Apple greenlights downloading apps from websites

Software developers who use Apple's App Store will be able to distribute apps to EU users directly from their websites this spring as part of changes required by new EU rules forcing Apple to open up its closed ecosystem.

The European Union's Digital Markets Act (DMA), which kicked in last week, requires Apple to offer alternative app stores on iPhones and allow developers to opt out of using its in-app payment system, which charges fees of up to 30%.

"We're providing more flexibility for developers who distribute apps in the European Union, including introducing a new way to distribute apps directly from a developer's website," Apple said in a blog post.

"Apple will provide authorized developers access to APIs (application programming interfaces) that facilitate the distribution of their apps from the web, integrate with system functionality, backup and restore users' apps, and more," the company said.

Other changes include allowing developers who set up alternative app marketplaces to offer a catalog solely made up of the marketplace developer's own apps with immediate effect.

Developers can choose how to design in-app promotions, discounts, and other deals when directing users to complete a transaction on their website instead of using Apple's template.

Service providers, such as streaming platform Spotify, lauded the opportunities DMA provides earlier this year, calling Apple’s long-standing policies “nuts.”

Apple's changes come amid continuing criticism from rivals that its compliance efforts are falling short.

The DMA launched focusing on six major tech companies: Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Meta, and TikTok owner ByteDance. DMA violations can cost companies fines as much as ten percent of their global turnover.

Earlier this month, Apple said that while EU users will be allowed to download third-party apps, the apps will stop updating if users stay out of the EU for over 30 days.

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