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Apple aims to demonstrate to the EU that it operates five, not just one, App Stores beyond doubt.

Apple is seeking to change the way the EU counts the App Stores, arguing that it actually runs five distinct App Stores instead of a single platform service. The legal challenge was filed in November 2023, with Apple claiming that the European Commission made “material factual errors” in concluding that the five App Stores are a single core platform service.

According to Apple, there are five separate App Stores for iPhones, iPads, Mac computers, Apple TVs, and Apple Watches, each designed to distribute apps for a specific operating system and Apple device.

Apple’s challenge also disputes the EU Commission’s designation of the messaging service iMessage as a number-independent interpersonal communications service (NIICS). The company claims that iMessage is not a NIICS as it is not a fee-based service and does not monetize it via the sale of hardware devices or the processing of personal data.

The Digital Markets Act (DMA) was created to bring order to the digital market, with a focus on “gatekeepers” such as search engines, app stores, and messenger services. The DMA aims to stimulate compliance with guidelines and ensure that smaller businesses and services can thrive within the infrastructures of these gatekeepers. The DMA also includes measures to prevent preferential treatment of their own products, stopping consumers from finding deals elsewhere, blocking users from removing pre-installed apps, and tracking users for targeted ads without proper consent.

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