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Japan plans to fine Apple over app stores and force sideloading

An Apple Store in Japan

Last updated

Japan is preparing regulations that will force Apple and Google to allow alternative App Stores, and impose fines on both for antitrust issues regarding OS market share and preferential search results.

The planned laws follow Japan's previous moves to require Apple to allow third-party app stores — and Apple's attempts to argue against the plan.

According to Nikkei Asia, if proposed regulations are passed by the country's parliament in 2024, the Japanese Fair Trade Commission (FTC) will be allowed to fine firms up to 6% of revenue earned from activities contravening the laws.

No further details regarding App Stores have been decided yet. There is little further information about the rest of the FTC's focusing on browsers, search, and also operating systems.

However, the intention behind focusing on search is to prevent firms such as Apple or Google giving preferential treatment to their own services or products.

While not confirmed, it's likely that the new regulations will also cover the Japanese government's concerns about gathering taxes from developers. In November 2023, it was reported that since it has been difficult to tax app developers based outside Japan, the government was considering taxing Apple and Google directly.

Assuming parliament passes the laws, it will then be the Japanese government that determines which firms any or all of its legislation will apply to. Nikkei Asia says it's the laws are expected to be applied to multinational firms, and not to Japanese ones.

Apple has not commented on this latest move by Japan.