EU might force Apple to allow iPhone users to remove this iOS native app


Thanks to the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA), iPhone users in the 27 member EU states are allowed to sideload apps from third-party app stores, use a non-Webkit browser, choose their own financial app for contactless payments, pay for in-app purchases using a third-party financial firm, and more. EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager is not totally thrilled with how Apple and Alphabet have responded to some of the DMA’s rules.

Vestager said that the EU would continue to investigate when she added the following, “Under Article 6(3) of the DMA, gatekeepers have an obligation to enable easy uninstallation of apps and easy change of default settings. They must also display a choice screen. Apple’s compliance model does not seem to meet the objectives of this obligation. In particular, we are concerned that the current design of the web browser choice screen deprives end-users of the ability to make a fully informed decision.”

She continued. “Example: they do not enhance user engagement with all available options. Apple also failed to make several apps un-installable (one of them would be Photos) and prevents end-users from changing their default status (for example Cloud), as required by the DMA.” Vestager’s comments about Apple’s Photos app surprised many since iPhone users can easily download a third-party photos app such as Google Photos.

Daring Fireball’s John Gruber believes that there could be a time when Apple simply stops selling its devices in the EU. There is actually a mathematical basis for his suggestion. Failing to comply with the DMA could result in a fine as high as 10% of Apple’s annual revenues worldwide which would amount to a penalty of more than $38 billion that Apple might be forced to write. On the other hand, sales in the EU make up only 7% of Apple’s worldwide annual revenue.


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