Apple Inc is preparing to allow alternative app stores and side-loading on iOS. The software engineering and services department are engaged in this major push to open up key elements of Apple’s platforms, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.
As part of the changes, customers could ultimately download third-party software to their iPhones and iPads without using the company’s App Store, sidestepping Apple’s restrictions and the 30% commission it imposes on in-app payments, the report added.
This move comes as a response to EU laws that are aimed at leveling the playing field for third-party developers and improving the digital lives of consumers.
“If similar laws are passed in additional countries, Apple’s project could lay the groundwork for other regions,” the report added citing sources who asked not to be identified because the work is private. But the company’s changes are designed initially to just go into effect in Europe, the report further added.
Apple is bound to follow the legislation passed by the European Union as it requires technology companies with market valuations of at least $80 billion and a minimum of 45 million monthly users within the EU.
The EU has passed legislation to allow the installation of third-party apps and let users more easily change default settings. The rules under the legislation demand that messaging services work together and that outside developers get equal access to core features within apps and services.
The deadline to meet the changes suggested by the EU is the end of 2024.
Apple also is working to open more of its private application programming interfaces, or APIs, to third-party apps. Those are the underlying frameworks that allow apps and features to interact with Apple’s hardware and core system functions, the report added.
Currently, third-party web browsers, including ones like Chrome from Alphabet Inc.’s Google, are required to use WebKit, Apple’s Safari browsing engine. Under the plan to meet the new law, Apple is considering removing that mandate.
These changes would be a part of the legislation that has mandated Apple to adopt the USB-C type charging port.