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EU Designates Apple's IPadOS As Gatekeeper

The European Commission announced that it has designated Apple Inc.’s operating system for iPads, iPadOS, as a gatekeeper under the Digital Markets Act or DMA as it constitutes an important gateway for business users to reach end users. Apple now has six months to ensure that its iPadOS fully complies with EU’s DMA obligations.

On the Nasdaq Stock Exchange, Apple shares were gaining around 3.8 percent to trade at $175.77.

The Commission’s decision followed a market investigation launched in September last year to assess whether iPadOS, despite not meeting the quantitative thresholds laid down in the DMA, constitutes an important gateway for business users to reach end users and therefore should be designated as a gatekeeper.

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As per the investigation, the Commission concluded that iPadOS constitutes an important gateway for business users to reach end users, and that Apple enjoys an entrenched and durable position with respect to iPadOS.

Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market, said, “Today we conclude the first market investigation for qualitative designation under the DMA finding that also iPadOS is an important gateway for businesses to reach consumers. Apple has now six months to comply with the DMA obligations. We continue monitoring market developments and will not hesitate to open new investigations should other services below the thresholds present characteristics to be considered important gateways for business users.”

In September last year, the Commission had designated Apple as a gatekeeper for its operating system iOS, its browser Safari and its App Store

On the same day, Alphabet, Amazon, ByteDance, Meta and Microsoft were also designated by the Commission as gatekeepers. These tech majors had to fully comply with all DMA obligations by March 7, 2024.

On March 25, the Commission opened non-compliance investigations into Alphabet’s rules on steering in Google Play and self-preferencing on Google Search, as well asApple’s rules on steering in the App Store and the choice screen for Safari, and Meta’s “pay or consent model”.

The Commission announced additional investigatory steps to gather facts and information in relation to Amazon’s self-preferencing and Apple’s alternative app distribution and new business model.

Earlier, on March 1, the Commission received notifications from Booking, ByteDance and X about their services potentially meeting the DMA thresholds, which could mean they should be subject to the new EU rules on gatekeeper platforms.

The Commission said it will take a decision on these notifications within 45 working days, i.e., by May 13 at the latest.

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