Apple Delays EU AI Features Over Regulatory Concerns


Apple Freezes AI Features in Europe Over Digital Market Rules

Tech giant Apple is delaying the rollout of several new features in the European Union (EU), citing concerns about the recently implemented Digital Markets Act (DMA). These features include “Apple Intelligence,” a suite of AI upgrades, alongside iPhone Mirroring and SharePlay Screen Sharing functionalities.

Apple Intelligence represents a significant leap forward in the company’s artificial intelligence capabilities. Described by an Apple spokesperson to CNBC as encompassing “highly capable” large language and diffusion models, it also incorporates an “on-device semantic index.” This index works across apps, identifying data and feeding it to the AI models. This technology has the potential to enhance various functions including the Siri voice assistant.

EU Tightens Grip on Big Tech with DMA

The European Union has taken a proactive approach towards regulating Big Tech companies. The DMA, which came into effect in May 2023, specifically targets “gatekeepers” – powerful corporations that dominate their respective markets. Apple is among the six companies designated as gatekeepers by the EU, alongside Alphabet (Google), Amazon, ByteDance (TikTok), Meta (Facebook), and Microsoft. These six companies control a combined 22 “core platform services” according to EU lawmakers.

Apple’s decision to delay the rollout stems from anxieties regarding how the DMA might impact user privacy and data security. In a statement to The Verge, Fred Sainz, Apple’s senior director of corporate communications, expressed concerns that the DMA’s interoperability requirements “could force us to compromise the integrity of our products.”

The European Union represents a significant market for Apple, with a population exceeding 448 million spread across 27 member states. However, the EU has also become a leader in implementing stricter regulations for Big Tech companies. These regulations govern various aspects, including interactions with third parties, user control over their data, and business rights regarding advertising verification.

Failure to comply with the DMA’s regulations can result in hefty penalties for Apple. Offenses can incur fines of up to 10% of the company’s global annual revenue, with repeat offenders facing fines as high as 20%. Additionally, Apple is already facing an ongoing investigation into its business practices within the EU.

Uncertainties Remain as Apple Seeks Clarity

Cointelegraph reached out to Apple’s press department and Fred Sainz for confirmation and further details regarding the delay. However, at the time of publication, no response has been received. With the EU taking a firm stance on regulating Big Tech, it remains to be seen how Apple will navigate this new landscape and whether the delayed features will eventually be released in Europe.

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Author: Sb

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