Apple plans to introduce new restrictions on developers who plan to offer their apps outside the App Store in the European Union as the Digital Markets Act (DMA) deadline approaches, reports the Wall Street Journal.
When the DMA goes into effect, Apple still plans to hold tight control over app downloads originating outside the App Store in what is known as “sideloading.” The report notes that one of the restrictions calls for the company to be still able to review and approve sideloaded apps. Apple will also likely ask for a commission fee from developers who plan to offer their apps this way, but that fee will likely be lower than the 30% cut the company takes from most App Store developers.
As the DMA approaches its March 6 deadline, several big developers are already planning to take advantage of the regulation. Meta is reportedly contemplating a new system that will enable EU iPhone users to download apps directly from Facebook ads. Spotify, one of the most ardent DMA supporters, plans to allow iOS users to download its app directly from its website. Microsoft has also considered launching a dedicated Xbox Cloud Gaming app for iOS, which would be a notable step up from the Safari workaround currently in place.
Apple’s DMA and sideloading plans are guaranteed to rub developers the wrong way, especially considering its approach to collecting a 27% commission on in-app purchases processed externally in the United States following a ruling in the company’s trial vs Epic Games. Spotify and the Fortnite maker harshly criticized the Cupertino company’s approach to anti-steering on the App Store.
Officials from the European Commission have been holding meetings with Apple to discuss its approach to the DMA, the report adds. The highest caliber meeting so far is perhaps one that brought the EU’s antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager and Apple CEO Tim Cook together around two weeks ago.
Apple has yet to furnish a conclusive package outlining its proposed DMA solution to the Commission. Upon submission, the EU will thoroughly examine the entire package to assess its potential to enhance market openness and competitiveness. Additionally, the Commission will scrutinize whether Apple’s plans align with each specific DMA provision.