Apple may receive the most heat for its opposition to sideloading apps, but even Google thinks the experience is “abysmal.”
Sideloading refers to installing apps on a mobile device from a source outside Apple’s official App Store or Google’s Play Store. Apple’s walled-garden approach means that only apps from the App Store can be installed on iOS devices. In contrast, Google does allow apps to be sideloaded to Android. That doesn’t mean Google thinks it’s a good idea, however.
Court filings for the case involving Epic, creator of Fortnite, reveal what Google really thinks of sideloading.
One manager contacted Epic’s Vice President and Co-Founder to gauge Epic’s interest in a special deal and, among other things, discussed “the experience of getting Fortnite on Android” via direct downloading. The manager’s call notes state that she viewed direct downloading Fortnite as “frankly abysmal” and “an awful experience”, and that Epic should “worry that most will not go through the 15+ steps”.
Google’s view lends support to Apple’s position that sideloading is an inferior experience, and opens the platform to significant security risks.