Following the recent passing of the Digital Markets Act antitrust law in the European Union, Japan is now being viewed as the next potential arena where tech giants such as Apple and Google may face new challenges. According to an article by Nikkei Asia on Tuesday, the Japanese regulatory body is preparing to implement its own antitrust legislation, taking inspiration from the EU’s approach. This legislation would require major tech companies to permit third-party app stores and alternative payment methods for apps, ultimately advocating for sideloading on iOS.
Next year, the Japanese parliament is expected to introduce a new legislation that will center around four main aspects: app stores and payments, search, browsers, and operating systems. If this legislation gets approved, it will grant the Japan Fair Trade Commission the power to levy fines on companies that violate these fresh regulations. This development will usher in a significant transformation in the way these tech giants conduct their operations within the Japanese market. More specific information regarding this matter is projected to be unveiled by spring 2024.
This action by Japan is in line with a worldwide trend where regulators are closely examining the market domination of corporations such as Apple and Google in the mobile app space. Due to antitrust concerns, the Japanese government launched investigations into key tech companies in 2020, including Google, Apple, Amazon, and Facebook. New laws were created as a result of the Japanese regulator’s 2023 study, which found that Apple and Google control the majority of the mobile app market.
The proposed Japanese antitrust legislation closely mirrors the EU’s Digital Markets Act, aiming to break the duopoly of Apple and Google. If enacted, Japanese companies would be permitted to establish their own app stores on platforms like iOS and Android, while developers could opt for payment systems from local fintech providers, potentially reducing fees.
While Apple has been making adjustments to enable sideloading in regions where it is legally obligated to do so, the company remains resistant to making it a universal feature. Apple executives, including Craig Federighi, have expressed concerns about sideloading, citing potential risks to user safety. As the deadline approaches, the global tech landscape may witness further shifts as countries worldwide consider similar legislation to curb the dominance of tech behemoths.