Affiliate Disclosure
If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Read our ethics policy.

Meta & Microsoft are lobbying the EU to reject Apple's new App Store plans [u]

The App Store is changing in Europe

Last updated

Ahead of Apple's proposals for third-party App Stores coming out of beta, firms including Meta and Microsoft are lobbying the EU in the hopes that it will reject the plans.

Apple has detailed how it proposes to follow the European Union's laws in its Digital Markets Act, and specifically over opening up the iPhone to alternative app stores. Major developers who pushed for these changes have disapproved of Apple's plans and called them extortion.

From March 7, 2024, Apple's plans come out of beta with the public release of iOS 17.4, and from that date, it must be in compliance with the new laws. This means that also from that date, the EU can impose fines on Apple — and according to the Financial Times, rivals hope to persuade the Union that Apple has failed to comply.

"The initial steps [to comply] that Apple has put forward are very prohibitive to us actually creating a meaningful alternative to the one store that's available on the world's largest gaming platforms, which are mobile phones," Microsoft gaming chief Phil Spencer told the publication. "So we will continue to work with regulators to open that up."

For Meta, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has described Apple's rules as "onerous" and so against the spirit of the EU's regulation that he would be surprised "if any developer chose to go into the alternative app stores."

According to the Financial Times, Apple has said that it spent "months in conversation with the European Commission" about its plans, and the result is based on the work of "hundreds of Apple team members who spent tens of thousands of hours."

The publication has no details yet of specific filings or complaints being made to the EU. However, the EU has said that it can launch a non-compliance procedure against any firm covered by its Digital Markets Act, once the March 7 deadline has passed.

Any such procedure would be prompted by either complaints from third parties, or the EU's own observations. It would then be likely to include the EU receiving submissions from interested parties, which is when Meta, Microsoft and others could file complaints.

In response to criticism of its EU App Store proposals, Apple has issued a statement stressing both its compliance with the law.

Who will object to Apple

It's probable that alongside Meta and Microsoft, firms such as Spotify, and Epic Games will object. Although Epic Games has now applied for, and received, a new Apple Developer licence specifically for the EU App Store.

Spotify has announced that it will give EU iPhone users the ability to buy subscriptions within its own app, which it claims was previously "outside of our control." In truth, Spotify could always offer subscriptions within the app, it has chosen against it in order to not pay Apple a fee per subscriber.

Epic Games has called out Apple for what he says is "malicious compliance" with the EU's DMA, seemingly erroneously describing Apple's rules as illegal.

Separately, Epic Games has also already announced that it plans to file a court motion, saying Apple has failed to comply with App Store rules in the US too.

Updated: 11:10 A.M. ET with news of Apple's response.