AltStore to offer iPhone apps backed by Patreon in the EU

With the Digital Markets Act (DMA) in the EU, Apple was forced to allow developers to distribute their apps through alternative app stores (or App Marketplace) in member countries. However, these developers are required to pay Apple a Core Technology Fee after they reach a certain number of downloads. To make things easier for small developers, AltStore will offer Patreon-backed apps.

AltStore App Marketplace coming to EU users with Patreon integration

For those unfamiliar, AltStore is an alternative app store available for iOS long before DMA was a thing. However, for users in the EU, developer Riley Testut decided to launch AltStore as an official App Marketplace, following all the guidelines established by Apple under the DMA.

First, Apple said it will charge a Core Technology Fee, or CTF, of €0.50 per annual installation for apps that are popular enough to register more than one million downloads per year. However, this has worried small developers who may not have enough money to pay the fees if their apps become an overnight hit.

To help developers pay Apple’s fees and even monetize their apps, Testut told TechCrunch that apps can have custom integration with Patreon so that users can purchase them. For example, AltStore plans to soon make beta versions of Delta (a Nintendo emulator) and Clip (a clipboard manager) available to those who pay $3 a month through Patreon.

“This integration will create a new business model for apps that wouldn’t be permitted without the DMA coming into effect,” said Testut.

EU isn’t happy with Apple’s terms

However, one thing to keep in mind is that Apple may end up being forced to scrap the CTF. That’s because the EU Commission recently announced that it’s not satisfied with the changes Apple has made to comply with the DMA and will investigate the company for non-compliance.

When asked specifically about the risk of bankrupting small developers, Apple said that it’s “working on” improving its terms for developers in the EU. The company still has no plans to bring App Marketplaces to other countries unless required by law – which may end up happening soon in the US.

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Filipe Esposito