How Japan’s New Regulation Could Change the Game for Apple: Sideloading Requirements

Apple is facing new legal requirements in Europe and Japan. The digital Markets Act antitrust law passed in the European Union is requiring Apple to allow users in Europe to install iOS apps outside the App Store by March 2024. This means that Apple will have to let users in Europe install iOS apps from other sources, not just the App Store.

Similar demands could soon be imposed on Apple in Japan, as the Japanese regulator is preparing antitrust legislation that will require big tech companies like Apple to allow third-party app stores and alternative payment methods for any apps. This means that Apple may also have to allow sideloading in iOS in Japan, allowing users to install apps from other sources.

The legislation is expected to be sent to parliament next year, and if approved, the Japan Fair Trade Commission will be able to impose fines on companies that violate the new legislation. The move comes after a study concluded that the mobile app market is dominated by Apple and Google in Japan.

This new legislation in Japan is very similar to the European Union’s Digital Markets Act, which requires Apple to allow developers to distribute their iOS apps outside the App Store and allows third-party apps to use third-party payment platforms for in-app purchases.

While Apple has been working under the hood to enable sideloading in iOS in regions where the company is forced to do so, the company has no plans to make sideloading available to everyone. Apple’s vice president of software engineering, Craig Federighi, has acknowledged that Apple will have to comply with European Union legislation, but Apple executives have also taken a stand against sideloading, arguing that distributing apps outside the app store would be dangerous for users.

With the pressure mounting on Apple from both Europe and Japan, the tech giant will have to find a way to adapt to these new legal requirements and continue to serve its users in these regions.