Japan Passes Law Requiring Apple to Allow Third-Party App Stores on iPhones

The Japanese Parliament has passed a new antitrust law that curtails the powers of big tech companies such as Apple and Google in the mobile app market. The law mandates technological giants to allow third-party developers to sell and distribute their software products via alternative app stores on iOS and Android platforms.

Additionally, the newly passed law prevents tech giants from restricting developers in their choice of payment platforms for their apps. Indicating that developers can now opt to use payment systems of their choice, instead of being bound to Apple and Google’s platforms as previously dictated, reported 9to5mac.com.

The law also prohibits companies from favoring their services in search results, ensuring an even playing field for all market participants. Violation of this law results in serious penalties for companies—up to 20% of the service’s internal revenue that infringed on rights. Should the company persist in anticompetitive practices, the fine will escalate to 30%.

Earlier this year, Apple announced similar changes for iOS users in the European Union following the implementation of a comparable antitrust law— the Digital Markets Act (DMA). It now enables Japanese iPhone and Android users to download apps through alternative platforms or directly from developers’ sites, albeit with several Apple and Google-induced restrictions still applicable.

The law is anticipated to come into effect by late 2025, providing Apple and Google ample time to make necessary adjustments to their mobile operating systems and app stores. The enactment of this law aims to curtail monopolization by tech giants and foster fair competition in the mobile app market, which is expected to unlock more opportunities for developers and offer a wider range of choices for users.

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