The EU forces Apple to open the walled garden to third-party app stores
The Future. The EU has successfully put a chink in Apple’s once-impenetrable armor with its Digital Markets Act, which commands that any tech company with a valuation of at least $80 billion and 45 million monthly users within the EU has to open up its platform to third-party developers. With Apple already working to meet most of the demand, developers in the EU may soon get access to everything from alternative app stores to more of the iPhone’s core functionality… and that may break the dam for similar legislation worldwide.
Siri, avoid tolls
Apple is, according to Bloomberg, working on…
- Allowing third-party app stores to be downloaded on iOS devices, letting developers “sidestep” its 15-30% App Store fees for paid apps.
- Opening up its API to third-party apps so they can “interact with Apple’s hardware and core system functions.”
- Letting developers have more access to an Apple device’s camera tech and its near-field communications chip (the chip used for mobile-wallet functionality).
Although it doesn’t actually have to adhere to all of the Digital Market Act’s mandates until 2024, Apple is just moving ahead and making many of these features available in next year’s rollout of iOS 17 (at least, that’s the plan).
It’s still figuring out some security kinks, though, and may require developers to pass a certain threshold to be downloadable on Apple devices.
Siri, why is there another toll?
The one EU mandate Apple hasn’t decided if it’ll follow is allowing third-party apps to put in their own payment systems — letting Spotify, Bumble, or Fortnite charge users for items or features and avoid the typical 30% App Store tax.
Those micropayments are a major moneymaker for Apple’s services division. But is it worth getting fined as much as 20% of its global revenue if it doesn’t comply? With Apple generating roughly $400 billion this year, that would put the fine at a totally chill $80 billion.