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Surprise, surprise: Apple's App Store changes continue to really bother the EU

Apple may be required to make additional changes to comply with the EU's Digital Markets Act.

Published onJune 24, 2024

Apple Logo Apple Store BKC 2
Aamir Siddiqui / Android Authority
  • The EU Commission has notified Apple about its preliminary findings, which indicate it has breached the Digital Markets Act (DMA) with its anti-steering rules.
  • The EU Commission has also opened new investigations to determine whether Apple’s Core Technology Fee (CTF) complies with the DMA.
  • If the preliminary findings are confirmed, the EU could charge Apple up to 10% of its annual global revenue.

Earlier this year, Apple rolled out an iOS update with EU-exclusive features to comply with the DMA. These include support for third-party app stores and allowing developers to reference in-app digital services that users can buy from external websites. Now that the EU Commission has investigated some of Apple’s changes, its preliminary findings indicate that the iPhone maker has breached the DMA.

The EU Commission announced today that Apple’s new iPhone rules continue to prevent developers from steering users to external websites, which violates its DMA. For reference, Apple now allows app developers to link to digital purchases beyond its own IAP system. However, the company still restricts how developers implement the links in their apps, such as prohibiting them from listing their pricing.

Additionally, Apple collects commission fees for purchases made on external websites if initiated from an iOS app within seven days. The EU Commission believes that the “fees charged by Apple go beyond what is strictly necessary.”

In a statement to 9to5Mac, Apple said:

“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.”

Beyond Apple’s anti-steering rules, the EU Commission has opened new investigations to determine whether the company’s CTF violates the DMA. For those unfamiliar, Apple collects half a euro per install per year from developers using third-party app stores. The EU Commission should soon conclude whether the CTF is compliant or not.

Lastly, the EU will also be looking into the user experience of installing and using third-party app stores on iOS, as the process may be unnecessarily complex to discourage users from relying on these digital storefronts.

If the preliminary findings released today are confirmed, the EU Commission could charge Apple up to a whopping 10% of its annual global revenue. Whether Apple makes more EU-exclusive changes in iOS 18 to appease the governing body remains to be seen.

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