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Apple could still charge developers for sideloading in EU

Apple is still planning to charge developers even with EU laws soon enabling the circumvention of the App Store through sideloading.

The European Union’s Digital Markets Act means that from March, Apple will be forced to allow the ‘sideloading’ of apps from alternative app stores in the EU, as is already widely possible on Android devices. European iPhone users can expect iOS 17.4 to roll out with such a provision.

However, it seems Apple is not going to take that ruling lying down, and is reportedly planning to ensure that it’s still taking a hefty slice of app revenue. The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple “plans to collect fees from developers that offer downloads outside of the App Store”, and will implement a review process for iPhone apps that are not sourced through official means.

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Apple’s plans for such a review system have not been finalised, it seems. However, there does appear to be some form of recent precedent in the way that the company responded to a US ruling in its case against Epic Games.

Apple has changed its rules to allow app developers to link to third party payments. However, it requires developers to go through an approval process in order to attain that right, and it is limiting the way in which developers can notify their users of the provision.

More to the point, Apple will still require a payment on these external app purchases, at a rate of 12 percent for smaller developers and 27 percent for larger developers. It wants monthly reports from developers, and demands the right to audit their app transaction records.

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