Apple Faces EU Scrutiny Over App Store Policies Under New Law
Apple Faces EU Scrutiny Over App Store Policies Under New Law

Apple is facing charges from European Union regulators for allegedly imposing unfair restrictions on developers in its App Store, violating a new EU law designed to foster competition in the tech industry. This marks the first time a company has been charged under the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which was enacted in 2022 to curb the power of major online platforms.

The EU regulators, who initiated an investigation in March, claim that Apple has been unlawfully restricting companies that create games, music services, and other applications. The DMA prohibits Apple from limiting how developers communicate with customers about sales and content available outside the App Store. If found guilty, Apple could face a fine of up to 10 percent of its global revenue, potentially doubling to 20 percent for repeated offenses. Last year, Apple reported $383 billion in revenue.

Margrethe Vestager, the European Commission's executive vice president in charge of competition policy, emphasized the significance of this action, stating, "Today is a very important day for the effective enforcement of the DMA." She criticized Apple's App Store policies for making developers overly dependent on the company and limiting consumer awareness of better offers.

Apple has defended its practices, arguing that its rules and fees are justified by the extensive platform it provides for developers to reach consumers. The company has stated that developers can direct consumers to websites for purchases outside the App Store. "Throughout the past several months, Apple has made a number of changes to comply with the DMA in response to feedback from developers and the European Commission," Apple said in a statement. "We are confident our plan complies with the law."

The charges are preliminary, and Apple has been given the opportunity to respond. A final decision is expected by next March. This case highlights the increasing regulatory scrutiny Apple faces globally. In the United States, the Justice Department has filed a lawsuit against Apple for allegedly holding an illegal monopoly in the smartphone market. Additionally, Apple is currently contesting a 2021 judicial ruling that it claims allows it to take 27 percent of app sales through third-party payment systems.

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