Setapp plans to launch EU-only alternative iOS App Store

Posted:
in iOS edited February 29

Setapp is planning to launch its own alternative App Store in the EU in 2024, taking advantage of law changes that will allow third-party digital storefronts to exist on iPhone and iPad.




Apple has reportedly been preparing itself for the impact of the Digital Markets Act in the European Union, which includes rules that will potentially force Apple into allowing other companies to add their own version of the App Store to iPhone and iPad. On Tuesday, a potential App Store rival entered the fray.

Software subscription service Setapp declared on Tuesday that it will introduce its own rival mobile app store in 2024. Specifically in response to the DMA, the storefront will be exclusive to users in the EU, and the company has launched a wait list for users.

As "gatekeepers" like Apple and Google are being forced to open up their platforms, Setapp "is now empowered to introduce its app store for EU users, ensuring that they can access and enjoy Setapp's extensive collection of high-quality apps on their iPhones and iPads," the service explained.

Much like Apple's App Store, Setapp's version will offer a curated collection of mobile apps, ranging from productivity tools to lifestyle applications. Over 30 current vendors of Setapp's Mac-based service will be a part of the new storefront, including Ulysses, Taskheat, NotePlan, and Soulver.

"We view this development as an exciting first step and are eager to participate. We look forward to further easing of restrictions by Apple worldwide in the future," said Mykola Savin, Product Lead at Setapp.

Savin continued "As a response to our users' top request since day one, the Setapp mobile app store will provide users with a more convenient way to discover and use a wide variety of apps in one place on their iPhones and iPads, as well as make it easier for developers to reach a broader audience and showcase their apps to iOS users."

As Setapp previously dealt with web and macOS developers, the new storefront's creation means Setapp will also willingly work with iOS-only developers too. The company has opened up applications from iOS developers for app submissions.

To encourage adoption by developers, Setapp is also going after Apple's infamous 30% fee for in-app purchases and sales in the App Store.

Setapp will distribute 70% of the user's monthly fee for the service to developers of apps that the user actually uses in the month. However, a second guaranteed 20% portion from the remainder will be handed over to the partner who brought the user to the service.

While more a subscription-based app distribution platform rather than an app storefront per se, Setapp isn't the only company keen to take on the App Store when the EU allows it.

Epic Games has previously signaled in 2020 that it wants to launch its own Epic Games Store on iOS. In March 2023, Microsoft said it was planning to bring Xbox games to Apple hardware once the EU rules come into force.



Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 8
    I've noticed that promotional articles about Setapp will always have quotes from developers about how Setapp doesn't have some of the "restrictions" of the App Store...yet they always fail to provide any specifics on what exactly those restrictions are...which probably means the restriction is something that is beneficial to users. Privacy? Security? 
    williamlondonchasmAlex1N
  • Reply 2 of 8
    If I’m recalling correctly Tim Cook has said that Apple will still get its cut from apps sold outside the App Store. If that’s the case will it really be worthwhile for third-parties to sell outside of Apple’s official store? If an app developer has to pay a fee to Setapp and then a fee to Apple how is that better for them than it is now?

    It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. 
    appleinsideruserwilliamlondonFileMakerFellerAlex1N
  • Reply 3 of 8
    If I’m recalling correctly Tim Cook has said that Apple will still get its cut from apps sold outside the App Store. If that’s the case will it really be worthwhile for third-parties to sell outside of Apple’s official store? If an app developer has to pay a fee to Setapp and then a fee to Apple how is that better for them than it is now?

    It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. 
    Slurping up all that user data is what they want, even if they can't avoid the fees.
    chasmAlex1N
  • Reply 4 of 8
    chasmchasm Posts: 3,419member
    Hang on, this doesn’t sound like a great deal to me.

    Assuming SetApp uses the same model they do for Mac apps, let’s say an iOS app subscription costs $25 per month. Let’s say you sign up via an app you like, let’s say Ulysses, but you use the subscription to regularly use another four apps.

    The five apps split 70 percent of $25, which is $15, five ways, so $3 each. The Ulysses developer also gets another 20 percent of the remaining 30 percent, which is six percent. Six percent of $10 is 60 cents.

    So four of the five actively-used apps get $3 per month each, Ulysses gets $3.60 per month, and SetApp gets $9.40 per month.

    Now, let’s compare one app with a $5/month subscription via the Apple App Store. The developer gets $3.50 per month, and Apple gets $1.50 per month — for the first year.

    If the subscription continues past the first year, the developer now gets $4.25 per month, and Apple gets 75 cents per month.

    I must be making some kind of major math error here, but it seems to me that Apple’s deal is better than SetApp’s deal, unless SetApp somehow has a massively larger audience of app users than a developer would get from the App Store. Please correct me if I’m missing something.
    edited August 2023 williamlondonFileMakerFellerAlex1N
  • Reply 5 of 8
    looplessloopless Posts: 339member
    And will SetApp handle all the FinTech of crediting sales in the EU to a US Bank account , providing all the monthly reports, and usage, and all the special EU rules with privacy statements etc etc. Apple does a lot of stuff for its cut of the sale. As well as providing a level of protection for the user ( not perfect, but better than nothing) that you are not getting malware.
    williamlondonAlex1Nqwerty52
  • Reply 6 of 8
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 3,640member
    My opinion is that Apple should completely replace iOS with Android for all European customers. This will enable European customers to have access to third party app stores via Android in iPhones. All European customers going forward should be able to obtain only Android, not iOS, on iPhones. This will make Apple fully compliant with EU law, but none of the Apple ecosystem will be available to EU customers. Hey, there's NOTHING wrong with Android, right? So it's a win-win for everyone. iPhone sales should skyrocket in Europe because Android is "practically perfect in every way," like Mary Poppins.
    Alex1N
  • Reply 7 of 8
    My opinion is that Apple should completely replace iOS with Android for all European customers. This will enable European customers to have access to third party app stores via Android in iPhones. All European customers going forward should be able to obtain only Android, not iOS, on iPhones. This will make Apple fully compliant with EU law, but none of the Apple ecosystem will be available to EU customers. Hey, there's NOTHING wrong with Android, right? So it's a win-win for everyone. iPhone sales should skyrocket in Europe because Android is "practically perfect in every way," like Mary Poppins.

    Why should I buy then an iPhone? To use Android? Are you crazy? Never in my life. 
    I am living in EU, but I will never use a store other than AppStore. 
    williamlondonAlex1N
  • Reply 8 of 8
    I've noticed that promotional articles about Setapp will always have quotes from developers about how Setapp doesn't have some of the "restrictions" of the App Store...yet they always fail to provide any specifics on what exactly those restrictions are...which probably means the restriction is something that is beneficial to users. Privacy? Security? 
    Generally it's security that causes the most headaches for a software developer. Sometimes it is necessary to compromise security for a limited set of functions to achieve a worthwhile goal, but Apple's blanket rule is no security compromises ever - if you can't do it within what Apple allows, you can't do it. The example that springs to mind is advanced data recovery - fsck does a great job but it was only designed to handle the most common problems that occur so there are times when you need something that gets down to the most minute level of detail. Doing this can render a drive completely unusable (rather than only "mostly dead"), but the decision of whether or not to take that risk should lie with the user and not with the device vendor.

    Apple (rightfully!) sets its policies for the population level; certain situations demand a solution at the individual level.
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