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    Apple allows iPhone apps from the web

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    Tech company bows to the EU
    Apple allows iPhone apps from the web

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    Revolution on the iPhone: From spring onwards, users will no longer have to visit the App Store to install an application. Apple is grudgingly bowing to criticism from app developers, but also to new EU regulations.

    In the future, Apple will allow applications to be installed outside of app stores on the iPhone. In the future, developers will be able to distribute their apps directly from websites, the company announces. The tech group is responding to criticism from the EU Commission and affected developers who are demanding that Apple open the software market for the iPhone even further.

    Currently, iPhone users can only install applications from Apple's App Store. The company justified the closed system primarily with safety concerns, which are greater with external installations. According to the legal requirements of the new EU law for digital markets (Digital Markets Act, DMA for short), large and dominant providers, so-called gatekeepers, must now allow app stores from other providers. This includes Apple. The group then approved other marketplaces at the beginning of February, but blocked direct installation from the web.

    With the new web option, Apple does not completely release the software distribution. The company emphasizes that all apps must meet certain criteria and commit to ongoing requirements that serve to protect users. At the same time, he reiterates that the DMA's specifications are viewed critically. Sales over the Internet expose users to even more risks than alternative marketplaces, which must be eliminated.

    Two changes apply immediately

    While the new installation option is set to roll out later this spring, two other changes are effective immediately. For one, Apple is loosening its control over the way developers can promote alternative payment methods and special promotions within the app. Until now, Apple had provided sample formulations and design templates that many developers found to be deterrent warnings. In the future, app providers would have the opportunity to adapt the language and design of the links for promotions and offers to their own ideas.

    A minor change to the app guidelines also stipulates that alternative marketplaces can offer a catalog of apps that come exclusively from the marketplace developer. That wasn't possible before.

    Last week, Apple allowed developers to switch from the new conditions with more options back to the previous model with sales only via the company's own app store. However, this is only possible once – and only as long as the developers do not currently sell their apps via alternative marketplaces.

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