Thanks to the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA), iPhone users in the 27 member EU states are allowed to sideload apps from third-party app stores, use a non-Webkit browser, choose their own financial app for contactless payments, pay for in-app purchases using a third-party financial firm, and more. EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager is not totally thrilled with how Apple and Alphabet have responded to some of the DMA’s rules.

Comments made by Vestager published in an official press release last week (via 9to5Mac) suggested that the EU might force Apple to make the Photos app on the iPhone removable. Vestager last week was discussing what she saw as Apple and Alphabet’s non-compliance with the DMA over some features when she stated, “The way that Apple and Alphabet implemented the DMA rules on anti-steering seems to be at odds with the letter of the law. Apple and Alphabet still charge various recurring fees and still limit steering.”

Vestager said that the EU would continue to investigate when she added the following, “Under Article 6(3) of the DMA, gatekeepers have an obligation to enable easy uninstallation of apps and easy change of default settings. They must also display a choice screen. Apple’s compliance model does not seem to meet the objectives of this obligation. In particular, we are concerned that the current design of the web browser choice screen deprives end-users of the ability to make a fully informed decision.”

She continued. “Example: they do not enhance user engagement with all available options. Apple also failed to make several apps un-installable (one of them would be Photos) and prevents end-users from changing their default status (for example Cloud), as required by the DMA.” Vestager’s comments about Apple’s Photos app surprised many since iPhone users can easily download a third-party photos app such as Google Photos.

Daring Fireball’s John Gruber believes that there could be a time when Apple simply stops selling its devices in the EU. There is actually a mathematical basis for his suggestion. Failing to comply with the DMA could result in a fine as high as 10% of Apple’s annual revenues worldwide which would amount to a penalty of more than $38 billion that Apple might be forced to write. On the other hand, sales in the EU make up only 7% of Apple’s worldwide annual revenue.

Alan, an ardent smartphone enthusiast and a veteran writer at PhoneArena since 2009, has witnessed and chronicled the transformative years of mobile technology. Owning iconic phones from the original iPhone to the iPhone 15 Pro Max, he has seen smartphones evolve into a global phenomenon. Beyond smartphones, Alan has covered the emergence of tablets, smartwatches, and smart speakers.

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