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.

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