The European Commission designates Apple’s iPadOS as a Gatekeeper Service Under the Digital Markets Act

The European Commission designates Apple’s iPadOS as a Gatekeeper Service Under the Digital Markets Act

In a recent development, the European Commission has designated Apple’s iPad operating system, iPadOS, as a Gatekeeper service under its flagship Digital Markets Act (DMA) rules. This decision comes after an almost eight-month investigation into whether iPadOS holds enough market power to warrant stricter regulation. The Commission concluded that iPadOS plays a crucial role as a gateway for business users to reach end users, and that Apple holds a dominant position with respect to iPadOS.

Under the DMA rules, which came into force on March 7th, iPadOS will now have to adhere to a range of regulations. These regulations include allowing users in Europe to download apps from sources outside the Apple App Store, uninstall preloaded apps on iPads, and select default services such as browsers through choice screens. Failure to comply with these rules could result in fines of up to 10 percent of Apple’s global revenue, or up to 20 percent for repeat infringements.

The Commission’s investigation found that iPadOS users are locked into the platform, with business users exceeding the quantitative gatekeeper threshold by eleven times. Additionally, end user numbers were close to the threshold and are expected to rise in the near future. EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager emphasized that despite not meeting the thresholds, iPadOS still serves as a crucial gateway for many companies to reach their customers.

Apple’s iOS mobile operating system, Safari browser, and App Store were previously designated as Gatekeeper services under the DMA. The introduction of regional changes, such as alternative app marketplaces within the EU, was a result of this designation. However, while there are similarities between iOS and iPadOS, most of the compliance changes made by Apple for iOS have not been extended to iPadOS. This latest ruling on iPadOS signifies a significant development in the regulatory landscape for Apple’s ecosystem.

The European Commission’s decision to designate iPadOS as a Gatekeeper service under the DMA carries far-reaching implications for Apple and its users. As the company is given six months to ensure compliance with the regulations, it will be interesting to see how Apple responds to these requirements. The ruling also highlights the ongoing scrutiny faced by tech giants in the EU and the broader implications for competition and innovation in the digital market. This decision comes at a critical time, just before Apple’s upcoming event where new iPads, including a long-rumored OLED model, are expected to be unveiled.


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