Apple has confirmed to the European Union that it meets the definition of a gatekeeper, meaning it’ll soon be required to oblige by a host of new laws that will require it to open up iMessage to other services, allow users to decide what pre-installed apps to have, and more (via Reuters).
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EU Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton confirmed that Apple, alongside other tech companies, has communicated to the European Commission their eligibility as gatekeepers under the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA). Under the DMA, gatekeeper companies are those with at least 45 million active users and a market capitalization value that exceeds €75 billion, two criteria that Apple easily meets. Reuters adds that other companies which have confirmed their gatekeeper status include Alphabet, Amazon, Meta, Microsoft, Samsung, and TikTok.
Europe is completely reorganising its digital space to both better protect EU citizens and enhance innovation for EU startups and companies
EU Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton
According to the article, the EU is now set to examine the data provided by the mentioned companies to verify their gatekeeper nomination, a process expected to be finalized by September 6. After that date, gatekeeper-confirmed companies will have up to six months to fully comply with the applicable rules as set forward by the DMA.
Under the DMA, companies will be required to open up their messaging services and allow them to interoperate with rivaling platforms. Companies will also be required to allow users to easily remove pre-installed apps, as well as end the prioritization of default apps and services over third-party ones. Finally, the DMA is set to force Apple to open up its platforms to third-party app stores and external payment providers.
Apple has been rumored to allow “sideloading” apps via third-party app stores as part of a future iOS 17 update that could go live in early 2024, according to Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman. Penalties could be severe for Apple and other companies if they elect not to comply with the DMA, with the article stating that penalties can reach up to 10% of a company’s annual global revenue.