- Japan to introduce regulations forcing Apple to permit sideloading on iOS devices, breaking Apple's exclusive App Store access.
- In October last year, the EU legislation also asked Apple to allow sideloading on iPhones and iPads by March 2024.
- This move aims to provide users with more choice, enabling them to download apps from sources beyond Apple's controlled ecosystem.
As if the European Union was not enough, Japan is reportedly planning to enforce antitrust legislation requiring Apple to allow sideloading on its iPhones and iPads.
As per the Digital Markets Act passed in the EU, Apple has until March 2024 to let users in Europe install iOS apps from outside the App Store. While Apple hasn’t responded to the passed act yet, it is believed other countries around the globe will follow suit; with this news, Japan is the first one.
Japan’s New Regulations to Impact Apple’s App Store Policies
According to a report in Nikkei Asia on Tuesday, Japan’s regulatory bodies are said to be preparing an antitrust regulation that would require Apple and Google to allow users to download apps from sources beyond the confines of the official App Store and Play Store, along with an alternative payment method for the apps. This means iPhone and iPad users in Japan could soon have the liberty to access and install third-party apps, thus breaking away from Apple’s tightly controlled ecosystem.
The legislation is likely to be presented to the parliament in the next year. It focuses on four areas: app stores and payments, search, browsers, and operating systems. If passed, it is expected that the Japan Fair Trade Commission will be able to impose penalties for companies violating the new law. The details will be announced by spring 2024. Nikkei reports that the trade commission could impose penalties up to 6% of the revenue raked in from malpractices.
The move comes amidst growing global scrutiny of App Store practices, with concerns raised by regulators and developers alike about the monopolistic control exercised by the Cupertino tech giant over the respective app distribution platform. The ability to sideload applications would offer users more flexibility and choice, potentially fostering a more competitive app market.
It was expected that Apple would offer sideloading functionality in iOS 17 but there has been no announcement so far. Sideloading could potentially unlock a plethora of opportunities, allowing users to explore a wider array of applications beyond the confines of the App Store. While Apple has emphasized security over control through its closed ecosystem, this regulatory push prompts a critical examination of the balance between security measures and user freedom.
However, this move might also raise concerns about potential security risks and fragmentation in the iOS ecosystem. Striking the right balance between user empowerment will be crucial in this navigating shift.
And while the report is from a trusted source, we all will have to wait until next year for it to become true.