Tech giant Meta, is gearing up to become an app store, as it is set to debut Facebook Ads that will let people in the EU download apps from the platform, without having to open the App Store or Google Play store.
By offering apps directly on Facebook, Meta believes that more people will end up downloading various apps, which it believes will bring positive results for both developers and the platform.
Through Meta’s ads, it will offer direct links for users to download any app, as the company has announced that it is reportedly working with Android Developers for its pilot launch this year. Android users will be able to install APks and sideload apps they download through their browsers.
A spokesperson for Meta, Tom Channick, confirmed the company’s plan to introduce app downloads through Facebook ads.
He said, “We’ve always been interested in helping developers distribute their apps, and new options would add more competition in this space. Developers deserve more ways to easily get their apps to the people that want them. We also reached out to Meta for confirmation and more details. Meta reportedly won’t be taking a cut from developers’ earnings and will allow them to use whatever billing system they want. For now, anyway. That could change as the service evolves if it ever gets past the pilot testing phase”.
Meta’s plan is coming after the European Union’s parliament in 2022, passed the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which is an antitrust legislation that will permit every platform to allow the distribution of apps through other digital stores.
The act which will go into effect in 2024, mandates that consumers must be able to download apps from competing app stores.
The DMA act rules that companies can’t force developers to use their payment systems, since both Apple and Google require this form of developers distributing apps through the App Store and Google Play.
It also established a list of do’s and don’t’s that gatekeepers will need to implement in their daily operations to ensure fair and open digital markets. These obligations will help to open up possibilities for companies to contest markets and challenge gatekeepers based on the merits of their products and services, giving them more space to innovate.
Also, when a gatekeeper engages in practices, such as favoring their services or preventing business users of their services from reaching consumers, this can prevent competition, leading to less innovation, lower quality, and higher prices.
Furthermore, when a gatekeeper engages in unfair practices, such as imposing unfair access conditions to their app store or preventing the installation of applications from other sources, consumers are likely to pay more or are effectively deprived of the benefits that alternative services might have brought.
Speaking on the DMA act, Executive Vice President of the European Commission Margrethe Vestager said,
“The DMA will change the digital landscape profoundly. With it, the EU is taking a proactive approach to ensure fair, transparent, and contestable digital markets. A small number of large companies hold significant market power in their hands. Gatekeepers enjoying an entrenched position in digital markets will have to show that they are competing fairly. We invite all potential gatekeepers, their competitors, or consumer organizations, to come and talk to us about how to best implement the DMA.”
The Digital Markets Act is a piece of antitrust legislation aimed at tech companies, to increase competition in the sector by removing some of the advantages held by tech giants, making it easier for startups to compete.
To prepare for the enforcement of the DMA, the EU is already engaging proactively with industry stakeholders to ensure effective compliance with the new rules.
Following the DMA act, experts suggest that it would impact Apple in several ways that will see the Cupertino company have its dominant position in the sale of smartphone apps reduced. This also implies that developers will be able to create their app stores for iPhone and iPad, which is something that not only Meta is interested in, but also Microsoft.
They further suggest that while Apple may accept third-party payment platforms, with almost no change to its commission, it will fight tooth and nail against the other measures, noting that legal battles may arise in years to come.
Meanwhile, SnapChat is raking great numbers on its premium services.
Snap has racked up more than 4 million subscribers to Snapchat+, its premium paid service, one year into its rollout. Subscribers get exclusive early-access perks, including Snapchat for Web and its AI powered chatbot, My AI. Other social platforms are trying to monetize premium features by offering subscriptions, with Twitter Blue and Meta Verified launching after Snapchat+. Still, Snapchat+ subscriber numbers are a thin slice of Snap’s 750 million monthly active users.