The European Commission added Apple’s iPad operating system to a list of platforms falling within the remit of the Digital Markets Act (DMA), with the manufacturer given six months to ensure it complies with the legislation.

In a statement, the regulator indicated the operating system had been deemed an important gateway for businesses to reach end users and as such would be added to Apple products already subject to the DMA.

Last year the EC branded Apple among the “gatekeepers” subject to the act, with internet browser Safari, iOS and its App Store falling under the regulation. At the same time it opened an investigation to assess whether the brand’s tablet operating system should be added to the list despite not meeting “quantitative thresholds laid down in the DMA”.

The regulator’s probe concluded through iPadOS Apple “presents the feature of a gatekeeper” with “an entrenched and durable position” in the segment.

Among the features highlighted were Apple’s high number of business users on the platform and end users being locked into the iPad ecosystem.

EC EVP in charge of competition policy Margrethe Vestager (pictured) said: “Our market investigation showed that despite not meeting the thresholds, iPadOS constitutes an important gateway on which many companies rely to reach their customers. Today’s decision will ensure that fairness and contestability are preserved also on this platform, in addition to the 22 other services we designated last September”.

DMA regulation was designed to increase fair, competitive and open digital markets with companies targeted those which could use their positions to “create a bottleneck in the digital economy”.

Obligations for providers of platforms falling under the act include allowing interoperability with third party offerings in specific circumstances, and rules around data usage.

Providers of the first tranche of services falling under the act were required to meet rules by 7 March 2024. The EC subsequently opened a series of non-compliance investigations including probes into two Apple services.