App Store changes coming in iOS 17.4 to the EU don't blow the walls off of the garden

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 25

There are three major limitations on Apple's App Store concessions in the European Union that limit what third parties can offer for App Stores, and what consumers can load. Here's what they are.

Apple's App Store logo on the front left of an iPhone's screen



Before Apple announced its plans to adhere to the European Union's Digital Markets Act, there was a lot of speculation. The rumors ranged from free side loading from any source to Apple charging a 27% fee to developers offering alternative App Stores for the iPhone and iPad.

Neither of those ends were met. Instead, Apple has applied some limitations on the process.

The first main limitation to users is that they can't download an App Package -- or .IPA -- from anywhere, and it will run. Apps still need to be notarized and come from sources that Apple trusts.

So, the .IPA files that iTunes used to store for users are of no use to non-jailbroken devices under iOS 17.4. Small developers aren't able to simply host a download, and the app will install and run on an iPhone.

Secondly, a developer who wants to host a third-party App Store must qualify for a massive line of credit. Specifically, that line of credit must come from an A-rated financial institution valued at one million euros or more.

Apple says this is "to guarantee support for your developers and users."

Also limiting what can be loaded is a fee per install that must be paid to Apple. Any third-party App Store install, considered "free" or not, will induce a 0.50 Euro fee that must be paid by the developer.

It's unclear if apps like emulators will be allowed, as the terms of the App Store explicitly disallow apps that execute user-loadable code like emulators. Even if they are, the 0.50 Euro fee per initial install will likely stifle the desire of well-funded developers with that enormous line of credit to allow free downloads to users since they won't be free to developers.

We're expecting legal challenges from some of these third parties to the concessions made by Apple announced on Thursday, perhaps with one filed by Epic's Tim Sweeney who is already vocal about the modifications. "Gatekeepers" like Apple have until March 6, 2024, to comply with the law's obligations as it pertains to App Stores and the like.




Read on AppleInsider

radarthekat

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 10
    The EU is reaching too much into the private companies. Apple built the user base and ecosystem, they should be able to say what goes.

    The EU is just looking for a quick buck. I guarantee they are being lobbied by the big players, in the software world.

    Apple has the right to charge for what they built.
    dave marshAlex1Nflashfan207danoxSamhainForumPostAllMwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 10
    While I have appreciated the benefit and security of the Apple App Stores for many years, I am glad Apple is being challenged and is having to adjust to pressure from outside it's walled garden.

    While I appreciate the efforts Apple put into ensure consumer downloads are safe and fair to the user, the developers should have choice about their distribution routes.

    I will continue to use the Apple App Stores on all my Apple platforms but I respect the individual choice for others to choose other stores or payment methods, as with all things balance and options are always better than a monoculture for progress and growth!
    sphericAlex_V
  • Reply 3 of 10
    They got the option for their own payment processing. They got the option to run their own store. They got a significant commission cut.

    But they’re still complaining. Endless goalpost moving.
    edited January 26 watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 10
    thttht Posts: 5,434member
    We're expecting legal challenges from some of these third parties to the concessions made by Apple announced on Thursday, perhaps with one filed by Epic's Tim Sweeney who is already vocal about the modifications. "Gatekeepers" like Apple have until March 6, 2024, to comply with the law's obligations as it pertains to App Stores and the like.
    I haven't read the rules, and obviously can't game out what's going to happen, but yeah, there will be challenges.

    Some basic math. Apple has about 100m iPhone users in the EU. They have about 25% share and I'm assuming everyone has a phone. Assuming a successful freemium game like Fortnite gets into 10m installs, that's a 5m Euro bill for something like 1m players with 5 Fortnite updates per year. It all comes down to what the ARPU for Fortnite is.

    In 2018, 2019, Fortnite was making about 80m per month worldwide. The EU is probably a quarter of that, so 20m per month? Seems a good deal? I know that my son at the time would spend about $10 every 3 months, whenever a new season started, so his ARPU was about $40/yr, but I don't know many players are like that. Anyways, Fortnite is not a good example as they made 10s of millions per month under the App Store rules when they were on Apple platforms.

    Anyways, I'd recommend people relax. It's a market, and you play by the rules the EU market sets. These are new rules set by the EU, and Apple is adjusting. There's probably another couple rounds on the CTF, but you play by the rules. It looks like Apple is making the best of it, and that's good.
    muthuk_vanalingamAlex_Vwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 10
    tht said: I haven't read the rules, and obviously can't game out what's going to happen, but yeah, there will be challenges.
    How can they challenge anything? Either the EU regulatory system approves what Apple does under the DMA or it doesn't. These companies went the legislative route because they weren't very successful claiming "antitrust" in the court system. 
    danoxwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 10
    Apple was forced by legislation to provide alternatives. They did. Are the changes going to be embraced by  EU companies like Spotify? No of course not. Do the changes fall within the legislation? I am not sure, but Apple obviously has the legal resources to have made sure they did. Clearly iOS users are polarized on this - most feel that Apple created the app store and since it is not a monopoly (which has been ruled on already in a US federal court), it can charge and control as it wants. Others, despite loving the technology, feel that Apple needs to cave into companies like Epic and Spotify demands in the guise of consumer protection. To those .. get an Android. In a way, I feel like I lived in a nice neighbourhood, and one day some crack heads bought the house next door, and have no intention of keeping the music down or cutting the lawn. And the mayor of the town has been paid to ignore our concerns LOL.
    danoxwilliamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 10
    thttht Posts: 5,434member
    tht said: I haven't read the rules, and obviously can't game out what's going to happen, but yeah, there will be challenges.
    How can they challenge anything? Either the EU regulatory system approves what Apple does under the DMA or it doesn't. These companies went the legislative route because they weren't very successful claiming "antitrust" in the court system. 
    I'm talking developers challenging the CFT, not the other way around. Apple will go all the way right to the line of what is acceptable, as they should.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 10
    This is a first step in the right direction. Notarization is a good thing to keep users safe. The €0.50 fee for App installs (beyond 1 million) is ridiculous high.
    I am sure Japan will follow, maybe even the USA, maybe we will see a Chinese App Store (for other reasons obviously).
    williamlondon
  • Reply 9 of 10
    sphericspheric Posts: 2,554member
    I'm sure the Core Technology Fee is going to be challenged. We'll see how it goes. 
    williamlondon
  • Reply 10 of 10
    RespiteRespite Posts: 111member
    The EU is just looking for a quick buck.
    Where is there any payment to the EU in this story, quick or otherwise?
    Alex_V
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