How Apple intends to open iOS without losing control

by Jerry

In 2022, the European Parliament passed the Digital Markets Act. The law deals with competition in digital markets, and those who will feel the consequences are the big US tech companies.

A global player in the application distribution segment, Apple is one of those impacted. And in recent years, expectations have grown that DMA would lead to an unprecedented openness in the iOS environment.

Since always, the only way to download Apple-authorized apps on mobile devices is the App Store. No form of sideloading was allowed. The DMA would change that, which many companies and developers looked upon favorably.

On January 25, however, Apple disclosed how it would comply with the legislation. The company’s plans generated furious reactions from those who wanted iOS to be fully open. Apple is showing that it will give in only when there is no way out — and yet resisting as much as possible.

New rate, old complaints
Overall, it’s fair to say that iOS will be more open. But, as they say, the devil is in the details. And Apple has included some.

The only way to download apps outside the App Store will be through alternative stores, which had to be approved by Apple. Each app present in these stores will also go through Apple’s scrutiny.

The developer will be able to keep their apps in the App Store and also distribute them through alternative stores. However, when you decide to operate under the new EU rules, you will be subject to a new fee, the Core Technology Fee. This is one of the main reasons for criticism of Apple.

CTF mainly affects large applications. From there, Apple establishes that, after 1 million downloads, a fee of 50 euro cents falls on each new download per user. You will be billed annually.

With this, the prospect is that popular apps, even if they choose to distribute only in stores parallel to the App Store, will leave a good amount in the hands of Tim Cook. It’s no wonder that Spotify CEO Daniel Ek accuses Ma of giving a “distortion lesson” with its new policy.

Microsoft took it a little lighter, calling the case “a step in the wrong direction.” Epic Games, Apple’s old enemy when it comes to App Store policy, has also spoken out with the usual disapproval (although it has already announced plans for its own app store in Europe).

With CTF, even if they escape the current commissions of up to 30% per transaction made from Apple’s ecosystem, companies will have to pay differently.

The attitude is controversial, has something of a tantrum, and can still be challenged in the future. It’s Apple making its point: Whatever changes are required to its business model, it won’t do them willingly.

Billing even outside the App Store
There are also other aspects of Apple’s proposal that generate protests from companies and developers. We highlight some of them in Tecnocast 322, totally dedicated to the theme.

One of the most controversial is the charging of commissions even for transactions made outside of the App Store. The values can be as high as 17%.

Something similar will also occur in the American market, it is worth pointing out. iOS will allow alternative payment methods as a result of the lawsuit filed by Epic Games; however, Apple will charge up to 27% commission from developers.

Companies will have to keep a report of transactions made by independent payment platforms and pass on the appropriate amounts to Apple. Determining whether payouts are correct is a challenge that the company itself recognizes.

Another delicate point is the need for a definitive choice right off the bat. Developers can choose to simply ignore the new EU rules and stick to the current App Store regulations, with fees ranging from 15 to 30 percent.

On the other hand, anyone who wants to venture into the world of open iOS can’t go back. Once the choice is made, the developer does not have the option to go back to the old rules. Take it or leave it.

This aspect requires a lot of care on the part of the developer. It wouldn’t even be possible to do an experiment before and then come back, for example.

The requirement will certainly generate fear in those who were tempted to test the new rules, and is seen as a form of pressure for the developer to keep everything as it is.

A Matter of Control
Apple’s response to the DMA makes it clear once again that the company doesn’t want to give up the control it has over its platform. Android takes a slightly different approach, allowing alternative Google Play stores forever. Apple, for its part, opted for closure.

As we raised in Tecnocast 322, this control is one of the reasons why many users prefer the company. A well-defined experience, where everything is meticulously thought out by Apple, appeals to a lot of people. Appliance sales reflect this, as does the app offering.

An argument often used by Apple to defend its position is that of security. Independent app marketplaces would be an entry point for malicious software and harmful content on millions of people’s phones. In the statement on compliance with the DMA, Apple reinforces this line of reasoning.

The other side points out that the company should give the user freedom to download apps from wherever they want. And also for developers to use the payment platforms they prefer, including their own options.

Given the size of the App Store’s business, critics will say, the ban would be a way to lock vendors (developers) into their store, since dispensing with this option would imply a considerable loss of revenue and audience.

These discussions are not far from over. Since the DMA doesn’t dictate how exactly digital markets should open up, Apple has put its opening option on the table. However, in Apple’s concept, an open iOS is still somewhat closed.

You may also like

Dedicated brain and soul to all those who have video games in their blood, is the Italian reference point for the entertainment of the present and the future. Get ready to be amazed every day with articles, news, videos, live shows and brillant production.
Are you sure want to unlock this post?
Unlock left : 0
Are you sure want to cancel subscription?