EU Accuses Apple's App Store Steering Rules of Violating DMA and Opens Investigation into Developer Fees

The European Commission has formally announced its preliminary view that Apple's App Store policies are in breach of the Digital Markets Act (DMA), specifically in relation to anti-steering rules.

App Store vs EU Feature 2
Under the DMA, developers distributing their apps via Apple's ‌App Store‌ should be able, free of charge, to inform their customers of alternative cheaper purchasing possibilities, steer them to those offers, and allow them to make purchases. The Commission says that Apple's "business terms" with developers prevent that.

"Developers cannot provide pricing information within the app or communicate in any other way with their customers to promote offers available on alternative distribution channels," said the Commission in its press release.

The Commission also said that Apple's link-out process for steering customers is "subject to several restrictions imposed by Apple that prevent app developers from communicating, promoting offers and concluding contracts through the distribution channel of their choice."

In addition, the Commission believes that the fees charged by Apple for facilitating new customer acquisition via the ‌App Store‌ "go beyond what is strictly necessary for such remuneration." For example, Apple charges developers a fee for every purchase of digital goods or services a user makes within seven days after a link-out from the app, and the Commission sees this as excessive.

The Commission also said it was opening a new non-compliance procedure against Apple over concerns that its new contractual requirements for third-party app developers and app marketplaces, including its €0.50 Core Technology Fee, "fall short of ensuring effective compliance with Apple's obligations under the DMA."

Responding to the Commission's announcement, Apple provided MacRumors with the following statement:

"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."

Now that the Commission has informed Apple of its preliminary view, Apple can exercise its defence by examining the documents in the Commission's investigation file and replying in writing to the Commission's preliminary findings. If Apple was found to be in breach of the DMA, the company could face fines up to 10% of its worldwide revenue. The Commission's final decision is due by March 2025.

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.

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Top Rated Comments

vagos Avatar
3 weeks ago
My next phone will be android. I've had enough of Apple's shady practices.
Score: 35 Votes (Like | Disagree)
goobot Avatar
3 weeks ago

My next phone will be android. I've had enough of Apple's shady practices.
But Apple is monopoly you can’t do that
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SanderEvers Avatar
3 weeks ago

Let’s be honest: Apple sells many products and services in Europe at prices that are 25% higher than in the US and much of the rest of the world.
EU prices include VAT and often additional EU fees. (between 19-30% in total, depending on the country. US prices don't include sales tax)

If you want to back up data, iCloud is the only option.
False, you can make local backups of your data to your PC/Mac and store them anywhere you want.

If you want to download an app, the App Store was the only option until recently.
False you can buy an Android

Apple has been dictates for decades how its products are used, creating and maintaining a monopoly by forcing users to use their products and services.
False, Apple does not have a monopoly. AND see previous answer.

I’m not saying this needs to stop, but either offer prices comparable to the competition or continue charging high prices like now but open up to competition.
A lot of Android devices are even more expensive.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iToph Avatar
3 weeks ago
Where can I vote against all this ********. We don’t want it we don’t need it.

Just let us choose our eco system.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Ctrlos Avatar
3 weeks ago
The CTF was never going to hold. It massively puts off smaller devs going it alone.

Apple would be better off making a carrot than a stick.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
contacos Avatar
3 weeks ago
Everyone with knowledge of the Alphabet would have been able to tell that Apple will not get away with charging a Core Technology Fee. Guess we will know by March 2025 at the latest.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)