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Rival app stores coming to Apple devices

January 26, 2024

Apple has announced that it will allow other app stores to be used on its devices in the EU from March. Currently, anyone with an iPhone/iPad can only download apps from the firm’s own App Store.

Apple has been accused of creating a monopoly, giving customers and developers no other option but to go through its own channels, where it charges developers up to 30 per cent commission. It has meant that developers who either fail to meet Apple’s standards for being on the App Store, or do not want to pay its fees, are excluded from the millions who have Apple devices.

The changes will happen in the UK for now but the UK’s Digital Markets Bill, which is currently going through Parliament, seems likely to put Apple’s practices under similar regulatory scrutiny.

The move comes as the EU’s Digital Markets Act comes into effect. The aim of the new law is to regulate the largest companies that are gatekeepers to services such as search engines and app stores in an effort to ensure a fairer market.

Apple added it would further open up browser choice, so that EU users will be able to opt out of using the firm’s Safari web browser. A new choice screen will surface when users first open Safari in iOS 17.4 or later. That screen will prompt EU users to choose a default browser from a list of options.

“The changes we’re announcing today comply with the Digital Markets Act’s requirements in the European Union, while helping to protect EU users from the unavoidable increased privacy and security threats this regulation brings. Our priority remains creating the best, most secure possible experience for our users in the EU and around the world,” said Apple executive Phil Schiller. “Developers can now learn about the new tools and terms available for alternative app distribution and alternative payment processing, new capabilities for alternative browser engines and contactless payments, and more. Importantly, developers can choose to remain on the same business terms in place today if they prefer.”

Categories: App, Articles, Content, Policy

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