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Source: Apple official website


Game-Time Report/Game-Time has reported many times before that with the implementation of the “Digital Markets Act”, an important law in the EU’s Internet supervision field, Apple will be required to open third-party application markets and payment channels under the new regulatory framework.

Recently, Apple finally officially announced the new application market rules under the EU’s new policy, allowing third-party application markets and payment channels to enter the iOS ecosystem. This also means that the era of Apple solely guarding the iOS door has officially ended in the EU.

However, ecological openness is not unconditional. Apple stated that because “operating alternative application markets (third-party application markets) requires significant responsibility and supervision for user experience”, for the purpose of maintaining user experience standards, Apple will only authorize market developers who meet the conditions to enter, and will protect the Distribute third-party application markets on the premise of consumers and application developers.

After reading Apple’s documents, Game-Time briefly talked about how Apple deals with “iOS third-party app stores”. In general, Apple lowers the commission ratio for iOS three-party stores, users pay to Apple for user acquisition, it is difficult for users to obtain links, and APP and game restrictions. After this combination, the remaining value of the iOS three-party app store is a question mark. If Apple follows the example of mobile phone manufacturers in providing a “pop-up reminder” in the future, the value of the three-party store will be even lower.

1) To open an iOS third-party store in the EU, you must obtain permission from Apple, and Apple has many qualification requirements.

2) Apple itself has reduced the EU Apple Appstore distribution commission to 17% and iOS payment to 3%. Apple itself will start a price war, which is equivalent to the actual maximum commission of iOS third-party stores including payment of 20%, thus lowering the gross profit margin of third-party stores.

3) The Apple AppStore does not provide iOS third-party store APP distribution. Apple requires iOS third-party store APPs to be installed by users through web downloads. The web page installation link specified by Apple itself has thresholds and difficulties for users.

4) Each user of the iOS third-party store APP installs it once. Apple charges a CTF fee of 0.5 euros, and Apple APP requires notarization, which means that the iOS third-party store data is completely transparent in front of Apple.

5) Apps and games in the iOS third-party store must provide the only APP package with other stores. Apple means to treat stores including the Apple Appstore equally, which means that for APP developers, the vest package , It is not allowed to operate multiple packages of a game on different channels.

Let’s talk about it in detail:

For example, operators of third-party application markets need to be located in the EU and report to A-level companies such as Standard & Poor’s and Moody’ rating agencySubmit a standby letter of credit for €1 million. Apple also requires third-party app markets to commit to establishing detection mechanisms for app fraud, copyright infringement, and malware.

For application developers, Apple has also made requirements, saying that developers can only distribute the same version of an application among multiple application markets, and it must be verified by Apple. Under this requirement, the establishment of “channel services” may be affected.

While opening up the third-party application market and payment methods, Apple has also made a wave of important adjustments to its application sharing policy. Developers can choose to maintain the previous sharing policy or sign up to a new “alternative distribution terms.” Only developers who sign and agree to these terms can distribute third-party platforms.

In the future, if an app is distributed using the App Store and connected to a third-party payment system, the developer will need to pay Apple a 17% share (instead of the previous 30%). If the app is developed under the previous App Store Small Business Program Otherwise, the share ratio will be reduced to 10% (instead of the previous 15%).

If developers choose to connect to Apple’s payment system, the share ratio will be increased by 3% on the above basis.

It is worth noting that although the basic share ratio is lowered, under the new terms, Apple will charge an additional “Core Technology Fee” –In the future, applications with high traffic (more than 1 million downloads per year) will need to pay Apple a single fee of 0.5 euros based on the number of first downloads per year, regardless of whether the application is distributed based on the App Store or a third-party application market.In addition, downloads from the third-party application market itself will also be charged a core technology fee of 0.5 euros/first download/year.

Although Apple claims that only 1% of developers need to pay “core technology fees,” this policy may result in similar results to Unity’s installation charging policy, that is, hyper-casual/hybrid casual with high download volume and low ARPU The application business model will be severely hit-unless such application developers choose not to sign the new “alternative distribution terms” and insist on staying in the App Store.

The above are the key changes that Game-Time summarized after iOS opened the third-party market. Game-Time also excerpted some of the official terms released by Apple and compiled them here for readers’ reference:

What you need to know to get started with the alternative app market in the EU

Operating an alternative app marketplace requires significant responsibility for user experience and ongoing oversight, including establishing content guidelines and review processes, anti-fraud measures to prevent scams, transparent data collection policies, and the ability to manage payment disputes and chargebacks. In order to maintain user experience standards, Apple will use the “Alternative App Market Entitlement” (EU) to authorize app market developers to release specialized app market categories after meeting specific standards and committing to continuing to protect users and developers. iOS app.

Apple will provide new App Market technology to authorized App Market developers, allowing them to securely obtain apps from other Apple Developer Program members, allowing users to download and install App Market iOS apps from App Market developers’ websites, and integrating System functionality, backup and restore of user applications, and more.

Build an alternative app marketplace

The Alternative App Market consists of several technical components: an iOS App Market using the MarketplaceKit framework, a company website, and a server. The website provides a download button to install your App Store APP, which is downloaded from your server rather than installed through the App Store.

Apple will provide the new MarketplaceKit framework and APIs to authorized App Market developers:

  • Let them securely receive and retrieve notarized apps from Apple Developer Program members.
  • Allow users to download and install application market APPs from websites with authorized browsers.
  • Integrate with system functionality, backup and restore user applications, and more.

With the new App Store Connect distribution tool, developers can choose to be notified of updates to their apps, so you can provide users with important features like automatic app updates. More information about App Store Connect will be announced in February.

Users can install applications from websites owned by the App Market developer through the App Market developer’s permission in the iPhone’s “Settings”.

Request granted

If you are interested in becoming a developer on the Alternative App Market, your account holder who is a member of the Apple Developer Program will first need to agree to the EU. Once they agree, they can submit a development consent request.

To qualify, you must:

  • Join the Apple Developer Program as a registered organization in the EU (or an EU-registered affiliated legal entity listed in App Store Connect). The location associated with your legal entity is listed in your Apple Developer account.
  • Agree to develop an app with the primary purpose of discovering and promoting apps, including those of other developers.
  • Agree to the provision and publication of terms for the applications you will distribute, including terms regarding content and business model, and accept applications that comply with these terms.
  • Agree to publish a transparent data collection policy and give users control over how their data is collected and used.
  • Agree to comply with the laws of the jurisdiction in which you operate (e.g., Digital Services Act (DSA), General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)).
  • Agree to handle government and other requests to remove your app from alternative app markets.
  • Agree to participate in the ongoing monitoring and detection of fraudulent, malicious or illegal applications in your alternative application marketplace.
  • Agree to implement a mechanism for reviewing apps for intellectual property infringement before publishing them on your alternative app marketplace.
  • Agree to provide a process for handling intellectual property disputes related to your Alternative App Market or apps in your Alternative App Market.
  • Provide Apple with a standby letter of credit of 1 million euros issued by an A-rated (such as S&P, Fitch or Moody’s equivalent) financial institution to prove that it has sufficient financial means to ensure support for developers and users.

If your entitlement request is approved and the entitlement is assigned to your developer account, you can start building and testing your marketplace components.

Learn about payment, fees and tax policies

standby letter of credit

In order to establish sufficient financial means to ensure support for developers and users, App Market developers must provide Apple with a certificate issued by an A-rated (such as S&P, Fitch or Moody’s equivalent) financial institution before obtaining authorization. Standby letter of credit for €1 million. It needs to be updated automatically every year.

Core Technology Fee

The DMA requires Apple to support distribution and payment processing alternatives outside of the App Store. In order to reflect the value of Apple’s continued investment in developer tools, technology and program services for market developers, Apple has introduced core technology fees.

App Market developers need to pay €0.50 for the first annual install of their app. Apps included in the Apple Developer Program membership cannot be used in the App Market app on their first annual install.

App market developers and application apps that have obtained a fee exemption license do not need to pay this fee when distributing on alternative app markets.

fee waiver

App Market developers who are non-profit organizations, accredited educational institutions, or EU government entities are exempt from annual Apple Developer Program membership fees and core technology fees. This applies to app market developers and developers of other apps.

Please note that App Market developers with fee-waived licenses can only distribute apps from fee-waivered developers.


You are responsible for collecting, reporting and paying to the appropriate taxing authorities any required taxes on transactions conducted using your Alternative App Market.

Support developers and users

If you are approved, you will be responsible for protecting developers and users by publishing transparent data collection policies and giving users control over how their data is collected and used. If problems or difficulties arise, you need to provide prompt support. Apple will not be able to provide assistance with fraud, intellectual property disputes, payment disputes, or chargebacks.

(The above information comes from

Alternative payment methods for the EU App Market

To reflect the changes to the DMA, developers will provide alternative payment service providers and payment links for their apps published on the App Store in the EU. For EU apps published on the App Store for Apple operating systems (including iOS, iPadOS, macOS, tvOS and watchOS), developers have additional payment options for offering digital goods and services:

  • Payment Service Provider (PSP) – Developers use alternative payment processing platforms to allow users to complete transactions within their applications.
  • Link Purchase – Developers guide users to complete transactions for digital goods and services on their external web pages. The presentation of purchase links may communicate information about promotions, discounts and other deals to EU users.

To use these new payment options in an app, developers need to use the StoreKit External Purchases permission, the StoreKit External Purchase Links permission, or both. Developers do not need to submit separate binaries to use alternative payment processing.

EU-wide alternative distribution and payment terms

Apple is sharing new business terms for developer apps in the EU. Developers can choose to adopt these new business terms or continue to use Apple’s existing terms. Developers must adopt new business terms for EU apps to use new features for alternative distribution or payment processing.

Developers operating iOS apps in the EU can choose to distribute their iOS apps on the App Store and/or other app marketplaces. These developers can also choose other payment processing platforms in the EU App Store to support different Apple operating systems.

Within the EU, alternative commercial clauses for iOS apps have three main elements:

  • Reduced App Cuts – iOS apps on the App Store will take a 10% cut (for most developers, and subscriptions after the first year) or 17% off digital goods and services transactions, regardless of the payment system chosen. commission;
  • Payment Processing Fees – iOS apps on the App Store can use the App Store’s payment processing features for an additional 3% fee. Developers can use a payment service provider (PSP) in their apps or link users to a website to process payments at no additional cost to Apple;
  • Core Technology Fee——For high-traffic iOS apps distributed through the App Store and/or other app marketplaces, developers will pay €0.50 per year for each first-time annual install exceeding 1 million. Under the Alternative Business Terms for EU apps, Apple estimates that less than 1% of developers will pay core technology fees for their EU apps.

Under the current rules of the Apple Developer Program, developers registered as educational institutions, government agencies, or non-profit organizations do not need to pay core technology fees.

Developers of alternative app marketplaces will pay a core technology fee for the first annual install of their marketplace app, including those before reaching the 1 million threshold.

(The above information comes from

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