EU antitrust chief warns Apple about app store fees and security warnings

Tim Hardwick

European regulators plan to investigate key aspects of Apple's compliance with the Digital Markets Act (DMA) based on developer feedback, the EU's antitrust chief warned on Tuesday.

In an interview with Reuters, European Commission Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager said that Apple's introduction of new fees is already being considered. as a potential attempt to dissuade developers from using alternative app stores.

“There are things that we're very interested in, like whether Apple's new fee structure will change. doesn't actually make taking advantage of DMA in any way attractive. These are the kinds of things we will be investigating,” she told Reuters.

Earlier this month, Apple opened alternative app stores in the EU, allowing third-party app stores to offer a catalog of apps from other developers, as well as marketplace developer's own apps. Apple also has a new fee structure as part of changes that have already been criticized by several developers and EU associations.

In addition, Vestager warned Apple and other companies against harassing users into moving to other app marketplaces, saying such behavior could trigger investigations. Apple has already stated that some changes made using DMA may expose users to security risks from which they are otherwise protected when using the App Store.

“I would consider It's not reasonable to say that these services are unsafe to use because it has nothing to do with DMA,” Vestager said. “DMA exists to open up the market for other service providers to contact you, and how your operating system service provider, how they will secure it is up to them.”

“And of course, if we see or suspect that this is being done to say that someone the other is not doing its job, we could take initiatives to look into it,” she added.

Vestager said developer feedback was key to whether she would open an investigation into companies that must comply with the DMA. When asked if she had received any comments from third parties, she replied: “Quite a lot.”

Changes to Apple's app ecosystem in the European Union took effect with the launch of iOS 17.4 March 6. Apple has since tweaked its app ecosystem rules based on developer feedback and discussions with EU regulators.

For example, third-party app stores can now offer apps directly from their own catalog, and developers will soon be able to distribute apps directly from their websites if they meet Apple's requirements.

Apple says it is also developing a solution that will prevent developers from going bankrupt to the tune of €0.50 (CTF) if their free app goes viral.

Tags: Apple Antitrust, App Store, European Commission, European Union[ 445 comments ]

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