Apple in the hot seat in upcoming DMA workshop

The next Digital Markets Act workshop will focus on app stores and what constitutes fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms of access, as mandated by the EU’s new legislation. According to Mlex, the as yet unannounced panel sessions will be taking place on March 6th. 

MOW has outlined its summary views on this issue in a blog linked here, responding to the CMA’s Statement of Issues on its market study into mobile browsers and cloud gaming. This week, MOW responded to the CMA’s consultation request with a list of remedies.

MOW expects Apple to face the brunt of the criticism. And quite rightly. The company guards hardware from developers (for instance, NFC technology needed for touch-and-pay card payments) and places absolute restrictions on sideloading apps from different stores, which enables the company to take up to 30% of developer revenues.

However, when settling what constitutes fair and reasonable, we would encourage the DMA not to stop at a redressal of Apple’s explicitly restrictive terms. Indeed, Google, whose operating system is far more flexible on paper (they, for example, allow sideloading and give developers equal access to Android hardware), still get away with charging monopolistic rents.  

This is because, whilst users are technically permitted to use a separate wallet and download apps from an alternative store, Google adds friction that in practice restricts this freedom.

The DMA should not inadvertently benchmark against a flawed model by simply requiring Apple to allow other app stores or wallets. It should also require that these competing applications benefit from the same seamless placement as native applications.

We would encourage MOW members and readers to register to attend either in-person or virtually.