Read at www.theguardian.com
Apple has published its plan to comply with the EU's Digital Markets Act (DMA), which aims to break up the power of tech gatekeepers like Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, and ByteDance. The plan includes allowing iPhone users to choose alternative browsers, payment systems, and app stores. However, there is a catch - developers who choose alternatives will be charged a flat fee per installation, potentially impacting free-to-play business models and app diversity. The goal of the DMA is to prevent control of these services from leading to control of the industries built on top of them.
Under the changes, the US tech company will also give iPhone users a range of browsers to choose from as their default, allow the use of alternative payment systems to Apple Pay, and permit the installation of alternatives to its App Store, which could theoretically include the Google Play store. But there is a catch: for the first time, developers who take advantage of the option will be charged a flat fee per installation, overturning free-to-play business models and limiting the sorts of apps that can bypass the store.
Apple has long argued that its strict control of the iOS platform and the App Store is necessary to protect users from scams, viruses, and consumer harms. However, the EU is pushing back and believes that taking the risk of opening up the platform is worth it. Apple's new plans can be seen as a begrudging response to the EU's demands, as it continues to resist giving up control. The battle between Apple and European regulators is far from settled, and it raises important questions about who owns the technology in our pockets and the power dynamics in the tech industry.
Apple has long argued that its strict control of the iOS platform and the App Store is fundamentally paternalistic, rather than authoritarian. It says that a world in which iPhones worked like Macs would be one with more scams, viruses and consumer harms. The EU says, effectively: We'll take that risk. Hence the company's begrudging new plans.