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Apple adjusts to EU rules with a "Core Technology Fee" but faces tensions over Epic Games' license revocation and new app markets

Apple's endeavors to adhere to the European Union's fresh regulations concerning major technology entities have initiated with an intriguing twist, notably marked by the revocation of Epic Games' developer license. Apple has implemented last-minute modifications to the Digital Markets Act (DMA) compliance strategy to introduce flexibility, sparking diverse reactions from developers.

Regarding Apple's post-DMA fee framework, featuring a novel "Core Technology Fee," developers now possess the liberty to trial these adjustments and subsequently revert to the original terms. Originally announced as a unilateral transition, developers can now exercise a one-time option to revert to Apple's conventional agreement, facilitating adaptation to unforeseen business alterations or shifts in preference. However, a crucial condition stipulates that developers may only revert if they haven't availed alternative app stores or payment methods.

Under Apple's revised regulations, developers are granted the liberty to distribute their applications through third-party marketplaces and utilize alternative payment avenues. Even if they opt to remain within the App Store confines, they can embrace the new structure to enjoy reduced commission rates. Nevertheless, apps exceeding 1 million annual installations necessitate a 50 euro cent fee per additional installation or update, potentially accumulating significant costs, especially for widely popular freemium apps.


Outlined by Apple, the updates to its DMA policies entail:

  • Membership-based decisioning: The prerequisite for corporate entity endorsement in the Addendum has been eliminated, allowing entities to opt for the new terms at the developer account level.
  • Reversibility: Introducing a one-time option to terminate the Addendum under specific circumstances and revert to Apple's standard business terms for EU apps, mitigating risks associated with unforeseen business fluctuations.
  • Alternative marketplace eligibility: Developers aspiring to establish alternative app marketplaces now have streamlined eligibility criteria, eliminating the necessity for a stand-by letter of credit.


Apple now provides developers with the opportunity to revert to its standard terms, offering an escape from the per-installation fee and reinstating the higher commission rate. While this facilitates experimentation with Apple's updated terms, it could potentially dissuade developers from exploring alternative app stores, undermining one of the DMA's primary objectives.

Developer and author Maximiliano Firtman criticizes the new agreements, likening them to a coercive ultimatum reminiscent of mafia tactics, fostering a complex regulatory environment that may deter developers from engagement.

Conversely, some developers perceive the update positively. AltStore developer Riley Testut anticipates increased adoption of the terms, particularly among independent developers, given the opportunity to assess the impact on App Store commission rates. David Barnard, founder of Contrast, asserts that Apple has mitigated the risks associated with accepting the new terms, emphasizing the ease of transitioning back to standard terms and the simplified process for establishing alternative app stores.


Despite the implementation of the DMA's regulations for digital gatekeepers like Apple, tensions persist, exemplified by Apple's revocation of Epic Games' developer license in response to critical remarks from CEO Tim Sweeney. However, alternative app stores continue to emerge, with Mobivention's enterprise-focused store launching imminently and MacPaw's Setapp store slated for April release.

Under Apple's revised regulations, developers are granted the liberty to distribute their applications through third-party marketplaces and utilize alternative payment avenues
Under Apple's revised regulations, developers are granted the liberty to distribute their applications through third-party marketplaces and utilize alternative payment avenues
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