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European Union looks to block Apple’s hardware ‘gatekeeping’

Apple is one of the biggest tech companies in the world, having a huge stake in both hardware and software products, but the European Union is looking to make the company share its toys. The Digital Markets Act is a provisional piece of legislation proposed by the EU earlier this week that seeks to block companies from “gatekeeping” others by withholding software and hardware features from being used outside of first-party products. When looking at Apple’s lineup of devices and software, it’s easy to see that the company would be hit hard in Europe by the legislation.

The DMA would essentially loosen the grip that Apple has on the tech world by allowing third-party developers to have a better shot at breaking into the mobile market. Up to this point, things like third-party app stores and payment systems have been barred from being published on iOS devices, but the new legislation would obligate Apple to allow them on its platforms.

Apple products are seen in the store.
Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto/Getty Images

It doesn’t just start and end with the publishing of new apps, however, because the DMA also requires that companies make their messaging and calling services interoperable. As first pointed out by MacRumors, this means that companies with messaging apps like Meta’s WhatsApp would need to be given access to Apple’s iMessage framework upon request.

The EU has previously come down on Apple with antitrust claims regarding the company’s blocking of third-party hardware access. The DMA would solve that problem outright by requiring tech companies like Apple that develop hardware and software to share hardware features with third-party developers.

While it hasn’t officially been passed yet, the DMA is on track to be made law. It’s received near-universal support from EU governments and will receive final judgment by the European Parliament in July. From there, tech companies will have six months to meet the requirements that the legislation has in place meaning that the effects of the DMA will be seen by the end of the year.

Apple will likely be forced to make plenty of changes to its business model from here on out, which might have further implications for how the company behaves globally. Based on its previous actions, the company doesn’t seem likely to want to follow the rules of the DMA in regions where it doesn’t have to, so only time will tell if it makes alterations in American and Asian regions.

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Peter Hunt Szpytek
A podcast host and journalist, Peter covers mobile news with Digital Trends and gaming news, reviews, and guides for sites…
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