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Apple's Monopoly - Coming to an End?

Apple is set to make a monumental change to the App Store for the iPhone & iPad (not exactly because they want to, though).


In response to looming regulations from the European Union, Apple has software engineers and services employees working on a project to “allow alternative app stores” on the iPhone and iPad.


This is huge news.




The act, termed the Digital Markets Act, would require that Apple allow for the installation of third-party app stores by 2024.


EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA), which takes effect in the coming months, aims to open up digital platforms to more competition… something that Apple, historically, has tried to sidestep.


The act will give users more leeway to change default settings and, as in Apple’s case, allow in-app purchases without it taking a slice of payments.



It seems many of our blog posts here always have something to do with Apple. And justifiably so. They are one of the largest, best, and most controversial tech companies of our time.


One of the most controversial elements about the tech giant? That they have a monopoly over the app marketplace.


Well, in Europe, this may be about to change.


According to Bloomberg, this is being described as a “major push to open up key elements of Apple’s platforms,”.



From Bloomberg:


Apple is applying a significant amount of resources to the companywide endeavor. It hasn’t been a popular initiative within Apple, considering that the company has spent years decrying the need for “sideloading” — the process of installing software without using the official App Store. In lobbying against the new European laws, Apple has argued that sideloading could put unsafe apps on consumers’ devices and undermine privacy.


Some engineers working on the plan also see it as distraction from typical day-to-day development of future features, according to the people. The company is aiming for the changes to be ready as part of an update to next year’s iOS 17, which would be in line with requirements.



A few short weeks ago, Twitter CEO Elon Musk went on a tweet attack on Apple’s App store policies. His complaint largely stemmed from the fact that Apple is able to have complete control over the apps users can download to their devices. Unlike Android, which allows users to sideload apps, Apple does not. Apple also requires companies to pay back up to 30% of any revenue generated from their apps. This is no secret and has always been met with quite a large amount of controversy.


Musk later claimed he met with Apple CEO Tim Cook and resolved a “misunderstanding” about Apple possibly removing Twitter from its App Store.


So, Elon musk and Tim Apple have seemingly ended their feud with Tim (Cook) hosting Elon Musk at Apple’s headquarters a few weeks ago and having a chat.



Apple should stop bitching. For years and years and years they have had a monopoly on the app store.


5%? Sure. But 30%? Insulting.


While people more than likely will remain loyal to the App Store, this is a needed change. Simply having the option to utilize other app stores to download apps is something that was needed. Let the people decide for themselves.


This is also undoubtedly big news for app developers who want their products on iPhone and iPad but want no part in cutting a third of their check to Apple.



If Apple opens to other app stores, developers won’t have to pay a 30% (or in some cases 15%) fee to the tech giant for in-app purchases. This could appease a lot of companies, even larger giants like Spotify and Hinge.


Looking at the situation on the inside, this could impact Apple’s revenue significantly. The European Union is Apple’s second biggest revenue market behind the United States. It is obviously too early to tell as these changes have yet to come to fruition, but it will be interesting to see the long-term financial ramifications that this has on the company.


Some experts hypothesize that Apple may still charge a fee to vet outside app stores apps to ensure there is no malware. This is controversial. If they do so, isn’t this going back to the gatekeeping that the proposed law was trying to cut into in the firsty place?



In terms of the probability of this massive change coming to the US, that is still to be seen.

In my opinion, though, there is nothing political about this to analyze.


As you may have read recently in the news, there have been a lot of varying opinions regarding Elon Musk’s acquisition and handling of Twitter.


This is not that.



The question at hand here is whether or not Apple has a stranglehold over small app developers or not. It is a question of fairness.


EU’s Digital Markets Act, which takes effect in the coming months, aims to open up digital platforms to more competition.


More on this to come once changes are official!


 

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