According to reports, the European Union is working on legislation to heavily restrict digital titans like Apple Inc. It is developing plans to compel ‘gatekeepers’ to grant access to software and hardware, as well as establishing an internal department to comply with the new laws. These facts were published according to an agreement approved by the European Parliament’s Internal Market Committee.
With 43 votes in favor, 1 against, and 1 abstention, European Union governments struck an interim agreement on the Digital Markets Act (DMA) earlier this week, demonstrating a strong consensus among European parliamentarians to aggressively regulate giant digital companies. The length of time it takes to achieve these criteria will be subject to the DMA regulations due to the size of their annual turnover in the EU, owning and maintaining a platform with a substantial number of active users, and its “entrenchment and longevity.”
EU to force Apple to give developers access to all hardware and software features
In Europe, DMA may compel Apple to make significant adjustments to the App Store, Messages, FaceTime, third-party browsers, and Siri. It might, for example, force users to install third-party app stores and sideload programs, allow developers to closely integrate with Apple’s own services, market their products outside of the App Store, and use third-party payment systems, as well as gain access to Apple’s data.
The requirement that messaging, phone calling, and video calling services be interoperable are one of the most recent additions to DMA. According to the interoperability guidelines, Meta apps like WhatsApp or Messenger might request to work with Apple’s iMessage infrastructure, and Apple would be required to agree.
What is the reason behind these new rules?
This interim agreement also establishes a ‘High-Level Group’ of central European digital regulators to coordinate national digital regulators among member states. Furthermore, it necessitates the creation of an independent ‘compliance function’ by ‘gatekeepers.’ Compliance officers must be included in the new group to ensure that the company complies with EU legislation. Specifically, an ‘independent senior manager with distinct responsibility for the compliance function’ must be in charge, with adequate authority, resources, and access to management.
Furthermore, the new rules appear to allow any developer access to any existing hardware features, such as “NFC near field communication technology, secure elements and processors, authentication mechanisms, and the software used to control those technologies,” and appear to target companies with a “dual role” like Apple, which controls both hardware and software. This might have a big impact on how well developers integrate with Apple systems, including allowing contactless payment services like Apple Pay to work on the iPhone and Apple Watch.
The DMA was reportedly temporarily accepted by EU lawmakers roughly two months ago. The recommendations will then be presented to a final vote in the European Parliament in July, before being formally adopted by the European Council and published in the EU Official Journal.
Outside of the EU, governments around the world, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, South Korea, and other countries and regions, are increasingly scrutinizing Apple’s ecosystem, and global regulators have expressed their willingness to investigate application sideloading and interoperability requirements in these countries.