New Antitrust Law in The EU Could Ban Pre-installed iOS Apps

Law States that Apple Might Not Preinstall Apps

In order to create a leveled playing field for all the developers, the European Union could draft a legislation. This will require Apple to make its default pre-installed app be made removable. The legislation raises the possibility of pre-installed Apple apps to be banned in Europe. This is to provide consumers an option, whether to use them or to install third-party apps.

Being under the scope of the Digital Services Act, it also proposes to counter the powers of so-called ‘Gatekeeper platforms‘ like the Apple app store or the Google Play Store.

What does the Draft demand?

The Draft recommends that Big Tech companies might be prohibited from favoritism of their own services on their websites or platforms. This is because it causes hindrances to Apple’s competitors. Thus companies ought not to pre-install their own applications.

Also, Brussels demanded that big platforms should let users uninstall any pre-installed apps on devices including smartphones and computers.

Apple’s previous modifications to iOS 

The pre-installed apps in iPhones are deeply integrated within the iOS ecosystem and for a long time. Meanwhile, there was no way to uninstall them. This led users to stuff them into a folder along with other unused apps. But with iOS 11, Apple offered the ability to remove many apps, except those needed for core functionality.

Users had limits to what they could do with the third-party apps. This was until iOS 14 added the functionality to change the default web browser and email apps. These steps were viewed by the industry as an attempt to fend off antitrust actions by regulators.

Despite these steps, the Draft Act recommends going further than this in suggesting that tech giants ought not to be permitted to pre-install their apps where third-party competitors exist.

In other sections of the proposed law, Gatekeeper platforms are put under further limitations. They ought to utilize the data for specific functions only. “Gatekeepers shall not use data received from business users for advertising services for any other purpose other than advertising services,” said the draft.

Apple argues that the preinstalled apps are part of the iPhone experience. They are a major reason people choose Apple over the others. Regulators are concerned that the antitrust actions against tech giants may have a limited impact. This could be because these companies aren’t affected much. They can potentially drag the dispute for years to come.


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