European Commission slams Apple for not bringing Apple Intelligence features to the EU

About half of Apple’s keynote at its Worldwide Developers Conference earlier this month was devoted to AI features, and how the company will weave them across the upcoming iOS 18 and iPadOS 18. And if you’re in the EU, none of that matters because Apple has decided not to bring the Apple Intelligence (get it? AI!) feature set to iPhones and iPads in the EU.

That’s because of “uncertainties” regarding the EU’s Digital Markets Act which came into being in March and already forced a bunch of concessions from Apple. The European Commission’s Executive Vice-President for a Europe fit for the Digital Age and Commissioner for Competition (yes, that’s really her full title) Margrethe Vestager had some choice words for the American corporation regarding its refusal to launch its AI features in the EU. Here’s what she said:

So Apple have said that they will not launch their new enabled features in the IRS environment, and they say that they will not do that because of the obligations that they have in Europe. And the obligations that they have in Europe, it is to be open for competition, that is sort of the short version of the DMA. And 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 sort of stunning, open declaration that they know 100% that this is another way of disabling competition, where they have a stronghold already.

This was a response in a Q&A session at Forum Europa, so it’s not an official press release or anything like that, but Vestager has long been the most vocal EC official on all matters related to big American corporations and their treatment of the EU market, so this isn’t exactly un-official either.

No Genmoji for you, EU!
No Genmoji for you, EU!

Basically in Vestager’s own words, what Apple is doing by withholding the AI features is an admission that the implementation of the features themselves would be deemed anti-competitive by the EC.

That is one way to put it, but not one that’s actually helpful – Vestager is saying that’s what Apple thinks, but what’s relevant here is what the EC thinks about the anti-competitiveness or lack thereof, and she doesn’t actually say anything about that.

Then again, we might never find out – if Apple never brings the Apple Intelligence suite to the EU, there will never be an EC investigation, and thus we’ll never know just how anti-competitive they are or aren’t.

Of course, Apple might just delay the launch of Apple Intelligence in the EU – Google has taken its sweet time bringing Gemini to the bloc too, but did eventually do it. And if we take another look at Apple’s statement on the matter, it does seem like it wants to work with the EC to find a solution:

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. 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.

We’ll have to wait and see how all of this unfolds, but for now, if you have an iPhone 15 Pro or Pro Max and are in the EU, don’t expect to play with Apple’s AI anytime soon.


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