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The EU Tells Apple To Open Up Its Stranglehold On The App Store

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Apple, the tech giant famous for its walled garden approach in handling its hardware and software ecosystem, has been directed by the European Union to thaw its boundaries. According to European Commissioner Thierry Breton, the mandate given by the Digital Markets Act (DMA) is just a prelude to what Apple must do to level the playing field and create room for its competitors.

Invoked in May 2023 after becoming law in the EU in November 2022, the Digital Markets Act’s primary objective is to keep Big Tech firms like Apple in check. It aims to ensure a fair business environment for all industry players, in the process, supporting equal opportunities within the digital markets. As underscored by Breton, the core spirit of the latest regulations is to make Big Tech open up avenues for competition.

In a statement after his meeting with Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, in the capital city of Brussels, Breton elaborated on his demands. He was quoted as saying, “The next job for Apple and other Big Tech, under the DMA, is to open up its gates to competitors.” The vision being promoted is that Apple should not maintain a monopoly on services such as electronic wallets, browsers, and app stores. The consumer should have the freedom to opt for competitive services furnished by an assortment of providers.

However, Cook’s visit to Brussels paints an unclear picture, as it was not publicly promoted, nor has he made any reference to his tête-à-tête with the EU Commissioner.

Apple has remained tight-lipped on the matter. The tech titan’s stance on security and privacy, often positioned as its distinctive edge, is certain to have been part of the conversation with Breton. In contrast, Breton reaffirmed the EU’s conviction, telling Reuters, “EU regulation fosters innovation, without compromising on security and privacy.”

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