Apple has been in some hot water around the world for a while now, regarding its monopolistic practices in the App Store (not to even mention the whole right-to-repair movement).
The inability for mobile developers to offer iOS apps anywhere outside the official App Store has been a long-standing issue and the cause for many a lawsuit so far. Now, Reuters
reports Apple has received a special warning by Margrethe Vestager, who is both Tech Chief and Executive Vice President of the European Commission.
Vestager has accused Apple of “using privacy and security concerns to fend off competition on its App Store,” which is the driving reason the company cites for forcing all developers to publish through the App Store, where Apple can approve or reject them, and levy the 30% commission fee from one and all (Apple has since loosened up a bit in that regard, to its credit).
Apart from the official warning to Apple last Friday, since 2020, Vestager has also been working on implementing a new Digital Markets Act (DMA), which is a set of rules meant to force Apple into allowing the side-loading of apps from outside Apple’s native App Store onto iOS devices, be that from external app stores or downloaded straight from the web.
While Tim Cook rejected the idea at a public speech in June, saying that this would destroy the privacy and security of the iPhone ecosystem, Vestager agreed about the importance of security but claimed that the argument is not necessarily always relevant.
The important thing here is, of course, that it’s not a shield against competition, because I think customers will not give up neither security nor privacy if they use another app store or if they sideload… I think privacy and security is of paramount importance to everyone. —Vestager
Vestager’s proposal is open to change, and would have to go through multiple EU countries and lawmakers in order to be finalized, and leave Apple legally bound to allow apps outside the App Store within countries in the European Union.