The European Commission has initiated an investigation into Apple, accusing the company of violating the EU's Digital Markets Act. The preliminary analysis, started on March 25, indicated that Apple restricts app developers from directing consumers to alternative purchasing channels.

The Commission's concerns focus on Apple's rules that prevent developers from informing users about cheaper alternatives and restrict linking to external websites. Additionally, developers face fees for purchases made within seven days of using these links, practices considered anti-competitive and limiting consumer choice.

Thierry Breton, EU Commissioner for the Internal Market, emphasized the EU's commitment to enforcing the Digital Markets Act, stating that the EU is "determined" to use the "clear and effective tools of the Digital Markets Act to open real opportunities for innovators and consumers."

Apple could face fines of up to 10% of its global turnover, with potential increases to 20% for repeat offenses. The investigation will also explore Apple's contractual terms for third-party app developers and alternative app stores, specifically the "Core Technology Fee," which requires developers to pay €0.50 for each installed app.

In response, Apple has the right to review the investigation's findings and present a defense. The Commission's final decision, expected within 12 months, will set a precedent for enforcing the Digital Markets Act.

Third Investigation Against Apple

This case marks the third investigation against Apple under EU competition laws, highlighting the EU's rigorous approach to regulating digital markets. Previous significant fines include €1.8 billion against Apple in March for anti-competitive practices in the music app market and €4.3 billion against Alphabet, Google's parent company, in 2018.

The European Commission's actions underscore its commitment to ensuring fair competition and protecting consumer interests in the digital marketplace. The outcome of this investigation will be closely watched by industry stakeholders and could influence regulatory approaches globally.