App Store

Apple’s EU App Store Moves Face Criticism from Competitors

Apple has unveiled how it intends to comply with the European Union’s new Digital Markets Act (DMA) meant to increase competition among big tech platforms. However, critics argue Apple’s plan represents only minimal, “malicious” compliance.

The DMA requires companies like Apple to open up their platforms. Specifically, Apple must allow alternative iOS app stores. However, the company has set stringent requirements for potential competitors, including security checks, strict content rules akin to Apple’s own App Store policies, and the ability to handle payments and disputes. Competing app stores will also need substantial financial backing and to pay Apple a per-download fee once an app reaches over 1 million installs.

Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney called the plan “devious” and “rife with new junk fees.” The Coalition for App Fairness said it gives “no intention to comply” with the spirit of the DMA. However, Epic still said it would launch its own app store for iOS. Other critics argue that despite Apple’s announced changes, meaningful competition in iOS will remain challenging.

The European Commission has so far declined to opine on the sufficiency of Apple’s announced changes. The next few months may determine whether regulators deem the adjustments enough to boost platform competition, or if more requirements loom for Apple and other “gatekeeper” tech companies. For now, Apple has fulfilled the letter, if not the spirit, of the DMA. But rival platforms and developers argue too much gatekeeper power remains in place.