U.S. tech giant Apple risks facing billions of euros in fines after the European Union on Monday found its App Store to be violating the bloc’s landmark digital competition rules, according to AFP.

The European Commission informed Apple in a “preliminary view” that the “App Store rules … prevent app developers from freely steering consumers to alternative channels for offers and content.”

It opens a new front in the increasingly bitter fight between the company and Brussels over the EU’s new Digital Markets Act (DMA).

On Friday, Apple said it would delay rolling out recently announced AI features in Europe because of “regulatory uncertainties” linked to the DMA.

The sweeping law seeks to rein in the world’s biggest tech firms, including Apple, by forcing them to open up to competition in the 27-country EU.

But for Apple, the new rules are a significant challenge to its walled garden and it has openly accused the DMA of creating greater privacy and security risks for users.

This is the first time the commission has leveled a formal accusation against a tech firm under the new rules, after opening the first DMA probes into Apple, Google and Meta in March.

Apple said Monday that it has made “a number of changes” to comply with the rules in response to feedback from developers and the EU regulator over the past months, and would “continue to listen and engage with the European Commission.”

Apple can now access the commission’s investigation file and reply to the findings.

If the commission’s view is confirmed, it will adopt a “non-compliance decision” by late March 2025 – opening the way to fines.

Under the new law, the commission has the power to impose fines of up to 10% of a company’s total global turnover. This can rise to up to 20% for repeat offenders.

Apple’s total revenue in the year to September 2023 stood at $383 billion (358 billion euros).

The EU also has the right to break up companies, but only as a last resort.