Changes Are Coming for the App Store →

There’s no secret that the EU and other governments are looking at Apple’s control over the App Store with an increasingly critical eye. Even with that in mind, this report from Mark Gurman is still wild:

Software engineering and services employees are engaged in a major push to open up key elements of Apple’s platforms, according to people familiar with the efforts. As part of the changes, customers could ultimately download third-party software to their iPhones and iPads without using the company’s App Store, sidestepping Apple’s restrictions and the up-to-30% commission it imposes on payments.

Over at Six Colors, Dan Moren writes:

The rationale behind such a change is the Digital Markets Act, a European law that comes into effect in 2024, which mandates more control in the hands of users instead of platform owners. Critics have taken shots at some of the aspects of this law, such as interoperability between messaging protocols, but there’s no getting around that the European Union is a major market for tech companies, and its laws have a way of enforcing sweeping changes—for good or ill. (See the similar law enforcing the use of a standard charging connector on smartphones which is reported to helped spur Apple’s decision to shift the iPhone from its proprietary Lightning connector to USB-C.)

But Apple has been a staunch defender of its App Store approach, on the ground of security and privacy—not to mention protecting its 30-percent cut. That’s proved unpopular with developers, including major opponents like Epic Games and Spotify, both of which have taken shots at Apple for its restrictions.

Opening up app installations on the iPhone would radically change how the product works for some users, but I think many would choose to continue to use the App Store exclusively.