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Apple caves, EU developers will be able to sell apps directly from their websites

Apple updates how developers are affected by its EU DMA compliance

As part of further concessions to the European Union Digital Markets Act, Apple is now saying that developers don't need to fire up their own App Stores, and instead, they can sell apps directly from their websites later in the Spring.

Since Apple first announced how it would comply with the European Union's Digital Markets Act, it has faced criticism that led to a round of changes. The company has now announced further updates and changes that it says comes after feedback from developers in the EU.

The most significant change is that rather than creating a third-party marketplace on iOS, developers can sell their iPhone apps directly from their own websites.

"Web Distribution, available with a software update later this spring, will let authorized developers distribute their iOS apps to EU users directly from a website owned by the developer," said Apple. "Apple will provide authorized developers access to APIs that facilitate the distribution of their apps from the web, integrate with system functionality, back up and restore users' apps, and more."

Developers who wish to sell direct from their own websites must sign up for the same business terms that allow them to create a third-party marketplace on iOS. That means having been in the Apple Developer Program for two continuous years or more, and have an app that had more than a million first installs annually in the EU.

While not specifically mentioned in this latest announcement, presumably developers who do not reach this threshold will still require a standby letter of credit of valued at one million Euros or more.

Apps sold this way must also be notarized, and developers must comply with requirements regarding transparency over their private data collection.

This means that Apple will not do more than a minimum review of apps at the start, and potentially may not look at them again. It will not support users in refunds or any disputes, nor will it safeguard them against their data being misused.

Such developers will also have to follow local laws, and are responsible for working with governments if there should be a request to take down an app.

More DMA changes

Apple also announced that now "marketplaces can choose to offer a catalog of apps solely from the developer of the marketplace." So where the presumption was that rival app stores would offer a range of apps, developers can now elect to solely operate them as a kind of store front for their own apps.

Previously, Apple also required developers to use its own specific wording and templates when linking out to a purchases. Now those templates and wording are still available, and recommended, but Apple says they are optional.

"When directing users to complete a transaction for digital goods or services on an external webpage," says Apple, "developers can choose how to design promotions, discounts, and other deals."

Apple has detailed the eligibility for direct web distribution, plus details of its other changes, on its developer blog.