Exact details of the challenge Apple is bringing have not been made public yet, but the company has previously made its feelings on its ‘gatekeeper’ designation clear.
The European Court of Justice has today (17 November) confirmed that Apple is filing a legal challenge to the EU’s Digital Markets Act. The tech giant joins other major companies such as TikTok owner ByteDance and Meta which have already begun their own separate legal proceedings against the EU.
Suspicions that Apple would join its Big Tech compatriots in challenging the Digital Markets Act have been circulating already. Bloomberg first reported the possibility of Apple filing a legal complaint last week, adding that the company would challenge the inclusion of its App Store on the Digital Markets Act’s list of ‘gatekeepers’.
Earlier this year, internal markets EU commissioner Thierry Breton said Apple, ByteDance, Samsung, Microsoft, Alphabet, Amazon and Meta would most likely be designated gatekeepers under the Act. This was later confirmed in September.
The status means that the EU sees these companies as possible market disruptors. It applies to any company that has had an annual turnover in Europe of at least €7.5bn in the last three years or market value of at least €75bn in its last financial year.
Gatekeeper companies also have to meet certain user thresholds in order to qualify for the status. For example, more than 45m monthly active users and more than 10,000 yearly active users in the EU over the past three years.
The gatekeepers list is one of the main points of contention that tech companies have with the new legislation. In its filing, ByteDance claimed that its designation would upset the power of successful tech companies, while Meta challenged the designation of its Messenger and Marketplace services as gatekeepers. Notably, it did not challenge Facebook, Instagram of WhatsApp’s designation.
The European Court of Justice has yet to make the exact details of Apple’s case public, but the company had argued following its official designation as a gatekeeper that its iMessage service did not meet the threshold of 45m active monthly users.
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