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Apple Faces Global Criticism from App Developers Over App Store Policy Changes

Apple is facing criticism from major app developers, including Spotify and Epic Games, over its proposed changes to App Store policies to comply with the European Union's Digital Markets Act (DMA). Spotify CEO Daniel Ek called Apple's proposal a "masterclass in distortion," while Elon Musk and Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney also expressed concerns.

The changes, set to take effect in March 2024 for EU users, include allowing third-party app marketplaces on iOS, with apps distributed through these marketplaces needing Apple's notarization. Apple will charge a Core Technology Fee for apps exceeding 1 million installs annually, even if not distributed through the App Store. The fee structure is also altered, with a 17% commission on digital goods and services sales, and an additional 3% fee for developers using Apple's payment processing.

Apple App Store logo on white background

Spotify criticized the Core Technology Fee, labeling it "extortion" and claiming it imposes fees on every download and update, affecting popular free apps like WhatsApp and Duolingo. Epic Games accused Apple of creating a "devious new instance of malicious compliance" and an "illegal anticompetitive scheme."

Apple claims over 99% of developers will see reduced fees, but critics argue the Core Technology Fee discourages alternative app marketplaces. The European Commission will assess companies' proposals from March 7, and EU industry chief Thierry Breton warned of strong action if proposed solutions are inadequate.

Regarding India, Apple, despite recent expansion efforts, has a relatively small market share. The Competition Commission of India initiated an investigation in December 2021 into Apple's business practices, citing potential violations of the Competition Act. The investigation is ongoing.

In summary, Apple's proposed changes face backlash from app developers globally, with concerns over fees, competition, and compliance with EU regulations. The impact on India, where Apple's market share remains modest, is uncertain, but ongoing regulatory scrutiny suggests challenges in the Indian market.


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