Apple Challenges EU Digital Markets Act, Asserts 5 Separate App Stores, Not One

Apple contests the EU’s Digital Markets Act, asserting errors in the European Commission’s classification of its five App Stores as a unified platform. The company aims to reduce DMA intervention and potential financial impacts by presenting each App Store as distinct, addressing concerns over third-party app marketplaces on its hardware.

Apple Challenges EU Digital Markets Act, Asserts 5 Separate App Stores, Not One
Image: The Next Web

Apple Challenges EU’s Interpretation of App Store in Digital Markets Act Dispute

Five Stores, One Platform? Apple Takes Issue with EU’s View of App Store

In a bid to mitigate the impact of the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) on its business, Apple has challenged the European Commission’s interpretation of its App Store, arguing that the Commission “got it wrong” by treating all five app stores as a single platform. This latest development in the ongoing saga between Apple and the EU over tech regulations reveals the iPhone maker’s ongoing efforts to adapt to the new landscape.

The DMA & Apple in the Crosshairs

The DMA, introduced in 2020, aims to promote fair competition in the digital market by curbing the dominance of large tech companies like Apple. Key regulations include allowing alternative app stores and forcing interoperability between messaging apps, potentially challenging Apple’s walled garden approach.

Apple’s Five-Store Defense

Filed in November 2023 but details only recently revealed, Apple’s legal challenge contends that the Commission committed “material factual errors” by considering its iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple TV, and Apple Watch app stores as one unified platform. Instead, Apple argues that each store caters to a distinct platform and device, essentially dividing its app ecosystem into five separate entities.

Potential Impact of the Argument

If successful, Apple’s argument could significantly reduce the impact of the DMA on its business. With a smaller user base for each individual app store, Apple could potentially avoid some of the stricter DMA regulations applied to gatekeeper services. This approach echoes previous attempts to separate its operating systems and browsers to navigate the regulations.

iMessage in the Spotlight

Apple further challenged the Commission’s designation of iMessage as a number-independent interpersonal communications service (NIICS), triggering an investigation into whether it should follow DMA rules. However, Apple argues that iMessage doesn’t fit the NIICS definition as it’s free, not monetized through hardware sales, marketing, or data processing. This argument, coupled with iMessage’s initial exemption from the DMA due to not reaching the gatekeeper service threshold, highlights Apple’s strategy to defend its messaging platform.

Next Steps in the Battleground

While Apple’s arguments offer a legal defense against the DMA, the European Commission’s response remains to be seen. The legal battle is likely to extend further, with potential amendments to the DMA or clarifications on its application to specific services like iMessage. As the EU works to strike a balance between promoting competition and fostering innovation, Apple’s continued challenges represent a significant obstacle.

Apple’s legal challenge in the context of the DMA raises broader questions about the future of digital market regulations and their impact on tech giants. The dispute also underscores the tension between promoting fair competition and maintaining a sustainable app ecosystem for both developers and users. As the legal battle unfolds, the outcome will have significant implications for the landscape of the digital market not only in Europe but globally.

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Source(s): Apple Insider

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