We reported a few days ago that the European Comission was looking to finalize policy which would force Apple to abandon their Lightning connector in favour of USB-C.

A draft copy of the European Union’s new Digital Markets Act (DMA) has leaked, and it has revealed that the EU is planning to force smartphone companies to open up their devices to a degree that would be game-changing for Apple, and which would affect their App Store, Messages, FaceTime, third-party browsers, and Siri.

Aimed at reigning in “gatekeeping”, the legislation would force the following changes:

  • Users would be allowed to install 3rd party app stores and download apps from the internet.
  • Developers would be allowed to use in-app payment providers of their choice and promote offers to users.
  • Users will be free to uninstall app apps.
  • OEMs would not be allowed to preference their own apps and services.
  • Developers would be free to use any browser engine in their apps.
  • Messaging, voice-calling and video calling apps and services should interoperate with other services and include end-to-end encryption
  • Users should be prompted to select their preferred digital assistant the first time they use a native voice assistant.
  • OEMs will need to share metrics with their competitors.

Companies that fail to comply would face large fines, as high as ten percent of the company’s worldwide annual turnover, or even forced disinvestment.

With Android OEMs already complying with most of the requirements, the proposed legislation appears to be mostly targeted at Apple and its walled gardens.

The Digital Markets Act has already been approved by MEPs in March, and once the finalized document is officially published the European Parliament and the Council will need to approve it before it can come into effect.  According to Digital competition chief Margrethe Vestager, this should happen sometime in October 2022.