Apple plans to allow alternative app stores on its iPhone and iPad devices as part of sweeping changes to comply with strict European Union regulations that will come into full force in 2024, reports Bloomberg.
According to people familiar with the situation, employees of the software development and services department are working to open up key elements of Apple’s platforms. As part of the changes, customers will eventually be able to download third-party software to their iPhones and iPads without using the App Store, bypassing Apple’s restrictions and the 30% fee it charges for in-app purchases.
Thus, Apple’s innovation should be a response to EU laws aimed at leveling the playing field for third-party developers and improving the digital life of consumers. For years, regulators and software developers have complained that Apple and Google, which run the two largest mobile app stores, wield too much power.
If similar laws are adopted in other countries, the Apple project could lay the foundation for other regions. But so far, the changes are designed only to comply with EU legislation.
A new European law called the Digital Markets Act (DMA) came into effect on November 1 this year, but companies are not required to comply with all the rules until 2024. Governments in the US and other countries have pushed for similar laws, but so far have not gone as far as the EU.
The law requires tech companies to allow the installation of third-party apps and allow users to more easily change default settings. The rules require that messaging services work together and that third-party developers get equal access to core features in apps and services.
The laws apply to technology companies with a market value of at least 75 billion euros ($80 billion) and at least 45 million monthly users within the EU.