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EU law could force Apple to allow sideloading of third-party apps

Under the new Digital Markets Act, Apple may be forced to allow sideloading on Apple devices, as well as allowing third-party payment options.

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A major bill being considered in the European Union could have a massive effect on ongoing matters of contention at Apple, including the ban of Fortnite and the effort to force app developers to use payment methods that run through Apple services. The Digital Markets Act is aimed at forcing Apple to allow third-party app stores, as well as being able to install apps from third-party sources (known commonly as sideloading).

The latest on the Digital Markets Act was shared in recent reporting by The Verge. The goal of the bill, as shared by European Commission spokesperson Johannes Bahrke, is to put the put control of Apple devices more in the hands of the customer who purchases them.

“We believe that the owner of a smartphone should have the freedom to choose how to use it,” Bahrke said. “This freedom includes being able to opt for alternative sources of apps on your smartphone. With the DMA, a smartphone owner would still be able to enjoy safe and secure services of the default app store on their smart phones. On top of that, if a user so chooses, the DMA would allow a smartphone owner to also opt for other safe app stores.”

Fortnite has been unavailable on iOS devices outside of things like NVIDIA's GeForce Now open beta. The Digital Markets Act could circumvent Apple's ban.
Fortnite has been unavailable on iOS devices outside of things like NVIDIA's GeForce Now open beta. The Digital Markets Act could circumvent Apple's ban.

The Digital Markets Act could mark a major twist in the ongoing legal contest between Apple and Epic Games. While the DMA is still a provision being considered to be signed into law, it could force Apple’s hand when it comes to bans of apps like Fortnite. Under the DMA, Epic Games could feasibly sideload Fortnite onto Apple devices beyond Apple’s control. While the recent US Epic Games vs Apple Case also saw an injunction against Apple that would keep it from punishing developers for third-party apps, the DMA would also ensure that developers have the freedom to put third-party stores on their apps regardless.

While the Digital Markets Act is still under review, it will be interesting to see if it passes as it could have a major effect on various Apple restrictions, including those tied to Epic Games and Fortnite. Stay tuned as we continue to watch for further updates.

Senior News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at tj.denzer@shacknews.com and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

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