EU rules force Apple to reveal App Store user numbers in Europe
Apple has revealed the number of active monthly users for various versions of its App Store in Europe in order to comply with the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA). The disclosure published on Apple legal resources site reveals that the iOS App Store has 101 million users in Europe, with the iPadOS App Store trailing behind with 23 million users. The macOS App Store has six million users and the tvOS App Store has one million.
The tech giant also provided estimated figures for the watchOS App Store, Apple Books, and Podcasts paid subscriptions, which have fewer than one million monthly users in Europe.
Platforms with over 45 million users are beholden to stricter regulations under Europe’s DSA rules
The recently-enacted DSA legislation classifies tech platforms with over 45 million users as very large online platforms (VLOPs,) which are required to hand key data over to researchers to “provide more insight into how online risks evolve.” The EU recently confirmed a list of 19 platforms that would be subject to the strictest regulations under the DSA, which included the Apple App Store, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and Amazon. Companies featured on that list are obliged to be proactive about analyzing and reporting risks regarding artificial intelligence and algorithms.
Apple claimed back in February that the iOS App Store was its only product that qualified as a VLOP, but did not reveal the number of active monthly users for the platform at that time. The company also said that while it was only legally obligated to supply its iOS App Store figures, it would voluntarily adjust its other products to comply with DSA regulations.
“Apple intends, on an entirely voluntary basis, to align each of the existing versions of the App Store (including those that do not currently meet the VLOP designation threshold) with the existing DSA requirements for VLOPs because the goals of the DSA align with Apple’s goals to protect consumers from illegal content,” said the company in a statement.
A 2022 report based on lobbying documents obtained by Corporate Europe Observatory and Global Witness revealed that tech giants like Apple, Meta, Google, and Amazon had significantly increased how much they spent on EU lobbying following the DSA and DMA (Digital Markets Act) being proposed back in December 2020. The report notes that Apple was “particularly active in pushing back against measures that could open up its grip on the App Store or Apple’s mobile operating system,” and that it had spent €3.5 million (around $3.8 million) on lobbying in the EU in 2020 and a further €6.5 million (around $7.1 million) in 2021 — more than any of the other tech firms.