Apple had no choice but to comply with the rules of European legislation on digital markets, the provisions of which will come into force on March 7. But the compliance plan announced by the manufacturer last week is open to criticism from the main stakeholders.
Apple opens the iPhone and iOS to competition… by setting its conditions. Of course, alternative application stores to the App Store have the right to do so, but the publishers of these stores will have to show their credentials by providing proof of a credit line of 1 million euros and accepting all the new distribution terms of the firm to the apple.
Apple’s new fees in the crosshairs of competitors
This means, among other obligations, paying the Core Technology Fee (CTF), a fee that applies to each installation beyond the first million installations. The tithe is €0.50 for each annual installation, beyond the million threshold. The operators of these stores must for their part pay the CTF from the first installation of their store, no free charge is planned.
Read Revolution in the App Store: Apple authorizes alternative stores (and that changes everything)
These terms, which Apple believes reflect the value of the iOS platform and the tools available for application development, are very far from satisfying interested publishers. This is the case for Microsoft, which has been working on an Xbox Store for mobile platforms for a long time. Sarah Bond, the president of Xbox, estimated that Apple’s new policy is ” a step in the wrong direction “.
“ We hope [qu’Apple] will listen to feedback on their draft compliance plan and work towards a more inclusive future for all “, she says. Wishful thinking? Perhaps not so much: Apple’s plan will pass through the sieve of the European Commission which has already warned that the manufacturer will have to make changes if the modifications made to the App Store are not sufficient.
Read Apple risks the wrath of Brussels if the changes made to the App Store are insufficient
Same story, even more virulent at Spotify. The streaming service is outright talking about “ extortion » : “ Apple shows the world that they think the rules don’t apply to them “. The company returns to the CTF which hangs a sword of Damocles over the heads of developers: “ For those wondering if this could work for them, you need to have less than a million customers and commit to no long-term growth “.
Spotify is questioning the entirely credible hypothesis of a free application which would suddenly experience very high popularity. Isn’t the developer at risk of simply going bankrupt? Apple has implemented safeguards to prevent untimely installations, but the “recipe” is kept secret. Moreover, ” nothing in the law prohibits Apple from increasing [le CTF] from €0.50 to €1 or €10 over time “.
For Spotify, Apple forces developers to “ stay in the status quo “, that is to say to maintain distribution of their applications in the App Store without taking advantage of advances in DMA. And besides, the streaming platform believes it has no choice.
Epic, another major opponent of Apple, has certainly announced the return of Fornite on iOS this year in Europe, via the Epic Games Store which will be adapted to the iPhone. But Tim Sweeney, the CEO of the studio, did not have harsh enough words against the measures announced by Apple, deploring “ lots of new unnecessary fees on downloads and new Apple taxes on payments [qu’Apple] do not treat “.
Read Fortnite will return to iOS (in Europe)
The Mozilla Foundation also expressed its disappointment. With DMA, Safari’s rivals gain a new selection window to choose their default web browser, as well as the ability to use their own rendering engine. Until now, Apple imposed WebKit, the Safari engine.
The fact that this measure is limited to the EU will force Firefox to keep two versions up to date: one for Europe with the Gecko engine, another for the rest of the world with WebKit. A ” burden that Apple will not have to bear itself », Attacks a Mozilla spokesperson.
There are, however, developers who are happy with Apple’s compliance plan. This is the case of Opera, which announced that its Opera One browser would integrate new AI functions on iPhone.
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