Jun 24, 2024 2 min read

Apple says EU rules will delay launch of Apple Intelligence in Europe

The roll out of Apple’s new generative AI tool Apple Intelligence could be delayed in Europe because of the European Union’s Digital Markets Act. Apple says that three new features it unveiled earlier this month will be delayed in the EU because of interoperability requirements in the DMA

Apple says EU rules will delay launch of Apple Intelligence in Europe

Apple has announced that it will delay launching a number of its new features in the European Union - including its generative AI tool Apple Intelligence - because complying with interoperability requirements in the EU’s Digital Markets Act would require it to “compromise the integrity” of the products and “risk user privacy and data security”.  

The DMA went into effect earlier this year and aims to ensure that the major technology companies cannot abuse their market power, with interoperability requirements being a key mechanism to ensure an open and level playing field. Apple could be the first company to be fined under the regulations in relation to its rules around in-app payments, which have already been deemed anticompetitive by EU regulators following complaints from Spotify. 

Apple now says that the EU rules will also negatively impact some of the “hundreds of new features” it unveiled earlier this month. 

“We are highly motivated to make these technologies accessible to all users”, it says in a statement. “However, due to the regulatory uncertainties brought about by the 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”.

Complying with “interoperability requirements” in the DMA, Apple’s statement continues, would “force us to compromise the integrity of our products in ways that risk user privacy and data security”. Nevertheless, it adds, “we are committed to collaborating with the European Commission in an attempt to find a solution that would enable us to deliver these features to our EU customers without compromising their safety”.

Responding to Apple’s statement, EU spokesperson Thomas Regnier told The Verge, “The EU is an attractive market of 450 million potential users, and has always been open for business for any company that wants to provide services in the European internal market. Gatekeepers are welcome to offer their services in Europe, provided that they comply with our rules aimed at ensuring fair competition”. 

Despite the commitment to collaborate with EU officials, Apple’s statement last week could be part of a move to put pressure on the European Commission to be more flexible when enforcing the DMA, by warning consumers in Europe that they will miss out on these new features because of the EU’s draconian rules. That could result in something of a backlash against the DMA by consumer groups or even EU member states. 

It’s not just Apple that is telling Europeans that EU law is delaying the roll out of AI tools. Earlier this month Meta said that it was delaying the launch of its new AI products in Europe because of EU regulations, although in Meta’s case it was data protection law that was the cause for concern. Meta issued a statement after the Irish privacy regulator told it to delay its plan to harness data from Facebook and Instagram users.

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