New EU legislation targets Apple’s App Store practices and preinstalled apps

We’ve known for some time that Apple along with the other tech giants have been on the European Commission’s “hit list” of companies it wants to regulate more tightly. Now, new legislation has been proposed in the EU that could mean serious changes to how Apple runs the App Store and its preinstalled, first-party apps.

Reported by CNBC, the executive branch of the EU, the European Commission just introduced new legislation aimed at the tech giants that could potentially be voted on and approved soon.

The Digital Markets Act would force Apple to change how its own apps show up in App Store searches.

One of the potential changes is putting an end to self-preferencing — when, for instance, app search results in an Apple product display options developed by the Californian firm. The idea is to give smaller app developers the same chance of being found and chosen by consumers.

Another major change, the legislation would mean Apple having to allow users to uninstall preloaded first-party apps from their devices.

Other practical changes include: firms like Apple and Google will have to allow users to uninstall apps that have originally come with their devices, and performance metrics will also have to be shared for free with advertisers and publishers.

Fines for breaking these new rules – if the legislation becomes law – would go as high as 10% of a company’s annual revenue in the EU.

Reportedly, the Digital Markets Act legislation was created with the goal of making “practical changes” instead of continuing on with fining companies that continually break the law.

One senior EU official, who didn’t want to be named due to the sensitivity of the issue, told CNBC that the EU’s aim is to enforce remedies that will lead to practical changes rather than fining those breaching the rules constantly.

The second piece of legislation is the Digital Services Act which would likely impact Google/YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media services the most.

Additionally, the European Commission presented a second piece of legislation: The Digital Services Act. This is designed to address illegal and harmful content by asking platforms to rapidly take it down. There will also be fines for companies that do not follow these rules.

While passing legislation like this can often take months or longer, but some “policy experts have suggested that the adoption could be quicker-than-usual at the EU level.”

The European Commission also started a probe into Apple over the App Store back in June and there’s a separate antitrust investigation into Apple’s use of NFC.

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