The European Union may force Apple to make big changes to its App Store as well as services like FaceTime and Messages, if a leaked version of an EU antitrust proposal becomes law.
The draft is said to be the “final version” of the Digital Markets Act, provisionally approved by EU regulators in March. It seeks to restrict how tech giants operate in order to foster greater competition.
EU’s DMA may force Apple to change App Store, FaceTime, Messages and more
The leaked version of the Digital Markets Act, reportedly seen by MacRumors, would implement various restrictions on tech giants aimed at increasing competition.
As indicated in the working document, the EU plans to enact a number of major changes to Europe’s competition regulations. They include some requirements not reported before. EU regulators provisionally approved the proposal in March.
Apple is on record as being very much against some changes that could come into play. For example, the company has warned against rules requiring app sideloading and resisted alternative app payment systems.
Recent changes to the DMA
New DMA regulations could obligate Apple to allow users to download apps from the internet and third-party app marketplaces on iOS. And new rules could compel Apple to drop its rules and allow app developers to use whatever in-app payment systems they choose and promote offers directly to users.
Recent amendments to the DMA in the working document also could surface regulations around browser engine interoperability and gatekeeping. In one example, a rule would keep companies from requiring developers to use a specific browser engine. Apple requires all iOS browsers to use its WebKit platform.
In addition, the proposal incorporates provisions that could require companies to ensure that apps for messaging, as well as voice and video calls, work with rival services and use end-to-end encryption. That could impact iMessage and FaceTime, but to what extent is not yet clear.
The DMA also includes an amendment requiring companies to give the option to use a third-party voice assistant. In addition, parts of the DMA would prevent companies from preferring their own apps and services in rankings or search results.
The leaked version of the DMA would require tech giants to comply with new regulations by 2024.