A new EU law called the Digital Markets Act (DMA) will soon go into effect to ensure that that large online 'gatekeeper' platforms behave in a fair way in digital markets.

Apple, one of six designated gatekeeper platforms, is setting stringent conditions for developers in the EU wanting to use its platform, including that they put up a EUR 1 million letter of credit (L/C).

But developers spearheaded by Epic - which has more than 4,000 employees and includes Sony amongst its shareholders - are not happy.

Challenge to L/C usage

Epic's CEO and majority shareholder, Tim Sweeney, has specifically targeted Apple's demand for an L/C as a condition for developers who must "provide Apple with a standby letter of credit from an A-rated financial institution of EUR 1 million (US$1.07 million) to establish adequate financial means in order to guarantee support for your developers and users."

Sweeney's reply is unequivocal. "Under what possible theory of antitrust regulation is it acceptable for a monopoly to decide what companies are allowed to compete with it, and on what terms they can compete? Apple makes a mockery of free market competition," he posted on X (formerly Twitter).

Wider criticism

Beyond the developers, another fierce critic of Apple's response to the DMA is Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Meta, which is one of the other EU-designated gatekeeper platforms alongside Alphabet, Amazon, ByteDance and Microsoft.

"They've made it so onerous, and, I think, so at odds with the intent of what the EU regulation was that I think it's just going to be very difficult for anyone, including ourselves, to really seriously entertain what they're doing there," Zuckerberg said referring to Apple's approach to the DMA.

This article represents the views of the author and not necessarily those of the ICC or Coastline Solutions.