Digital Markets Act: Apple and Google fail to comply with certain regulations

vzbv evaluation shows: on the day the law took effect, Apple and Google fail to sufficiently comply with obligations set out by the Digital Markets Act (DMA) concerning operating system updates

  • As of 7 March 2024, major digital companies must comply with the Digital Markets Act
  • vzbv evaluation shows: consumers are not getting all the benefits promised by the DMA
  • vzbv: the European Commission must ensure that the DMA is implemented quickly and in the interests of consumers 
Frau schaut skeptisch auf ihr Smartphone

Credit: fizkes - AdobeStock

On the day the law took effect, the Federation of German Consumer Organisations (Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband – vzbv) checked whether operators comply with selected DMA rules. The analysis shows that some obligations have not been fully implemented for Android and iPhone users. In the test, for example, no Android 13 updates were available for the popular Samsung Galaxy S20 smartphone. An update for Apple’s iOS is available. In vzbv’s view, however, the update does not include all the changes required. Major digital companies, such as Google, Meta, Apple, and Amazon, control a large part of the access to digital markets – a fact they often use to their own advantage. The DMA aims to change this. The new rules seek to boost competition and freedom of choice for consumers. As of 7 March 2024, major digital companies must comply with the DMA.

“Apple and Google have not fully implemented the European regulations for digital markets. Google users had no update for Android 13, the most popular mobile operating system, by the deadline. The update from Apple did not include all the necessary changes. This means many consumers still do not have the freedom of choice they are entitled to,” says Ramona Pop, Executive Director of vzbv. “Gatekeepers such as Google, Apple, Meta, and Amazon have a major influence on what people in Germany consume. When platforms exploit this to their advantage, it harms competition. The European Commission must keep a close eye on how gatekeepers implement the DMA, take decisive action against any such attempts to circumvent the DMA’s provisions, and launch official investigations where such behaviour prevails.”

Lack of operating system update restricts free choice

vzbv’s test shows that on the day of the test no update to the Android 13 operating system was available for the Android smartphone tested. Google has, for some time now, allowed sideloading, which means users can install apps that come from sources other than an app store. However, it was still not possible to uninstall pre-installed apps for every app in the test. This means that many smartphone users in Germany and the EU do not, for the time being, fully benefit from the DMA. Android 13 is Google’s most popular operating system, with 32 percent of Android users in Europe using it as of February 2024.

Apple, on the other hand, offered an update for its operating system iOS 17.4 by the time vzbv conducted the test. The update includes changes relating to the DMA. Version 17.4 is available for all smartphones from iPhone XS onwards, which was released in 2018. When consumers install the update, they are asked which browser they would like to use as their default browser. However, in the test it was neither possible to uninstall the Safari browser nor was it possible to designate a different maps app than Apple’s own as default. vzbv sees need for improvement here.

Consumers have to update their mobile operating system to benefit from certain DMA rules. Depending on a device’s settings, users may have to take the initiative themselves and install the latest operating system update – assuming it is available.

In vzbv’s initial check, vzbv evaluated Google and Apple’s implementation of Art. 6 (3) and 6 (4) of the DMA. vzbv may conduct additional checks as to how the gatekeepers, a group that also includes Meta, Amazon, Microsoft, and Bytedance, are complying with the DMA in the future.

Background and methodology:

vzbv examined how selected gatekeepers are implementing the DMA. vzbv examined compliance with Article 6 (3) (uninstalling pre-installed software and default settings) and Article 6 (4) (installation of third-party software applications). vzbv checked the providers Alphabet and Apple and their operating systems Android and iOS with respect to both points.

The providers in question are part of a group of companies that the European Commission designated as gatekeepers on 6 September 2023, due to their size and dominant role on the market. As of 7 March 2024, the DMA applies to these companies and their core platform services.

The evaluation took place based on the information available using an Apple iPhone SE 2 with the operating system iOS 17.4, and a Samsung Galaxy S20 with the operating system Google 

Android 13. Both smartphones were restored to their factory settings for the test. vzbv assessed the results using a system of categories based on the DMA. vzbv conducted its test for iOS, following the release of iOS 17.4 on 6 March, and for Android, on 7 March 2024, the day the DMA entered into force.

Sources for statements regarding Android 13:

Alles zum Thema: Wettbewerb in der Digitalisierung

Artikel (1)




Press and Media Relations +49 30 25800-525


Foto von Dennis Romberg Leiter Team Marktbeobachtung Digitales

Dennis Romberg

Team Leader Monitoring Digital Markets +49 30 25800-0