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App Store alternative, AltStore, will bring Patreon-backed apps in EU

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AltStore, a free and open-source project developed by Riley Testut, is preparing to launch an updated version of its app marketplace tailored for the EU market. The new version will support Patreon-backed apps.

As Apple opens up its App Store to new competition and introduces APIs and frameworks to help developers distribute apps independently of the App Store to comply with the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA), several app stores like AltStore with new monetisation strategies are emerging to fill the space.

Unlike Apple’s traditional revenue models, AltStore plans to monetise through a custom Patreon integration, which will allow developers to market apps directly to consumers, TechCrunch reported.

Though reminiscent of Apple’s in-app subscription, this approach avoids the typical commission fees between 15-30% of Apple charges.

The store will launch with just two apps — Delta and Clip — the first being a game emulator and the second a clipboard manager and a proprietary app of AltStore. The app will require the users to pledge at least $1 on Patreon to download and use these apps. AltStore also plans to add a beta version of both apps for a $3 monthly Patreon pledge.

As the project progresses, AltStore plans to allow third-party developers to easily distribute the apps by first creating a source, a self-hosted JSON file containing the app’s metadata.

The European Union has opened an investigation for non-compliance with the DMA by several tech giants, including Apple.

“They’ll also be able to use the same Patreon integration we use to distribute ‘paid’ apps,” said Testut. “Alternative app stores don’t just have to recreate Apple’s model.”

Moreover, the tool will also provide a list of permissions that the app will require so that the users get a clear idea of whether they want to install the app.

Testut shared more insights into the upcoming version, highlighting its simplicity, granular view of the app’s entitlements, and user-friendly experience akin to the App Store. However, the project’s unique selling point is its Patreon integration, which offers a personalised relationship with users and a new revenue stream for developers.

Apple must also notarize the apps before users can download and install them.

While AltStore is poised for launch pending Apple’s final approval, questions remain about Apple’s compliance with the DMA and the future of its Core Technology Fee as the EU has opened a non-compliance investigation into Apple and other giants.

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Kumar Hemant

Kumar Hemant

Deputy Editor at Candid.Technology. Hemant writes at the intersection of tech and culture and has a keen interest in science, social issues and international relations. You can contact him here: kumarhemant@pm.me

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