Apple plans to comply with Europe’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) and allow iPhone app downloads outside the App Store and in-app payments to bypass its own payment system. However, at the same time, the company is preparing to introduce new fees and restrictions to maintain control over the ecosystem, writes the Wall Street Journal.
Before the entry into force of the DMA Meta✴, Spotify and other platforms are preparing to introduce new app download options for users. Yes, Meta✴ is considering creating a system that would allow people to download apps directly from Facebook ads✴. Spotify plans to offer users the ability to download an iPhone app directly from its website. And Microsoft is generally examining the possibility of opening its own mobile games store.
Apple has traditionally justified its total control over downloading applications through the App Store by citing concerns about iPhone security and a desire to protect the phone from viruses. Critics called Apple’s system uncompetitive and said the company charges unreasonably high fees and unfairly favors its own apps. Therefore, although it complies with the requirements of the DMA, it will carry out a careful monitoring of the applications downloaded outside the App Store and give itself the opportunity to review each one of them. Apple will charge developers who offer to download applications from third-party resources, sources tell The Wall Street Journal – with the caveat that the company’s plans could change.
The measures could renew tensions with developers, some of whom had expected the new law would allow them to deliver their apps directly to users and also eliminate high fees on payments. Apple recently allowed microtransactions through third-party payment processors in the US, but will continue to charge fees for them. The company has been working on a decision on the DMA for more than a year and is trying to meet the deadline for the law to come into force. European Commission officials have held several meetings with representatives from Apple and other technology companies in recent months to discuss new regulations. Apple has not yet unveiled its package of changes or tested it with market participants – once it does, the department will review the package and make a decision on whether it makes the market more open and competitive and whether the company’s plans comply with all legal requirements.
Antitrust experts say the DMA has both clear requirements and rules that leave room for interpretation – a provision of the law states that app stores must have rules that are fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory. There are now tech players like Meta✴ and Microsoft are preparing to take advantage of any relaxation of Apple’s rules. For example, Microsoft tried to release a client for a cloud gaming service in the App Store, but Apple refused on the grounds that there could not be multiple games in one application. Meta✴ has been working on the “Project Neon” program for several years, which allows smartphone owners to upload their advertising to Facebook✴ mobile software directly from the social network application. Previously, Apple had also forced the social network to remove all games from the application. Spotify announced today that European subscribers will once again be able to pay for the platform’s services through its iOS app.