EU’s Margrethe Vestager Discusses Sideloading and Apple Tax with Tim Cook

What you should know

  • Apple CEO Tim Cook recently met with EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager to discuss the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA), which is pressuring Apple to make changes to the iPhone, such as allowing sideloading of apps in the 27 EU member countries.
  • Apple has historically been against sideloading due to concerns about malware-loaded apps, as it cannot run tests on apps sideloaded from third-party app stores.
  • The DMA also aims to force Apple to allow developers to bypass Apple’s in-app payment platform, thereby avoiding the 30% of in-app revenue that developers currently pay Apple. This has been a contentious issue between developers and Apple for years.
  • The EU is also seeking to get Apple to open up its NFC-based mobile payments technology to third-party payment services. On some issues, like sideloading, Apple plans to limit the feature to iPhones purchased in the EU. However, for others, like adding RCS support, Apple plans to implement changes worldwide.

Full Story

The EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) has been causing a stir in the tech world. It’s been putting the heat on Apple, calling for changes to the iPhone that the tech giant isn’t too keen on.

In response, Apple CEO Tim Cook had a meeting with EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager at Apple Park. The meeting took place on Thursday, and Vestager shared some insights on Twitter. She said they discussed aspects of the DMA, including one that’s got Apple in a bit of a bind.

The DMA wants Apple to allow sideloading of apps in the 27 EU member countries. And they want it done by March. Sideload what now? It’s when you install an app from a third-party app store.

Apple’s not a fan of sideloading. It’s been against it since the Steve Jobs era. Why? Because they’re worried about malware-loaded apps. Apple can check apps from the App Store for nasties, but sideloaded apps? Not so much.

Vestager and Cook also chewed the fat on ongoing EU competition cases. One of them was brought by Spotify against Apple Music. But that’s not all the DMA is after. They also want Apple to let developers bypass its in-app payment platform. That would mean developers could avoid paying Apple the 30% cut of in-app revenue. This has been a bone of contention between some developers and Apple for a while now.

The EU’s also got its eye on Apple’s NFC-based mobile payments tech. They want it opened up to third-party payment services. On some of these issues, like sideloading, Apple’s likely to limit the feature to iPhone models bought in the 27 EU countries. But on others, like adding RCS support, Apple’s planning to roll it out on iPhone units worldwide.

Remember the EU’s common charger law? It forced Apple to swap the Lightning port for USB-C. Apple could’ve limited the change to iPhones sold in the EU, but decided it’d be too complicated. So, as you might know, starting with the iPhone 15 series, all new iPhones have to use a USB-C charger.

Derrick Flynn
Derrick Flynn
With over four years of experience in tech journalism, Derrick has honed his skills and knowledge to become a vital part of the PhonesInsights team. His intuitive reviews and insightful commentary on the latest smartphones and wearable technology consistently provide our readers with valuable information.


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