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European Commission Launches Investigation into Apple’s App Store for Alleged Anti-Competitive Practices

Brussels, June 24, 2024, The Europe Today: The European Commission announced on Monday the launch of an investigation into Apple’s App Store for alleged anti-competitive practices, under the European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA). The DMA aims to prevent powerful digital “gatekeepers” from abusing their positions as intermediaries between businesses and consumers.

The Commission’s investigation focuses on Apple’s practice of charging alternative app stores and app developers a fee each time an iPhone user installs their software. Preliminary findings suggest that Apple has breached the DMA.

The Commission will also examine the steps that Apple device users must take to use alternative app providers. According to the Commission, Apple’s App Store rules appear to “prevent app developers from freely steering consumers to alternative channels for offers and content.”

Additionally, the investigation will scrutinize Apple’s eligibility criteria for developers wishing to supply iPhone apps via the web instead of through its own app store.

While the preliminary opinion indicates that Apple may have violated the DMA, this is not a final decision. Apple will have the opportunity to respond, and the Commission will assess this response. Brussels must make a final decision on Apple’s compliance by March 2025.

If the final decision confirms that Apple has violated the DMA, the company could face fines worth up to 10% of its global revenue, potentially amounting to billions of euros.

Apple stated that it has made several changes in recent months to comply with the DMA, in response to feedback from developers and the European Commission. “We are confident our plan complies with the law,” the company said.

This marks the first formal accusation against a tech firm under the DMA rules, following the Commission’s initiation of probes into Apple, Google, and Meta in March.