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Zuckerberg Calls Apple’s DMA Compliance Changes ‘Onerous’ and ‘Difficult to Seriously Entertain’

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has criticized Apple’s compliance with the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) regulation, which forces Apple to let third-party developers create alternative App Stores and use their own payment systems, amongst other things.

Speaking to investors on Thursday during Meta’s Q4 earnings call, Zuckerberg called Apple’s new rules “so onerous” that he would not be surprised if any developer adopted them.

“I don’t think that the Apple thing is going to have any difference for us. Because I think that the way they have implemented it, I would be very surprised if any developer chose to go into the alternative app stores that they have. They’ve made it so onerous, and I think so at odds with the intent of what the EU regulation was, that I think it’s just going to be very difficult for anyone, including ourselves, to really seriously entertain what they’re doing there.”

The introduction of the EU’s DMA regulations were designed to increase competition in the bloc’s app economy by allowing other companies to host their own app stores and collect payments, without them being subjected to Apple’s commission rates. However, Apple has introduced a new fee structure as part of the change, including a €0.50 “Core Technology Fee” or CTF for every app install over one million installs, a model that could be prohibitively expensive for free apps like Meta’s if they are distributed outside of the App Store.

Meta’s comments broadly align with several other big companies critical of Apple’s proposed DMA changes, including Spotify, Epic Games, Mozilla, and Microsoft.

Spotify CEO Daniel EK called Apple’s plan “a complete and total farce” under “the false pretense of compliance and concessions.” Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney, another outspoken Apple critic, said that the ‌‌App Store‌‌ changes are a “devious new instance of malicious compliance” aimed at thwarting EU regulations. Microsoft said they are a “step in the wrong direction,” while Mozilla said it was “extremely disappointed” and called the plans “another example of Apple creating barriers to prevent true browser competition on iOS.”

EU regulators say they intend to study Apple’s proposed plans after March 7, when the DMA goes into effect.

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