EU antitrust chief issues cautionary note to Apple, Meta for disparaging rivals- Republic World

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European Union | Image:Pexels

EU DMA compliance: European Union’s antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager issued a cautionary note to tech giants Apple and Meta Platforms, expressing concerns over their recent fee adjustments which could potentially obstruct users from benefiting from the Digital Markets Act (DMA), aimed at fostering greater consumer choice.

Apple, in compliance with the EU’s tech legislation, released a series of alterations in January to open its closed ecosystem to competitors. Among these changes is a new fee structure, including a core technology fee of 50 euro cents per user account per year, applicable to major app developers regardless of their use of Apple’s payment services. This move has drawn criticism from rivals such as Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite.

Vestager highlighted her scrutiny of Apple’s new fees, highlighting the possibility that they might discourage the use of DMA benefits. She stated, “There are things that we take a keen interest in, for instance, if the new Apple fee structure will de facto not make it in any way attractive to use the benefits of the DMA. That kind of thing is what we will be investigating.”

Regarding Meta Platforms, formerly known as Facebook, Vestager expressed reservations about their adjusted fees. Despite Meta’s announcement of a reduced monthly subscription fee for Facebook and Instagram, Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems said that the issue goes beyond the fee level. Vestager stressed the importance of exploring alternative monetisation methods and indicated ongoing discussions with Meta to ensure compliance with the DMA.

Furthermore, Vestager cautioned against companies disparaging rivals to deter users from switching, warning that such behaviour could prompt investigations. Apple’s assertion that some of its changes may expose users to security risks was noted, with Vestager saying that the DMA primarily concerns market openness and not safety measures.

Feedback from developers will play a pivotal role in determining whether Vestager launches investigations into any of the six companies targeted by the DMA. Vestager disclosed that she has received substantial feedback from third parties, indicating the significance of stakeholder input in regulatory decisions.

(With Reuters inputs)

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