Apple is at risk of imminent penalties over "issues" the EU has with its compliance with the bloc's digital regulations, competition tsar Margrethe Vestager has warned. (Thierry Monasse/Getty Images)


Apple risks heavy penalties over ‘very serious issues’, Vestager warns


Apple is at risk of imminent penalties over “issues” the European Union has with its compliance with the bloc’s digital regulations, European Commission competition tsar Margrethe Vestager has warned.

Speaking to US news channel CNBC on June 18, Vestager described Apple’s alleged breaches of the Digital Markets Act (DMA) as “very serious” before suggesting that the tech giant could soon face hefty fines.

“I find them very serious,” she said.

“I was very surprised that we would have such suspicions of Apple being non-compliant.”

She added that while it “remains to be seen” whether the EC decided to punish the company — Vestager cannot officially comment on ongoing DMA investigations — the politician said she expected a ruling on the situation to be issued “soon”.

Vestager’s comments came shortly after reports that the EC was planning to imminently announce Apple as guilty of breaching DMA rules surrounding app distribution.

The body is said to have come to a preliminary conclusion that the California-based company had failed to comply with its legal obligation to freely allow third-party companies to “steer” their users away from the iPhone app store.

Such a ruling would carry the risk of major fines: of up to 5 per cent of the company’s daily global turnover.

The EC is also investigating Google parent company Alphabet over its operations regarding the Google Play store, with Brussels looking into whether it was also breaking steering rules with its treatment of third-party companies.

Final penalties for companies in breach of the DMA can hit 10 per cent of a company’s global annual turnover and that can be doubled to 20 per cent in cases of repeated offences.