Apple will allow rival app stores to be used on iPhones and iPads in the European Union, according to a report.
Bloomberg said the company could move as soon as late next year to comply with new EU competition laws that have forced the tech giant to Reluctant to adopt the new fee standard.
appleApple’s iPhone has long had a proper Lightning port, but it will replace it with USB-C by the end of 2024, bringing the phone in line with Android devices and many other portable electronics.
But allowing alternative markets to operate in its notoriously closed ecosystem would be an even bigger sacrifice for the California-based company.
In the past few years, Apple is in a bitter legal battle with video game giant Epic Overclaiming that the iPhone’s native App Store constitutes a monopoly.
It comes after Epic’s flagship game Fortnite, removed from store It comes after the company tried to get around Apple’s requirement to take a 30 percent cut of all in-app purchases.
Last year, App Store transactions totaled about $10 billion, according to estimates from mobile analytics firm Sensor Tower.
If Apple opens up to outside app stores to comply with the European Union’s Digital Marketplace Act, companies like Epic could theoretically bring their own storefronts to the company’s phones and tablets.
Epic boss Tim Sweeney called on U.S. politicians to pass similar legislation, saying an EU-only decree would “keep U.S. developers in slavery in the country where Apple was founded.”
Other tech companies like Amazon and Microsoft are also capable of launching their own iOS app stores.
Alex Haffner, a competition and regulation expert at law firm Fladgate, said it “could be an earthquake”.
“This announcement reflects an interesting new approach,” he said.
“As a result, big tech companies may consider it prudent to preemptively strike by taking steps to address issues raised by regulators before regulators have the opportunity to take action of their own.”
“Most people ignore other app stores”
But given that the security and simplicity of Apple’s own stores, apps and services is a big part of the company’s appeal to many customers, they may need to seriously convince them to look elsewhere.
CFRA equity analyst Angelo Zino said he expects most people to stick with Apple’s App Store.
He added: “The ultimate impact will be minimal as most consumers are a product of habit and are very happy with the platform. We expect most consumers to remain in the status quo.”
Bloomberg also reported that Apple has yet to decide whether to comply with other parts of the new EU law, such as allowing its own alternative payment systems.
The EU is expected to start enforcing the law in mid-2024, with hefty fines for non-compliance.
Sky News has contacted Apple for comment.