The EU is investigating Apple, Meta and Google over fees and self-preferencing

oh oh appleMeta and Google Attempts to stick to the letter of the bloc’s new Digital Markets Act (DMA) could be in hot water in Europe, even if it lacks the full spirit.

According to the European Commission (the executive arm of the European Union), the investigation is based on concerns that Google’s parent company, Alphabet, and Apple “do not give enough permission to app developers to ‘manage’ offerings outside of gatekeeper app stores for free to consumers.” As such, the new rules for these tech companies “…may limit the ability of developers to freely communicate and promote proposals and enter into direct contracts, including imposing various charges.”

The European Commission said it believed Alphabet’s search could still dominate Google-owned services like Google Flights. That said, Apple may not allow users to make meaningful choices about choosing alternatives to standard iOS services or benefits — such as the ability to uninstall any preloaded apps. Meta is also being investigated due to a new EU scheme that users can do opt out of adsbut for a price.

The European Commission has been hinting at a possible investigation against Apple and Google until these investigations. Apple in January announced To comply with the DMA, a series of App Store changes required it to (among other things) enable alternative app markets on iOS in the EU and allow developers to direct users to third-party payment systems. Apple’s updates included a new “core technology fee” of €0.50 that app developers will have to pay per user every year after the first 1 million app installs — even if the user downloads the software from a third-party marketplace. Google also charges fees from developers in the EU Bypass the Play Store.

Many of Apple’s competitors The App Store condemned the changes. Some of them criticized the company’s fees Also for third-party payments in the US.

The EU, perhaps unsurprisingly, is closely monitoring how companies subject to the DMA rules comply (or fail to do so). Antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager said: “If, for example, Apple’s new fee structure is not going to be attractive in any way to actually take advantage of DMA, there are things we are very interested in.” Reuters On March 19. “That’s what we’re going to investigate.”

Today’s announcement hints that a “new payment structure” for Apple’s alternative app stores may still be on the docket for future intervention, seemingly giving Amazon a possible edge in its digital storefront.

In statements to the press, Apple said it was “confident that our plan is DMA-compliant,” while Alphabet said it would “continue to defend our approach in the coming months.” A Meta spokesperson called its paid, ad-free option “a well-established business model across many industries.”

News of the extensive investigation comes on the heels of the US Department of Justice He filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple. The government and more than a dozen states have accused Apple of cultivating a mobile software monopoly, arguing that the company makes it too difficult for competitors to compete with its products and services.

It may take some time to find out the outcome of the EU investigations. according to Bloomberg, EC investigators try to reach a final decision within a year of starting a formal investigation. If officials find that these companies are not complying with the DMA, they face severe penalties.

Under the law, the EU can fine a company up to 10 percent of its annual gross revenue, and up to 20 percent for repeat violations. Such penalties could cost the EU up to $2 billion recently fined Apple It’s like pocket change as iTunes and Apple Music squeeze out rivals like Spotify.

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