Apple in Hot Water: “Very Serious” Issues for Digital Business Laws

Tech giant Apple may be facing another round of legal issues in Europe after an EU commissioner referred to “very serious” issues with non-compliance in the company.

EU Not Happy With Apple

Image Credit: Shutterstock / YuRi Photolife

Officials of the European Union are still unhappy with Apple’s business practices, following two years of legal conflict between the continental bloc and one of the world’s largest tech companies.

Vestager Speaks Out

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Alexandros Michailidis

Margrethe Vestager, the European Union Commissioner for Competition, spoke to CNBC on Tuesday, saying: “We have a number of Apple issues, I find them very serious.” 

Large Tech Probe

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Pressmaster

Her statements come in the wake of a large-scale probe of tech giants like Apple, Meta, and Alphabet that began back in March. It was the first sweeping investigation under the EU’s new Digital Markets Act (DMA) which was implemented last year. 

Purpose of the DMA 

Image Credit: Shutterstock / photobyphotoboy

The DMA was implemented to stop digital marketplaces from shouldering out competition and being used as a platform to promote its parent company – with Apple and the App Store being prime examples.

The Six Gatekeepers

Image Credit: Pexels / Thirdman

In particular, the EU is concerned with the world’s largest tech companies – specifically Apple, Alphabet Inc (Google), Microsoft, Amazon, Meta, and BYteDance (TikTok) – which it refers to as the six “gatekeepers” of digital marketplaces.

A Lot of Business Happens Through Apple

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Fractal Pictures

″[Apple] are very important because a lot of good business happens through the App Store, happens through payment mechanisms, “ Vestager explained.

A Surprise for the Commissioner

Image Credit: Shutterstock / wellphoto

“I was very surprised that we would have such suspicions of Apple being non-compliant,” she told CNBC’s Silvia Amaro, explaining that she did not expect this of “such a company.”

Original Focus

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Bits And Splits

When the EU first announced its Apple investigation, it was focused on a “core technology fee” that Apple charges businesses to gain access to the App Store. 

Has the Focus Changed?

Image Credit: Shutterstock / fizkes

It also planned to investigate concerns that Apple was stopping businesses from directing users to more affordable app stores. It is unclear if the investigations extend beyond this purview.

Potential Charges

Image Credit: Shutterstock / PanuShot

Now, reports suggest that the European Commission is preparing to press charges against Apple for significant compliance violations. 

Brussels Pressing Charges

Image Credit: Shutterstock / fizkes

Last week the Financial Times reported that Brussels is already planning to charge the company due to findings from the DMA investigations. This was apparently confirmed by three unnamed sources close to the investigation.

Just Like Any Other Business

Image Credit: Shutterstock / PanuShot

While Vestager did not confirm whether charges would be brought against the company, she said that the probe should be concluded “soon.” If Apple is found guilty of alleged violations the commission would enforce penalties “with the same dedication and with the same top priority as with any other business.”

First Target for DMA Violations

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Worawee Meepian

If Apple is charged it will mark the first time that EU regulators will pursue penalties against a Big Tech corporation for DMA violations.

$5 of Daily Turnover

Image Credit: Shutterstock / TierneyMJ

Potential fines could be as much as 5% of the company’s daily global turnover, equivalent to $1 billion per day according to the Financial Times. 

Fines for Repeat Infringement 

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Pickadook

If the company continues to exhibit non-compliance with DMA regulations it can be fined as much as 20% of its daily turnover for repeat infringements. 

Apple Could Lose Billions

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Monkey Business Images

While it is still unclear whether Apple will be charged by the EU under the DMA, it is clear that these fines would have a significant impact on the tech giant. 

Possible to Prevent

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Pressmaster

Apple could take action to avoid fines and charges for these violations by provably changing their business practices. So far the company has not responded to the FT report or Vestager’s comments.

Response in March

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Salivanchuk Semen

The company did respond to the probe announcement back in March, saying “We’re confident our plan complies with the DMA, and we’ll continue to constructively engage with the European Commission as they conduct their investigations.”

A Contentious Relationship

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Salivanchuk Semen

It is just the latest legal issue between Apple and the EU’s executive arm. Back in 2022, the EU established a new rule requiring the tech company to make the newest iPhones compatible with USB-C chargers.

Alternative Marketplaces Allowed

Image Credit: Pexels / cottonbro studio

Earlier this year the EU also cornered the company into allowing alternative third-party marketplaces to be used on the latest iPhone update iOS 17.4, which now applies to users in 27 countries.

Remote No More: 19 Companies Returning to the Office

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Monkey Business Images

As the pandemic wanes, companies are recalling remote workers back to the office, sparking debates on fairness, costs, and convenience. However, there are also notable productivity, coworking, and mental health benefits to consider. Feeling the effects of these changes? Remote No More: 19 Companies Returning to the Office

8 Costco Must Buys and 8 to Leave Behind

Image Credit: Pexels / Gustavo Fring

Ever wandered Costco’s aisles, questioning if that giant jar of pickles is a real bargain? Or debated buying tires where you get your rotisserie chicken? Welcome to the definitive guide to Costco shopping—a journey to save money, prevent regrets, and offer quirky insights into bulk buying. 8 Costco Must Buys and 8 to Leave Behind

23 Reasons Texas Is the Next Big Thing

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Sean Pavone

Texas is becoming a beacon of opportunity, blending cultural heritage with economic growth. From its landscapes to its industries, the Lone Star State offers a dynamic lifestyle. Here are 23 reasons why Texas stands out, attracting entrepreneurs, artists, tech professionals, and families seeking new beginnings. 23 Reasons Texas Is the Next Big Thing

The post Apple in Hot Water: “Very Serious” Issues for Digital Business Laws first appeared on Liberty & Wealth.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Uskarp.

The content of this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute or replace professional financial advice.

Leave a Comment