The US Department of Justice is getting closer to ruling on the antitrust case against Apple’s exclusive control over third-party iPhone apps. The investigations have been ongoing for years, and it looks like Apple may soon be forced to allow third-party app stores and/or sideloading in the US and Europe.
In Europe, the Digital Markets Act (DMA) has already been implemented, requiring Apple to permit competition in the iPhone app market. The company must comply by April of next year, and is expected to allow competing app stores on the iPhone.
The US Department of Justice has also been investigating the issue, and is close to reaching a conclusion. The head of the DOJ’s antitrust unit, Jonathan Kanter, has been vocal about bringing cases against major US companies, and the department is “firing on all cylinders” to reach a decision.
This could mean big changes for Apple, as Microsoft is expected to be one of the first companies to open a third-party app store for iOS apps. Major games companies are also likely to follow, as games account for around half of Apple’s App Store revenue.
Not only is Apple facing pressure in the US and Europe, but other countries, including Japan, are also preparing their own antitrust legislation to require big tech companies like Apple to allow third-party app stores and alternative payment methods for any apps.
With all this mounting global pressure, it is increasingly likely that Apple may decide to implement the changes globally, rather than being forced to make the move one country or region at a time.
The future of app stores and competition in the iPhone app market is on the brink of significant change, as regulators in multiple countries push for fairer practices from tech giants like Apple.