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In Accordance to Europe's Digital Services Act, Apple will allow for alternative App Stores on its iDevices sometime in 2024

1 cover Alternative Apple Stores in 2024

On November 16, 2022, the new rules of the EU's landmark Digital Services Act (DSA for online platforms entered into force. EU Member States will need to empower their Digital Services Coordinators by 17 February 2024. Online marketplaces, social networks, content-sharing platforms, app stores, and online travel and accommodation platforms will be affected, including Apple's App Store.

According to a new Bloomberg report, "Apple Inc. is preparing to allow alternative app stores on its iPhones and iPads, part of a sweeping overhaul aimed at complying with strict European Union requirements coming in 2024.

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.

The moves — a reversal of long-held policies — are a response to EU laws aimed at leveling the playing field for third-party developers and improving the digital lives of consumers. For years, regulators and software makers have complained that Apple and Google, which run the two biggest mobile app stores, wield too much power as gatekeepers.

If similar laws are passed in additional countries, Apple’s project could lay the groundwork for other regions, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the work is private. But the company’s changes are designed initially to just go into effect in Europe.

Even so, the news bolstered shares of companies that offer dating services and other apps. Match Group Inc. jumped as much as 10% and Bumble Inc. was up as much as 8.6% — a sign investors think the companies could get a break from Apple’s commissions. Spotify Technology SA, the audio streaming service, climbed as much as 9.7%. Apple’s shares, meanwhile, were little changed.

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.

To help protect against unsafe apps, Apple is discussing the idea of mandating certain security requirements even if software is distributed outside its store.

Apple also is working to open more of its private application programming interfaces, or APIs, to third-party apps. Those are the underlying frameworks that allow apps and features to interact with Apple’s hardware and core system functions." For more, read the full Bloomberg report.

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