companies may simply not follow those established new rules. No need for the EU to get „better lawyers“
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
d686546s Avatar
13 weeks ago
The drama continues, but it seemed likely that parts of Apple's proposed solution would be problematic or at least come under increased scrutiny. The fee structures are quite clearly set up to dissuade alternative app stores, as are the procedures around it.

In any case, anyone who thought that it was all done and dusted, signed off by the Commission and Apple in the clear was obviously wrong.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)