EU charges Apple with tech rule violations

Criticism also arose over Apple’s delay in launching AI-powered features in the EU, citing DMA compliance issues.


The EU antitrust regulators have accused Apple of violating the bloc’s tech rules, potentially leading to a substantial fine. The European Commission, responsible for antitrust and technology regulation, announced its preliminary findings following an investigation initiated in March. That move marks the first charge under the Digital Markets Act (DMA), a law designed to curb Big Tech’s dominance and foster fair competition. Apple could face fines of up to 10% of its global annual turnover if it fails to address the concerns.

EU’s antitrust chief, Margrethe Vestager, highlighted issues with Apple’s new terms, which allegedly restrict app developers’ ability to communicate freely with their users and establish contracts. Apple maintains that it has made several changes to comply with the DMA based on feedback from app developers and the Commission. However, the Commission criticised Apple’s business terms, particularly allowing app developers to redirect customers to external websites to complete transactions and the fees charged for initial customer acquisition through the App Store.

The Commission is also investigating Apple’s new contractual requirements for third-party app developers and app stores. Key issues include the core technology fee, the multi-step process to download alternative app stores on iPhones, and eligibility criteria for developers to offer alternative app stores or distribute apps directly. Apple’s recent fee implementations in the EU have drawn criticism, notably from ‘Fortnite’ creator Epic Games. Additionally, Vestager criticised Apple’s delay in launching AI-powered features in the EU, which the company attributed to the DMA, suggesting that Apple might consider its AI integration anti-competitive.