Apple throws a stick into antitrust regulators’ spokes

In iOS 14, likely to the chagrin of antitrust regulators worldwide, Apple will allow users to choose their own default browser and email apps, if they wish to substitute for Apple’s Safari and Mail. One thing that won’t change is that all iOS browsers must to use Apple’s rendering engine for security/privacy. Changing default apps is limited only to browser and email, for now. For maps and music the default remains Apple Maps and Apple Music.

Image: Apple logoIn addition, Apple on Monday announced two changes to the App Store app review process that will be implemented this summer. First, developers will not only be able to appeal decisions about whether an app violates a given guideline of the App Store Review Guidelines, but will also have a mechanism to challenge the guideline itself. Second, for apps that are already on the App Store, bug fixes will no longer be delayed over guideline violations except for those related to legal issues. Developers will instead be able to address the issue in their next submission.

Both the default browser/email feature and App Store changes for developers will make the jobs of antitrust regulators in the U.S. and abroad more difficult, if they’re looking to somehow pin antitrust charges on Apple, a company, by the way, without a unit share monopoly position in smartphones, tablets, personal computers, smartwatches, or streaming media devices (which, of course, already positioned the trustbusters’ efforts smack in the middle of Ridiculousland in the first place).

I don’t think anybody reasonable is going to come to the conclusion that Apple is a monopoly. Our share is much more modest. We don’t have a dominant position in any market… We are not a monopoly.Apple CEO Tim Cook, June 2019

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote last June: Of course Apple is not a monopoly in any market in which it participates. Apple doesn’t have a dominant position in any market in unit share. Just in profit share. 🙂


      1. Chromium is open source. Also, Android nor Chrome has used webkit for quite some time now, in fact the only version of Chrome in recent history that had problems with security was the iOS version due to Apple’s requirement for using Webkit for it. Primarily since it was a flaw only found in Webkit.

  1. If anything, it makes the anti-trust point. Needing Apple’s permission.

    Then there’s this…

    “One thing that won’t change is that all iOS browsers must to use Apple’s rendering engine for security/privacy.”

    Which is not only just Apple’s opinion, but forbids any competing improvement on devices Apple doesn’t own.

    1. Not being able to install your own operating system on the hardware that you own…

      It’d be possible too, enforce that the secure enclave be cleared before allowing any operating system re-installation, don’t allow multiple operating systems at once.

      Not being able to run apps not from the App Store is another, there’s no reason it can’t be allowed… require the same sandbox that the App Store apps require.

  2. Sorry, I’m not giving Apple a pass. They can play fair or get smacked down. They used to be better than the rest, now, all of Silicon Valley seems to be pretty much a sanity free zone, and this has borne itself out with Apple the past number of years. Skill and craft mean absolutely zero. I almost don’t care if they fail, because one idiot supremacy is about as good as another. I don’t but the fax warmth of this week’s keynote one bit. Take away Apple’s money. What then? And there’s actually an answer to that for those of us going back to the early 90s. Spare us. This is bullsh**

  3. “Chagrin of anti-trust regulators”? 🤔 It’s a sad statement that anti-trust regulators would be saddened by Apple’s moves to be less restrictive. They should be happy. But they’re just sad bureaucrats trying to justify their sad jobs 😔

      1. But it’s true, because there’s no valid anti-trust case against Apple. A key reason for Apple’s popularity is Apple’s control of the user experience. Apple provides the user experience competitors can‘t match or even offer. Apple’s customers choose it. People who don’t like Apple’s practices have many other viable options. Being successful and profitable are not illegal, except maybe to sad bureaucrats.

        1. Overall I would agree excepting the App Store.

          Take this as an analogous example. You are part of a race of Oreo only consuming cookie monsters (iOS). The Oreo company (Apple) in this fictional world sell their branded cream sandwich cookie exclusively in their company owned store that will work with your digestive system, all others make you very sick. Another race of cookie monsters on your world (Android) have their choice of stores each owned by a different company to buy their version of a cream sandwich cookie, though they also get indigestion trying to eat Oreos. A third race (Windows) has also their version of the cookie also similarly sold via multiple non-associated stores.

          It could be argued that the Oreo company here has a distribution monopoly over the cream sandwich cookie that you can consume. Apple’s App distribution monopoly, not found among its competition, is where the regulators will be focusing.

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