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EU antitrust chief to Tim Cook: Apple must allow third-party app stores

Margrethe Vestager (left) and Tim Cook at Apple Park (Souce: Margrethe Vestager)

The European Union's Margrethe Vestager has met with leaders of US Big Tech firms to discuss their operations in the EU, and with Apple's Tim Cook concentrated on the App Store and Apple Music.

As previously announced, Vestager came to San Francisco and Palo Alto to speak specifically with the heads of Apple, Google, Broadcom, and Nvidia. Her meetings continue on Friday, but on January 11, 2024, she met with Tim Cook at Apple Park.

Neither the EU nor Apple have released any details of the meeting, but Vestager has posted a very brief summary on Twitter/X.

According to Vestager, then, the discussion at least centered on the long-standing issue of whether Apple should allow third-party alternatives to the App Store. It's possible that Cook continued Apple's argument that the company runs five comparatively small App Stores instead of one large one, which is what would qualify it for EU regulation.

The meeting also covered Apple Music and the EU's investigation into its alleged antitrust actions. It's not clear what form any discussions could take, though, as the EU has already ruled that Apple Music violates EU antitrust rules.