European Commission Designates iPadOS a DMA ‘Gatekeeping’ Platform Too

European Commission press release (italics added):

On 5 September 2023, the Commission designated Apple as a gatekeeper for its operating system iOS, its browser Safari and its App Store. On the same day, the Commission opened a market investigation to assess whether Apple’s 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.

The rules are what the EC commissioners decide they are, not what the DMA says. Among their reasons cited:

  • End users are locked-in to iPadOS. Apple leverages its large ecosystem to disincentivise end users from switching to other operating systems for tablets.

  • Business users are locked-in to iPadOS because of its large and commercially attractive user base, and its importance for certain use cases, such as gaming apps.

The “lock-in” is basically just features exclusive to Apple’s own platforms. I’m not even sure how Apple could possibly create a platform without “lock-in”.

On the other hand, iPadOS is clearly more of a marketing distinction than a technical one. It’s iOS under the hood, so I doubt it’ll be much trouble for Apple to apply its DMA compliance features from iOS to iPadOS. I would have been surprised if the EC had not decided to designate iPadOS a “gatekeeping” platform, and I’m guessing Apple itself is unsurprised as well.

Monday, 29 April 2024