Excerpt from TimesOfIndia Article, Published on Mar 26, 2024


The European Union has initiated an investigation into Apple and other major tech giants under the Digital Markets Act (DMA). This probe specifically targets Apple’s App Store rules and Safari browser practices. The focus is on potential violations concerning gatekeepers’ compliance, user choice obligations, and fair competition.

The EU Commission expresses concerns that Apple may be hindering app developers from informing users about offers outside the App Store. Moreover, the investigation delves into whether Apple is impeding iPhone users’ ability to remove apps, alter default settings, or choose alternative default apps such as browsers or search engines.

A statement from the Commission highlights the necessity for gatekeepers, like Apple, to allow app developers to guide consumers to offers outside their app stores without charge, as mandated by Article 5(4) of the DMA. The Commission raises questions about the restrictions and charges imposed by Apple, constraining developers’ communication, promotion, and contractual freedom.

Beyond app store regulations, the investigation also scrutinizes Apple’s compliance with user choice obligations. This includes assessing the ease of uninstalling software applications on iOS, changing default settings, and selecting alternative default services through choice screens. Another focal point is Apple’s recent adjustments to fees and regulations for other app stores and direct app downloads. The EU aims to ensure fairness and adherence to DMA principles in these policies.

The Commission also expresses concerns about the design of Apple’s web browser choice screen, suggesting it may impede users’ ability to exercise genuine choice within the Apple ecosystem, potentially violating Article 6(3) of the DMA. The DMA, in effect since earlier this month, aims to curb the market dominance of tech giants and foster fair competition. Gatekeepers like Apple are mandated to enable app developers to guide consumers to external offers without charge, as per Article 5(4) of the DMA.

Apple’s recent alterations to comply with DMA regulations, primarily included in iOS 17.4 within the EU, have come under scrutiny. Some companies and developers have deemed these changes “unfair” and have lodged complaints with the Commission. In addition to Apple, investigations have been initiated against Alphabet, Amazon, Microsoft, and Meta. The Commission possesses the authority to levy fines of up to 10% of a company’s global turnover for infringements, potentially escalating to 20% for repeat offenses. Remedial actions could range from divestitures to acquisition bans. The European Union aims to conclude these proceedings within 12 months.

To delve deeper into this topic, please read the full article on TimesOfIndia