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Apple's Proposed iOS Changes to Comply with Digital Markets Act Draw Criticism from Spotify, Microsoft, Epic Games, and Mozilla

Apple recently unveiled upcoming changes to iOS, Safari, and the App Store, aimed at complying with the Digital Markets Act (DMA) in the European Union (EU). Set to be implemented with the iOS 17.4 update in March, these changes will grant iPhone users the ability to install third-party app marketplaces, change default web browsers, and opt for payment methods other than Apple's own.

While these alterations were anticipated to be positively received by app developers, Apple faced criticism from major app makers and service providers following the announcement. Critics argue that the changes, meant to align with new regulations, are insufficient, particularly in addressing concerns related to Apple's commission policies on iOS app development.

Daniel Ek, CEO and founder of Spotify expressed skepticism about Apple's changes in the EU, characterizing them as a "monopoly under a different mask." He argued that Apple's introduction of a new tax system undermines the spirit of the law and the lawmakers who crafted it.

Similarly, the President of Microsoft's Xbox division commented that Apple's new policy is a "step in the wrong direction" and urged the company to listen to feedback and strive for greater inclusivity.

Tim Sweeney, founder and CEO of Epic Games, raised concerns about Apple allegedly forcing developers to choose between App Store exclusivity and adherence to store terms, which could be deemed illegal under DMA regulations. Sweeney emphasized Epic's support for Apple notarization and malware scanning but rejected Apple's manipulation of these processes to stifle competition and maintain control over transactions.

Mozilla, represented by spokesperson Damiano DeMonte, expressed extreme disappointment with Apple's plan to restrict the BrowserEngineKit to EU-specific apps. DeMonte highlighted the potential burden on independent browsers like Firefox, which may need to develop and maintain two separate browser implementations due to these changes.

Apple's proposed adjustments include allowing iOS app developers in the EU to choose two additional payment processing options on the App Store. Developers can opt for Payment Service Providers (PSPs), enabling in-app transactions, or redirect users to an external webpage for transaction completion. However, developers choosing PSPs or link-out processes will still be subject to a commission from Apple for using the App Store platform. The ongoing debate underscores the challenges and complexities surrounding platform policies, app market dynamics, and regulatory compliance in the ever-evolving tech landscape.

iOS Changes to Comply with Digital Markets Act (DMA)

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