Apple has made it very difficult for others to build rival app stores in the European Union (EU), Meta founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said.

Apple maintains that side-loading represents a security threat. However, the EU’s upcoming Digital Markets Act (DMA) has forced the tech giant to make App Store changes in the region, including new fees.

“I don’t think that the Apple thing is going to have any difference for us. Because I think that the way they have implemented it, I would be very surprised if any developer chose to go into the alternative app stores that they have,” Zuckerberg told analysts during the company’s fourth quarter earnings call late on Thursday.

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“They’ve made it so onerous, and I think so at odds with the intent of what the EU regulation was, that I think it’s just going to be very difficult for anyone, including ourselves, to really seriously entertain what they’re doing there,” he added.

After Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney and Spotify CEO Daniel Ek, Microsoft has also criticised Apple App Store changes in the EU, calling those “a step in the wrong direction.”

The new App Store changes, announced ahead of the EU Digital Markets Act (DMA) in March, will require developers using third-party app stores to pay 0.50 euros for each annual app install after 1 million downloads.

Apple will also still take a 17 percent commission from the developers who choose to use third-party payment processors.

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