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EC decision on Apple's iPadOS. EU regulations for big-tech

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The European Commission (EC) has recognized that iPadOS – Apple's operating system for tablets – is a so-called gatekeeper and is therefore subject to stricter regulations under the Digital Markets Act (DMA). The American technology giant has six months to adapt to the regulations.

These are new regulations governing large online platforms that have a dominant market position. Apple has already been designated as a “gatekeeper” along with five other companies: Alphabet, Amazon, ByteDance, Meta and Microsoft. This decision was made by the European Commission in September 2023, finding that these big-tech companies meet the criteria set out in the DMA.

Stricter EU regulations for Apple

The regulation indicates, among other things, that “access gatekeepers” are companies whose annual turnover in the EU is over EUR 7.5 billion and the number of users exceeds 45 million per month.

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On Monday, the European Commission decided that the operating system on Apple tablets also has the characteristics of an “access gatekeeper” and should therefore be subject to stricter EU regulations. It is true that iPadOS does not exceed the quantitative threshold in terms of the number of consumers, but the EC found that it is important for companies, so it meets the quality criterion.

– Our market research has shown that, despite not meeting the required thresholds, iPadOS plays the role of an important gatekeeper thanks to which many companies reach their customers – emphasized Margrethe Vestager, Vice-President of the European Commission, quoted in the announcement.

Brussels said that both Apple businesses and consumers are addicted to iPadOS because the company discourages them from switching to other tablet operating systems.

Apple must implement DMA provisions within the next six months.

New EU law

The aim of the new law is to limit the dominant role of the largest digital platforms. They cannot use the so-called self-preferencing – favoring one's own services and products at the expense of other entrepreneurs reaching consumers through them. DMA is also intended to make it easier for new companies to enter the market.

In March, the European Commission imposed a fine of over EUR 1.8 billion on Apple for preventing Spotify and other music streaming services from informing users about cheaper payment options outside the AppStore application.

Main photo source: Sorbis / Shutterstock

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