Apple Revolutionizes iOS Market with Opening to Third-Party Apps in the EU

Apple Revolutionizes iOS Market with Opening to Third-Party Apps in the EU

Written by Alison Lurie, In Tech, Published On
February 9, 2024

In a groundbreaking move set to reshape the digital landscape, Apple has unveiled plans to embrace third-party app marketplaces and applications within the European Union (EU) through its iOS platform. The tech giant’s latest strides in this direction were marked by the rollout of iOS 17.4 beta versions, ushering in support for alternative marketplaces and apps, alongside updates to crucial developer tools.

Noteworthy enhancements to the App Store Connect and TestFlight apps have been introduced to facilitate the onboarding process for these developers. Apple’s developer website announced that EU developers can now seamlessly integrate their marketplaces into the App Store Connect app, empowering them to monitor app sales, engage with user reviews, receive notifications, and more. Concurrently, adjustments have been made to the TestFlight app, offering developers a platform to beta-test new features prior to their official release.

However, the journey towards integrating alternative marketplaces into the iOS ecosystem entails adherence to Apple’s business terms and the completion of a notarization process. As outlined in reports by MacRumors, these terms encompass a core technology fee levied by Apple based on the number of installations. Third-party marketplaces and apps are subject to a charge of EUR 0.50 (approximately Rs. 45) per installation, escalating to the same amount after reaching one million installs.

The notarization process serves as a pivotal checkpoint, with Apple tasked to ascertain the integrity of submitted apps, mitigating potential risks posed by malicious entities. While essential for safeguarding user security against fraudulent activities, apprehensions have been raised regarding the possibility of Apple leveraging this process to sideline competing apps and marketplaces.

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Among the dissenting voices, Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, vehemently expressed disapproval when Apple initially unveiled these measures. Taking to X (formerly known as Twitter), Sweeney criticized the payment structure based on installations as a “junk fee.” Moreover, he voiced opposition to Apple’s perceived manipulation of the notarization process to stifle competition and perpetuate their monetization schemes.

This transformative move by Apple signals a monumental shift in its approach towards app distribution within the EU, unlocking new avenues for developers and fostering a more dynamic digital ecosystem.

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