Apple Reportedly Will Reverse Some Monopolistic Practices

Posted on February 20, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Apple, iOS with 42 Comments

A new Bloomberg report says that Apple is considering changing some policies in iOS to address recent antitrust concerns.

“Apple’s closed system to prohibit users from setting third-party apps as defaults was questioned last year during a hearing of a U.S. House of Representatives antitrust panel,” Bloomberg notes. “Lawmakers pressed the issue of whether iPhone users can make non-Apple apps their defaults in categories including web browsers, maps, email, and music … The company provides an unfair advantage to its in-house products.”

Here’s what Apple is finally considering changing in iOS:

Default apps. For the first time, Apple may allow users to configure non-Apple web browsers, email applications, and other apps as the default. Today, iOS users can install third-party apps, but they cannot override the default apps that Apple provides. “Apple [doesn’t] allow users to replace pre-installed apps … with third-party services. That has made it difficult for some developers to compete, and [it] has raised concerns from lawmakers probing potential antitrust violations in the technology industry,” Bloomberg explains. “The company currently pre-installs 38 default apps on iPhones and iPads.”

Looser restrictions on third-party music apps/services. Responding to Spotify’s antitrust complaint, Apple is considering loosening restrictions on third-party music apps. “Spotify says [that] Apple squeezes rival services by imposing a 30% cut for subscriptions made via the App Store,” Bloomberg notes, a fee that its own Apple Music doesn’t suffer from. Additionally, Apple is considering letting third-party music services become the default for Siri.

HomePod. Apple is considering opening its HomePod smart speaker to third-party music and audio services. “Spotify singled out the inability to run on the HomePod and become the default music player in Siri, Apple’s voice-activated digital assistant,” Bloomberg says.

It’s interesting what can happen when you bring a little antitrust heat.

Elevate the Conversation!

Join Thurrott Premium to enjoy our Premium comments.

Premium member comments on news posts will feature an elevated status that increases their visibility. This tab would allow you to participate in Premium comments with other premium members. Register to join the other Premium members in elevating the conversation!

Register or Subscribe

Join the discussion!


Don't have a login but want to join the conversation? Become a Thurrott Premium or Basic User to participate