Digital Markets Act casts uncertainty over EU launch of Apple Intelligence

01 July 2024

Following Apple’s announcement last month of its new generative AI tool, Apple Intelligence, the tech giant has now confirmed that the roll-out of the new AI features is likely to be delayed in the EU due to “regulatory uncertainties” regarding the EU’s new Digital Markets Act (DMA). In a statement given to the Wall Street Journal, Apple noted that the DMA obligations "could force us to compromise the integrity of our products in ways that risk user privacy and data security”.

The new EU law, which came into force in March, puts strict requirements on major tech providers who have been designated as “gatekeepers”, which includes Apple as well as the likes of Amazon, Meta and Microsoft. These gatekeepers are subject to a number of obligations aimed at facilitating an open online market. Key among these is the requirement for gatekeepers to ensure the interoperability of messenger systems, by allowing end users to install third party apps or app stores that interact with the gatekeeper’s own operating system. The interoperability obligation has raised concerns for the gatekeepers, who have argued that interoperability may be problematic from a security and privacy perspective.

The European Commission has, however, criticised Apple’s decision to delay the EU rollout of the technology. In a statement during the Forum Europa Event, Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager noted that “I find that very interesting that they say we will now deploy AI where we’re not obliged to enable competition. I think that is the most stunning, open declaration that they know 100% that this is another way of disabling competition where they have a stronghold already”.

Two weeks ago, Apple unveiled hundreds of new features that we are excited to bring to our users around the world. We are highly motivated to make these technologies accessible to all users. However, due to the regulatory uncertainties brought about by the Digital Markets Act (DMA), we do not believe that we will be able to roll out three of these features — iPhone Mirroring, SharePlay Screen Sharing enhancements, and Apple Intelligence — to our EU users this year. Specifically, we are concerned that the interoperability requirements of the DMA could force us to compromise the integrity of our products in ways that risk user privacy and data security. 

Apple says regulatory concerns might prevent rollout of AI features in Europe: