Understanding Apple’s Proposed Changes to Meet the DMA’s Demands

John Voorhees has a great walk-through of the changes Apple is making in response to the DMA:

What makes understanding last week’s announcement difficult is that, superficially, Apple’s press release bears a vague resemblance to a typical Apple product announcement, at least until you catch its tone. EU users will now have a choice of browser engines, new payment options, and access to alternative app marketplaces. If you were watching a WWDC keynote and heard these things, you’d probably expect they’d apply across Apple’s OSes.

However, that’s not the case with most of what was announced last week. Instead, the changes announced are carefully tailored to address the DMA and nothing more. These aren’t product announcements. They’re regulatory compliance responses by a company that has made clear in various contexts that it will respect local law that impacts its products, but isn’t interested in letting one country (or countries in this case) dictate how it designs its products. I’ll revisit this point at the end of this story, but it’s important to keep in mind from the outset. Once you view the details through this prism, you can see the shape of the DMA in every facet of what Apple announced, which makes the situation easier to understand.

It’s important to note that these are proposals, as John Gruber wrote:

I’ve emphasized throughout this piece the word proposals. That’s key, because no one, including Apple, knows whether the European Commission is going to find any or all of them compliant with the DMA. Apple has met with EC representatives dozens of times across several years regarding the DMA, but the way the EC works is that (1) they pass laws; (2) companies do all the work to attempt compliance with those laws; and only then (3) does the EC decide whether they comply. Companies like Apple don’t get to run ideas past the EC and get a thumbs-up or thumbs-down. They have to build them, then find out.


The delicious irony in Apple’s not knowing if these massive, complicated proposals will be deemed DMA-compliant is that their dealings with the European Commission sound exactly like App Store developers’ dealings with Apple. Do all the work to build it first, and only then find out if it passes muster with largely inscrutable rules interpreted by faceless bureaucrats.

On today’s Upgrade, Myke and Jason talked through the changes, and it’s the best podcast episode I’ve heard on the topic so far. Understandably, there have been a lot of errors in early reporting, all three of these pieces benefit from the work that went into them.