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iPadOS Now Subject to Strict EU Competition Rules

The technological giant Apple once again finds itself in the crosshairs of European regulators. After having singled out iOS, the Safari browser and the App Store, it is the turn of iPadOS to be singled out. The European Commission has just classified Apple’s tablet operating system as a “gatekeeper” service under the Digital Markets Act (DMA).

A decision with serious consequences for the Cupertino company which will have to comply with a series of new restrictive rules.

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An Eight-Month Investigation Leading to A Final Decision

It was after a long eight-month investigation that the European Commission rendered its verdict. According to the EU executive, iPadOS plays a crucial role in serving as a bridge between businesses and consumers. An observation reinforced by Apple’s “deeply rooted and lasting” position in this market.

The numbers speak for themselves. In fact, the number of professional users exceeds the threshold set by the DMA to be considered a gatekeeper by eleven times. As for end users, they are close to this famous threshold and should quickly exceed it. For Margrethe Vestager, the head of EU competition policy, no doubt; even without formally meeting the criteria, iPadOS is an essential crossing point for many companies.

A Six-Month Deadline To Comply

Apple now has six months to adapt iPadOS to the requirements of the DMA. With this in mind, the list is long: authorize the downloading of third-party applications, allow the uninstallation of pre-installed apps, allow the choice of the default browser… So many changes which will shake up the user experience on iPad.

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Moreover, until now, iPadOS users were locked in a locked ecosystem. Impossible to look elsewhere, you had to go through the services and applications validated by Apple. This situation has earned the company numerous criticisms, accusing it of anti-competitive practices. With the DMA, Europe intends to break down these barriers and open the market to healthier competition.

iOS And iPadOS, Same Fight?

iPadOS Now Subject to Strict EU Competition Rules (1)

It is surprising that Apple did not anticipate this decision. In reality, iOS, the iPhone operating system, had already been pinned down by the DMA forcing Apple to make concessions. The firm notably had to authorize alternative app stores in Europe. But these changes have not been reflected on iPadOS, although it is very close to its mobile cousin.

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It should be noted that this lack of consistency could cost Apple dearly. Because, in the event of non-compliance with the DMA rules, the Commission can impose fines of up to 10 % of global turnover and even 20% in the event of a repeat offense. Enough to give pause to Apple executives who will have to work extra hard to adapt iPadOS on time.

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