With the new European version set to take effect in the coming weeks, Apple is preparing for where it will be required to allow users to download apps from sources outside its App Store. The company hasn't shared details about how the process, called sideloading, works, but it appears it may not allow developers to circumvent the company's fees and app review rules after all.
The Wall Street Journal That the App Store owner “plans to charge developers who offer downloads outside of the App Store” and that it will require some sort of review for downloads that don't pass through its storefront. Sideloading will only be offered to iOS users in the EU in order to comply with the bloc's Digital Markets Act.
While the report notes that Apple's plan has not yet been finalized, the strategy would be consistent with another important change the company just made to its US App Store policies. Last week, the company formally asked US developers to enable in-app purchases that bypass the App Store's billing system.
However, the new rules, which came after a long legal battle with fortnite Epic Games, the developer, states that developers will still have to pay a hefty 27 percent commission on purchases made outside of the App Store (some smaller developers will only be charged 12 percent). The new rules also give Apple the right to review developer logs to ensure compliance. This has already drawn a lot of criticism from Epic, Spotify, and other developers who have long adhered to the App Store's restrictive rules and fees.
If Apple charges developers for sideloading, it could draw similar criticism from app makers. The Digital Markets Act is set to take effect on March 7, and although Apple has not yet shared its plan to comply with the regulation, companies that have previously clashed with Cupertino over its rules are already preparing. Spotify, a long-time opponent of App Store commissions, shares what the European version of its app will look like once users can pay for subscriptions and audiobooks within its app.
The Wall Street Journal It also notes that Meta, another audio company, is working on its own project that will allow it to distribute developers' apps via Facebook ads. The effort, said to be called “Project Neon” internally, could allow the Facebook owner to compete with the App Store more directly, at least in Europe.
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