EU still not happy with Apple's DMA compliance — antitrust chief says "we will be investigating" new marketplace fees

Margrethe Vestager App store
(Image credit: Getty Images / Thierry Monasse)

The EU’s head of antitrust Margrethe Vestager has revealed the bloc is taking a “keen interest” in the new fees Apple has put in place for app developers as part of its new alternative app marketplace policy. 

Apple introduced alternative app marketplaces to iPhone in the EU earlier this month with iOS 17.4. As a result, developers can now build their own app marketplaces to distribute software by means other than Apple’s App Store. Since then, Apple has also introduced Web Distribution for developers who want to offer their apps for download directly from a website on iPhone. 

However, while Apple has taken some big steps to comply with the DMA, it has held steadfast on one of the major sticking points with its iOS business models, fees and commission. While Apple has lowered the commissions it generally charges through its new business terms, a new Core Technology Fee has raised some eyebrows, including it seems, within the EU. 

Apple’s Core Technology Fee under scrutiny

"There are things that we take a keen interest in, for instance, if the new Apple fee structure will de facto not make it in any way attractive to use the benefits of the DMA. That kind of thing is what we will be investigating,” Vestager told Reuters on Tuesday. 

Vestager also flagged Meta’s new monthly subscription fees, which users can pay to remove ads from Facebook and Instagram, so Apple is not the only big player under scrutiny. 

Apple’s Core Technology Fee charges developers of alternative app marketplaces a €0.50 fee on every annual install after the first one million. Apple has already tweaked the terms surrounding this fee once, allowing developers the option to revert back to its old App Store business terms if the new ones become unfeasible. A developer of a freemium app that suddenly rockets in popularity could owe Apple thousands of dollars before they’ve made a dime in revenue. Despite this, Apple told a DMA workshop Monday that onlookers should “stay tuned” for more changes that may alleviate concerns around the fee. 

When asked about security, Vestager quipped that it would be “unwise to say that the services are not safe to use,” referring to Apple’s repeated objections to DMA changes on the grounds of user safety and security. Conveniently, Vestager says that this “has nothing to do with the DMA,” and that its only purpose “is there to open the market for other service providers to get to you,” and that security is up to the providers. Vestager also revealed that the EU had received “quite a lot” of feedback from third parties regarding compliance from the DMA’s six gatekeeper companies, which include Apple, as well as Alphabet (Google), Amazon, ByteDance (Tiktok), Meta, and Microsoft. 

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Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9