Two new laws have been passed by the European Parliament on digital services, and digital markets. They aim to define the app market for smartphones and tablets on both Android and iOS. One consequence is the obligation for Apple allow other app stores to appear on iPhone. The European Council has yet to vote on both texts for their implementation in 2022.
An iPhone is different from an Android smartphone in that it offers more freedom than the former. You have limited options on Apple terminals. You can only install applications from the App store. It is easy to activate an authorization on Android. Alternative shops are also allowed: Amazon App Store AppGallery Samsung Galaxy Store, and others.
Apple doesn’t want any other offers. Apple does not want alternative offers, whether in the App Store and on payment methods. It was clear during Fortnite. Cupertino claims that it cannot secure banking and personal information of users without controlling all value chain links. This is true up to a point: Apple prevents the installation or modification of banned elements. It also comes with a catch: Apple charges developers a lot to provide this trust and security. This is the Apple Tax.
Europe demands Apple open iOS to other App Stores
Apple is not required to open its ecosystem to other sources of services and applications. It is possible to do it quickly. The European Parliament passed this week two important texts that were being discussed in spring 2022: legislation for digital services and legislation for digital markets. They will work to establish a legal framework to address all aspects of the app economy.
The first is about consumer rights, while the second is about fairness and transparency in application-related markets. These texts outline what large groups are allowed and prohibited from doing. They must, for example, give access to a group. They are forbidden from “looking after their own interests”. Margrethe Vestager (the famous European commissioner who repeatedly fined GAFAM) even stated that these companies would have to share their data and allow for more application stores.
The tone has been set. The tone is set. It remains to see if the Commissioner isn’t opening Pandora’s Box to more freedom but also to a more complicated, dangerous, and less serene market. This is only one step. Next is final approval by European Parliament and publication in the Official Gazette 20 days or earlier.