Apple Intelligence won't be available in Europe because Tim's terrified of watchdogs

These privacy rules might harm privacy! No, really, that's totally why we're doing this

Apple has delayed plans to deploy artificial intelligence features in Europe because the American giant is unhappy with the continent's privacy regulations.

In a statement on Friday, the iPhone maker claimed those rules would make its products less private, somehow, saying it is concerned the European Digital Markets Act (DMA) "could force us to compromise the integrity of our products in ways that risk user privacy and data security."

We've asked Apple to clarify aspects of that announcement, made via carefully selected media including Murdoch's Wall Street Journal.

The affected services are said to include Phone Mirroring, SharePlay Screen Sharing, and Apple Intelligence – the Tim Cook-run corporation's belated bid to join its rivals by weaving machine-learning models into their software.

The iPhone biz announced Apple Intelligence, "the personal intelligence system that puts powerful generative models right at the core of your iPhone, iPad, and Mac," as Craig Federighi, SVP of software engineering, put it, at its Worldwide Developer Conference earlier this month.

Practically speaking, Apple's AI adornment plan involves adding services such as Writing Tools, a framework for text generation and summarization, to apps like Mail, Notes, Pages, and third-party apps.

Outside of Europe, Apple intends to launch these features and others as part of forthcoming operating system updates, including iOS 18, iPadOS 18, macOS 15, which are expected to debut in September or October.

But thanks to Apple's dislike of the DMA, a set of competition rules that impose interoperability and fairness requirements on designated platform leaders, loyalists in Europe won't see these fancy capabilities in their operating system updates immediately.

The DMA, which took effect in March, requires designated "gatekeeper" companies – Apple included – to observe fair business practices, to interoperate with competitors' products in some instances, and to avoid self-preferencing, among other obligations.

When Apple announced how it intended to comply with the DMA in January, it moaned about the security implications.

"The DMA requires changes to this system that bring greater risks to users and developers," the iTitan warned. "This includes new avenues for malware, fraud and scams, illicit and harmful content, and other privacy and security threats. These changes also compromise Apple’s ability to detect, prevent, and take action against malicious apps on iOS and to support users impacted by issues with apps downloaded outside of the App Store."

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Yet the UK Competition and Markets Authority found Apple's security claims wanting during its antitrust investigation into Cupertino's mobile ecosystem.

“Gatekeepers are welcome to offer their services in Europe, provided that they comply with our rules aimed at ensuring fair competition,” the European Commission said in response to Apple's blockade.

Apple's DMA compliance to date has been widely criticized by rivals and the European Commission is expected to find that the mega-corp has fallen short of its obligations. The ruling could come as soon as Monday.

In anticipation of that result, Open Web Advocacy, a group that has been lobbying to force Apple to moderate its platform rules for the benefit of web developers, on Friday published a lengthy report about how regulators should address Apple's alleged non-compliance with the DMA. ®

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