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EU asks Apple to also allow alternative app stores on iPad

European markets

The decision comes after the European Union previously forced Apple to allow rivals to the App Store on iPhones in Europe

EU officials have told Apple to also authorise alternative marketplaces on the iPad, in a new European Commission decision that also categorises Apple’s iPadOS operating system as a “gatekeeper” technology.

Apple now has six months to implement the far-reaching rules of the European Union’s Digital Markets Act. The decision comes after the European Union previously forced Apple to allow rivals to the App Store on iPhones in Europe.

Similar to the iPhone, the US firm must let users install alternative app stores for the iPad in the EU. Additionally, the iPadOS tablet operating system must also support browsers from other manufacturers.

In contrast to the iPhone system iOS, the EU regulators had, at first, not categorised the iPad system iPadOS as a so-called gatekeeper platform because the operating system has less than 45 million active users within the European Union, putting it below the legally stipulated value.

Margrethe Vestager, Vice-President of the European Commission (EC), said a market investigation had shown that despite not meeting the thresholds, iPadOS was an important gateway that many businesses relied on to reach their customers.

Today’s decision will ensure that fairness and contestability are preserved also on this platform, said the Danish politician, responsible for competition policy at the European Commission.

Apple has earlier voiced its frustration at EU policy, saying that allowing users to download apps from other sources brings security risks, but responded to Monday’s decision by saying: We will continue to work constructively with the European Commission to comply with the Digital Markets Act.

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