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30 Jun, 2023
1 min time to read

This move enables Meta to potentially compete with Google and Apple app stores in the future.

The company intends to launch a pilot program later this year, collaborating with a select group of Android app developers. This initiative is made possible by the EU Digital Markets Act (DMA), which defines Google and Apple as "gatekeepers" and obliges them to open their mobile platforms to alternative app download methods.

While Android technically supports sideloading, Google has made it challenging by integrating in-app billing and licensing with the Play Store. Additionally, it displays warning messages when users attempt to download Android apps from other sources. Meta has chosen to test this new feature on Android rather than Apple's iOS, likely due to the relative openness of the Android platform.

Meta's offer to participating developers is that by hosting their Android apps and allowing Facebook users to download them directly, without being redirected to the Play Store, they will be able to achieve higher ad conversion rates for app installations.

Initially, Meta does not plan to take a share of in-app revenue from these apps, giving developers the freedom to use their preferred billing systems.

Tom Channick, a spokesperson for Meta, confirmed the company's plans, emphasizing their interest in assisting developers with app distribution and introducing more competition in the market. Google did not provide any comment regarding Meta's initiative.

Meta is not the only company seeking to become an app distributor when the EU's DMA comes into effect. In March, Microsoft announced its intention to launch an alternative app store for games on iOS and Android in Europe next year.