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Japan Prepares Antitrust Legislation Aimed at Apple, Potentially Mandating Sideloading and Alternative Payment Options

Japan is reportedly poised to introduce antitrust legislation that could compel Apple to allow sideloading on its iPhones and iPads, mirroring the recent developments in the European Union with the passing of the Digital Markets Act. This move comes at a time when global scrutiny of app store practices is intensifying, and regulatory bodies are taking a closer look at the control exerted by major tech companies over their respective app distribution platforms. The EU's directive requires Apple to enable sideloading by March 2024, allowing users to download apps from sources other than the official App Store, a move aimed at fostering a more competitive app market.

In Japan, the proposed antitrust regulation is anticipated to cover four key areas: app stores and payments, search, browsers, and operating systems. A significant aspect of the legislation revolves around enabling users to download apps from sources beyond the official App Store, breaking away from the current tightly controlled ecosystem. Additionally, the legislation is expected to introduce provisions for alternative payment methods for apps, offering users more choices and flexibility in their digital transactions.

This regulatory initiative aligns with the broader global trend of challenging the dominance of major tech companies over app distribution platforms. Concerns have been raised by both regulators and developers about the monopolistic control exercised by companies like Apple and Google, prompting a reevaluation of existing app store practices. The ability to sideload applications is seen as a means to empower users, providing them with greater control and expanding their options beyond the curated app stores.

The legislation in Japan, if enacted, would grant the Japan Fair Trade Commission the authority to impose penalties on companies found to be in violation of the new regulations. Penalties could include fines of up to 6% of the revenue derived from practices deemed to be anti-competitive. As Japan takes steps toward introducing these antitrust measures, it sets the stage for potential changes in the dynamics of app store control, influencing how major tech companies operate their platforms and potentially inspiring similar actions in other regions.

Japan Prepares Antitrust Legislation Aimed at Apple, Potentially Mandating Sideloading and Alternative Payment Options

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