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The Walled Garden Cracks: Apple to Allow Third-Party App Stores

Apple's walled garden is finally beginning to open, with the company preparing to allow third-party app stores to comply with EU legislation....
The Walled Garden Cracks: Apple to Allow Third-Party App Stores
Written by Matt Milano
  • Apple’s walled garden is finally beginning to open, with the company preparing to allow third-party app stores to comply with EU legislation.

    Apple famously maintains control of its iOS ecosystem, forcing developers to use its App Store as the primary means of distributing apps. Despite attempts to force Apple to allow third-party app stores, or other means of side-loading apps, the company has so far refused to bow to the pressure.

    A new report by Bloomberg, however, indicates the EU’s latest regulation may finally force the company to open up. Apple’s software engineers are reportedly already at work trying to make the necessary changes to iOS in time for the 2024 deadline.

    The EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) is one of the most comprehensive attempts to reign in Big Tech’s power and influence. The bill is aimed at “gatekeeper” companies that control entire platforms, putting Apple and Google squarely in the crosshairs.

    The DMA is designed to level the playing field for smaller companies, preventing gatekeepers from preferring their own apps and services over third-party options. The DMA would also force platforms to ensure their services, such as messaging services, “open up and interoperate with smaller messaging platforms, if they so request.”

    While the DMA only impacts the EU, it’s only a matter of time before other jurisdictions follow the EU’s playbook and pass similar regulation. As a result, the DMA represents the first crack in Apple’s walled garden, a crack that will likely bust it wide open.

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