EU Accuses Apple and Meta Under Landmark Tech Rules: Potential Consequences of a Breach

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The European Union introduced the Digital Markets Act (DMA), a significant regulation, to address anti-competitive practices by significant tech companies, known as “gatekeepers.” The DMA seeks to promote innovation, guarantee just competition, and provide customers with more options in the online market.

To further examine their adherence to these new regulations, the EU has started extensive investigations into Apple and Meta. These investigations try to find out if the firms have sufficiently modified their business procedures to comply with DMA regulations.

‘‘Ensuring compliance with the DMA is crucial for maintaining open and contestable digital markets in Europe.’’ This was how the EU’s Executive Vice President for Competition Policy, Margrethe Vestager stressed the significance of this effort. “The EU is resolute to control Big Tech and stop monopolistic practices, as this action highlights”.

The ongoing investigation of tech behemoths such as Apple and Meta highlights the general tendency of regulation in a variety of online sectors, including entertainment. 

For example, as consumers seek diverse forms of online gambling opportunities, many review platforms have been set up to direct players to credible platforms where they can play safely and securely. 

One such platform is Slotsjudge. As a player looking for the best casinos to play games safely, you may wish to explore the world of online entertainment with Reading reviews on platforms like Slotsjudge which provides comprehensive reviews and guides for online gambling enthusiasts. This guarantees people will make educated decisions, just as the DMA seeks to empower users in the digital sphere.


Apple: Issues with App Store Policies and Default Service Settings


The European Union has voiced its displeasure with Apple’s App Store standards, citing the need that gatekeepers must permit developers to provide customers with alternatives to payment methods free of charge.

Apple has defended its procedures, saying its policies on the App Store guarantee dependability and security for consumers. However, the EU still has doubts that Apple’s revised plans would satisfy the DMA’s requirements, even though the company has stated that they will.

‘‘We suspect that the solutions put forward by the companies do not fully comply with the DMA.’’ said Margrethe Vestager, the CEO of the European Commission, during a news conference in March 2024.

Another potential problem is Apple’s policy of charging large commissions for in-app purchases. A number of people feel that smaller developers are unfairly disadvantaged since they cannot afford to give Apple such a large cut of their profits.

Meanwhile, Apple plans to appeal the European Union’s (EU) almost $2 billion fine for its App Store regulations on music services, which were handed down earlier this year. When asked whether Apple’s pricing model for third-party app stores breaches the DMA, the Commission indicated it is conducting additional investigations.


Specific Concerns About User’s Ability to Change Default Search Engines and Browser Settings


The way Apple manages default service settings is another crucial area under scrutiny. The EU is looking at whether Apple makes changing default settings, like the default web browser and search engine, sufficiently simple for consumers.

The pre-set settings worry the European Commission since they could impede consumer choice and competition. Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton, said: ‘‘Consumers should be able to choose their preferred services easily, without unnecessary obstacles.’’ This issue is at the heart of the DMA’s mission to increase consumer freedom and lessen the gatekeeping authority of large IT corporations.

The Commission is also looking at whether consumers may really switch to non-Apple services without experiencing excessive hardships because of the way Apple designed the browser selection screen and other default settings. Ensuring that consumers are not trapped in a specific ecosystem is thought to depend critically on how easily these defaults can be changed, which can have a big impact on market competition and innovation.


Meta: Investigation into the “Pay or Consent” Advertising Model


The EU is looking into Meta’s “pay or consent” advertising strategy, which gives EU customers the option of paying for an ad-free experience or giving their permission for data collection for customised advertisements.

Users are required to have a free choice under the Digital Markets Act (DMA), and Meta has drawn criticism for not really achieving that.

‘‘We have serious doubts that this consent is really free when you are confronted with a binary choice.’’ Breton, the EU’s internal market commissioner, said in a press briefing.

But Meta defended its strategy, saying, ‘‘We created subscriptions for No Ads to handle a number of conflicting legal requirements, such as the DMA. We will keep having positive interactions with the Commission.’’


Analysis of How Meta Handles User Data and Consent Issues


The handling of user data and obtaining proper consent is another area where Meta faces scrutiny. The EU’s investigation aims to determine if Meta’s data practices align with the DMA’s requirements, which emphasise transparency and user control over personal data.

Meta has a history of legal challenges in the EU related to data privacy. In 2023, Meta was fined €1.2 billion for violating EU data protection rules, highlighting ongoing concerns about its data handling practices. 

Consequently, the current investigation into Meta’s consent model is part of a broader effort to ensure that user data is not exploited without explicit and voluntary consent.


Potential Consequences


Should Apple and Meta be found to be in breach, the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) probes may result in heavy fines and structural remedies.

The European Commission is empowered under the DMA to punish a corporation up to 10% of its yearly worldwide turnover for non-compliance. Penalties for recurrent infractions might reach 20%. Systematic violations can also lead to the EU demanding structural solutions, including the sale of specific corporate divisions.

EU investigations against Apple and Meta under the Digital Markets Act (DMA) raise serious concerns about adherence to rules intended to support fair competition and increase consumer choice in the digital market. Important issues like data processing protocols, app store regulations, and default service settings are the focus of these probes.

These investigations need to set the big tech operating rules for the EU in order to stop big tech companies from abusing their dominant positions. The outcome may force significant changes to business processes, which promotes a more competitive and transparent digital market. The course of these lawsuits will undoubtedly influence global regulatory policies and alter the digital market environment for many years to come.

—TechRound does not recommend or endorse any gambling, investment or financial practices or advice. All articles are purely informational—