The EU has so far been non-committal, but has said that it will be examining them closely, and won’t hesitate to “take strong action” if required …
Apple’s proposed App Store changes
Apple last week announced that it will allow third-party App Stores, as well as offering developers in the EU an alternative business model, which includes a lower commission in return for an annual fee on each app over a million installs.
Developers have pointed out that the terms Apple is imposing would make it virtually impossible to leave the App Store, and risky to switch to the alternative contract. It has been widely suggested that European antitrust regulators are unlikely to accept that the new terms are in compliance with the requirements of the Digital Markets Act (DMA).
EU is ready to ‘take strong action’
The EU has not yet commented on Apple’s announcement, but has said that it will be studying the plan in detail and – crucially – seeking the views of third parties, which will include developers.
Asked about Apple’s plans, EU industry chief Thierry Breton exclusively told Reuters: “The DMA will open the gates of the internet to competition so that digital markets are fair and open. Change is already happening. As from 7 March we will assess companies’ proposals, with the feedback of third parties.”
He added: “If the proposed solutions are not good enough, we will not hesitate to take strong action.”
Those third-party views seem guaranteed to include vehement objections from developers. We’ve already seen major developers describe it as a “shameless insult” and “a step in the wrong direction,” and the criticisms keep coming.
Andy Yen, founder and CEO of privacy-focused software firm Proton, said: “Allowing alternative payments and marketplaces seems positive on the surface, but the strings attached to Apple’s new policies mean that in practice it will be impossible for developers to benefit from them.”
Breton’s comments indicate that it will be some time before we know the EU’s stance.
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