Will Apple be forced to accept alternative app stores and sideloading?


The Digital Market Act wanted by the European institutions is getting closer and with its approval Apple could be forced to review its entire business model for the iPhone and iPad ecosystem.

At the center of the question we find once again theApp Store, which gives Apple a monopoly on the sale of apps and services, without any form of competition. Among other things, the Digital Markets Act – as formulated today – would provide for thesideloading obligation, i.e. the ability for users to install apps from alternative sources – such as the developer site, or from competing marketplaces. Two possibilities present on Android smartphones, but always excluded by Apple.

Sideloading and the introduction of alternative forms of payment had been at the center of the legal duel with Epic Games.

Apple has always defended the exclusion of sideloading, arguing that its introduction would undermine the security that the iOS ecosystem is known for. In other words, opening the door to alternative sources would facilitate the spread of malware designed to target iPhones. “We would no longer be able to offer the privacy and security protection that users expect from us,” reiterated a spokesperson for Apple in these hours.

According to the Financial Times, the negotiations – which involve companies in the sector, including Apple – will be concluded by the end of the month. Then the final draft of the DMA will be presented by European Commission and then discussed and voted on by Parliament and the Council. During this phase the proposal may be amended several times and it may take several months before its final approval. In other words, Apple has a lot of leeway to enforce its objections through lobbying.

On the subject of DMA and Sideloading, Tim Cook himself, CEO of Apple, spoke several times. “I have carefully read the proposed regulation of tech companies that is being discussed these days,” he said in June last year. “I think it has some good parts. I also believe that some of the points are not in the interests of the consumer ».

The DMA only targets companies with a market capitalization of more than 80 billion, a requirement practically met exclusively by US Big Techs. In the event of transgressions, the law provides for penalties of no less than 4% and no more than 20% of the global turnover.

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