Spotify, Epic Games, and Others Argue Apple's App Store Changes Do Not Comply With DMA

Spotify, Epic Games, Deezer, Paddle, and several other developers and EU associations today sent a joint letter to the European Commission to complain about Apple's "proposed scheme for compliance" with the Digital Markets Act (DMA).

App Store Unfair Feature 2
The 34 companies and associations do not believe Apple's plans "meet the law's requirements." Apple's changes "disregard both the spirit and letter of the law" and if left unchanged, will "make a mockery of the DMA," according to the letter. Several specific components of Apple's plan are highlighted, including the Core Technology Fee, the Notarization process, and the terms that developers must accept.

  • Apple's requirement to stay with the current App Store terms or opt in to new terms provides developers with "an unworkable choice" that adds complexity and confusion. The letter suggests that neither option is DMA compliant and would "consolidate Apple's stronghold over digital markets."
  • The Core Technology Fee and transaction fees will hamper competition and will prevent developers from agreeing to the "unjust terms."
  • Apple is using "unfounded privacy and security concerns" to limit user choice. The "scare screens" that Apple plans to show users will "mislead and degrade the user experience."
  • Apple is not allowing sideloading, and it is making the installation and use of new app stores "difficult, risky and financially unattractive for developers."

The companies and associations are urging the European Union to take "swift, timely and decisive action against Apple." The way the European Commission responds to Apple's proposal "will serve as a litmus test of the DMA and whether it can deliver for Europe's citizens and economy."

Apple is required to comply with the Digital Markets Act by March 7, and the app ecosystem changes baked are baked in to iOS 17.4. We are expecting to see iOS 17.4 released early next week, and that is when alternative app marketplaces, alternative payment methods, and the new terms that Apple has designed for developers will go into effect.

In support of the changes that it is implementing, Apple today published a whitepaper outlining the risks that it is attempting to mitigate with the Notarization process and other requirements alternative app marketplaces and the apps installed through those marketplaces must submit to.

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Top Rated Comments

MrTemple Avatar
20 weeks ago
"Core Technology" There it is. Put up or shut up. Either STOP USING Apple's developers' work, or PAY FOR IT. ?‍♂️

iOS dev here who literally could never make a penny without standing on the shoulders of thousands of Apple iOS devs, who’ve put in uncountable years of effort into areas I basically have zero experience or expertise in. ?

Most people claiming Apple's cut is unearned don’t know what “import Foundation” does at the top of literally every iOS code file in literally every AppStore app. (Hint: It's not necessary to get an app into the App Store!)

Ditto for:

import UIKit
import SwiftUI
import CryptoKit
Button()
let task = URLSession.shared.dataTask(with: session)
etc, etc, etc…

Literally ? of iOS apps use code written by Apple to do a staggering amount of their work.

ZERO apps roll their own custom code instead of using the mountain of frameworks and APIs that Apple has built and perfected (complete with expected features like free dark mode, rotation, language, compat across device, accessibility size, backgrounding, persistence, etc, etc, etc features).

ZERO apps do this because it would cost 10-20x as much to develop, and nobody would pay for the lesser experience.

Even the simplest app would take literal years more development, and STILL not achieve anything close to feature parity by dropping in Apple’s code with zero effort.

Oh, and when iOS updates with new features, or a new style? INSTANTLY that app needs massive work to retain feature parity with other apps that did zero work to match style or make use of many new features. (Sometimes a TEENY bit of work to make a huge new feature work if you want.)

Show me an app developer who doesn’t lean HEAVILY on Apple’s developers’ work, and I’ll show you somebody who gets to talk about the “outrageous” price Apple charges for their work. ?
Score: 117 Votes (Like | Disagree)
till Avatar
20 weeks ago
Paying a yearly per-user fee just to run an app marketplace is straight up insane, it's blatantly anti-competitive and there's no chance it will survive regulatory scrutiny.

The other provisions are a little more fuzzy, and I wouldn't be shocked if they mostly survive intact.
Score: 59 Votes (Like | Disagree)
turbineseaplane Avatar
20 weeks ago
2024 Apple gives me major "late 90's Microsoft" vibes

...but worse
Score: 51 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheLisnakFactor Avatar
20 weeks ago

"Core Technology" There it is. Put up or shut up. Either STOP USING Apple's developers' work, or PAY FOR IT. ?‍♂️

iOS dev here who literally could never make a penny without standing on the shoulders of thousands of Apple iOS devs, who’ve put in uncountable years of effort into areas I basically have zero experience or expertise in. ?

Most people claiming Apple's cut is unearned don’t know what “import Foundation” does at the top of literally every iOS code file in literally every AppStore app.

Let alone:

import UIKit
import SwiftUI
import CryptoKit
Button()
let task = URLSession.shared.dataTask(with: session)
etc, etc, etc…

Literally ? of iOS apps use code written by Apple to do a staggering amount of their work.

ZERO apps roll their own custom code instead of using the mountain of frameworks and APIs that Apple has built and perfected (complete with expected features like free dark mode, rotation, language, compat across device, accessibility size, backgrounding, persistence, etc, etc, etc features).

ZERO apps do this because it would cost 10-20x as much to develop, and nobody would pay for the lesser experience.

Even the simplest app would take literal years more development, and STILL not achieve anything close to feature parity by dropping in Apple’s code with zero effort.

Oh, and when iOS updates with new features, or a new style? INSTANTLY that app needs massive work to retain feature parity with other apps that did zero work to match style or make use of many new features. (Sometimes a TEENY bit of work to make a huge new feature work if you want.)

Show me an app developer who doesn’t lean HEAVILY on Apple’s developers’ work, and I’ll show you somebody who gets to talk about the “outrageous” price Apple charges for their work. ?
This is amazing perspective. Absolutely perfect. Couldn’t have said it better.

People need to comprehend this.
Score: 44 Votes (Like | Disagree)
thejadedmonkey Avatar
20 weeks ago
Good. What Apple is trying to do is unacceptable.
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheLisnakFactor Avatar
20 weeks ago
This makes me love and trust Apple more and more. It’s their iPhone. People buy their iPhone knowing what they get. They could always not an iPhone. Tough **** to these developers. I hope they lose and the EU stays out of it.
Score: 33 Votes (Like | Disagree)