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Apple may allow alt app stores on iPhones, iPads to comply with EU requirements

Apple may soon allow third-party app stores on its iconic iPhones and iPads as part of a measure to comply with regulations from the European Union.

Apple employees in both software engineering and services are said to be working to open up the company’s platforms in a move that could let people download third-party software outside of the App Store and let companies avoid paying Apple commission rates up to as much as 30%.

Shares of several app-based companies, including Bumble and Match Group, which own several dating apps, turned positive on the report, rising nearly 2% and 8%, respectively. Swedish-based Spotify (SPOT), which has also complained about Apple’s commission rates, saw its shares rise 2.7% in mid-day trading.

Apple shares were fractionally higher heading toward the market close.

According to a report from Bloomberg, the changes are being led by Apple (AAPL) software engineering vice president Andreas Wendker, with Apple’s (AAPL) top engineering manager for services, Jeff Robbin, also involved. Apple (AAPL) has also reportedly discussed the idea of mandating certain safety requirements for third-party app stores, and taking a fee for potentially verifying the apps themselves.

Apple (AAPL) has not made a final decision on whether to comply with a component of the Digital Markets Act that would let developers allow third-party payment options inside their apps, Bloomberg reported.

Cupertino, California-based Apple may also open up other features for third-party apps, including camera technology, near-field communications chips and other apps, including iMessage and Messages and its Find My network.

Apple (AAPL) did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Seeking Alpha.

The move would mark a long reversal of Apple’s policies and be seen as a major win for the European Union and developers, many of whom have complained that Apple and Google, which also has its own app store, have taken commissions that are exorbitant.

The move is likely a response to Europe’s Digital Markets Act, which goes into effect in 2024 and could be adapted in part or in whole in other countries. For now, Apple’s (AAPL) move is designed to go into effect only in Europe, Bloomberg added.

On Tuesday, Apple (AAPL) announced it was expanding the availability of its Emergency SOS satellite feature on its iPhone 14 line, bringing the service to several countries in western Europe. SeekingAlpha

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