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EU says Apple could face 'strong action' if App Store changes aren't good enough

Officials are strongly encouraging designated gatekeepers to test their proposals with third parties.

Published onJanuary 29, 2024

apple iphone 15 app drawer on table
Ryan Haines / Android Authority
  • Apple’s announced changes to iOS, the App Store, and its other platforms in the EU have not sat well with competitors, who collectively consider the changes as onerous.
  • EU officials mention that designated gatekeepers are encouraged to test their proposals with third parties.
  • If the proposed solutions are not good enough, the EU is said to “not hesitate to take strong action.”

Apple was in the news last week after announcing the changes coming to the EU versions of iOS, App Store, and other platforms within its walled ecosystem. These changes are meant to comply with the EU’s Digital Markets Act. Still, the reaction to Apple’s announced changes indicates that Apple is on its way to achieving nothing but malicious compliance with onerous terms. These announcements have fallen on the ears of the EU, and the people in charge aren’t particularly enthusiastic about the proposed changes.

According to a report from Bloomberg, EU industry chief and European Commissioner for Internal Market, Mr. Thierry Breton, mentioned within the context of Apple’s plans that the authorities will assess proposals from companies from March 7 onwards, alongside feedback from third parties. If the proposed solutions are not good enough, the EU will “not hesitate to take strong action.”

A spokesperson for the European Commission declined to comment on the announcements but mentioned that they “strongly encourage designated gatekeepers to test their proposals with third parties.”

Apple’s critics, with many being competing companies, have strongly objected to Apple’s announced changes. While Apple did open up iOS to alternative app stores and the ability to use an alternative in-app payment system in the EU, the proposed structure remains unfair and onerous. The changes do not adhere to the spirit of the Digital Markets Act, and developers still do not have a real choice.

For instance, even if app developers opt not to use Apple’s App Store or its payment system, Apple still mandates them to pay a “core technology fee” of €0.50 per user account per year. This will impact large app services such as those from Meta and Spotify but also the odd indie developer whose app goes viral. Many such burdensome requirements reduce the attractiveness of leaving developers’ current business arrangements with Apple.

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