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Apple vs EU: DMA, Apple's perfect AI-libi to hide its delay in AI ?

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Ten days after the announcement of the “next revolution” from Apple, it's a cold shower: Apple Intelligence (AI promising to completely transform iPhone, iPad and Mac) will not be available in Europe. “We don't think we can offer three features… iPhone mirroring, screen sharing improvements with SharePlay and Apple Intelligence – to our users in the European Union this year” said Apple on Friday June 21, 2024.

In question, “ regulatory uncertainties generated by legislation on digital markets” or Digital Market Act ( DMA). According to Apple, the promising new features of its software would face the limitations imposed by the European Union with its latest legislation. Understand: “this is what it happens when the EU doesn't let us do as we want. It's in any case what emerges from the American's declarations to John Gruber, a ready-made anti-EU ally:

Two weeks ago, Apple unveiled hundreds of new features, which we can't wait to bring to our users around the world. We are motivated to make these technologies accessible to all our users. However, due to the regulatory uncertainties caused by the Digital Markets Act (DMA), we do not believe we can offer three of these features — iPhone mirroring, improvements to screen sharing with SharePlay and Apple Intelligence — to our users. of the European Union this year.

In particular, we are concerned that the interoperability requirements of the DMA will force us to compromise the integrity of our products, at the risk of compromising data confidentiality and security. We are committed to working with the European Union to try to find a solution that would allow us to provide these features to our customers in the European Union without compromising their security.

Is the DMA really to blame ?

Apple vs EU: DMA, Apple's perfect AI-libi to hide its delay in AI ?

© Apple/Presse-citron

Apple's statements seem to revive its rivalries with the EU. If the company had wanted to send a direct message to the European authorities, it would not have gone about it any better. First by its timing: the announcement to sideline European consumers came on Friday, leaving no room for expert analyzes before Monday. The choice of newspaper, the Financial Times, is not trivial either: it is read by EU executives.

Apart from these communication details, is the DMA really in question ? Let's say that Apple seems to be showing blatant bad faith, for two reasons.

The first one is obvious like the nose in the middle of the face: why Apple could not offer advanced artificial intelligence in Europe when Microsoft and Google (which cannot are not the greatest protectors of your data) have managed to stay on track ? Since the regulatory requirements are the same for the three entities, Apple's argument falls apart.< /p>

The second, more subtle reason lies more on Apple's desire to comply with the DMAthan on the rules strictly speaking. The company explains that the non-deployment of certain functionalities is based on “ regulatory uncertainties generated by the legislation on digital markets (DMA) ”. However, the European text is clear: “an access controller may ask the Commission to initiate a process to determine whether the measures that this access controller intends to implement or to be implemented to comply with the articles relating to its obligations”.

Apple could therefore have collaborated with the EU upstream in order to deploy its new products in Europe now. It has already done so with China in the matter of the withdrawal of the application Radio Francefrom the Chinese App Store. But China brings in 72 billion dollars per year to Apple, while the European Union risks demanding a 38 billion fine from it, rightly reminds MacGeneration.

Apple's lobbying department therefore seems to be operating at full capacity, just to make the European authorities appear like this refractory old lady always quick to slow down innovation. A shame for a company from one of the most protectionist countries in the world.

The perfect AI-libi

Apple vs EU: DMA, Apple&#39;s perfect AI-libi to hide its delay in AI ?

© Apple

What if these statements were just a smokescreen? What if Apple had just found the perfect alibi to cover up its delay in AI. According to Nicolas Lellouche, journalist for Numerama present at WWDC, Apple engineers all said they were “excited at the idea of ​​deploying new software all over the world”.

However, everything suggests that Apple never planned to launch these features on the Old Continent, as evidenced by the lines of code “geo-blocking”. Furthermore, Apple Intelligence will initially only be available in English and only in the United States. However, until proven otherwise, English (the only language supported by Apple's AI) remains the main language in Great Britain. The DMA excuse does not work, Great Britain having neither signed this agreement nor yet introduced its own legislation on the subject.

Would the hypothesis of delay in AI be the most likely?? Recent events point in this direction. While OpenAI, Microsoft and Google were pushing hard on AI throughout 2023, Apple only made mention of it this year. The company was meanwhile spending billions of dollars on the creation of an electric car, a project abandoned in early 2024 to (according to sources close to company executives) invest massively in AI and catch up.

Why Apple is quick to blame the EU ? No doubt to avoid creating panic among shareholders. The day after WWDC, analysts were unanimous: Apple had just opened a new cycle of growth after several years of stagnation. Since only the new iPhones support Apple Intelligence, the company made sure to accelerate the renewal cycle and thus reassure the markets about its “iPhone-dependence”.

Finally, it's a cold shower. Europe and China, its second and third markets respectively, will not immediately welcome Apple Intelligence. So to reassure shareholders, it is better to cast shame on the ugly-Europeans-refractory-to-progress than to recognize a strategic error. Even if it means damaging its image among consumers.

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Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116