Apple’s App Store that determines which apps users can download to their iPhones and has been the target of criticism from everyone from Elon Musk to Mark Zuckerberg is giving up some of its power.
The company is going to loosen its control over iPhones and iPads by allowing users in Europe to “sideload” apps through independent, third-party app stores, according to a Bloomberg report on Tuesday, citing unnamed sources.
If Apple goes through with it, it would mark a major change in the company’s business practices and a surprising concession to European market regulators, who have been passing new laws to curb the power of tech giants like Apple.
Elon Musk publicly attacked Apple’s App Store policies, which give Apple sole control over the apps users can download to their devices, unlike Android, which lets users download apps to their devices . Is. Allows sideloading and requires companies to pay for it.
Apple generates up to 30% of its revenue through its iPhone apps. Elon Musk later claimed that he met with Apple CEO Tim Cook and cleared up “misunderstandings” about Apple possibly removing Twitter from its App Store.
Apple’s potential change to Apple’s App Store rules in Europe is not the result of pressure from the world’s second-richest man, but from EU authorities and the EU Digital Market Act, which will take effect in months, aimed at digital To make the platform more accessible.
This will give users more leeway to change default settings, as in the case of Apple, allowing in-app purchases without taking a part of the payment. Apple engineers and service staff are working on changes that will open up the iPhone and iPad software to apps originating from third-party app stores, according to Bloomberg, with changes planned for next year with iOS 17.
It’s unclear whether the changes will only be available in the European Union or whether Apple may eventually open up its App Store rules worldwide. Apple has long opposed allowing users to sideload apps, arguing that its role as gatekeeper was necessary for security.
Apple did not return Fortune’s request for comment. Apps ranging from Match Group’s Tinder and Hinge to Spotify are currently under commission from Apple. According to Sensor Tower data cited by Reuters, nearly $10 billion in transactions went through the App Store alone last year.
The European Union has threatened to fine companies up to 20% of their annual global revenue for DMA breaches, which could be up to $80 billion for Apple. Companies will have to comply with DMA by 2024.
It could also be Apple’s plan to move App Store sales to Microsoft Meta Platforms and other platforms like Amazon.com. According to Bloomberg, Apple is reportedly working on other changes, including adding features on its devices that allow access to third-party apps.
This isn’t the first instance Apple has gone out of its way to follow the EU. Apple announced that it is testing a USB-C connector instead of the Lightning connector for the next-generation iPhone in 2023.