Apple is gearing up to allow outside app stores on its iPhones and iPads—a move that reverses the company’s long-held stance—to comply with E.U. legislation by 2024, reported Bloomberg. This would allow developers to sidestep Apple’s 30 percent charge for purchases on apps that comes from its App Store.
For 15 years, Apple’s App Store acted as a gatekeeper for apps on the company’s devices. Elon Musk, Twitter’s new owner, criticized Apple earlier this year for its fees, saying on Twitter they were “10 times higher than it should be.” If Apple makes the change, device users would be able to download apps and software from third-parties, a practice called sideloading, which would create more opportunities for developers.
Apple has defended its approach as a means of keeping its devices safe.
“Sideloading is a cyber criminal’s best friend and requiring that on iPhone would be a gold rush for the malware industry,” Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president, said last year.
Apple did not comment on Bloomberg’s story. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The move responds to the E.U.’s Digital Markets Act, which seeks to ensure open markets online. The change would only be implemented in Europe, and Apple will have to fall in line by March 2024.