EU Designates Apple's iPadOS as Subject to Digital Markets Act

The EU has designated Apple's iPadOS as a 'gatekeeper' under the Digital Markets Act, requiring the company to comply with new regulations within 6 months or face hefty fines. This move aims to promote fairness and competition in the tablet ecosystem.

Emmanuel Abara Benson
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EU Designates Apple's iPadOS as Subject to Digital Markets Act

EU Designates Apple's iPadOS as Subject to Digital Markets Act

The European Commission has designated Apple's iPadOS as subject to the Digital Markets Act (DMA), requiring the company to comply with the new regulations within 6 months. This decision could force significant changes to the iPad platform's operations in the EU region.

The Commission's investigation found that iPadOS constitutes an important gateway for business users to reach end users, despite not meeting the quantitative thresholds laid down in the DMA. Apple is seen as enjoying an entrenched and durable position with respect to iPadOS, with end users locked into the platform and business users reliant on its large and commercially attractive user base.

Why this matters: The designation of iPadOS under the DMA reflects the EU's broader efforts to rein in the market power of large tech companies and prevent them from using unfair practices that harm competition and consumers. This move increases regulatory risk for Apple and could have implications for how the company operates its tablet ecosystem in Europe.

As a 'gatekeeper' under the DMA, Apple will have to abide by rules such as allowing interoperability with rivals' communication services and limiting how data is shared between its own products. The company may need to make changes such as allowing iPad users to remove pre-installed apps, download apps from outside the App Store, and select default services like browsers from choice screens.

Apple has been given 6 months to ensure iPadOS is in full compliance with DMA rules across all its designated services. Failure to do so can result in fines of up to 10% of the company's global annual turnover. "Apple will continue to engage with the Commission to comply with the DMA across its designated services," the company stated in response to the decision.

The European Commission's move to designate iPadOS under the DMA expands the scope of the regulations to cover Apple's tablet operating system. It follows previous decisions that named the iPhone iOS software, iOS App Store, and Safari browser as gatekeeper services. The decision aims to preserve fairness and contestability on the iPadOS platform, in addition to the 22 other services designated under the DMA last September.

Key Takeaways

  • EU designates Apple's iPadOS as subject to Digital Markets Act (DMA) regulations.
  • iPadOS deemed an important gateway for businesses, despite not meeting DMA thresholds.
  • As a 'gatekeeper', Apple must comply with DMA rules within 6 months or face fines.
  • Changes may include allowing app downloads outside App Store, default service selection.
  • Designation expands DMA's scope, following prior inclusion of iPhone iOS, App Store, Safari.