Japan is the latest country where Apple and Google may face new regulations on how they run their mobile app stores.
The Japan Times reported that both companies will be required to allow their users to download apps from other app stores. While Google has long allowed rival app stores to be installed on Android smartphones, Apple has resisted any such move.
The new regulations will also require the app store owners to allow their users to pay for content and services using payment systems other than their own, and bars them from giving their own services (e.g. Apple Music or YouTube Music) priority in their app stores’ search results.
All of this will be music to the ears of companies including Spotify and Epic Games, who have been lobbying hard for Apple in particular to be forced to loosen its rules and restrictions.
Japan has been a focus for this pressure before. In 2021 an investigation by the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) closed after Apple announced changes to allow ‘reader apps’ (including music services) to provide links within their apps for people to register and manage accounts directly on their websites.