Apple is making significant preparations to comply with new European Union regulations that will require the tech giant to split the App Store into two separate entities. This move comes under the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA), which aims to promote fair competition and protect consumers’ rights in the digital marketplace.
One of the major changes Apple will have to implement is enabling app sideloading, allowing users to install third-party app stores. Currently, Apple has strict control over its App Store, only allowing apps that meet its guidelines. However, the DMA will force Apple to open up its ecosystem and give users more flexibility in choosing where to get their apps.
To meet the DMA’s requirements, Apple has a tight deadline of just over seven weeks, with the compliance deadline set for March 7. Apple CEO Tim Cook recently held a meeting with Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s antitrust chief, to discuss the obligations and find ways to align Apple’s practices with the new regulations.
In addition to app sideloading, the DMA will also require Apple to allow developers to promote their offers outside of the App Store, breaking away from the current restriction. Moreover, Apple will have to permit the use of third-party payment systems, giving developers more payment options and potentially reducing Apple’s significant control over in-app purchases.
These changes imposed by the DMA are expected to have wide-ranging implications on several Apple services in Europe. The functionality of the App Store, FaceTime, and Siri are all likely to be affected. The split of the App Store, along with the introduction of third-party app stores, could change the way users discover and download apps on their Apple devices.
While these changes may create new challenges for Apple, they align with the EU’s broader efforts to foster fair competition in the digital marketplace and provide users with more choices. As the compliance deadline approaches, all eyes will be on Apple to see how it adapts to the new regulations and maintains its position in the European market.
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