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EU Charges Apple with Violating Tech Regulations, Faces Additional Investigation

The central issues at play are Apple's core technology fee, the user journey for downloading and installing alternative app stores on iPhones, and the eligibility requirements for developers to offer alternative app stores.

The European Union’s (EU) antitrust authorities have charged Apple with breaking the bloc’s technology rules, a move that may result in a substantial fine and another inquiry into the fees the company levies on app developers. 

As the EU’s chief antitrust and technology regulator, the European Commission has sent its initial findings to Apple, subsequent to an investigation launched in March 2024.

The Commission’s accusation against Apple is the first ever under the Digital Markets Act, a landmark legislation designed to check the power of tech giants and create a more equitable market for smaller competitors.

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Companies that violate the Digital Markets Act (DMA) may face fines equivalent to up to 10% of their global annual revenue.

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According to Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s top antitrust chief, Apple’s new terms don’t align with the DMA’s requirements, but the company can avoid a fine by modifying its business practices to comply with the regulations.

“As they stand, we think that these new terms do not allow app developers to communicate freely with their end users, and to conclude contracts with them,” Vestager said.

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According to her, Apple must determine its own approach to complying with the Digital Markets Act, and it’s not her responsibility to dictate specific actions to the company.

In response to feedback from app developers and the Commission, Apple said it has made several changes in recent months to ensure compliance with the DMA.

“As we have done routinely, we will continue to listen and engage with the European Commission,” it said.

Additionally, Apple was criticized for its App Store fees, which were deemed excessive for facilitating the initial customer acquisition by developers, exceeding what was necessary for such remuneration. 

However, according to Apple, the new business terms would lead to lower or unchanged fees for almost all developers.

“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,” Apple said.

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