Since the European Union introduced the Digital Market Act (DMA), designed to address concerns regarding the influence of big tech companies, the latter are scrambling to figure out how to play by the rules. Whether they have cracked the code or not, the DMA is kicking in come March, so they have got to shake things up or face some hefty fines.
Apple, one of the companies required to comply with the DMA, has not spilled the beans on exactly how it plans to follow the rules. However, according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman , a reputable Apple insider, the Cupertino tech giant is looking at splitting its App Store into two versions—one for the EU and another for the US and the rest of the world.
If you are living in the EU, here is the scoop: you will be able to grab apps from places other than the App Store, pay for services using outside payment processors, and enjoy a smoother connection between first-party and third-party apps and features.
The tech giant pulled out all the stops, trying different tricks to convince the EU that its App Store does not need to play by the DMA rules. It even went with the claim that it is running not one but five App Stores. But it seems like the EU is not buying it and is all set to lay down the law on Apple.
Just the other day, Margrethe Vestager, the bigwig at the European Commission for A Europe Fit for the Digital Age, had a sit-down with Apple’s head honcho Tim Cook. Reportedly, they were discussing the ongoing saga of whether Apple should give the green light to third-party alternatives to the App Store.
As mentioned earlier, Apple is keeping its plans under wraps, but stay tuned because we will probably get the lowdown in the weeks leading up to the March deadline. Odds are Apple will drop a new software update to make things tick with the App Store and any sideloading changes. Until then, and even after, if you are not in the EU, the App Store remains your go-to for installing apps on your iPhone.
Down the road, Apple might be feeling a bit lighter in the wallet due to the slowdown in cash flow from the App Store in Europe and the rise of new players who can tap into more of the iPhone’s tech. And guess what? The EU is just the kickoff. Japan is also working on a new law that would make it mandatory for Apple to allow sideloading on iOS.
It would not be surprising if other countries hop on the bandwagon, all aiming to eventually crack open the App Store, no matter where you are.
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