Apple Inc. is about to majorly change how its App Store works. This is because of the European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA). The EU passed this law last year to make sure no tech company has too much power and everyone has fair chances in the digital world. A key rule in this act forces big companies to let customers get apps from other places, not just their app store—this is called sideloading.

Apple’s Planned Changes to the App Store

Apple seems to be prepping two different App Store versions in line with the DMA regulations. In the coming days, we can expect to see a unique version for EU nations and a different one for the rest of the world. According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, this move is due to fresh regulations from the EU.

  • Apple’s choice to divide the App Store is a strategic move. They’re aiming to follow EU regulations while trying to maintain their regular business elsewhere.
  • When it comes to sideloading, Apple will enable iPhone and iPad users in Europe to get apps from sources other than the App Store.
  • Additionally, the DMA will require Apple to permit app developers to opt for alternative payment methods for in-app purchases.

Tim Cook’s Meeting and Apple’s Preparations

Last week, Tim Cook, the big boss of Apple, had a sit-down with Europe’s competition watchdog, Margrethe Vestager, at Apple HQ. While they were chatting, Vestager laid it out plain and simple: Apple’s gotta shape up according to the DMA rules. They have to let folks load apps from outside the official store and make it cool for app makers to advertise their deals elsewhere. The clock’s ticking—Apple’s gotta get this sorted by March 7, and there’s not a lot of time left.

Technical Adjustments and Legal Challenges

  • Internal System Adjustments: Apple has reportedly been working on internal system adjustments since last year. iOS 16.2 introduced a new system that can restrict features based on the user’s location, potentially used to ensure that only EU users can sideload apps.
  • Legal Pushback: Despite these preparations, Apple has shown resistance to the DMA. In November, the company filed a legal challenge over the demand for third-party app stores and has corrected the EU over the number of App Stores it runs.

Global Impact and Antitrust Legislation

The impact of the EU’s DMA is not limited to Europe. Other countries, including Japan and the United States, are also considering similar antitrust legislation against Apple. The US Department of Justice (DOJ) seems poised to force Apple to allow sideloading on the iPhone and iPad, echoing the EU’s concerns about digital market competition.

Antitrust Movements Worldwide

  • Japan’s Antitrust Legislation: Japan is preparing its legislation, similar to the EU’s DMA, to force Apple to enable sideloading and allow alternative payment methods in apps.
  • Potential Global Sideloading: The growing pressure from various countries might lead Apple to make sideloading available globally, rather than addressing each country’s demands individually.

Implications for Consumers and Developers

Apple’s updates due to the DMA will shake things up for users and app creators:

  • For Users: Now, people with iPhones and iPads in the EU can download apps from anywhere, not just the App Store. This means they’ll have lots more options, which might make apps cheaper and cooler.
  • For App Makers: They won’t be tied to just the App Store and its rules and costs anymore. They can sell their apps in new ways, which could mean we see a bunch of different kinds of apps popping up.

Conclusion

Apple has decided to let users in Europe download apps from places other than the App Store, which is a big change from how they used to do things. The EU’s new rules have pushed this and it could lead to big changes for companies like Apple all over the world.  For more information on the Digital Markets Act, visit the European Commission – Digital Markets Act.

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