Digital Market Act vs Apple: Navigating Innovations and New Challenges

The essence of DMA and its Impact

The Digital Market Act attacks the monopoly of tech giants on their platforms. These businesses, often referred to as “gatekeepers,” control access and set the rules of the game in the digital economy.

The DMA is primarily aimed at online activities that are widely used and provided by major platforms. It defines ten “essential platform services”:

  1. Intermediation services (Marketplace, application store)
  2. Search engines
  3. Social networks
  4. Video sharing platforms
  5. Online messengers
  6. Operating systems (including smart TVs)
  7. Cloud
  8. Advertising services (advertising networks or exchanges)
  9. Web browsers
  10. Virtual assistants

Gatekeepers are defined by the following criteria:

  • To provide one or more of the essential platform services in at least three European countries.
  • Have an annual turnover in Europe of at least 7.5 billion euros over the last three years or a market capitalization of at least 75 billion euros during the last year.
  • Register a large number of users in the EU, more than 45 million Europeans per month and 10,000 professionals per year over the last three years.

The following obligations will be imposed on Gatekeepers:

  • Facilitate both unsubscribing and subscribing to the services of key platforms.
  • Allow the easy uninstallation of applications pre-installed on phones, computers or tablets.
  • Ensure the interoperability of the core functionalities of instant messaging services (such as Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger) with less powerful competitors.
  • Allow sellers to promote their products and enter into contracts with their customers outside of the platforms.
  • Offer sellers access to their marketing or advertising performance data on the platform.
  • Inform the European Commission of any acquisition or merger undertaken.

On the other hand, Gatekeepers will be prohibited from:

  • By default, pre-install major software (web browsers, search engines, virtual assistants) when installing their operating system, and should offer a screen of choice allowing you to select competing services.
  • Giving their own services and products an unfair advantage over those of sellers using their platform, or using sellers' data to compete with them.
  • Reuse users' personal data for targeted advertising without explicit consent.
  • Forcing application developers to use certain ancillary services, such as specific payment systems.

These rules must be implemented as of 6 March 2024. Android, which already allows the installation of applications via other sources (sideloading), should undergo fewer major changes. Additional details were provided in a statement issued on 17 January, which can be accessed via The Google blog.

On January 25th last, Apple for its part announced the major changes planned beginning in March that were not welcomed by the community with much enthusiasm. We summarize the situation for you in the rest of this BIL.

Marketplaces Alternatives

In summary

Apple introduces the possibility of having marketplaces alternative to the App Store. These marketplaces, which must be installed from their respective websites, will offer the possibility of installing other applications.


The main benefits of these alternative marketplaces include the ability to avoid App Store commissions (between 15 and 30% today), as well as increased control over user data and subscription management. This can provide developers and businesses with greater flexibility and autonomy.


In response to the DMA and these new obligations, Apple has made sure to make their implementation as complex as possible:

  • Technical and Operational Challenges: This includes issues of security, availability, and compliance with Apple's specific requirements.
  • “Poison Pills” for Marketplace maintainers:
  • A Core Technology Fee of $0.5 per “first annual installation” * from the first installation
  • A $1 million letter of credit may be required each year
  • “Poison Pills” for Major Players wishing to deploy their app via an alternative marketplace: A Core Technology Fee of $0.5 per “first annual installation” * from the millionth “first annual installation”
  • Complex Installation Procedure: The installation could require additional steps in the device settings, which could potentially reduce the conversion rate.
  • Distribution requirements: The marketplace must be able to authorize application distribution requests from all development teams.

In conclusion, while alternative marketplaces offer new opportunities, they also present significant challenges. It is critical for developers and businesses to carefully assess these pros and cons to optimize their application delivery strategy.


For our customers

  • Cost reduction : Significant savings by avoiding Apple's 30% commission on in-app purchases, particularly advantageous for those exempt from the Core Technology Fee (CTF), such as the French State.


  • Customer support : Assistance to customers for the deployment of applications on new marketplaces.
  • DevOps Innovation and the BAM Marketplace : Potential for developing open source DevOps tools and for exploring an exclusive BAM marketplace.

For the community

  • Creation of personalized marketplaces : Opportunity for communities to develop their own marketplaces, offering tailor-made services and a source of income via commissions.

Alternative Payment Service Providers (PSPs)

In summary

Apple now allows apps to choose alternative payment providers for in-app purchases, offering more flexibility and potentially significant savings.

Old and New Rates

Under the old conditions, applications were subject to an Apple commission of 15% for a turnover of less than 1 million euros, and 30% beyond, without the possibility of using an alternative PSP. With the new terms, the fees differ depending on whether the application is on the App Store or an alternative marketplace.

App StoreMarket Place AlternativeCore Technology Fee (CTF) $0.5 per “first annual installation” starting at $1 million0.5 per “first annual installation” starting at 1 MillionMarket Place Commission 10% (if CA < 1M) 17% (si CA > 1M) X% (defined by the market place) X% (defined by the market place) PSP Commission 3% for Storekit, Y% for an Alternatify% PSP Commission

For more information, you can consult the calculator provided by Apple or This simulation concocted by us.

Implementation Complexity

For international applications, implementation can be complex as Apple's in-app purchase APIs remain mandatory outside of the EU.


For our customers

Our customers can reduce Apple's commission costs on in-app purchases, especially when the revenue per user is high because it offsets the CTF.


We have the opportunity to support our customers in defining their payment strategy, taking into account the specificities of their business model and the new options available.

Alternative Browser Engines

In summary

Apple is paving the way for the use of browser engines other than WebKit, both in classic browsers and in browsers integrated into applications (in-app).

Impact and limitations

Currently, Apple is strengthening its investments in Safari/WebKit, with notable changes such as the support of web push notifications. However, restrictions remain:

  • Application limited to the European Union, and not global.
  • Restricted to iPhones, excluding iPads.
  • Uncertainty about the possibility for progressive web apps (PWAs) to use an alternative engine.


This openness to alternative browser engines suggests a gradual transition to web technologies on mobile, similar to what happened on desktop. Although this change is not imminent, it marks a step towards greater flexibility and technological diversity in the development of mobile applications.

Opening the NFC chip

In summary

Apple is expanding the possibilities of using the NFC chip on iOS, allowing a payment application other than Apple Pay to be set up as the default option. This openness could encourage the emergence of alternative wallets offered by players such as Visa, bank card groups, GAFAM, or even ambitious startups. Banks that have already developed payment applications on Android could now offer similar solutions on iOS.

Potential limitations

However, this openness is subject to potential restrictions:

  • Application limited to the European Union.
  • Possibility of having to choose entirely between the Apple wallet application and an alternative, with the potential loss of Apple Pay.
  • The announcement focuses on payment, leaving the impact on other NFC uses unclear.
  • Submission to new terms and a mandatory Core Technology Fee (CTF)?


For our customers

Banks may consider creating their own payment applications on iOS, similar to those available on Android, such as CIC Pay or Paylib. The objective would be to bypass the fees imposed by Apple on transactions while recovering user data related to their purchases.


This represents an opportunity for the development of new applications, whether in native iOS or in hybrid solutions.

Acceptance of the new terms

Apple's openness to alternatives in terms of payment service providers, browser engines, and the use of the NFC chip represents a major turning point for developers and businesses. However, to benefit from these innovations, it is essential to accept Apple's new terms and conditions. This commitment, while offering potential benefits, including a reduction in fees for some applications and the expansion of payment and browsing options, is irreversible and applies to the entire business account, not to individual applications.

It is crucial to carefully consider these changes.. For applications that make in-app purchases and are confident that they will not exceed one million first installations per year, accepting these terms may seem advantageous at first glance, with a minor but immediate reduction in commissions (from 15% to 13%). However, the decision to accept these terms should not be taken lightly. The long-term implications on business strategy, user management, and regulatory compliance need to be carefully evaluated.

First annual installation*: The installations considered to be “First annual installation” are listed here . Concretely: you must count on 1 first annual installation/year/user.

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