Apple to relax App Store rules in EU – media

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To comply with EU laws, Apple will allow iPhone users in the EU to download programmes stored outside of the company’s official App Store, according to industry website MacRumors, quoting Bloomberg chief correspondent Mark Gurman.

According to the article, Apple will launch a “highly controlled system” that will allow EU customers to install programmes without having to go through the App Store, a practise known as sideloading.

According to MacRumors, the change will take place “sometime in the first half of 2024,” citing the most recent subscriber edition of Gurman’s Power On newsletter.

The EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) requires app stores and so-called gatekeepers – big digital platforms that offer fundamental services such as online search engines – to open up their marketplaces.

Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, ByteDance, Meta, and Microsoft were designated as gatekeepers by the European Commission in September.

In the event of noncompliance, gatekeepers may face fines of up to 10% of their entire global annual turnover, or up to 20% if there are repeated violations.

Sideloading, according to Apple, will “cripple” the iPhone’s privacy and security safeguards, exposing users to major risks such as viruses, frauds, and data tracking.

Some app developers are charged up to 30% commissions for using the company’s in-app payment system. Developers have criticised the payments, and antitrust regulators in numerous countries have targeted them.