Recent changes announced by Apple regarding its services in the European Union have sparked concerns and criticism from various digital organizations, including well-known app makers such as Epic Games and Spotify. A total of 34 digital organizations have expressed their worries to the European Commission, stating that Apple’s proposed modifications could potentially undermine the new antitrust rules established in the bloc.

The digital organizations shared their apprehensions in a letter addressed to the EU executive, outlining their concerns about Apple’s compliance with the Digital Markets Act (DMA). They fear that the proposed scheme by Apple may not align with the legal requirements of the DMA, thus hindering their ability to promptly deliver the benefits of the legislation to consumers.

Apple had announced earlier this year that it would be making changes to its iOS operating system, Safari browser, and App Store operations within the EU to adhere to the DMA regulations. The DMA aims to address anti-competitive practices in online platforms within the EU, targeting tech companies identified as “gatekeepers,” which include Apple, Google parent Alphabet, Amazon, Meta, Microsoft, and ByteDance, the company behind TikTok.

One of the notable changes introduced by Apple was opening up its App Store to rival apps and allowing alternative payment services on its iPhones. However, app developers opting for this route were required to pay a “Core Technology Fee” to Apple, amounting to 50 euro cents ($0.54) per download for apps with over a million downloads. This move has sparked criticism, particularly from developers like Epic Games, who argue that the fee imposes a substantial financial burden on them.

In the joint letter to the EU executive, the digital organizations and associations emphasized that Apple’s new terms not only disregard the essence of the DMA but also undermine the efforts made by the European Commission and other EU institutions to foster competitiveness in digital markets. They assert that if Apple’s terms remain unchanged, it would jeopardize the integrity of the DMA.

Several companies and industry experts have raised doubts about the effectiveness of Apple’s changes in enhancing consumer choice and promoting digital competition. The European Commission, when contacted about the concerns raised in the letter, stated that they would thoroughly evaluate the proposed compliance measures put forth by designated gatekeepers after the March 7 deadline.

It is evident that Apple’s adjustments in response to the DMA have stirred a significant amount of controversy and skepticism within the digital marketplace. The implications of these changes on developers, consumers, and digital competition in the EU remain a topic of debate. As the deadline for compliance approaches, all eyes are on how Apple and other tech giants will adapt to the regulations and whether these adjustments will indeed lead to a more competitive and consumer-friendly digital landscape.


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