Apple set to be first big tech group to face charges under EU digital law

Brussels is set to charge Apple over allegedly stifling competition on its mobile app store, the first time EU regulators have used new digital rules to target a Big Tech group.

The European Commission has determined that the iPhone maker is not complying with obligations to allow app developers to “steer” users to offers outside its App Store without imposing fees on them, according to three people with close knowledge of its investigation.

↫ Javier Espinoza and Michael Acton

This was always going to happen for as long as Apple’s malicious compliance kept dragging on. The rules in the Digital Markets Act are quite clear and simple, and despite the kind of close cooperation with EU lawmakers no normal EU citizen is ever going to get, Apple has been breaking this law from day one without any intent to comply. European Union regulators have given Apple far, far more leeway and assistance than any regular citizen of small business would get, and that has to stop.

The possible fines under the DMA are massive. If Apple is found guilty, they could be fined for up to 10% of its global revenue, or 20% for repeated violations. This is no laughing matters, and this is not one of those cases where a company like Apple could calculate fines as a mere cost of doing business – this would have a material impact on the company’s numbers, and shareholders are definitely not going to like it if Apple gets fined such percentages.

As these are preliminary findings, Apple could still implement changes, but if past behaviour is any indication, any possibly changes will just be ever more malicious compliance.


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