Apple preps platforms to enable third party downloads
Apple is set to allow alternative app stores on its iPhones and iPads for countries within the European Union as early as next year to comply with strict regulations that are coming in 2024, according to reports.
Sources familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that software engineering and services employees are engaged in a major push to open up key elements of Apple’s platforms.
The changes mean that users could download third party software to their iOS devices without using the company’s App Store.
However, Apple has not made decisions on whether to comply with other provisions of the EU’s Digital Markets Act – such as allowing for alternative payment systems to its own.
Enforcement of the European law is expected to begin in mid-2024. The law requires big tech companies to open their systems to competitors to increase consumer choice.
The big tech gatekeeps – such as Google, Meta, Amazon and Microsoft – face fines of up to 10% of annual global revenue for violations.
The iPhone maker has previously fought against the regulation by arguing that bypassing its App Store exposes users to security and privacy dangers.
Google currently allows the download of third-party software on its Android-powered phones.
However, due to reasons of simplicity and security 90% of apps downloaded on Android phones still come from its official app store, according to Fortnite creator Epic Games, which has become a fierce proponent for opening the app ecosystem.
Epic previously sued Apple over whether third party payments should be allowed on its popular Fortnite game, after the iPhone-maker blocked access to the game on its app store. This followed criticism from Epic over an alleged 30% cut that Apple receives from any payments made through its system.
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