According to Bloomberg, the move is necessary so the corporation can comply with the new, more stringent requirements set forth by the European Union’s Digital Markets Act.
By 2024, tech firms must be in full compliance with a rule that mandates users’ freedom to install and configure third-party apps and easily override default settings, and that ensures external developers have equal access to apps’ and services’ essential functions.
As a result of the new legislation, iOS device owners may be allowed to “sideload” applications that aren’t available through the official App Store or otherwise avoid having to jailbreak their device.
Apple has long lobbied against the new law, claiming that consumers’ security would be compromised if third-party app stores and sideloading were legalised.
It’s likely that app makers will welcome the change, as it could help them avoid Apple’s rules (which prohibit, for instance, pornographic content in apps).
It also means companies could, in theory, bypass Apple’s 30% cut of App Store sales by releasing their apps on a competing app store.
The withdrawal of Fortnite from the App Store was the primary cause of the litigation between Apple and Epic Games, which began when Epic attempted to avoid Apple’s platform costs by offering its own direct payment option.
With the help of its proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard, Microsoft has also detailed plans to establish a “next generation game store” on mobile devices.
Adding Activision Blizzard’s content “would boost Microsoft’s capacity to establish a next-generation game shop that runs across a range of devices, including mobile,” the statement read.
According to the EU rules, Microsoft may launch its Xbox Store on iOS devices independently from Apple’s App Store.
Apple “had no choice” but to abandon its proprietary Lightning connector in favour of USB-C ports in future iPhones in order to comply with a recent EU rule.