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European sanctions against Apple must be tougher – EU

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European sanctions against Apple and other tech giants need to be much tougher if companies are to take them seriously, the bloc’s competition watchdog argues.

European Commission competition chief Margrethe Vestager points to Apple’s failure to comply with a Dutch App Store ruling, apparently preferring to pay the weekly fine of 5 million euros ($5.5 million). dollar)…

context

We have previously summarized the case referenced here.

Apple faces antitrust pressures both at home and abroad over its monopoly on the sale of iOS apps.

In the Netherlands, the company has been told it needs to allow alternative payment methods for dating apps in the country. The company reluctantly agreed, but made it as difficult as possible for the developers to exploit the fact.

“Developers will have to create and maintain a completely separate app binary that includes special rights and is only available in the Dutch App Store. […] As part of the authorization request, apps must declare the payment processor they intend to use, purchase support URLs, and other information.

The company followed that up by saying that developers would still have to pay a 27% commission if they used a third-party payment platform, which would make it more expensive to opt out than to stay with Apple. Dutch regulators responded by saying it was not a “serious proposal” – and imposed a fifth fine, bringing the total to 25 million euros ($28 million).

European sanctions must be tougher

Vestager made the remarks in an interview with The edgeclaiming that the ultimate sanction against non-compliant companies would be to dismantle them.

Q. I think there is often a sense of cynicism around enforcement by tech companies – that companies will simply choose to pay a fine and receive a monetary slap in the face. How does the law on digital markets respond to this?

A. It is not just a theory. The Dutch competition authorities had a case where they asked Apple to change a certain behavior in the App Store, and so far Apple has not implemented these changes and they pay a weekly fine — I think it’s five million euros. And that really makes you think, because the idea, of course, of the Dutch authority is that by implementing these changes you would have a fairer market situation.

That is why in the Digital Markets Act there is a full toolbox where the penalties are getting tougher and tougher. Fines will increase if you do not implement the changes. Finally, in the toolbox, there is also the tool that allows you to dismantle a company if no change occurs, or if you are a repeat offender.

In addition to the Dutch case, the European Union as a whole has three open cases against Apple.

We have three Apple cases: one regarding music streaming services and the 30% fee, then we have a more general case on the Apple App Store, then we have an Apple Pay case regarding access to the infrastructure or payment technology on your phone.

Photo: Maryna Yazbeck/Unsplash

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