Apple to allow 'alternative app marketplace' on iPhone

iOS app developers will need to submit their apps to Apple for cybersecurity and fraud inspection
The image shows Apple logo. — Unsplash/file
The image shows Apple logo. — Unsplash/file

Tech giant Apple is planning to allow iOS app developer to make their apps available — on platforms other than Apple's App Store — to the users in the European Union.

The iPhone maker is setting forth these plans in response to recently enacted EU law called the Digital Markets Act (DMA), a regulatory framework, obliging tech firms with more than 45 million monthly active users and a 75 billion-euro ($82 billion) market capitalisation to make their apps available on rival platforms and let the users decide which apps they want pre-installed on their devices.

According to Reuters, after the ecosystem for the purpose is established, the developers will be able to offer their independent app stores on iPhones, a way out from Apple's in-app payment method that costs them 30 pc commission.

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However, app developers will need to submit their apps to Apple for cybersecurity and fraud inspection, and Apple will impose a "core technology fee" on major app developers, even if they don't utilise Apple's payment services.

Additionally, Apple stated that the first 1 million user accounts will be exempt from the fee, and it will not charge the fee to nonprofits, schools, or governments. The exact number of users that will trigger the fee was not specified by the iPhone maker.

Tim Sweeney, the CEO of Epic Games, the creator of "Fortnite" who pursued an antitrust case against Apple in the US, criticised Apple's planned changes as "hot garbage" and questioned their legality under the DMA. He expressed concerns about Apple's ability to control competition among app stores and potentially block other platforms from launching their own stores.

"Apple proposes that it can choose which stores are allowed to compete with their App Store," Sweeney said in a series of posts on social media platform X. "They could block Epic from launching the Epic Games Store and distributing 'Fortnite" through it, for example, or block Microsoft, Valve, Good Old Games, or new entrants."

Apple has introduced tools for developers to start adjusting their business arrangements, and consumers will see the changes when the iOS operating system is updated in March.

In contrast, in the EU, developers will be able to use a third-party payment processor within an App Store app at no cost. Additionally, Apple will allow EU iPhone users to choose a default web browser and contactless payments app, giving them the option to make contactless payments without using Apple Pay.