Apple has joined Meta and TikTok in officially designating the European Union their services as “gatekeepers” under the Digital Products Act (DMA) – the EU’s strict antitrust law It’s a plan “preventing gatekeepers from imposing unfair conditions on businesses and end users” and “ensuring the openness of important digital services.”
On Friday, the Court of Justice of the EU confirmed Apple’s appeal post on X. No other details about Apple’s legal challenge have been made public, Reuters reported. But last week, sources said Bloomberg that Apple’s appeal is expected to challenge the gatekeeper status of its App Store, iOS operating system, and Safari browser. That report, however, noted that sources have seen only a draft of the appeal, which may have been edited before filing.
Apple has had it before argue that your App Store can be considered not one software marketplace, but five separate marketplaces offered across five devices: iPhones, iPads, Mac computers, Apple TV, and Apple Watches. Following this logic, only the iOS App Store should be considered a gatekeeper, Apple argues. In the end, the EU disagreed, saying that “the nature, function, and use of different devices which can access the App Store” do not “change the common purpose that the App Store works on all Apple devices.”
Similarly, Apple argues that its iOS operating system should not be designed as a single gatekeeper, but five separate operating systems across the same five devices, and because each device requires a designed operating system, The EU seems to agree that only iOS meets the threshold as a protector.
Finally, Apple similarly argues that its Safari browser is three different browsers accessed on three devices: iPhones, iPads, and Mac computers. According to Apple, Safari works differently on different devices based on use cases, leading to different versions of Safari on each device, arguing that Safari features such as the sidebar on the desktop are not visible in Safari. on mobile. The EU rejected Apple’s arguments, finding that Safari is a web browser that provides the same services “regardless of the device.”
Apple’s request comes after Meta became the first to appeal the gatekeeper status of Messenger and Market services on Wednesday, Reuters reported. According to Meta, its Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp services are equivalent as gatekeepers, but not the other exclusive services that the social giant considers Facebook’s ordinary services — Messenger and Marketplace services. Further, Meta argues that its Marketplace enables consumer-to-consumer services—which it says is different from businesses promoting outside services—and therefore, Meta argues that service falls outside DMA field.
On the same day, ByteDance quickly followed suit, TikTok’s ideal location. Like a TikTok blog postTikTok should not be designed as a gatekeeper because it is so new that it “does not have a ‘fixed’ status.”
TikTok claims that its activities are completely unfair by the European Commission because, unlike other companies, “no market research was carried out in relation to” TikTok’s selection.
“Many studies and findings agree that TikTok is a marketer that is bringing significant new competition to the space,” the TikTok blog said. “The proposed decision is based on a fundamental unfairness of our business and threatens our ability to grow and compete with true gatekeepers—in short, it threatens the protection of the very monopolies that the law intends to open.”
TikTok is probably feeling disappointed because of the Commission conduct four market surveys “to further examine the submissions of Microsoft and Apple arguing that, despite meeting the targets, some of their basic platform services do not qualify as portals,” including Bing, Edge, Microsoft Advertising, and iMessages. Those ongoing investigations can delay the selection of these services until next September, saving Apple and Microsoft the risks of infringement and “fines up to 10 percent of the company’s total worldwide, which can go to 20 percent.” The commission also issued comments from Google and Samsung, deciding not to designate Gmail, Outlook.com, and Samsung’s Internet browser as basic services under the DMA.
In addition, TikTok said it is “a service designated under the DMA that does not comply with the legal threshold for revenues generated in the European Economic Area.” According to TikTok, the EU has designated TikTok as a gatekeeper based on ByteDance’s large global market, derived “mainly on the operation of business lines that do not work even in Europe.”
If the Commission had conducted a market investigation, TikTok suggested, its platform would not have been classified as a gatekeeper. Without the research, “the result is a choice based on errors and mistakes, which we are not given the opportunity to fully answer,” said the TikTok blog.
It is unclear how successful Meta and ByteDance will be with their appeals. In previous reports, Three we had ByteDance have already argued against the gatekeeper position for services at the basis of their petitions. The European Commission has it tell that only “exceptional circumstances” will allow a technology company that meets the threshold to avoid being designated as a gatekeeper.
Meta said the appeal represents the company’s struggle to gain clarity on why Messenger and Marketplace should be classified as gatekeepers.
“This appeal seeks clarification on specific points of law regarding the choices of Messenger and Marketplace under the DMA,” a Meta spokesperson told Reuters. “It does not change or diminish our firm commitment to comply with the DMA, and we will continue to work proactively with the European Commission to prepare for compliance.”
TikTok has come out even stronger, warning the Commission that appointing TikTok as a gatekeeper would go against everything the DMA stands for.
“We fully support the principles of the DMA, which aims to make marketers better able to compete with active players,” the TikTok blog said. “Indeed, our appeal is based on the belief that there are selective risks that undermine the DMA’s own goal of protecting actual gatekeepers from new competitors like TikTok. , is arguably the strongest adversary to more ambitious platform businesses.”
Twenty-two services managed by six technology companies have already been designated as gatekeepers under the DMA, including services from Google-owned Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, ByteDance, Meta, and Microsoft. When the DMA takes effect on March 7, it will require companies with more than 45 monthly active users and a market size of 75 billion euros to accept third-party applications and stores. app on their platforms and force the platforms to make it easier for users. to change jobs. It would also stop platforms from favoring their own services over rivals or using third-party businesses’ data against them to squash competition.
Wednesday is the deadline for designated gatekeepers to appeal the European Commission’s decision. Google and Microsoft have decided not to appeal, Reuters reported.
A spokesperson for the European Commission told Ars that the Commission has considered the petitions, respects companies’ right to appeal, and will defend its decisions in court.
“Our selection decisions are transparent,” the spokesperson told Ars, and “they set a strong rationale for the selections.”
“In parallel, we will continue our work with all the gatekeepers to the effective implementation of the DMA in March,” said the Commission’s spokesperson.
This story was updated on Nov. 17, 2023, to consider Apple’s appeal.