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Navigating the New Digital Markets Act for Virtual Keyboard App Developers

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In 2023, the European Union implemented the Digital Markets Act (DMA), a groundbreaking regulation designed to promote fair competition and curb the monopolistic practices of large online platforms, termed “gatekeepers.” This new regulatory landscape presents unique challenges and opportunities for software developers, particularly those involved in creating virtual keyboard apps. This article aims to dissect the DMA and offer actionable insights for developers to leverage this regulation to innovate and expand their market presence.

Understanding the Digital Markets Act

Overview of DMA

The DMA targets major tech companies that act as gatekeepers in the digital market. These entities control core platform services, such as social networks, search engines, operating systems, and online marketplaces, that serve as crucial gateways between businesses and consumers. The DMA introduces a set of obligations these gatekeepers must follow to ensure a fair, competitive digital market.

Key Provisions Relevant to App Developers

For virtual keyboard app developers, several provisions of the DMA are particularly relevant:

  1. Interoperability and Access: Gatekeepers must ensure that their systems are interoperable with third-party software, which could simplify integration challenges for keyboard apps.
  2. Choice and Default Settings: The DMA restricts gatekeepers from setting their services as the default, pushing for a more choice-driven environment where users actively select their preferred virtual keyboard.
  3. Fair Access to App Stores: The regulation aims to prevent discriminatory practices in app distribution, ensuring that virtual keyboard apps have equal footing in app stores.
  4. Data Privacy and Handling: Gatekeepers are restricted from merging user data across platforms without explicit consent, affecting how data is used in personalization and advertising within apps.

Developing a DMA-Compliant Virtual Keyboard App

Designing for Interoperability

To benefit from the DMA, developers should focus on enhancing the interoperability of their virtual keyboard apps. This means ensuring that the app can function seamlessly across different devices and operating systems. Developers should aim to adhere to universal standards and APIs that promote compatibility and user-friendly experiences. Fleksy SDK comes very handy here as it is available across iOS and Android.

Leveraging User Choice

Under the DMA, the power of choice shifts to the consumer. Developers should capitalize on this by offering unique features and superior user experiences that distinguish their virtual keyboard apps from default options provided by gatekeepers. Customizable themes, emojis, and predictive text features could be key differentiators.

Strategic Positioning in App Stores

With the DMA ensuring fair access to app stores, developers need to optimize their app store presence. This includes refining app descriptions, focusing on SEO strategies within the app store, and actively managing user reviews to improve visibility and attractiveness of their apps.

Marketing Strategies in a DMA-Influenced Market

Educating Users about Choices

A significant challenge is informing users that they can choose their virtual keyboard. Developers should invest in marketing campaigns that educate users about how to switch default keyboards and the benefits of using their specific app.

Collaborations and Partnerships

Forming partnerships with other app developers or content creators can enhance visibility. Collaborations can lead to bundled offerings or feature integrations that provide mutual benefits and draw users to choose a third-party keyboard over a default option.

Regulatory Compliance and Best Practices

Navigating Data Privacy

With the DMA’s strict data privacy rules, developers must ensure their apps comply by only collecting necessary data, securing user consent, and providing clear data usage policies. This not only aligns with DMA regulations but also builds trust with users.

Documentation and Transparency

Maintaining thorough documentation of compliance efforts and business practices can safeguard against regulatory scrutiny and foster transparency that appeals to savvy consumers.

The Future Landscape: Post-DMA

Predicting Market Trends

The implementation of the DMA is likely to encourage innovation and diversity in the app market. Virtual keyboard apps that offer innovative solutions and respect user preferences and data privacy are poised for success.

Long-Term Strategic Planning

Developers should monitor ongoing regulatory developments and be prepared to adapt their strategies accordingly. Engaging with industry groups and participating in forums can keep developers informed and involved in shaping future policies.


The DMA opens a wealth of opportunities for virtual keyboard app developers willing to adapt and innovate. By focusing on interoperability, user choice, and compliance, developers can not only align with the new regulations but also drive their apps to new heights in a competitive digital marketplace. Engaging with the DMA’s challenges and opportunities can transform a regulatory requirement into a strategic advantage.

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