Japan Passes Law to Allow Third-Party App Stores on the iPhone

New legislation in Japan requires Apple to allow third-party app stores and payment providers on the iPhone.

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The Japanese parliament has passed the Act on Promotion of Competition for Specified Smartphone Software, a law that compels Apple to allow access to third-party app stores and payment providers on devices that run iOS. The legislation, which was passed by Japan's upper house and will be enforced following Cabinet approval within the next eighteen months, seeks to curb the dominance of major tech firms like Apple in the smartphone market.

The law requires Apple to make several significant changes to its business practices. The company will have to permit third-party app stores on its devices, just like it does in the EU. App developers will be allowed to use third-party payment services. There are also provisions to allow users to change default settings via new choice screens during setup, such as for selecting a default browser.

Apple will be forbidden from giving its own services preferential treatment in search results without a justifiable reason. The law also prohibits the use of data acquired about competing software to benefit its own apps. Additionally, the law requires that third-party developers have access to the same features as Apple's own apps and services, such as NFC for contactless payments.

Failure to comply with these new regulations could lead to fines amounting to 20 percent of relevant turnover, with the figure increasing to 30 percent for repeat offenses. In a statement to The Verge, Apple said:

The Japanese government made a number of changes to the legislation that will help protect user privacy, data security, innovation, and our intellectual property. We will continue our engagement with the JFTC during the implementation period as we remain concerned about how the law will impact Japanese consumers and the secure and private iPhone experience our users have come to expect.

The law is expected to be fully implemented by the end of 2025. Epic Games has already announced plans to bring Fortnite and its game store platform to iOS in Japan by late 2025.

Japan's move follows a trend of international legislative efforts aimed at regulating the dominance of major tech companies. The European Union's Digital Markets Act (DMA) and the UK's Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill are similar initiatives designed to foster competition and prevent monopolistic practices. Various antitrust cases in the United States are also targeting similar issues.

Tag: Japan

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Top Rated Comments

brofkand Avatar
5 weeks ago
The house of cards is falling down...
Score: 39 Votes (Like | Disagree)
B4U Avatar
5 weeks ago
Meanwhile, in the same Japan...
Modding game console is illegal by saying it violates the work of the game companies, but they are compelling the smartphone companies to open up their work to outside.
hm...hypocrite much?
https://kotaku.com/game-modding-illegal-in-japan-punishable-by-prison-and-1831525943
Score: 33 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Xavier Avatar
5 weeks ago
Again, if you don't want to use an alternate app store, then don't. Having a choice? I think thats ok.
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
icanhazmac Avatar
5 weeks ago

Again, if you don't want to use an alternate app store, then don't. Having a choice? I think thats ok.
I can't believe people keep parroting this...

What happens when an app you already own decides to join the Epic, Microsoft, Meta, Amazon, Steam, etc store via an exclusive distribution agreement? Exclusive agreement meaning they will remove their app from the Apple store.

I will tell you... you will be forced to either abandon an app you already paid for or you will be forced to join another store. Soon users will have an app store account for all of the above which is yet another way for them to hoover your data.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Aoligei Avatar
5 weeks ago
Yes! Other hole in the walled garden.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
john123 Avatar
5 weeks ago

Oh my god! Other government intervention? When can governments just mind their own business? Let free market to decide! Big government at its finest, forcing its will to beloved corporation!

What government doesn’t understand is corporation is for its people, not for profit! Only Apple knows what is best for its users!

I hate this! Apple should get out of Japan ASAP, just like how they did in Europe, oh wait…
I legit can’t tell if this is sarcasm or not…
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)