Vestager warns Apple and Meta about fees

EU Vestager
Translate from : Vestager advarer Apple og Meta om gebyrer
Margrete Vestager EU antitrust chief warns Apple and Meta about new fee structures. These go against the Digital Markets Act's aim of providing users with a wide range of choices, limiting the user experience.

Apple and Meta were recently warned by the EU's antitrust chief, Margrethe Vestager, over their new fee structures. Subsequently, Vestager has expressed concern about these companies' approach to competition. Vestager noted that such fees and practices run counter to the goals of the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which aims to provide users with a wide range of choices and thus limit the user experience.

Apple's new fee structure includes an annual core technology fee of 50 euro cents for each user. The company requires the major app developers to pay the fee, including those who do not use the Apple Pay services. The introduced fee changes sparked several reactions and criticism from many, including competitors such as Fortnite creator Epic Games. These new fee structures have caught Vestager's attention, and she expressed her displeasure during an exclusive interview with Reuters.

She highlighted the factors her agency is considering, including whether the new fees will allow users to enjoy the benefits of the DMA. If the EU discovers that such charges contravene the provisions of the DMA, it will not hesitate to take the necessary measures.

Vestager also expressed reservations about Meta's new fees. In March, Meta announced that it has halved its monthly subscription price for Facebook and Instagram. It was lowered from 9.99 euros to 5.99 euros. However, Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems pointed out that the size of the fee is not the decisive issue. Vestager stated that there are other ways the companies can monetize their services, including targeted ads based on consumer data, without charging subscription fees.

According to Vestager, another monetization option is the display of contextual ads. She noted that they will initiate a dialogue with Meta and then assess the situation to decide what action needs to be taken to ensure compliance with the DMA. Furthermore, Vestager warned tech companies against undermining competitors to discourage users from switching to other services. She noted that such behavior could attract antitrust investigations. According to her, all platforms should have a fair and open market to compete healthily. However, Apple mentioned that some of their recent changes may expose users to security threats.

This has already attracted attention. Vestager reiterated that presenting the platform as unsafe is irresponsible, as such cases do not concern the DMA, which primarily focuses on promoting healthy competition. In addition, Vestager mentioned that feedback from developers will determine whether antitrust will open investigations for DMA violations. The DMA has six listed companies subject to the law, including Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Meta.

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