Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Apple’s Five App Stores

Manish Singh and Natasha Lomas (via Slashdot):

The iPhone-maker has updated the language pertaining to its risk factors in the fiscal year 2023 Form 10-K filing (PDF), with the revised text presenting a shift from the company’s previous position, indicating a more definitive stance on potential modifications to the App Store policies.

Apple said that future changes could also affect how the company charges developers for access to its platforms; how it manages distribution of apps outside of the App Store; and “how, and to what extent, it allows developers to communicate with consumers inside the App Store regarding alternative purchasing mechanisms.”


In a report to clients late Tuesday, Morgan Stanley analysts wrote that they believe Apple’s change of language confirms the fact that App Store changes are coming and that Apple will “likely begin 3rd party app stores on device in Europe.”

Hartley Charlton:

Apple today filed a legal challenge against the European Union’s Digital Markets Act ahead of the impending requirement to enable app sideloading on its devices (via Reuters).


The case is expected to include an argument against the App Store being included on the EU’s list of gatekeeper platforms, which requires app sideloading to be an option to allow users to avoid the App Store if they wish.

Ben Lovejoy (Hacker News):

The DMA applies to what are described as technology “platforms,” and the EU separately defines which company’s products and services fall within this term. Apple’s App Store is one of them.

Not so, said Apple, as the App Store isn’t a single entity. Reuters reports on the argument the iPhone maker yesterday made in a European court hearing.

The European Commission made “material factual errors, in concluding that the applicant’s five App Stores are a single core platform service,” Apple said in its plea to the Luxembourg-based General Court, Europe’s second-highest.

The company in its argument to the EU competition enforcer said it operates five App Stores on iPhones, iPads, Mac computers, Apple TVs and Apple Watches, with each designed to distribute apps for a specific operating system and Apple device.

Apple markets it as a single store, but it does seem that going by the DMA’s criteria only the iOS App Store is large enough to qualify. I guess Apple is trying to minimize requirements on the other stores.

Foo Yun Chee:

Apple’s lawsuit also took issue with the Commission’s designation of its messaging service iMessage as a number-independent interpersonal communications service (NIICS) that prompted an EU investigation into whether it should comply with DMA rules.

The company contends that iMessage is not a NIICS as it is not a fee-based service and it does not monetise it via the sale of hardware devices nor via the processing of personal data.


4 Comments RSS · Twitter · Mastodon

Yet they’ll keep telling us developers how important we are and we’ll keep developing apps for them while they do this in plain sight—stockholm syndrome at its finest.

I do wonder how many developers will develop apps for Apple's goggles...

A flood at day one, trying to grab some of the early supper money.

Then fewer and fewer

Craig Grannell

It’ll be quite something if Apple is forced to open up the iPhone due to the size of its App Store but somehow not the iPad, and will only do what it has to. So you’ll end up being able to load whatever you like on to iPhones and Macs, but not iPads (nor Apple TVs).

This still all strikes me as bonkers. It’s clear the direction the wind is blowing. Apple may as well rip off the plaster now and pretend this is what it wanted all along. If not, it’s going to get dragged kicking and screaming towards the inevitable, and in a manner it cannot influence so easily.

(Personally, I couldn’t give two hoots about competing app stores on mobile. SetApp seems to have figured out workarounds for cross-platform apps, and I’m not keen on the prospect of orgs taking all their balls home. However, I am increasingly miffed I cannot load what I’d like to on the devices that I own. I’d even be fine with a process that involved ‘beware of the leopard’ switch placement and onerous multiple confirmation dialog boxes.)

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