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Apple Faces EU Challenges: App Store Breaches & AI Delays

Apple faces EU charges for App Store anti-steering practices and delays AI rollout over regulatory concerns. The EU's Digital Markets Act aims to curb tech dominance, impacting Apple's operations in Europe.

Photo by Laurenz Heymann / Unsplash

EU Charges Apple with App Store Violations

Apple is facing significant challenges in Europe after being charged with violating the EU’s new digital markets rules. On Monday, the European Commission accused Apple’s App Store of engaging in anti-steering practices, preventing developers from directly communicating and promoting offers to users.

Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition chief, emphasized the importance of steering to reduce developers' dependency on gatekeepers like Apple and increase consumer awareness of better offers. The charges are preliminary, and Apple has the opportunity to respond before potentially facing fines of up to 10% of its global turnover by March 2025.

Tensions Over AI Technology Rollout

In addition to the App Store charges, Apple has halted plans to introduce new AI features in Europe, citing regulatory uncertainties. The company expressed concerns that the Digital Markets Act (DMA) requirements could compromise user privacy and data security.

Features affected by this decision include iPhone Mirroring, SharePlay Screen Sharing enhancements, and Apple Intelligence, Apple’s first venture into generative AI. This move follows similar actions by other tech giants like Google and Meta, who have also delayed AI feature rollouts in the EU due to regulatory challenges. Apple spokesperson Rob Saunders stated that these uncertainties hinder innovation and the benefits AI could bring to European consumers.

Ongoing Struggles with EU Regulations

The current charges and AI delays are part of a broader context of increasing tension between Apple and the EU. The European Commission began investigating Apple in March for potential competition rule violations. While other tech giants like Meta and Google are also under scrutiny, Apple has been a primary focus due to its longstanding contentious relationship with European developers.

These developers have criticized Apple’s business practices, describing them as “abusive” and “extortionate.” Despite these criticisms, Apple maintains that it complies with EU laws, allowing developers to direct users to the web for purchases at competitive rates.

Thierry Breton, the European commissioner for the internal market, highlighted Apple's stifling effect on innovation and consumer choice. The EU’s Digital Markets Act aims to curb such dominance by making it illegal for major tech companies to favor their services over competitors. As the EU continues to enforce its new digital regulations, Apple’s strategies and compliance will be closely monitored, potentially reshaping the tech news of the giant's operations within the bloc.