Smartphones: Apple may make certain Mauritius apps pay

A new EU law coming into force in March 2024 will impact iPhone apps. If Apple were to generalize these changes across all markets, Mauritius apps could become paid.

The impasse between the technology giant, Apple, and the European Union (EU) continues, and it is consumers and application creators, including Mauritians, who may pay the consequences. Apple first had to comply with an EU-first directive that required the use of the USB-C charger on all its devices. Historically, the Apple brand has always preferred connectivity developed internally and used only on its devices.

From now on, the American company must comply with the new Digital Market Act (DMA) that comes into force in the EU in March 2024. This law requires, among other things, that it authorize third-party application stores on its smartphones. Until now, developers had no choice but to distribute their programs on the App Store. Apple earns up to 30% commission on purchases made in apps. Developers will now be able to go through other stores to reach iPhone owners. However, to make up for the shortfall, Apple will tax 0.50 euros, or approximately 24 rupees, for each download of an application downloaded more than a million times.

This new fee could have consequences for applications and their developers around the world and therefore also here in Mauritius, according to Bruno Bernard, Software Consultant. “If Apple maintains this system, two things could happen. Either local developers will no longer be able to deploy their apps to iPhones, or they will have to make their previously free apps paid for. For example, mobile payment apps such as Juice, my.t money, Blink and pop, which are free, will be paid, costing Rs 24 per month if installed more than a million times. This will eliminate local apps with more than a million installs. However, demanding payment for applications in Mauritius would put them in difficulties, because we are not used to paying for them”, comments Bruno Bernard, speaking to Défi Plus.

The latter explains that it is complex to know if an application has been downloaded a million times, as the App Store does not display this data. He adds that it is unclear at this stage whether Mauritius will be affected by this change in Apple policy or whether it will only affect users and developers in the EU. Apple has not yet clarified this information.

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