Tag: european union

  • Callum Booth from The Verge writes:

    Fundamentally, in their current state, third-party iOS app stores like AltStore will only be attractive to power users, groups of enthusiasts who are desperate to solve niche issues or have particular interests in something they can’t get on the App Store, like a fully functioning clipboard manager or game emulator.

    I don’t know if I necessarily agree with the “ONLY” argument there, given the sentiment online — however I don’t think Booth is entirely wrong either. Apple’s malicious compliance (with the Core Technology Fee) is also a big issue, and I have a feeling the EU isn’t done with the company on that front.

    Only time will tell. Check out their hands on at the link here or above.

  • It’s official, Apple has shuttered Epic Games’ ability to create an “alternative app marketplace” on iOS–shutting down their Swedish developer account on the 6th of March. It seems that Tweets critical of the company by Epic Games‘ CEO recently may have sparked the response. Despite Epic Games trying to operate in good faith with Apple, the multi-trillion dollar company chose a path of bad faith: shuttering the competition before they even stood a chance. It’s sad to see–I’ve spent several years now as an Apple customer, even recently switching back to using their devices primarily, but now I can’t trust them on mobile.

    The biggest reason is that developers are going to stop trusting them soon enough. Frankly, Apple is becoming the very thing they sought to destroy almost forty some-odd years ago. The fact that they’re becoming more and more litigious is enough evidence, to be honest.

    The company is simply on a power trip, fueled by a hunger for control and dominance over every industry in which they take part, even if that means costing themselves a significant amount of goodwill among their vast community of developers and enthusiasts. At least Microsoft’s former CEO Steve Ballmer understood that developers mean everything to a thriving platform. That said, Ballmer was controversial as a CEO, and most of that reputation is his own fault.

    Every move the company has made, from RCS support and beyond (especially recently), has been done in a way that is nothing short of malicious compliance. Developers from across the industry, including several third-party developer alums, have come together and spoken out against these moves. Whether it’s independently, or through the Coalition for App Fairness, or through some other alliance.

    Spotify, for example, is a member of the Coalition whose CEO was incredibly vocal against the proposed DMA rules set forth by Apple. They released another letter to the European Commission on Apple’s “lack of DMA compliance” just last week. Apple responded, with an incredibly anger-filled press release on Monday:

    “Today, Spotify has a 56 percent share of Europe’s music streaming market — more than double their closest competitor’s — and pays Apple nothing for the services that have helped make them one of the most recognizable brands in the world. A large part of their success is due to the App Store, along with all the tools and technology that Spotify uses to build, update, and share their app with Apple users around the world.”

    Keep in mind, the EU recently fined them €1.84 billion EURO ($2 billion USD) as a result of the anti-trust litigation between them, Spotify, and this is just a result of their distaste in their loss. The fact of the matter is–the Apple beast has become too powerful. We, the consumers, have given them this power–and we’re the only ones who can seize it once more.

    Google isn’t exactly a saint either, to be clear. They’ve had their own myriad of bullshit and muddy bodies of antitrust and litigation of all sorts that would take ages to wade through. However–Android has, and will continue to be, an open platform in both source and user choice for as long as the Android Open Source Project exists and smartphone manufacturers (who aren’t Apple) continue making phones.

    For Apple to succeed in interfacing with developers in the long-term–beyond their evangelists and most dedicated users who have zero understanding of how Android, Windows, or Linux works–they must stop alienating them and being so disrespectful when given constructive feedback. I’m not sure why their knee-jerk reaction is to play the victim card so much, especially when I’m sure they have a million other cards to play, but they continue to choose it.

    For sympathy? Probably.

    I believe it’s time for us iOS users to rebel in the only way Apple has given us the ability to do: take our business elsewhere. The grass is certainly greener on the other side of the wall. Even DHH, a well-known lover AND critic of Apple (being an Apple evangelist for a long ass time–perhaps 99% of my life–will do that), has switched to Android and Windows and has no reason to leave for a while.

    Wild that we’ve gotten here. I’m doing the same thing, too–plotting my course out of the “ecosystem.” Perhaps it is that time. If Apple has a sincere change of heart, sure, but I don’t think developers are going to stick around for long with their attitude lately. Without developers, a platform is nothing. Without COMPETITION, a developer is nothing. If Apple truly is seeking to destroy both, iOS may as well be deemed irrelevant now.

    Unless you want to eventually be stuck without any third-party apps in the future… I’d start looking at your options and plotting your exit plan. Samsung Galaxy S is probably the closest choice, but Google Pixel has a great line, too. That’s my take.

  • Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, announced on Twitter this morning that the company had been approved by Apple to operate Epic Games Store and Fortnite in the EU, as the Digital Markets Act compliance deadline nears. The company will be bringing the game back to iOS in the EU’s member countries as a result, along with its own app store.

  • Apple Confirms No Web Apps in EU

    From Apple:

    The iOS system has traditionally provided support for Home Screen web apps by building directly on WebKit and its security architecture. That integration means Home Screen web apps are managed to align with the security and privacy model for native apps on iOS, including isolation of storage and enforcement of system prompts to access privacy impacting capabilities on a per-site basis.

    […] And so, to comply with the DMA’s requirements, we had to remove the Home Screen web apps feature in the EU.

    EU users will be able to continue accessing websites directly from their Home Screen through a bookmark with minimal impact to their functionality.

    It’s official, users in the EU can no longer have Home Screen web apps on iOS in the EU. Apple says this is to comply with the DMA’s requirements, however as a web developer, I don’t quite see how this is anything but malicious noncompliance. The company says there is low adoption of these web apps, but that’s not entirely true, either, if you look anywhere online. Not to mention this change breaks a lot of web apps.

    It’s a bad move meant to create hardship for their own users. It’s really sad to see.

  • There’s some new emoji, of course, but most of the new changes in iOS 17.4 Beta 3 — which was seeded to Public Beta testers today, and Developers on the Developer Beta track not long before that — are EU-specific.

    From MacRumors:

    The iOS 17.4 […] [beta] introduce a whole slew of changes for users in the European Union, allowing for alternative app stores and alternative payment methods.

    There are new options for choosing a default browser, NFC has been opened up to banks and other financial institutions, and browsers aren’t mandated to use WebKit.

    None of those features are coming to the US or any other territories besides EU member countries, though.

    However, Stolen Device Protection, new emoji, and transcripts in Apple Podcasts are included worldwide, so there’s that. My guess is most of the engineering efforts are on EU DMA compliance and iOS 18 now… Apple’s WWDC is imminent (June), and they usually have things ready to go by mid-to-late April/early May.

  • Fast Company interviews Phil Schiller and here are two interesting bits (though the whole thing is worth the read!):

    “We’ve put together over 600 new APIs for developers to give them the tools to build a marketplace, install an app, let the user have control of that process,” Schiller says. “We’ve done a lot of core engineering [to help make things easier for alternative app store developers], and we’re going to continue to.” 

    “It’s important to note, however, that this notarization process isn’t as in-depth as the App Store’s traditional review, which also checks, among other things, that an app is following content rules. Still, this notarization should be enough to stop a malicious app that’s attempting to mimic a real app (say, from Facebook or Starbucks) from being installed on a user’s iPhone.”

    Apple’s working overtime to “scare” folks from not using alternate storefronts, which they’re calling “Alternative App Marketplaces” to distinguish from their own App Store. That said, I think users have the choice in the matter here. There’s an argument to be had. Put the safeguards in place and let them decide.

    I’m willing to bet most normal users, who aren’t enthusiasts or tech geeks like me, won’t even bother installing an “alternative app marketplace” or sideload an app unless they’re required to. My aunts certainly haven’t thought about that in years — they’ve used most of the default apps that come with their iPhones since switching a few years ago! I don’t foresee anything changing there.

    I highly recommend reading my previous post on this topic, as well as friend of the blog Riley Testut’s 9to5Mac interview.

  • Previously on Slade’s Corner: Apple’s “Core Technology Fee” Raises Two Giant Middle Fingers at EU’s DMA

    Sarah Bond writes on Twitter:

    “We believe constructive conversations drive change and progress towards open platforms and greater competition. Apple’s new policy is a step in the wrong direction. We hope they listen to feedback on their proposed plan and work towards a more inclusive future for all.”

    This Tweet was in a response to Daniel Ek, CEO of Spotify, stating in part “While Apple has behaved badly for years, what they did yesterday represents a new low, even for them.” Microsoft and Spotify have long been vocal of Apple’s restrictive rules, and this time is no exception.

  • Friend of the blog Riley Testut recently joined 9to5Mac Overtime to discuss iOS 17.4’s new sideloading capabilities and support for “alternative app marketplaces” now that the March deadline for complying with the EU’s Digital Markets Act is drawing nearer. I highly recommend giving this a listen wherever you get your podcasts (or the embed above!)

    For those who don’t know, Riley Testut is the creator of both the Delta emulator and AltStore, the latter of which allows users to sideload apps onto their iOS devices with just an Apple ID associated with the free tier of the Apple Developer Program.

    I really don’t think 9to5Mac could have picked a better guest to talk about this with!

    (Disclosure: As mentioned, Riley Testut is a friend of the blog, has given me access to the TestFlight version of Delta, and is one of the people I look up to in the developer and tech communities! I honestly and truly consider him a mentor.)

  • First off: I want to be clear that I like Apple’s products. I have an iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and a Mac. I don’t always have my personal SIM in an iPhone, but I use the other three fairly regularly. I enjoy their approach to software design. But the fact of the matter is, their concerns about “security” fall flat. They shouldn’t be making those decisions for their users on whether or not they can install any app they want–the users should. I’m not saying open up the filesystem or anything, but allowing third-party app stores and even direct installing of apps isn’t a bad thing.

    And if users are concerned about security, they can just not install anything from third-parties. Including from the App Store, which Apple touts as this mega secure thing (we’ll come back to that point in a sec.)

    That said, David Heinemeier Hansson (DHH) writes (emphasis mine):

    “[…] let’s take Meta as a good example. Their Instagram app alone is used by over 300 million people in Europe. Let’s just say for easy math there’s 250 million of those in the EU. In order to distribute Instagram on, say, a new Microsoft iOS App Store, Meta would have to pay Apple $11,277,174 PER MONTH(!!!) as a “Core Technology Fee”. That’s $135 MILLION DOLLARS per year. Just for the privilege of putting Instagram into a competing store. No fee if they stay in Apple’s App Store exclusively.

    DHH and I don’t always see eye-to-eye–who does?–but this is something I can absolutely rally behind him on. I’m not an EU resident, nor an expert in US or EU law, so take what I say with a grain of salt from here on out.

    Like DHH said in the title of his post, it’s an “extortion regime”–and I’d take it one step further to say it’s literally two giant middle fingers raised directly at the EU Parliament, who passed the Digital Markets Act not that long ago. It’s no secret that Apple makes a shit ton of money from the App Store, and for the EU to say “you can’t do that anymore here” literally hurts their wallet.

    The thing is, Android has been open since the platform’s infancy, so it really hasn’t had this problem. Don’t want the Play Store? Install another store. Google doesn’t care. Samsung doesn’t care. It might warn you about installing from “unknown sources” or whatever, but it won’t hinder you. No matter what kind of device you have, you can install whatever you want on Android. No questions asked. Play Protect will scan things for malware, but it still won’t stop you.

    Apple, however, seems committed to not allowing anyone to do what they want with their mobile devices that cost upwards of $1,000 USD. On the Mac, however? It’s a different story. Install what you want, no problem. It’s really absurd to me and I don’t fully understand why this hasn’t been taken up by regulators until now.

    Watching Apple list a bunch of requirements for “alternative app marketplaces” to even exist on iOS with their proposed rules seems like it’s the most bad faith attempt to comply with any law ever.

    iOS is one of the most secure platforms out there. My friend and fellow tech enthusiast ChiefGyk3D said in a mention to me on Mastodon that “stock ios [sic] is way more private” than Android is judging by his firewall logs. That’s not because of the App Store lock down. Remember how I said we’d come back to the whole “even third-party apps from the App Store are insecure” thing? Well, my friends at Mysk discovered a huge privacy-invading tactic that apps like TikTok use to collect your data every time they send a notification on iOS, too. (Oh, and their discovery has since made international headlines, so hats off to you guys if you’re reading this!)

    My point is, iOS’s leg up in security doesn’t come from being locked into the App Store. It comes from Apple’s own development and PR investments. The platform can still be cracked and exploited–that’s why jailbreaks are still popular to this day. There are ways around Apple’s own third-party app installation restrictions, too, that I won’t name here. You can find them with a Google search if you’re interested.

    The truth is, these rules Apple set forth this past week are preliminary and haven’t been approved. They probably won’t even go into play, and they’ll be forced to drop and tweak some things. I hope to God that they’re not accepted and they don’t move forward, for the sake of everyone involved. Apple is simply moving the “Apple Tax” they collect from the App Store over to this new “Core Technology Fee” of theirs, and then adding another shit ton on top of that. It’s a scare tactic, plain-and-simple, to keep people in their storefront and no-one else’s. They just want to make more money off this legislation, because again, it hurts their wallets. They cannot (and should not) be allowed to.

    And by the way–regardless of what their excellent PR team wants you to think–they’re kind of lying to you about some of this. I was always taught there are two sides to every argument, they’re just litigating their side in the court of public opinion instead of where it belongs. They have a lot of evangelists dedicated to their brand who won’t see why this is such a big deal, and why Apple is in the wrong. They’re using them against the EU right now.

    The law is clear, the EU shouldn’t accept this attempt at extortion. Apple must be put in their place once and for all.