First Alternative App Store for iPhone Set to Open in the European Union

Setapp, one of the first third-party iOS app stores, is gearing up for its imminent opening in the European Union by MacPaw, a software development company. Currently in beta testing, the market is set to officially launch in April, offering a subscription to a “carefully curated selection of apps.”

Presently, Setapp is only available on macOS and offers access to over 230 third-party applications for a subscription of $10 a month. The app store features a variety of business, design, utility, and productivity-boosting apps. These include music software n-Track Studio, project planner MindNode, and productivity toolbox Session.

The iOS version of Setapp will offer similar business, design, and productivity software, among others. While the subscription price for Setapp iOS is yet to be determined, the Product Marketing Manager at MacPaw, Yaroslav Stepanenko, confirmed that the rates will be “adapted to standard subscription pricing models”. Those interested in trying out the new iOS app store can add their contacts to the waiting list on the Setapp website.

Setapp offers a unique approach by making all apps available through a single monthly subscription service. “We are paving a new way in the software industry towards a better and more diverse app ecosystem,” says Alexander Kosovan, CEO of MacPaw. “We meticulously curate our collection, ensuring that each app, each feature, and each update aligns with our philosophy of meaningful efficiency.”

While Apple’s policy previously prohibited third-party app marketplaces on iPhone, the company had to allow their usage to align with the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA). Similar to third-party macOS products, any app distributed through an alternate store must undergo Apple’s screening process.

However, the future of third-party app stores in the EU remains uncertain. Many developers may be reluctant to host their apps on alternative platforms. New rules mandate a “basic technology” fee of 50 EUR cents per app installation once the total downloads hit 1 million per year, which could impact popular freemium apps heavily.

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