"Quite a lot, I would say"

EU's Vestager Warns About Apple's Fees
Meta's too, and disparaging rival products

There's been a lot of speculation about what the EU actually thinks about Apple's proposed policy changes to comply with the DMA. Well, here's the latest big hint thanks to an interview with Margrethe Vestager:

Apple announced a slew of changes in January in a bid to comply with the landmark EU tech legislation which requires it to open up its closed eco-system to rivals.

A new fee structure includes a core technology fee of 50 euro cents per user account per year that major app developers will have to pay even if they do not use any of Apple's payment services, which has triggered criticism from rivals such as Fortnite creator Epic Games.

Vestager said the new fees have attracted her attention.

"There are things that we take a keen interest in, for instance, if the new Apple fee structure will de facto not make it in any way attractive to use the benefits of the DMA. That kind of thing is what we will be investigating," she told Reuters in an interview.

Yeah, all those tweaks Apple keeps making to their policies aren't going to matter much if the EU is going to bring the hammer down for this alone. And, let's be honest, that was always likely to be the case. Apple is trying to play a legal game while the EU is playing an intent game. Apple may not like that – Apple certainly doesn't like that – and they'll try to use the courts to drag this out. But ultimately, it's going to be hard to prevail here without some sort of game change. Like, say, threatening to pull out of the EU...

Vestager also warned companies against discouraging users from switching to rivals by disparaging them, saying this kind of behaviour could trigger an investigation. Apple has said some of its changes could expose users to security risks.

"I would think of it as unwise to say that the services are not safe to use, because that has nothing to do with the DMA. The DMA is there to open the market for other service providers to get to you and how your service provider of your operating system, how they will make sure that it is safe is for them to decide," she said.

"And of course, if we see or get the suspicion that this is in order to say that someone else are not doing their job of course, we might take initiatives to look into that."

The EU is inching ever-closer to the creation of a literally Nanny State.

Vestager said feedback from developers was key to whether she would launch investigations into any of the six companies subjected to the DMA.

Asked whether she had received any comments from third parties, she said: "Quite a lot, I would say."

Congrats to Spotify, I guess. The EU now seems set to take on any and all would-be pieces of technology. Which perhaps should be a waring to Spotify itself, you either die the hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain...