The European Union is tightening its grip on Apple and forcing the company to bow down to the continent’s laws. Apple was first obligated to ditch the Lightning port on its iPhones and switch to USB-C. The EU is also working to force Apple to allow for app sideloading on iOS.

To double down pressure on Apple, the European regulators subjected iMessage and App Store to interoperability rules under the Digital Markets Act (DMA). This means Apple should open iMessage to third-party messaging services and let users sideload apps. Last week, Google and Europe’s biggest carriers sent a letter to the European Union to call for the inclusion of iMessage as a gatekeeper, claiming the decision would “benefit European consumers and businesses.”

A report by Bloomberg now points out that Apple wants to appeal the inclusion of iMessage and App Store as a gatekeeper service. Apple formerly claimed iMessage is not big enough to be included in the list. The tech firm also wants to know which part of the App Store falls under the DMA rules.

The EU is looking to force Apple to open its eco-system for third-parties

The appeal request isn’t yet filed. The iPhone maker still has time until next Thursday, November 16, to appeal the decision.

The EU has requested Apple to comply with the rules by March 2024. Appealing to the decision won’t affect the deadline. As TechCrunch already reported, Apple’s Form 10-K filing reveals the company is considering changing the App Store business model. We’ve been hearing rumblings about iOS sideloading features for many years. But it might soon come true thanks to EU obligations.

Apple engineers were already spotted working on software changes for the iOS 17 release cycle that lets users sideload apps. It remains to be seen when Apple finally opens the iOS gates to third-party app stores.

It’s worth noting that interoperability rules only apply to Apple’s business in the EU. This means sideloading apps to iOS and opening up iMessage to third-party messaging apps might be exclusive to the EU customers. Apple could continue with its current business practices in the US, Asia, and the rest of the world. The lawmakers in the US might decide to force Apple to allow app sideloading in iOS if EU obligates the tech firm to do so.

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