EU’s Breton Warns of Consequences if Apple’s App Store Modifications Are Inadequate
In response to the European Union’s upcoming Digital Markets Act (DMA), Apple is making adjustments to its App Store policies, allowing software developers to distribute apps through alternative stores on Apple devices. However, EU industry chief Thierry Breton warns that Apple could face significant consequences if these changes do not align with the forthcoming regulations, reported Reuters.
Starting March 7, 2024, developers will have the option to provide alternative app stores on iPhones and opt out of using Apple’s in-app payment system, which has faced criticism for its commission rates of up to 30%. While this move is seen as a step towards compliance with the DMA, critics argue that the changes may not go far enough and could potentially violate the new regulations.
Breton, in an exclusive statement to Reuters, emphasized the EU’s commitment to fostering fair and open digital markets, stating, “The DMA will open the gates of the internet to competition so that digital markets are fair and open. Change is already happening. As from 7 March, we will assess companies’ proposals, with the feedback of third parties.” He further stated, “If the proposed solutions are not good enough, we will not hesitate to take strong action.”
Under Apple’s new EU regime, developers must still submit apps for review to Apple, ensuring compliance with cybersecurity measures and preventing obvious fraud. Additionally, Apple device users within the EU will gain the ability to select default web browsers and contactless payment apps, offering greater flexibility in their digital choices.
However, despite the concessions, concerns persist regarding Apple’s fee structure. Developers opting out of Apple’s App Store and payment system will still be subject to a “core technology fee” of 50 euro cents per user account per year. Apple clarified that this fee is applicable only to developers who choose to adopt the new business terms.
As Apple strives to navigate the changing regulatory landscape in the European Union, the tech giant faces increased scrutiny, with the DMA acting as a benchmark for ensuring fair competition and openness in the digital marketplace. The coming weeks will be crucial as companies present their proposals and the EU evaluates their compliance with the new regulations.