Apple is once again under fire from the European Commission. (Photo by Annice Lyn/Getty Images)


EC opens a new investigation into Apple


European Union anti-trust regulators have accused Apple of violating the bloc’s tech regulations, a charge that could lead to a large fine for the iPhone maker.

According to the Digital Markets Act (DMA), violations could result in a fine of as much as 10 per cent of a company’s global annual turnover.

The US tech company is also under investigation for imposing new fees on app developers.

On June 24, the European Commission announced that it had sent its preliminary findings to Apple after initiating an investigation in March.

This is the first charge against Apple under the EC’s landmark Digital Markets Act, designed to curb the power of Big Tech and create a level playing field for smaller competitors.

The EC has until March next year to issue a final decision.

EC digital and competition chief Margrethe Vestager said of Apple’s new terms: “They do not comply with the DMA.

“As they stand, we think that these new terms do not allow app developers to communicate freely with their end users, and to conclude contracts with them,” she said.

Apple can avoid a potential fine by addressing those concerns and modifying its business terms.

In response, the company stated it had implemented several changes over the past few months to comply with the DMA, based on feedback from app developers and the EC.

“We will continue to listen and engage with the European Commission,” Apple said.

The EC said there were three major issues regarding Apple’s App Store. First, it said, “None of these business terms allow developers to freely steer their customers.” Secondly, “Apple allows steering only through ‘link-outs’”. Lastly, the body said: “Fees charged by Apple go beyond what is strictly necessary.”

Apple is one of the six companies that fall under the DMA. The others are Alphabet, Amazon, ByteDance, Meta and Microsoft.

The legislation aims to prevent monopolies by large multinational technology companies and to ensure greater public scrutiny of them.

That enables user complaints to be addressed which, until now, have been left to the company concerned without third-party involvement.

The EC’s legislation may affect the launch of certain products on European territory.

According to Bloomberg, Apple has announced that upcoming features such as its Apple Intelligence generative AI tools, iPhone mirroring, and SharePlay screen-sharing might not be available in the European Union this year.