Apple has unveiled plans to allow software developers in the European Union to distribute their apps through channels other than Apple’s App Store. This strategic move comes in response to the Digital Markets Act (DMA), a recently enacted EU law that imposes certain obligations on tech companies meeting specific criteria.
Commencing in March, developers will have the option to provide alternative app stores on iPhones and can opt out of utilizing Apple’s in-app payment system, which traditionally charges commissions of up to 30%. The DMA mandates that companies with over 45 million monthly active users and a market capitalization exceeding 75 billion euros facilitate compatibility with rival apps and grant users the authority to pre-install apps of their choice.
Despite the newfound flexibility, developers are still required to submit their apps to Apple for cybersecurity review, and a “core technology fee” will be imposed on major app developers, irrespective of their use of Apple’s payment services.
Criticism has arisen from prominent figures in the industry, with Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, known for “Fortnite,” expressing discontent. Sweeney, who previously pursued an antitrust case against Apple in the United States, labeled Apple’s proposed changes as “hot garbage.” He contested the legality of Apple’s claim to choose which competing stores can operate, emphasizing the potential for blocking platforms such as Epic Games Store, Microsoft, Valve, Good Old Games, or other emerging entrants.
As the tech giant navigates these alterations, the implications of these policy adjustments under the DMA will undoubtedly be closely monitored by both developers and regulatory bodies in the EU.