Voz media US Voz.us

The EU warns Apple that its App Store violates their competition rules

The European Commission could fine the tech giant up to 10% of its global turnover if it is found guilty in the investigation.

2023-10-30-Una tienda Apple en Shenyang- 34PR7ZW


Published by

This Monday, the European Commission paved the way for heavy financial penalties against Apple by preliminarily determining that its App Store app store does not comply with the bloc's competition rules.

"The App Store rules violate the Digital Markets Act (DML) as they prevent app developers from freely directing consumers to alternative channels for offers and content," the commission said in a "preliminary finding."

The Digital Markets Act (DML) is one of the two regulatory pillars (along with the Digital Services Act) with which the EU seeks to regulate the operations of digital giants such as Apple in the European bloc.

The European Commission, the EU's executive arm, had already opened an investigation on March 25 into the App Store in light of the competition rules determined by the DML.

In a statement, the Commission noted that it had notified Apple of its preliminary conclusion, which will now be able to exercise its right of defense by responding in writing to the EU's position.

If the EU's conclusion is confirmed, it will have to make a decision by the end of March 2025, when it may fine Apple up to 10% of its global turnover.

Apple's total turnover in the year ended September 2023 amounted to $358 billion (about €383 billion).

Beyond fines, the DML grants the European Commission the power to dismember companies that do not comply with the legislation, a weapon seen as a deterrent and usable only in the last resort.

Ongoing tensions between the EU and Apple

Current regulations determine that companies distributing their apps through Apple's App Store "must be able, free of charge, to inform their customers about the possibilities for cheaper alternative purchases," the Commission explained.

In the Commission's view, that is not currently happening due to the commercial conditions imposed by Apple on app developers.

This Monday, an Apple spokesman assured that the company adopted "a number of changes" to conform to the rules and that it will continue to "listen and act together with the European Commission."

The Commission and Apple are locked in a bitter dispute over the firm's requirement to conform to the legislation if it wants to operate in the EU space.

The EU has already fined Apple $1.8 billion following an investigation into complaints from online music platform Spotify.

Apple, however, has filed an appeal with the European court to overturn that penalty.

European Commissioner Thierry Breton, who administers the enforcement of digital market laws, said that in the EU "we are determined to use the clear and effective tools of the DML to bring a swift end to a saga that has gone on for too many years now."

"For too long, the tech giant [Apple] has been crowding out innovative companies and depriving consumers of new possibilities," he said.

Apple is also under investigation over whether it allows users to easily uninstall apps on its iOS operating system and the design of the Web browser's choice screen.

The DML requires companies to offer choice screens for web browsersand search engines to give users more options.