Monday, March 4, 2024

Thoughts on Apple’s DMA Compliance

Juli Clover:

Spotify, Epic Games, Deezer, Paddle, and several other developers and EU associations today sent a joint letter to the European Commission to complain about Apple’s “proposed scheme for compliance” with the Digital Markets Act (DMA).

The 34 companies and associations do not believe Apple’s plans “meet the law’s requirements.” Apple’s changes “disregard both the spirit and letter of the law” and if left unchanged, will “make a mockery of the DMA,” according to the letter. Several specific components of Apple’s plan are highlighted, including the Core Technology Fee, the Notarization process, and the terms that developers must accept.

Juli Clover:

Apple today published a whitepaper [PDF] detailing the privacy and security protections that it is implementing in the European Union to keep users as safe as possible while also complying with the requirements of the Digital Markets Act.


Apple says that it has received numerous emails from European users and government agencies that are concerned with the risks of alternative app marketplaces, and Apple promises to “work tirelessly” to protect users “to the extent possible under the law.” There is no way for users to opt out of the DMA changes, and Apple suggests that some people may have to use alternative apps against their will. Employers and schools may require an app that is only available through a marketplace, for example.

The e-mails to Tim Cook from concerned users show how successful Apple’s marketing has been.

Steven Sinofsky:

This is precisely what is known and for me it is frustrating that people keep saying security and privacy are not risks or problems. As one example, Apple highlights that Google strongly discourages side loading for “important” accounts on Android. My view: all accounts are important and that is the iPhone value proposition being attacked by the DMA. We have lost choice not gained choice. An ecosystem is only as strong as the weakest link and weakening it on purpose is anti-choice, anti-privacy, anti-security.

For me, it is frustrating that people keep assuming that security and privacy are not risks or problems with Apple’s App Store. Why should we believe that Apple’s intentions are the reality today and its FUD will be the reality tomorrow?

Google is not a neutral observer. It obviously has its own interest in discouraging sideloading—while still trying to make sideloaded apps secure. There does not seem to be an epidemic of Android users being forced to sideload harmful apps.

The “choice” rhetoric only makes sense with his framing that iOS and Android are roughly equivalent except that one is safe and one is open, which I don’t think is the case at all. The space of comparison points is multi-dimensional. The DMA doesn’t change the fact that we get to “choose” from essentially two package deals. It just slightly changes what’s in one of them.


Update (2024-03-07): Jeff Johnson:

The DMA will provide a nice empirical refutation of the ridiculous but also ridiculously common claim that consumers buy iPhone because it prevents sideloading.

Let’s see how many EU iPhone owners dump their devices after March 7.


Apple’s Non-Confidential Summary of DMA Compliance Report

Steve Troughton-Smith:

Apple’s public DMA compliance report leaves out all the details of their noncompliance, naturally; (there is a private report as part of this submission that may or may not go into greater detail)

Nick Heer:

Apple’s DMA compliance report is set in Arial, in case you are still wondering how things are going.

3 Comments RSS · Twitter · Mastodon

> Employers and schools may require an app that is only available through a marketplace, for example.

why does everyone still pretend that enterprise certs don't exist

Great take on this. I think it's surprising how many tech "journalists" are falling for Apple's spin and failing to mention that they have a vested interest in a closed app store to protect their profits

Not to mention the fact that the app store itself isn't really that trustworthy or safe. A lot of those people say "Well, if the App Store is unsafe, sideloading or alternative App Stores would be even worse!" But that's specious reasoning

> The e-mails to Tim Cook from concerned users show how successful Appleā€™s marketing has been.

They did not quote my email to Tim Cook praising the DMA :P

Leave a Comment