A new EU law that came into effect today could pave the way for Apple to be forced to allow third-party app stores onto iPhones and iPads.
The law new Digital Markets Act (DMA) is designed to ensure that Big Tech doesn’t have an unfair advantage over other smaller companies and could see them forced to make their services more interoperable.
That could mean that messaging services could be forced to work with each other, for example, but it could also mean that third-party app stores become a requirement.
EU official Gerard de Graaf effectively said as much when he recently said that “if you have an iPhone, you should be able to download apps not just from the App Store but from other app stores or from the internet,” Wired reports. He also said that there are likely to be lawsuits as a result of significant consequences brought about by the DMA.
Apple currently doesn’t allow apps to be installed on iPhones and iPads that haven’t been downloaded via its App Store. There is no sideloading of any kind, something that developers have long railed against. But if the EU has its way there is now a possibility that Apple might not have a choice.
The EU has already set a precedent for pushing Apple around, of course. Another EU mandate will see Apple replace Lightning with USB-C on iPhones, possibly as soon as next year’s iPhone 15.
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