European Commission closes preliminary investigations into Apple’s iPhone policies

On 25 September 2010, the European Commission declared that it would not open formal proceedings against Apple, following Apple’s iPhone change of policies on restrictions on the development of applications (or “apps”) for its popular smart phone operating system and cross-border warranties.

Apple will give app developers more flexibility as they will not be required to use only Apple’s programming tools and approved languages when writing iPhone apps; independent developers may also use third-party layers.  The Commission was concerned that Apple’s previous policy could have ultimately resulted in shutting out competition from devices running platforms other than Apple’s.

Also, Apple introduced cross-border iPhone warranty repair services within the European Union and the European Economic Area (“EEA”) allowing EU consumers to use warranty services in a Member State other than the country where an iPhone is bought (normally their home country of residence).  Independent Authorized Service Providers have been also appointed to offer cross-border iPhone warranty services in those Member States where Apple does not directly perform repairs.  The Commission was concerned that Apple’s previous policy, based on the “country of purchase” rule, could amount to a territorial restriction leading to a partitioning of the internal market. [Gabriele Accardo]