EU Competition Chief Tells Apple Not to Use Privacy as a Shield Against Competition

In ongoing antitrust discussions about App Store competition, Apple has maintained that allowing users to install apps outside of the ‌App Store‌ would have dire privacy consequences, but European Union digital competition chief Margrethe Vestager said today that Apple must not use privacy excuses to limit competition.

app store blue banner
In an interview with Reuters, Vestager said that privacy and security are of "paramount importance," but she does not believe that customers would be sacrificing security when sideloading an app.

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.

Vestager has been working on the Digital Markets Act in Europe, which would require Apple to let iPhone and iPad users download apps from third-party App Stores or from the internet. Apple CEO Tim Cook said in June that the proposed rules around sideloading apps would destroy the security of the ‌iPhone‌ and the privacy initiatives that have been built into the ‌App Store‌.

On the topic of the DMA, Vestager said that she is open to changes, and that she believes it is possible to "find solutions," but it is likely that Apple will continue to fight heavily against alternate app stores or sideloading apps.

Vestager also said that she supports Apple's recent App Tracking Transparency privacy changes and has no issue with the functionality because it's an option available to everyone.

As I have said, I think actually several times, that it is a good thing when providers give us the service that we can easily set our preferences if we want to be tracked outside the use of an app or not as long as it's the same condition for everyone. So far, we have no reason to believe that this is not the case for Apple.

Should the Digital Markets Act go on to become law, Apple will have to make major changes to its ‌iPhone‌ and ‌iPad‌ platform to accommodate the requirement to allow for non-App Store apps. Apple is also facing similar legislation in the United States, with U.S. House lawmakers in June introducing antitrust bills that would result in major changes to the tech industry if passed.

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Top Rated Comments

DNichter Avatar
39 months ago
"I think customers will not give up neither security nor privacy if they use another app store or if they sideload."

This is pretty laughable. Of course there is more risk to both security and privacy if you are side loading apps. That doesn't mean something bad will happen, but there is more risk - clearly.
Score: 65 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheYayAreaLiving ?️ Avatar
39 months ago
Apple is trying to protect it's consumers data... Not sure what is wrong with that.

Look what happened to ruthless Facebook.

PRIVACY will always be Apple's number one PRIORITY, No matter what happens. It is one of the main core values.

Find another excuse Chief! Perhaps, review this webpage/report that might help you not to go after our human rights, over this long 4th of July weekend :)

https://www.apple.com/legal/transparency/pdf/requests-2020-H1-en.pdf

https://www.apple.com/privacy/

10 Years ago... Steve jobs thoughts on privacy. iPhone 4 days...

Score: 45 Votes (Like | Disagree)
WiseAJ Avatar
39 months ago

I really don’t understand all the counter arguments.

Nobody will be forced to use alternative app stores so your data will not be compromised if you don’t use this option.

That what this all this is about. Giving users a choice. Just like you can basically buy every product out there in other stores at different priced and sales. Sometimes it seems people over here all have a large quantity of Apple stock. Cause all this is about profit. Nothing else.
Users already have a choice. iOS (closed) or Android (open)

This move would essentially eliminate choice by removing the only closed system on the market and forcing everyone to be open and vulnerable.
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)
VespiYT Avatar
39 months ago
Wtf, these guys high or something? There is alot of reasons I chose Apple over Android and one of them is privacy
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)
WiseAJ Avatar
39 months ago

Or you can continue to use Apple's iOS app store exclusively. No one is forcing you to sideload apps
There will be apps that will force you to sideload if the option is available. Don't be ignorant in thinking that there aren't a handful of popular apps that will jump at the chance to be outside of Apple's control if given the option. If sideloading is made to be an allowable option it will be impossible to stick exclusively to the App Store unless you are someone who barely uses your phone for anything.

I'd rather Android lovers not ruin my choice to run a phone OS that protects my privacy and security by not allowing sideloading.

Sideloading on iOS is the death of true freedom of choice.

No one is forced to use or develop for iOS. They do so knowing full well of Apple's requirements and restrictions. If they don't like it then they can go to Android or not develop for iOS.
Score: 38 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DelayedGratificationGene Avatar
39 months ago
This is just absolute nonsense. No govt official anywhere is making any sense at all. They are all over the place with their accusations, beliefs and reasoning. Everyone is starting to realize that the political officials behind this anti trust push are essentially clueless.
Score: 35 Votes (Like | Disagree)