Technology Apple's claims to have 3 browsers all called Safari to counter EU regulations


Thread author
Staff Member
Jan 8, 2011
In one of its efforts to avoid exceeding user thresholds and so having to comply with the EU's Digital Markets Act, Apple has tried to claim it has three separate Safari browsers.

The ploy did not work, it has been rejected by the European Union, and it was never likely to succeed. Not since the entire Digital Markets Act was really created specifically to target Big Tech firms such as Apple.

These firms are described as "gatekeepers" under the EU law, which came into force on November 1, 2022, and became applicable on May 2, 2023. Amongst other considerations, a company is labelled a gatekeeper if it has over 45 million active users in Europe monthly, and at least a 75 billion euro ($80 billion) market capitalization.

As first spotted by The Register, Apple was declared a gatekeeper in its core platform services (CPS). Those are Apple's operating systems, its App Store, and the Safari web browser.

Over a series of exchanges with the EU, Apple tried objecting to the claim that it meets gatekeeper status on web browsers. According to the EU's newly-published ruling, "Apple disagrees with the preliminary view set out in the Commission's letter of 25 July 2023 that the Safari web browsers should be considered as one single web browser CPS."
Read more: Apple told EU regulators it has three browsers, all called Safari
It's not clear whether Apple has any further opportunity for appeal, which would delay its having to comply with the Digital Markets Act still further.

Assuming that Apple eventually has to comply, the most visible impact will be that the EU will require Messages -- and the App Store -- to be opened up to third party alternatives.

Gatekeeper firms who fail to comply with the DMA requirements within six months will face investigation. They could then potentially see "behavioral or structural remedies" enforced on them.

Ultimately, that enforcement could see Apple, or other non-complying firms, being fined up to 10% of their worldwide turnover. At times, it has seemed as if Apple and other Big Tech firms have just found it more cost-effective to simply pay fines, but repeat DMA offenders can be fined up to 20% of turnover.

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