Fulvio Sarzana: “With the brand new powers, Apple risks a quality of as much as 17 billion or a block like TikTok”

“A sanction that is an order of magnitude better than that which Europe has so far been able to impose on Apple and several large technology companies and even on the break-up or sale of parts of companies. A bit like what the US should do with TikTok.” Fulvio Sarzana, one of the many first digital lawyers in Italy, is co-author of an e-book (Giuffrè, 2023) on the brand new European digital regulatory packages. And he imagines what could happen if the antitrust investigation into Apple’s App Store gets underway

The feasibility of massive technology fragmentation has been talked about for years, in Europe and the US. And in March 2024, the EU Antitrust fined Apple 1.8 billion for abuse of a dominant position, after criticism from Spotify. Why is it completely different now?

“There are many variations. Now, thanks to the Digital Markets Act, Europe can provide a recurring daily high quality of as much as 50 million euros (in the case of Apple, which has a daily turnover of 1 billion euros). It reaches 17 billion every twelve months. But it wouldn’t end here.”

Means what?

“Unlike before, Europe has now included a blacklist of prohibited behavior in its guidelines. In short, the sanction resulting from the violation is not discretionary. And it has also built up a number of corrective measures, which gives it much better intervention options. In excessive cases, it will result in what the US should do with TikTok: give the company a and/or, you dismantle parts of the company or close it down in Europe.”

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However, the closure of Apple in Europe remains unthinkable…

“However, the industrial blockade of Apple in Europe is unthinkable if prohibited behavior is discovered due to the connection between the “gatekeeper” of a market (endowed with beautiful energy in that market, NL.) and parts of that company can now put pressure on them to promote the latter.”

Now the European Commission’s investigation, which seems to have arrived at a primary solution, is considering the truth that builders are obliged to pay Apple at all times, regardless of whether or not they retain or leave the retailer. Can the business separation imposed as a result of this fact take place between the App Retailer’s ownership and the company’s main business, i.e. selling units?

“It’s too early to tell, but the instance of TikTok can actually help us understand the place we’re going. Europe could impose on Apple the access of European companies to the capital of the real estate in question. And thus rebalance the stability of energy. At that time, abuse of a dominant place might not occur.”