What Do Apple’s EU App Store Modifications Mean for App Developers?


In order to adhere to the European Union’s Digital Markets Act, Apple announced on Jan. 25 changes to its payment system for app sellers in the EU, and that it was letting go of the hold its App Store has over iOS app circulation in the EU. In addition to the App Shop modifications, Apple will trigger iOS users in the EU to select a favored browser instead of defaulting to Safari in accordance with the DMA. These changes will feature iOS 17.4 in the EU in March.

Developers dealing with iOS apps will have the ability to disperse them through alternate storefronts (compared to the App Shop) in the European Union starting in March 2024.

Why does Apple have to allow other app shops?

The EU instituted the DMA in order to “ensur [e] fair and open digital markets,” according to the European Commission. The DMA, which aims to prevent tech giants from ending up being “gatekeepers,” entered into impact in May 2023.

“Innovators and technology start-ups will have brand-new opportunities to contend and innovate in the online platform environment without having to comply with unjust conditions limiting their advancement,” the commission composed.

In action, Apple built brand-new alternatives for iOS, Safari on iOS, the App Shop and designer app analytics.

New options for iOS in the EU will include:

  • APIs and other tools to assist developers use apps on alternative markets.
  • A framework and APIs for developing marketplaces.
  • Structures and APIs for browser engines alternative to WebKit.
  • A demand form for designers looking for interoperability with iPhone and iOS hardware and software.
  • Notarization for iOS apps, an evaluation process with human and automated checks.
  • App installation sheets for users, the app designer, screenshots and other details.
  • New malware defenses to prevent gadgets from releasing malicious iOS apps.
  • An authorization procedure for app marketplace developers.

SEE: Apple has actually been fairly peaceful on the AI chatbot front however did launch a study about running generative AI on phones and tablets (TechRepublic)

Is Apple’s reaction an advantage or a downside for app developers?

There is comprehensive argument over whether Apple’s move is eventually a benefit or a drawback for big and little application makers, end users, Apple and the innovation market as a whole.

“One of the primary positive impacts for developers is the non-discriminatory service environment it (the DMA) is expected to develop,” said Gartner Vice President, Analyst Annette Zimmermann in an email to TechRepublic. “Meaning, apps should not be eliminated arbitrarily due to subjective app store policies, for instance.”

“Apple has less capability to deal with other threats– including apps which contain scams, scams, and abuse, or that expose users to illicit, objectionable, or harmful content,” Apple stated in a news release. “In addition, apps that utilize alternative browser engines– other than Apple’s WebKit– may negatively impact the user experience, including effects to system efficiency and battery life.”

In response to the DMA, Apple instituted a “Core Innovation Charge” for applications not dispersed through the App Store, which includes what some companies view as excessive fees.

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What is Apple’s EU Core Technology Cost?

The Core Innovation Fee is EUR0.50 for each very first annual set up over one million in the previous 12 months. Apple forecasts less than 1% of app makers will reach the threshold required to pay this cost.

Developers could stay within the existing Apple Shop community, which takes a commission from the earnings of apps sold in the store.

Fees for iOS apps on the App Store in the EU will be 10 percent for many developers or 17 percent for digital products and services. iOS app developers can utilize the App Store’s payment processing in the EU for an additional 3 percent charge within the App Shop.

Epic Games and Spotify object to Apple’s charges

One company opposed to Apple’s effort at compliance with the DMA is Epic Games, the developer and publisher of “Fortnite,” which has fought Apple and Google for many years over where the cash gathered from in-app purchases goes.

“Apple’s plan to prevent Europe’s new Digital Markets Act law is a devious brand-new circumstances of Harmful Compliance,” wrote Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney. “They are requiring designers to choose in between App Shop exclusivity and the store terms, which will be illegal under DMA, or accept a new also-illegal anticompetitive scheme rife with new Scrap Charges on downloads and brand-new Apple taxes on payments they do not procedure.”

Spotify called Apple’s new policies “a complete and total farce,” mentioning new charges for app developers distributing apps on iOS, “lease” in the App Store and the new Core Technology Charge.

“Apple is forcing developers to stick with the status quo– this alternative that uses no option at all entirely negates the objective of the DMA,” Spotify’s statement stated.

Apple frames its app marketplace as a security step

Apple frames the DMA as opening up users to possibly hazardous material accessed through app shops that are unregulated by Apple. From Apple’s news release: “The brand-new options for processing payments and downloading apps on iOS open new avenues for malware, scams and scams, illegal and damaging content, and other privacy and security risks.” This is possible– Apple restricts this type of material in its App Shop. Apple has added Notarization for iOS apps to attempt to suppress harmful material.

“There is a lot at stake for Apple due to the fact that the closed community that it has actually been providing has turned into one of its greatest assets and value proposals,” said Zimmermann. “Security and personal privacy has been among Apple’s greatest differentiators, and the DMA is challenging this.”

Web browser choices and other changes coming to iOS in the EU

Other changes Apple is making to iOS due to the DMA are:

  • iOS users will be triggered to choose a default web browser instead of automatically being directed to Safari.
  • New alternatives for designers utilizing payment service providers within apps.
  • New choices for processing payments through link-out outside the App Shop, such as on a designer’s external site.
  • Organization preparation tools for designers.

Apple expects to release more resources for EU users to help them browse the modifications closer to the March rollout.


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