EU will force Apple & Google to allow third-party app stores, payment services

Posted:
in General Discussion edited March 25
The European Union has published its full Digital Markets Act, which sets out to require firms such as Apple to offer alternatives to its App Store, and payment systems.

European Commission member wants Apple to allow alternate App Stores
European Commission member wants Apple to allow alternate App Stores


Following its plans to require Apple Messages, and others, to work with smaller competitors, the EU has now released full details of its Digital Markets Act (DMA). The DMA was agreed upon during an almost eight-hour talk between the EU's Parliament, Council, and Commission, on March 24, 2022.

According to EU's antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager, the process from this agreement to enacting the proposals into law is going to be "really, really fast." She expects the legislation to be enacted and "coming into force sometime in October."

"A fair marketplace is part of every democracy," continued Vestager in a speech, "and the steps that we took last night, well, they are huge steps in terms of securing every business and [making sure] that the digital marketplace is fair for the benefit of every consumer."

"For example, a new interoperability obligation between messaging services that has been added," she said, "as well as a ban of data collection for the purpose of targeted advertising, unless there is effective consent."

Certain obligations are not yet fully determined, for example the messaging interoperability requirements. The EU's statement said it was agreed that these "will be assessed in the future."

Most significantly for companies such as Apple and Google, Article 6.1(c) of the DMA would require iPhones to be opened up to sideloading of apps -- including third-party app stores -- and all providers will have to support alternative payment systems. Customers will also have the right to uninstall any preloaded apps.

Additionally, firms defined as "gatekeepers" will have to cease the preferential treatment of their own services on platforms that they control.

EU's aims with the DMA

Vestager listed the many antitrust cases the EU has either concluded with the likes of Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook, or is currently involved in.

"The thing is that what we have learned over these years is that we can correct in specific cases, we can punish illegal behaviour," she said. "But when things become systemic, well then we need regulation as well. Because if there is a systemic risk behaviour, if there are entrenched positions, then we need regulation to come in."

Vestager also said that the DMA will bring technology companies into line with other industries that have similarly required oversight and regulation.

"Actually it's quite similar to what has been done a long time ago," she said. "In banking, in telecoms in energy in transport, where regulation and competition works hand in hand. At long last, we established the same reality here."

Only large companies that the DMA describes as providing "core platform services," will be designated as "gatekeepers," and be subject to the provisions of the act if it passes into law.

According to the European Parliament, a gatekeeper has to provide browsers, messaging services, or social media, and have at least 45 million monthly end users in the EU. They must also have 10,000 annual business users, and a market cap of at least 75 billion euros ($82 billion), or annual turnover of 7.5 billion euros ($8.2 billion).

The full legal text of the DMA has to be finalized before approval. While Vestager said that she was hoping for October, given typical timetables, a 2023 enactment is more likely. Both the EU Parliament and Council are responsible for final approval.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 132
    The biggest (and largely unspoken in this debate) problem with sideloading is that it's a portal for mass, casual piracy of third-party apps, especially mom-and-pop apps that don't depend on host servers. (That's why Epic Games is fine with this; their best products are server-dependent, hence already piracy-proof.) Then, small-time app developers — the very ones the legislation is allegedly crafted to protect — see 80-90% of their revenue disappear. That's what happens on Android, now it will happen on iPhone/iPad too?

    And fines pegged on global revenue, not revenue in the EU? So even if Apple scaled back its business in the EU, it wouldn't make any difference?

    And would Apple really be able to contain these changes to the EU, with no impact on its non-EU business worldwide (malware; devs pretending to be EU, etc.)?

    Please, please, Apple, have the guts to just say no, and withdraw from the EU. Yes, that will suck, and a lot of people will hate you for it (if they don't already), but if the alternative is to let clueless lawmakers irreversibly gut your best products, forcing you offer just another, me-too, Android POS, then maybe it's finally time to take a stand. Exit their market, refuse to pay the giga-fines they lob at you on the way out, and let the people of the EU take some time deciding if their competition police are really helping them or not.
    edited March 25 irwinmauricebshankhpemwhiteDead_PoolJanNLradarthekatrezwitsAniMillroundaboutnow
  • Reply 2 of 132
    Apple and Google should both shut down their European app stores. They are not obligated to do business in that market. Let the Europeans develop their own phones, operating systems, and app stores. 
    irwinmauricebshankrob53radarthekatdoozydozenrezwitsMisterKitAniMillsdw2001KTR
  • Reply 3 of 132
    bshankbshank Posts: 248member
    I can hear Daniel Ek singing to his “EU Taking Over da World” Spotify playlist, Who Let the Dogs Out in the shower right now
    edited March 25
  • Reply 4 of 132
    Can’t this be handled with flick of a switch to make everyone happy? Have a setting in Settings > App Store “Allow Sideloading”. Have it switched off by default.  If a user switches it on, they can side load. Everyone wins, and nobody is forced to do something they don’t want to.
    bshankIreneWelijahg
  • Reply 5 of 132
    davgregdavgreg Posts: 965member
    As long as I can opt out of third party nonsense I really do not care.
    If they intend to make us allow that crap on our phones…
  • Reply 6 of 132
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 2,201member
    Can’t this be handled with flick of a switch to make everyone happy? Have a setting in Settings > App Store “Allow Sideloading”. Have it switched off by default.  If a user switches it on, they can side load. Everyone wins, and nobody is forced to do something they don’t want to.
    In theory it could be. The trouble is, as I'm sure I've mentioned before, is that there will be a rush for the exits. A lot of the apps that we need from MS, Adobe, and such, will immediately exit the AppStore for their own company stores so they can keep that 30%. Companies will appear overnight offering to host  apps for 10% commission, so even a lot of small time developers will feel the urge to leave the AppStore.  The result will be that even if some of us don't want to leave the Walled Garden, we will have no choice. We will all have to flip the switch, set up an account, give them our credit card info, and cross our fingers. We will all have to allow side loading. 

    Whether this will be good or bad I'm not going to get into. I'm just pointing out that once this Rubicon is crossed, it will be a very different world we are operating in.
    edited March 25 mwhiteDead_PooldoozydozenthtSylasdope_ahmineMacsWithPenguinsdarelrex
  • Reply 7 of 132
    mubailimubaili Posts: 449member
    Apple could easily say any customer who pays for the iOS software can do whatever they want. It costs $499 initially and $99 updates.
    applguy
  • Reply 8 of 132
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,775member
    Eu is bunch of loosers. EU can't innovate and succeed so bend others.
    bshankmaximara
  • Reply 9 of 132
    mike1mike1 Posts: 3,023member
    The only people supporting the side-loading of apps are criminals and tech support professionals.It's the app equivalent of telephone spammers.
    I can't wait for the first call from my mother after she accidentally downloads a malicious app. Ugh!
    rob53doozydozenrezwitsdarelrexthtlkrupp
  • Reply 10 of 132
    9secondkox29secondkox2 Posts: 1,392member
    Ah, the EU. 

    Who else could be under the threat of cybersecurity oblivion by neighbors with desire for domination and yet decide that the important thing in life is to punish business success by breaking their cybersecurity, forced support of competitors, and declaring illegal that which was perfectly fine for the last 20 years. 

    Such wisdom there. 

    Aren’t these the same fine folks who decided that Apple paying agreed upon taxes in Ireland was not good enough and that they not only wanted to increase future taxes, but also pretend the old taxes were higher and force apple to retroactively pay the difference there too? 

    So thievery is criminal - unless your the government. Then it’s not BREAKING the… it’s the actual law. 😂 


    edited March 25 JanNLradarthekatdoozydozenrezwitsdarelrexbshankuraharajony0
  • Reply 11 of 132
    The problem with the EU forcing side loading is that they never established a credible and market based reason for doing so. Did the EU provide substantial evidence to support the idea that lack of side loading was anti-competitive? No, they didn't. For example, the EU never provided any type of pricing comparison between the App Store and other digital stores. That should be one of the most basic ways to show "lack of competition", yet they failed to do it. And I'm sure it's easy to guess WHY they failed to do it: they knew it wouldn't support their claims. 
    rob53JanNLdoozydozendarelrexFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 12 of 132
    If you're concerned about small apps, don't be because there won't be any.  One of things App Store income finances is low cost access to developer tools and development of interfaces.  Without that revenue Apple will have to change it's business models.  Which means developer tools and interface access will be financed like on other platforms.  Developer tools will become too expensive for small developers and licenses for interfaces will do away with inexpensive/free apps.  Overall the cost of apps will go up (significantly) not down.  You can also expect free updates to OS updates to end.  This won't be Apple taking revenge, it will be a matter of business. The money to run the operation has to come from somewhere.  All those things Apple provides for "Free" aren't really free and they never have been.
    edited March 25 foregoneconclusiondarelrexmaximarauraharaFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 13 of 132
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,010member
    The problem with the EU forcing side loading is that they never established a credible and market based reason for doing so. Did the EU provide substantial evidence to support the idea that lack of side loading was anti-competitive? No, they didn't. For example, the EU never provided any type of pricing comparison between the App Store and other digital stores. That should be one of the most basic ways to show "lack of competition", yet they failed to do it. And I'm sure it's easy to guess WHY they failed to do it: they knew it wouldn't support their claims. 
    They simply feel they don't have to provide any justification and can do whatever they want to do. I think it's time for some extremely high import tariffs on all EU products. I don't remember the last time I looked specifically for an EU product to purchase. I did buy a four-pack of wines from Costco for under $30 (all 90+ rated), which shows the current value of European wines. 
    JFC_PAdarelrexbshank
  • Reply 14 of 132
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,526moderator
    Apple will be suing a lot of companies for diluting its brand image.  This falls under trademark law having to do with trade dress; the concept that a product or service, over time, acquires secondary meaning.  Secondary meaning refers to an association of a product or design, with quality and craftsmanship or other positive attributes one might associate with the brand.  App stores flogging untested apps or apps that violate privacy, etc, will decrease Apple’s brand image.  It’s unfortunate though, that Apple will need to wait until this occurs before suing.  

    My preference would be that Apple greatly restricts the use of its APIs and interfaces such that developers not using the App Store would need to essentially recreate a very large chunk of iOS in order to write sideloadable apps.  Cut them off at the knees.  
    edited March 25 doozydozenbshankmaximaraEvan-elFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 15 of 132
    I can see Class action suits be people who have been harmed by this overreach.  It’s taking us all back to the days of windows CE.  Security was crap, search everywhere to find an app, mass piracy, easy for anyone to make a fake App Store website and load it with pirated material and viruses/malware.  I guess they value cyber security like their NATO spending, not living up to obligations 
    freeassociate2Evan-el
  • Reply 16 of 132
    ajmasajmas Posts: 585member
    I wonder what this means for console manufacturers, such as Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft?

    As to side loading, if third party stores become a source of malware and piracy, then Apple will still retain customers because of trust and they will also be in a position of “told you so”.

    BTW I wonder whether corporations with “bring your own phone” policy, could limit install corporate apps to phones using the first party stores only? 
  • Reply 17 of 132
    rezwitsrezwits Posts: 830member
    Can’t this be handled with flick of a switch to make everyone happy? Have a setting in Settings > App Store “Allow Sideloading”. Have it switched off by default.  If a user switches it on, they can side load. Everyone wins, and nobody is forced to do something they don’t want to.
    Everyone doesn't "win"

    darelrex said:
    The biggest (and largely unspoken in this debate) problem with sideloading is that it's a portal for mass, casual piracy of third-party apps, especially mom-and-pop apps that don't depend on host servers. (That's why Epic Games is fine with this; their best products are server-dependent, hence already piracy-proof.) Then, small-time app developers — the very ones the legislation is allegedly crafted to protect — see 80-90% of their revenue disappear. That's what happens on Android, now it will happen on iPhone/iPad too?
    Yes indeed.  And honestly people from other countries don't really feel like paying for "Other Countries or the USA's" software IMHO, like it should just be free.  Piracy, staved off by Apple for 10 years, soon to make a comeback, pitiful!
    darelrexradarthekatEvan-elFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 18 of 132
    JMaille said:
    Without that revenue Apple will have to change it's business models.  Which means developer tools and interface access will be financed like on other platforms.  Developer tools will become too expensive for small developers and licenses for interfaces will do away with inexpensive/free apps.
    Yeah...it wasn't small developers spearheading the lobbying. It was billion dollar (Spotify, Tinder, Epic) and even trillion dollar (Microsoft) companies doing it. Those are the same companies rushing to make multi-billion dollar acquisitions right now. They say "competition" out of one side of their mouths while also claiming that consolidating  the industry is a good thing. 
    rezwitsroundaboutnowradarthekatEsquireCatsEvan-elFileMakerFellerjony0
  • Reply 19 of 132
    JMaille said:
    Without that revenue Apple will have to change it's business models.  Which means developer tools and interface access will be financed like on other platforms. 
    Before the App Store, the annual fee for the developer program started at $499 and went up to, I believe, $1,499. Mac OS X upgrades also cost $129. People really believe they’re going to be able to have their cake and eat it too. 
    darelrexbshankradarthekatmaximaraEsquireCatsEvan-eluraharaFileMakerFellerjony0
  • Reply 20 of 132
    This means Antivirus will need to be added to the iPhone and iPad. That means more cpu usage, slower devices, more battery and energy usage.
    darelrexradarthekatEvan-eluraharaFileMakerFellerjony0
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