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Apple Lets EU Users Download Apps Directly From Developers

Apple building

Apple will let European users download apps directly from developers starting this spring.

This announcement Tuesday (March 12) marks the tech giant’s latest concession to European Union (EU) regulators as it and other companies deal with new competition rules.

“Web Distribution, available with a software update later this spring, will let authorized developers distribute their iOS apps to EU users directly from a website owned by the developer,” Apple said in a post on its developers website.

“Apple will provide authorized developers access to APIs that facilitate the distribution of their apps from the web, integrate with system functionality, back up and restore users’ apps, and more,” the announcement added.

Apple had previously said that app downloads in Europe could only happen via its App Store or an approved third-party marketplace. The company says developers will still need to pay a “core technology fee” unless they receive a waiver, something given to schools, nonprofits and government entities.

In addition, Apple says marketplaces can now choose to provide a catalog of apps solely from the developer of the marketplace. The company also notes the new option of “linking out to purchase” as part of the changes.

“When directing users to complete a transaction for digital goods or services on an external webpage, developers can choose how to design promotions, discounts, and other deals,” Apple said. “The Apple-provided design templates, which are optimized for key purchase and promotional use cases, are now optional.”

Apple last week announced changes to its EU app distribution policies to comply with the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA).

The company now lets corporate entities sign up for the new terms at the developer account level, rather than by “each membership that controls, is controlled by, or is under control with another membership.”

In addition, Apple says developers now have a one-time option to terminate amended agreements and go back to Apple’s standard business terms for EU apps, under certain conditions, a change designed to lower the risk of unexpected business changes.

The company also wants to make it easier for developers to create alternative app marketplaces by allowing them to qualify without a stand-by letter of credit.