EU adopts Digital Markets Act, possibly forcing Apple to allow sideloading

Daniel Sims

Posts: 517   +20
Staff
What just happened? Since late 2020, the European Union has been developing legislation that could significantly affect how big digital platform holders like Apple and Google operate. That legislation is on the path to becoming law later this year, possibly altering the relationship between platforms and third-party developers.

The European Commission adopted the Digital Markets Act (DMA) and the Digital Services Act (DSA) this week, two packages designed to control the power of tech giants in favor of consumers. After the Council of the EU signs and adopts the acts, they'll go into effect this fall.

Between the two, the DMA is probably the more important for platform holders like Google and Apple. It will require "gatekeepers" like them to let EU users install apps from outside official app stores, easily uninstall pre-installed software, or easily unsubscribe from core services. The law also includes other protections for third-party developers and consumers regarding data, advertising, and payment systems.

Apple and Google have fought against demands to allow third-party payment systems on iOS and Android, respectively, and Apple strongly argues against sideloading. Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney responded positively to this week's announcement. Epic has fought both giants in court over the right to deliver apps and operate payment systems outside platform holders' official channels.

Additionally, DSA will try to raise safety measures to protect internet users from predatory advertisers, trackers, and other services. It will also let users more easily flag illegal content online and file complaints against platforms.

Last month, the EU also agreed upon legislation that will eventually force Apple to ship its phones with USB-C compatibility.

Permalink to story.

 

Dsirius

Posts: 142   +249
Digital Markets Act (DMA) and the Digital Services Act (DSA) are the first step in the right direction for the entire world. Even so is not enough, more regulations have to be adopted, especially regarding corporate media like Tik Tok, Facebook, Instagram in spreading violent videos through their "automated algorithms".
 

Endymio

Posts: 1,640   +1,642
Once again the EU is leaps and bounds ahead of the USA is legislature and with the way our Supreme Court is pushing us backwards
For anyone who values freedom and democracy, the reverse is true in both cases. Personally, I've never owned an Apple phone, but they're far from a monopoly, especially in Europe, and they have a right to structure their ecosystem in any manner they choose.

As for SCOTUS, they've now allowed the people to vote on the laws they wish for abortion. Half the states will tighten abortion restrictions, and the other half will loosen them. In all cases: democracy wins.
 

terzaerian

Posts: 1,372   +1,971
For anyone who values freedom and democracy, the reverse is true in both cases. Personally, I've never owned an Apple phone, but they're far from a monopoly, especially in Europe, and they have a right to structure their ecosystem in any manner they choose.
"Far from a monopoly" still doesn't mean much when it comes to Apple - they're an international megacorporation with a trillions-dollar market cap with the hubris and ambition to not just ship out gadgets but actively warp and manipulate how mankind fundamentally uses technology, period, and not for the better. If anything they've been outpacing governments around the planet in finding ways to make technology an instrument of surveillance and control, the only difference is that the elites served live in Cupertino instead of the Hague or DC.

Will precedents like this open the door to worse legislation down the road? That is a possibility. But the possibilities of letting powers and ambitions like Apple's continue to grow utterly unchecked are more chilling by far and the need to step in is more emergent.
 

GoldenGoat

Posts: 62   +64
For anyone who values freedom and democracy, the reverse is true in both cases. Personally, I've never owned an Apple phone, but they're far from a monopoly, especially in Europe, and they have a right to structure their ecosystem in any manner they choose.

As for SCOTUS, they've now allowed the people to vote on the laws they wish for abortion. Half the states will tighten abortion restrictions, and the other half will loosen them. In all cases: democracy wins.

Anti-trust isn't about being a monopoly, it's about abusing your market position. Being a monopoly just makes it easier to prove in court. Companies like Spotify and Epic think Apple is abusing their market position. Hard to say what a court would decide.
 

Hexic

Posts: 1,238   +1,927
TechSpot Elite
For anyone who values freedom and democracy, the reverse is true in both cases. Personally, I've never owned an Apple phone, but they're far from a monopoly, especially in Europe, and they have a right to structure their ecosystem in any manner they choose.

Exactly - they set their ecosystem up as they want, and the market will adjust either with or against them. I despise Apple, but I still believe if they want their little boring, non-functional closed garden ecosystem then they should be able to go for it.

I'm just waiting for the misguided "bUT mY SeCUrItY" comments to begin flowing in.
 

Endymio

Posts: 1,640   +1,642
Anti-trust isn't about being a monopoly, it's about abusing your market position.
Oops! From the US Federal Trade Commission's website:

Antitrust laws prohibit conduct by a single firm that unreasonably restrains competition by creating or maintaining monopoly power.... "

Since we're speaking of the EU, I'll quote from their own website:

"Abuse of a dominant position. Article 102 prohibits abusive behaviour by companies holding a dominant position on any given market...."
 

GoldenGoat

Posts: 62   +64
Oops! From the US Federal Trade Commission's website:

Antitrust laws prohibit conduct by a single firm that unreasonably restrains competition by creating or maintaining monopoly power.... "

Since we're speaking of the EU, I'll quote from their own website:

"Abuse of a dominant position. Article 102 prohibits abusive behaviour by companies holding a dominant position on any given market...."

Apple decides who is allowed to sell iphone apps and sets rules on them to do so. You don't consider that a dominant position?
 

dangh

Posts: 623   +977
Google does the same thing - you need some form of governance in order to both protect the integrity of the respective app market and the market's consumers.
Google allows sideloading and I use that to load a bunch of applications I wrote myself or compiled from open sources, without having to register them in google appstore. So that is already working, and my samsung phone diod not lost any integrity because of that, but actually got more use because I can do things on MY device, which I want.

And even if someone don't want to call apple monopolists, duopoly is same stuff.
But ask any mobile dev company if they can exists without releasing applicaiton on iOS - the answer is 'no', therefore Apple _is_monopoly. And because answer is 'no', then Apple charging Spotify 30% of their income to power their own music application means Spotify directly financing direct competitor. Yes, that is both monopoly and abuse of dominant position. Therefore I'm very happy with the EU ruling and I hope they wont stop only on that.
 

Endymio

Posts: 1,640   +1,642
Apple decides who is allowed to sell iphone apps and sets rules on them to do so. You don't consider that a dominant position?
Is this post in jest? The term "dominant market position" has a specific legal meaning which has nothing whatsoever to do with what rules a firm attaches to sale or use of its products.

Furthermore, every company in the world has the power to set such rules, and is under no onus whatsoever to make its products easily interoperate with those from other manufacturers. By your logic, Subaru Motors (#23 in the world) is the dominant automaker, because it sets rules on what software can and cannot be loaded onto its vehicles.
 

Endymio

Posts: 1,640   +1,642
ask any mobile dev company if they can exists without releasing applicaiton on iOS - the answer is 'no',
Stuff and nonsense. The list of Android apps not available on iOS runs to several dozen pages. If a company can't exist on 85% of the world market, then adding an extra 15% revenue into the mix won't save them.
 

terzaerian

Posts: 1,372   +1,971
Stuff and nonsense. The list of Android apps not available on iOS runs to several dozen pages. If a company can't exist on 85% of the world market, then adding an extra 15% revenue into the mix won't save them.
It's a bit absurd that you're so wedded to the idea of free market economics and the sovereignty of companies that you're dismissing the perspective of a professional working in the field, presumably as a small business. It has the hallmarks of a Soviet dismissing reports of a famine from someone living in a satellite state, because the ginned up reports on productivity indicate that should be impossible.

He's 100% right - a de facto monopoly is a monopoly. Waiting for something to be a de jure monopoly before it becomes actionable is ridiculous on its face.
 
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Endymio

Posts: 1,640   +1,642
It's a bit absurd that you're so wedded to the idea of free market economics [that] you're dismissing the perspective of a professional working in the field...
He's 100% right - a de facto monopoly is a monopoly.
I think a more reasonable interpretation is that you're allowing your hatred of Apple's business practices to blind you to reality. Apple is neither a de facto nor a de jure monopoly. Do you not have valid alternatives? Can you not purchase an Android phone right now, and avoid the Apple store entirely? Is the Android ecosystem not only as large, but even larger and more vibrant than Apple's?

Even Apple's most vociferous detractors will admit there are numerous alternative products -- many which are both better and cheaper. The only consumers being 'hurt' by Apple's business practices are those who choose voluntarily to enter into their restricted ecosystem. Their choice. Their consequences.
 

terzaerian

Posts: 1,372   +1,971
I think a more reasonable interpretation is that you're allowing your hatred of Apple's business practices to blind you to reality. Apple is neither a de facto nor a de jure monopoly. Do you not have valid alternatives? Can you not purchase an Android phone right now, and avoid the Apple store entirely? Is the Android ecosystem not only as large, but even larger and more vibrant than Apple's?

Even Apple's most vociferous detractors will admit there are numerous alternative products -- many which are both better and cheaper. The only consumers being 'hurt' by Apple's business practices are those who choose voluntarily to enter into their restricted ecosystem. Their choice. Their consequences.
Android and Apple form a duopoly - the policies governing their respective app stores differ in some immaterial details but are functionally indistinguishable from each other, and it's the existence of the "app store" categorically that I object to, because they allow Apple and Google to pick and choose winners and losers in the field.

Take the free speech movement, for example. If a platform won't conform to Apple and Google's terms of service, they're not allowed on the platform, and their terms of service explicitly restrict freedom of speech a la rules on hate speech. Ergo, any social platform, no matter how dedicated to freedom of speech they are, has to violate their own principles just to be on those app stores.

Apple's outsize influence is beginning to bleed over into areas where this did not use to be a problem - for example, on the PC. Microsoft never stops trying to make its Windows store a thing, and while United States vs. Microsoft (an antitrust action which was also decried by free market ideologues at the time) does restrict MS from making the app store the only way to install, say, a browser, MS is becoming progressively more bold about making arbitrary decisions about what components and software can and cannot be installed on a PC, likely encouraged by the **** Apple gets away with and the precedents Apple is setting.

You are paving the road to hell with your good intentions, friend.
 

Endymio

Posts: 1,640   +1,642
You are paving the road to hell with your good intentions, friend.
Interestingly enough, that's how I would describe this new law. Its reach is far beyond simple sideloading -- which it may not even enable -- and encompasses not only smart phones, but desktop, web search, audio and video streaming platforms, cloud services, social media, e-commerce, and even travel booking sites -- 200 pages of intrusive new regulations.

Furthermore, the regulations are written in a very broad and vague manner, making it essentially impossible for a company to determine whether or not it's actually in compliance. The law outright admits this: it provides for a Commission to assess any company at any time and -- at its own unlimited discretion -- levy fines, penalties, or decrees at will.
 

GoldenGoat

Posts: 62   +64
I think a more reasonable interpretation is that you're allowing your hatred of Apple's business practices to blind you to reality. Apple is neither a de facto nor a de jure monopoly. Do you not have valid alternatives? Can you not purchase an Android phone right now, and avoid the Apple store entirely? Is the Android ecosystem not only as large, but even larger and more vibrant than Apple's?

Even Apple's most vociferous detractors will admit there are numerous alternative products -- many which are both better and cheaper. The only consumers being 'hurt' by Apple's business practices are those who choose voluntarily to enter into their restricted ecosystem. Their choice. Their consequences.

Could I switch to Android? Yes. But I'm not the one complaining to the government for help. Companies like Spotify are. I don't want to switch to Android so Spotify and other companies are stuck dealing with Apple if they want to sell me their products.
 

Endymio

Posts: 1,640   +1,642
Could I switch to Android? Yes.
Therefore no monopoly. End of issue.

But I'm not the one complaining to the government for help. Companies like Spotify are...
A basic truism of antitrust law is that it exists to protect competition, not competitors.. Competition by definition involves one firm taking actions which damage others. My car doesn't play Spotify either. Should Spotify be able to sue Lexus and force them to alter this horrendous state of affairs?
 

Slappy McPhee

Posts: 226   +143
I believe that using the term "monopoly" when it comes to Apple is definitely a misnomer. They are plenty of other choices. The walled garden stranglehold that Apple exerts however is pretty disgusting. People backing it make me laugh. Sure, Android has its issues however do not be fooled by Apple's supposed security-centric outlook on their garden...its ALL about the cash flow. Apple is far from altruistic. I am waiting for someone else to come in and say, "Google is no better", and in response I say that we aren't talking about Google right now. We are talking about Apple. Do not cloud the issue with your rhetoric to defend your position. At some point you need to let the users determine what happens with their devices. Why it is that you can load non Apple Store applications on their desktops? Stop mothering the sh!t out of the users attempting to disguise as anything outside of corporate greed.
 

GoldenGoat

Posts: 62   +64
Therefore no monopoly. End of issue.

A basic truism of antitrust law is that it exists to protect competition, not competitors.. Competition by definition involves one firm taking actions which damage others. My car doesn't play Spotify either. Should Spotify be able to sue Lexus and force them to alter this horrendous state of affairs?

I am not familiar with Lexus's market power and their music service to answer that, but I doubt it is comparable the Apple.

 

Endymio

Posts: 1,640   +1,642
I am not familiar with Lexus's market power and their music service to answer that, but I doubt it is comparable the Apple.
I'll answer for you then. Since your first post referenced Spotify's complaints about Apple, let's start with them:

" Spotify controls just under a third (31%) of the global market, more than double that of Apple AAPL Music (15%), its nearest rival."

Lexus is owned by Toyota, the world's largest automaker. But for a closer analogy, let's consider my Samsung television instead, which likewise does not allow Spotify to load its app onto it. Samsung controls 32% of the world TV market, the largest share by far. Should Samsung be forced to allow Spotify to load itself onto all its TVs?
 

GoldenGoat

Posts: 62   +64
I'll answer for you then. Since your first post referenced Spotify's complaints about Apple, let's start with them:

" Spotify controls just under a third (31%) of the global market, more than double that of Apple AAPL Music (15%), its nearest rival."

Lexus is owned by Toyota, the world's largest automaker. But for a closer analogy, let's consider my Samsung television instead, which likewise does not allow Spotify to load its app onto it. Samsung controls 32% of the world TV market, the largest share by far. Should Samsung be forced to allow Spotify to load itself onto all its TVs?

Sorry friend, I'm not familiar with the Samsung TV app market either. If you're interested in my opinion though, then I think that if any company open an app market for 3rd party apps then they should not be allowed to discriminate or give advantages or disadvantages to any party including 1st party apps. A company does not need to open an app store for 3rd party apps, but if they do then there should be certain standards in my opinion. I would be in favor of the government enforcing a level playing field for all, if that is what it takes to make it so.