European Union to enact Digital Markets Act tomorrow

Daniel Sims

Posts: 758   +29
Staff
What just happened? Recently passed European Union legislation aiming specifically at platform holders like Apple and Google has crossed the point of no return and becomes law this week. The EU's effort to reign in so-called "gatekeepers" doesn't kick in immediately but could force significant changes to large digital platforms over the next few years.

The European Commission confirms that the EU's Digital Markets Act (DMA) will go into effect on November 1. Under the new law, the EU could force Apple to open iOS's walled garden by mid-2024.

The DMA aims to keep "gatekeepers" from unfairly stifling businesses and competition in EU countries. The law defines gatekeepers as entities that form a significant enough link between companies and consumers to set the rules for those businesses.

The legislation defines Gatekeepers as any company that provides an essential service to 45 million end users and 10,000 businesses in three EU countries for three straight years. The Commission points out app stores, search engines, web browsers, cloud services, operating systems, advertising services, video-sharing platforms, and other digital vendors. Gatekeepers must allow third-party services to interlink with their platforms and can't stop businesses from connecting consumers to outside services.

Similar regulations are already forcing Apple and Google to allow third-party payment processors in countries like Denmark and South Korea. The DMA could require Apple to let iOS users install apps from outside the company's app store, whether through sideloading or third-party app stores.

Although the DMA goes into effect on November 1, the EU wouldn't force platform holders like Apple and Google to comply immediately. The new rules will apply beginning May 4, 2023, after which potential gatekeepers have until July 3 to inform the Commission of their core services. The Commission has until September 6 at the latest to declare whether or not these firms meet the criteria for gatekeepers. Those that do must comply with the DMA before March 6, 2024. Some businesses will likely hail the EU's decision, especially in light of recent criticisms of Apple's app store policies.

Last week, Meta accused Apple of undercutting its business by requiring a revenue cut from paid social media "boosts" through iOS apps. Additionally, Apple's 30-percent commission from in-app services prevents Spotify from selling audiobooks directly through its app, similar to how Amazon can't sell Kindle books through the Kindle iOS app. Allowing downloads outside the app store would circumvent this requirement, potentially losing Apple a lot of money.

Another new EU law will force all new electronic devices sold in the region to feature USB-C charging ports by 2024. Apple admitted that future iPhone models would swap the company's proprietary Lightning cable for USB-C. It's unclear if Apple would make such a variant available outside the EU.

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m4a4

Posts: 3,179   +4,265
TechSpot Elite
Good. One of the few directions the EU is going that I agree with.

If you own your phone, you own it and shouldn't be nannied by the like of Apple as to what you can and can't do with it (via a walled garden).

Of course, you're welcome to stay in the walled garden. Just don't whine about other people not wanting a trillion dollar company forcing you to.
 

dangh

Posts: 854   +1,447
Great stuff. Thankfully on Android I still have some of the freedom as an owner of the deevice - I can write and run my own small applications on my device - but third-party payments and better options for competition to offer their product is just normality trying to come back to everyday use. Who knows, maybe even apple would be usable - but I doubt it...
 

Mr Majestyk

Posts: 1,566   +1,473
But what is the US doing? I'll bet they won't ever bring in such overdue legislation because of their bias toward US companies. My own useless government won't act but are too small to have any influence anyway.
 

psycros

Posts: 4,571   +6,885
Great stuff. Thankfully on Android I still have some of the freedom as an owner of the deevice - I can write and run my own small applications on my device - but third-party payments and better options for competition to offer their product is just normality trying to come back to everyday use. Who knows, maybe even apple would be usable - but I doubt it...

The irony is that literally anyone can create an Android distro and put in on the devices they make (or can hack successfully). You just can't have Google's services on those devices if you provide access to third-party payment processing. Hardly a drawback in my view.
 

Burty117

Posts: 4,699   +3,066
The irony is that literally anyone can create an Android distro and put in on the devices they make (or can hack successfully). You just can't have Google's services on those devices if you provide access to third-party payment processing. Hardly a drawback in my view.
I thought it was worse than that. Banking apps don't work, DRM content from places like Netflix don't work or only output at low resolutions.

The moment you change the OS to anything other than what your phone came with just marks it as untrustworthy.

Another example is the policy at the company I work at. If your phones bootloader is unlocked or iPhone is tampered with in anyway, we're completely blocked from accessing anything.
 

AlaskaGuy

Posts: 749   +620
But what is the US doing? I'll bet they won't ever bring in such overdue legislation because of their bias toward US companies. My own useless government won't act but are too small to have any influence anyway.
Nobody in the US is being forced to purchase an Apple iPhone.
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 3,957   +7,004
Nobody in the US is being forced to purchase an Apple iPhone.
The US does not have easy access to cheap xiaomi or huweai phones. If you want a phone with good support apple is the market to beat, only samsung comes anywhere close, and again, we dont get a lot of their models here.
 

BuckarooBonzaii

Posts: 190   +135
Perhaps Apple can have an option with the flip of a switch to sideload or not which has been brought up before. Of course a disclaimer will be presented if you do sideload. Would be interesting to see how many Apple users will have this setting on and off.
 

BadThad

Posts: 1,280   +1,560
The REAL GOAL of any EU legislation: TO STEAL MONEY VIA FINES. Just another angle used to steal from American companies.