There have been lots of developments in making third-party app stores and payment systems more viable for iOS and Android devices in the last few months. Today, a new report claims that the government of Japan is planning to submit a proposal that could cause more app stores to launch for those products.
The Japanese news outlet Nikkei (via “Gamesfray” on X) says that the government will submit its law proposal to the Diet, the nation’s national legislature, sometime in 2024. It stated (translated):
The government will prevent companies that provide smartphone operating systems from monopolizing app store operations and payment systems (and) encourage competition with other companies in the areas of smartphone app distribution and payment systems.
The country’s Fair Trade Commission will be in charge of enforcing this new law if it is passed, according to the report.
If the Japanese Diet passes such a law, it will continue a recent trend of governments forcing companies like Google and Apple to open up their platforms to more app stores. Earlier this month, Google agreed to a $700 settlement to all 50 US states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. As part of the settlement, Google agreed to make the process of sideloading apps on Android easier and also to allow alternative billing for apps as well.
Apple is also under the gun in the European Union to allow the sideloading of apps on iOS. The EU passed the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which officially went into effect in 2022. The law forces so-called “gatekeeper-like companies,” including Apple, to open up their operating systems to third parties.
Apple must comply with the DMA by March 4, 2024. A recent report claimed Apple would allow iPhone and iPad users in Europe to sideload apps on those devices sometime in early 2024 before the DMA deadline. Microsoft is also working on a third-party gaming-themed mobile app store, but its current status is unknown.