EU will force Apple and Google to allow third-party app stores and payment services

The European Union has released its full Digital Markets Act, which plans to force companies like Apple to offer alternatives to its App storeand payment systems.

A member of the European Commission wants Apple to authorize other App Stores

Following his plans to require Apple Messages, and others, to work with smaller competitors, the EU has now released full details of its Digital Markets Act (DMA). The DMA was agreed during an almost eight-hour meeting between Parliament, the Council and the EU Commission on March 24, 2022.

According to EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager, the process from this agreement to the enactment of the proposals into law is going to be “really, really fast”. She expects the legislation to be enacted and “come into force in October”.

“A fair market is part of any democracy,” Vestager continued. in a speech“and the steps we took last night, well, those are huge steps in terms of securing every business and [making sure] that the digital marketplace is fair for the benefit of every consumer.”

“For example, a new obligation of interoperability between messaging services that has been added,” she said, “as well as a ban on the collection of data for the purpose of targeted advertising, except with effective consent”.

Some obligations are not yet fully determined, for example messaging interoperability requirements. the EU statement said it was agreed that these “will be evaluated in the future”.

More importantly for companies like Apple and Google, DMA Section 6.1(c) would require iPhones to be open to sideloading apps – including third-party app stores – and all vendors will have to support alternative payment systems. Customers will also have the right to uninstall any preloaded apps.

In addition, companies defined as “gatekeepers” will have to stop the preferential treatment of their own services on the platforms they control.

The objectives of the EU with the DMA

Vestager listed the numerous antitrust cases the EU has either concluded with Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook, or is currently involved in.

“The point is, what we’ve learned over these years is that we can correct in specific cases, we can punish illegal behavior,” she said. “But when things get systemic, well, we also need regulation. Because if there’s systemic risky behavior, if there’s entrenched positions, then we need regulation. regulations.”

Vestager also said the DMA would bring technology companies in line with other industries that also need oversight and regulation.

“It’s actually quite similar to what was done a long time ago,” she said. “In banking, in telecoms in energy in transport, where regulation and competition go hand in hand. Finally, we have established the same reality here.”

Only large companies that the DMA describes as providing “basic platform services” will be designated as “gatekeepers” and will be subject to the provisions of the law if it becomes law.

According to the European Parliament, a gatekeeper must provide browsers, messaging services or social media, and have at least 45 million monthly end users in the EU. They must also have 10,000 annual business users and a market cap of at least €75 billion ($82 billion) or annual revenue of €7.5 billion ($8.2 billion). ).

The full legal text of the DMA needs to be finalized before approval. While Vestager said she hopes for October, given typical schedules, a 2023 enactment is more likely. The Parliament and the Council of the EU are responsible for the final approval.

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