The new antitrust legislation demands that every platform permit the distribution of apps through other digital stores, a mandate which will significantly impact Apple. Meta is among the most invested companies in this shift.
According to The Verge, a spokesperson from Meta has expressed the company’s interest in assisting developers in disseminating their apps via the Facebook app. The goal is to allow users to locate and download apps straight from Facebook, eliminating the need to access the App Store on iOS or the Google Play Store on Android.
Such a development could create a new market for Meta, which has been grappling with challenges since Apple tightened restrictions on app user tracking. As Meta primarily earns from advertisements, this change has severely affected their business model.
Currently, Facebook Ads allows app promotions, but users need to be rerouted to the respective app stores for each operating system. By offering apps directly from Facebook, Meta expects a larger number of app downloads, potentially benefiting both developers and the platform.
However, the practicality of this strategy on iOS remains uncertain as Apple has yet to announce sideloading. On Android, sideloading is already possible, but apps distributed through the Play Store are still subject to numerous regulations.
In an attempt to enhance the appeal of its new platform, Meta stated it won’t initially take a cut from the sales of apps available on its platform.
The Digital Markets Act is anticipated to be enforced by Spring 2024. The legislation will compel Apple to allow developers to distribute their apps outside the App Store on iOS, which also means developers could create their own app stores for iPhone and iPad. This is an opportunity that not only Meta, but also Microsoft intends to leverage.
The Act also prohibits companies from obliging developers to utilize their own payment systems, an existing requirement by both Apple and Google for developers distributing apps via the App Store and Google Play.
Although rumors circulated about Apple enabling sideloading with iOS 17, there has been no official announcement. It seems likely that Apple will delay these changes until absolutely necessary, and it’s improbable that sideloading will be available in countries outside the European Union.
However, Apple’s senior vice president of software, Craig Federighi, has affirmed that Apple will abide by the decisions of the European Union.