Apple Clashes With UK Regulator in Fierce Response to Warning That Could Require It to 'Redesign the iPhone'

Apple has aggressively defended its ecosystem in a newly-published response to the UK's competition watchdog.

app store blue banner uk fixed
The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) today published Apple's response to its Interim Report on mobile ecosystems, as well responses from dozens of other companies, including Google, Microsoft, and Epic Games.

The detailed 47-page response from Apple aggressively dismissed the conclusions of the Interim Report, saying that the CMA has set the benefits of Apple's ecosystem aside "without reasoned basis, either ignoring them entirely or dismissing them on the basis of nothing more than speculation." Apple alleged that the CMA's report is based on "unsubstantiated allegations and hypothetical concerns" from Apple's rivals that would commercially gain from "deep" changes to the iPhone:

... the IR reaches conclusions about technologies, product design, and competitive impact derived from the unsubstantiated allegations and hypothetical concerns raised primarily by self-serving complaints from a handful of multi-billion dollar developers such as Microsoft, Facebook, Match, Spotify, and Epic, all seeking to make deep changes to the iPhone for their own commercial gain, without independent verification.

Apple expressed intense concerns about potentially having to "redesign the ‌iPhone‌" to benefit this small, powerful group:

Apple is deeply concerned that the IR is proposing solutions to hypothetical problems that will result in real-world market interventions that could force it to redesign the iPhone to benefit a handful of powerful developers. The IR appears to assume that its proposed changes would be relatively simple. Yet many would require a complete re-architecting of a product that has existed for 15 years, has been constantly improved by Apple’s investment in IP and is valued and trusted by millions of consumers.

The CMA's proposition to allow alternative app stores on the ‌iPhone‌ or sideloading was shot down for "downplaying the security risks" and failing to account for "the fact that users highly value that security, and that many choose Apple over Android on that basis."

Remedies that jeopardize Apple's holistic approach to security would effectively remove the competitive differentiation between Apple and Android, taking this valued element of choice away from users.

Apple addressed specific issues raised by the Interim Report, such as the company's WebKit restriction on iOS and iPadOS, which bans any rival browser engines on the platform. It claimed that WebKit is innovative and responds to demand for features, such as adding "new functionality to enable greater features and functionality for web apps."

Open Web Advocacy, a group of web developers who are in talks with the CMA and have raised the profile of Apple's WebKit restriction, disagree and say that "Apple's ban of third party browsers on iOS is deeply anti-competitive... All artificial barriers placed by gatekeepers must be removed. Web Apps if allowed can offer equivalent functionality with greater privacy and security for demanding use-cases."

Apple highlighted the ‌iPhone‌'s high level of customer satisfaction, ease of use, and performance, as well as the company's commitment to innovation and privacy. Apple dismissed the findings of the Interim Report and ruled out the potential for discussion of changes to the company's ecosystem.

...the findings in the IR are, in effect, nothing more than hypotheses about how Apple's ecosystem "may" have the "potential" to harm competition, being as they are untested and based on one-sided evidence. Such hypotheses are insufficient to warrant, never mind support, discussion of potentially radical remedies at this stage...

Apple urged the CMA to "undertake a more fulsome analysis of the benefits that Apple's ecosystem brings to both consumers and developers, and to consider objectively the ramifications of any proposed interventions on consumers and competition in the markets that would be impacted." For more information, see Apple's full response to the CMA.

Top Rated Comments

Danfango Avatar
10 months ago
As a UK consumer, CMA do not represent what I want from my device. If I wanted the compromises removed I would be using an Android device.

The CMA complaint only intends to open the market to abusive companies with poor security, subscription and ethical considerations.
Score: 91 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cloudphrenia Avatar
10 months ago
I will never understand how consumers could support these attacks on iOS. Android phones are available everywhere, and come in all shapes and sizes. Why wouldn’t you just go buy your dream Android phone and enjoy your “open” OS and leave us alone? Why do you have to encourage government goons to ruin iOS for the rest of us?
Score: 84 Votes (Like | Disagree)
california_kid Avatar
10 months ago
Does UK require all citizens use iPhones? If it's up to each citizen, can't the citizens just say no if they don't like Apple's policies?
Score: 39 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Kissmo1980 Avatar
10 months ago
I’m with Apple on this.
I am against them limiting some deeper OS customization though.
However, for me the customization is a 3 day miracle and I always end up to defaults.
?
Score: 33 Votes (Like | Disagree)
buddhistMonkey Avatar
10 months ago

Also let me take this opportunity to remind folks that "side-loading" is just installing.
It isn't, though. Sideloading means bypassing the App Store and its inherent security measures, and that has wide-reaching ramifications for both Apple and iPhone owners.
Score: 32 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mcnallym Avatar
10 months ago

As a UK consumer, CMA do not represent what I want from my device. If I wanted the compromises removed I would be using an Android device.

The CMA complaint only intends to open the market to abusive companies with poor security, subscription and ethical considerations.
This is precisely why I have Apple as well. I knew all of the limits when went in.
I have friends that are adamantly android and won’t touch an iPhone because of the Apple ecosystem.

If people don’t like the restrictions of the AppStore then don’t buy Apple products!

Don’t buy Apple products and then moan that I could do this on Android. buy an android phone then. Nothing you can do with am iPhone that cannot do on android. Apart from the obvious iOS apps but there will be equivalent app for android available.

I was fortunate that used to have two cars

Golf GTI for fun and Passat Estate for everyday.

When helped my niece move I used the Passat Estate as wanted the luggage space. I did not take my Golf and then moan that the luggage capacity was too small.

If you are a person that wants multiple app stores then buy a product that has them. It really is not that difficult.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

bluemail mac app store

Apple Says Blix's Twice-Tossed Anti-Competitive Lawsuit Alleged 'False Conspiracy Theories' [Updated]

Monday July 12, 2021 9:27 am PDT by
Apple has been fighting an antitrust lawsuit against Blix, the developer of BlueMail, an app that was removed from the App Store in June 2019 after violating Apple's App Store guidelines. Blix accused Apple of manipulating search results in its App Store to suppress third-party competition, and it also claimed that Apple had copied its patented messaging technology for the Sign In with Apple ...
applegoogle

Google Basically Pays Apple to Stay Out of the Search Engine Business, Class Action Lawsuit Alleges

Wednesday January 5, 2022 3:02 am PST by
Apple has an agreement with Google that it won't develop its own internet search engine so long as Google pays it to remain the default option in Safari, a new class action alleges. Filed in a California court earlier this week against Apple, Google, and their respective CEOs, the lawsuit alleges the two companies have a non-compete agreement in the internet search business that violates US...
webkit vs chromium feature

Should Apple Continue to Ban Rival Browser Engines on iOS?

Friday February 25, 2022 7:39 am PST by
Apple requires all apps that browse the web in iOS and iPadOS to use its own browser engine, WebKit, but amid accusations of anti-competitive conduct, should it continue to effectively ban rival browser engines? Big tech has been gripped by accusations of anti-competitive conduct in recent times, with Chief Executive of the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) Andrea Coscelli...
cydia vs apple feature

Judge Dismisses Cydia Creator's Lawsuit Against Apple For Now

Wednesday January 5, 2022 9:33 pm PST by
U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers today granted Apple's motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed against the company by Jay Freeman, creator of an alternative App Store known as Cydia for "jailbroken" iPhones and iPads. The case might not be over yet, however, as Freeman was given the option to file an amended complaint by January 19. Freeman sued Apple in late 2020, alleging that the...
safari icon blue banner

iOS 15.4 Beta Suggests Apple to Support Push Notifications From Web-Based Apps

Tuesday February 1, 2022 2:56 am PST by
Apple is working on bringing web-based notifications to iOS, addressing a long-time concern of developers of web-based apps who have been unable to send notifications to users on Apple mobile devices, severely limiting the user experience and effectiveness of apps made on the web. With the first betas of iOS and iPadOS 15.4 released last week, Apple added a "Push API" toggle in the...
app store blue banner epic 1

Epic vs. Apple Takes a Twist As 35 US States and Department of Justice Weigh in to Back 'Fortnite' Maker

Friday January 28, 2022 4:27 am PST by
Apple is stifling competition with its monopoly on app distribution through the App Store, attorneys general for 35 states told a California appeals court on Thursday. The joint statement was submitted into the appeals process that is ongoing following the judge's decision in the Epic v. Apple lawsuit, with the attorneys general siding with the "Fortnite" video game maker on the issue,...
webkit logo

Web Developers Form Advocacy Group to Allow Other Browser Engines on iOS

Wednesday March 2, 2022 4:29 am PST by
Apple is being challenged by a group of developers to end WebKit's dominance on its mobile devices and allow other browser engines on iPhone and iPad, following accusations that the current situation amounts to anti-competitive conduct. For those unfamiliar with WebKit, Apple's browser engine powers Safari and other areas of the operating system where web content is displayed. Apple requires ...
app store blue banner epic 1

Epic Lost Trial Due to Flawed Argument, Not Legal Error, Apple Says in Appeals Filing

Thursday March 24, 2022 3:32 pm PDT by
Apple's legal battle with Epic Games is continuing on, and today, the Cupertino company filed an opening brief with the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Both Apple and Epic Games opted to appeal the original ruling in the Epic Games v. Apple case as neither company was satisfied with the outcome. Epic lost, while Apple was subject to App Store changes that are on hold pending ...

Popular Stories

Cyber Monday Deals Feature 2022

Best Cyber Monday Apple Deals Still Available for AirPods, Apple TV, iPad, and More

Monday November 28, 2022 5:24 am PST by
The Black Friday and Cyber Monday holiday shopping rush is drawing to a close, but there are still some good deals to be had out there. For Apple products, many of the deals you've seen since last week are still available, though some have expired. So for anyone who missed out on Black Friday deals, there's still an opportunity to get some of the year's best prices on many Apple devices. Note: ...
iPhone 14 Pro Rear Camera

iPhone 15 to Use 'State-of-the-Art' Image Sensor From Sony for Better Low-Light Performance

Monday November 28, 2022 11:00 am PST by
Apple's upcoming iPhone 15 models will be equipped with Sony's newest "state of the art" image sensors, according to a report from Nikkei. Compared to standard sensors, Sony's image sensor doubles the saturation signal in each pixel, allowing it to capture more light to cut down on underexposure and overexposure. Nikkei says that it is able to better photograph a person's face even with...
Apple Watch Ultra Oceanic Plus App

Apple Announces Oceanic+ App Now Available for Apple Watch Ultra

Monday November 28, 2022 6:11 am PST by
Apple today announced that the Oceanic+ app is available for the Apple Watch Ultra starting today. Designed by Huish Outdoors in collaboration with Apple, the app serves as a dive computer for recreational scuba diving at depths up to 40 meters/130 feet. Apple already offers a basic Depth app on the Apple Watch Ultra for viewing your current depth, maximum depth reached, water temperature,...
app store awards 2021

Apple Announces 2022 App Store Award Winners, Highlighting Best Apps of the Year

Tuesday November 29, 2022 3:10 am PST by
Apple today announced its 2022 App Store Award winners, highlighting the 16 best apps and games selected by Apple's global App Store editorial team. The top apps were chosen by Apple for their quality, innovative technology, creative design, positive cultural impact, and ability to deliver "exceptional experiences." Apple CEO Tim Cook said: This year's App Store Award winners reimagined...
rapid security response

Apple Releases Another Rapid Security Response Update for iOS 16.2 Beta Users

Monday November 28, 2022 10:16 am PST by
Apple today released a Rapid Security Response update that is available for those running the iOS 16.2 beta, marking the launch of the second RSR update since the feature was released in iOS 16. The Rapid Security Response Update is designed to provide iOS 16.2 beta users with bug fixes without the need to install a full update. The initial RSR release for iOS 16.2 beta users was a test with ...
twitter elon musk

Elon Musk Claims Apple Has 'Mostly Stopped' Offering Ads on Twitter and Is Making Moderation Demands

Monday November 28, 2022 10:42 am PST by
Apple has cut back on its Twitter advertising, according to Twitter CEO Elon Musk. In a tweet, Musk said that Apple has "mostly stopped" its Twitter ads, asking if Apple hates "free speech." Musk went on to publish a poll asking if Apple should "publish all censorship actions" taken that impact customers and he began retweeting content from companies that Apple has had moderation discussions ...
iphone 11 tesla cybertruck close up

Elon Musk Pledges to Build iPhone Rival If Apple Ousts Twitter

Tuesday November 29, 2022 2:48 am PST by
Elon Musk has pledged to offer an "alternative phone" if Apple and Google remove Twitter from their app stores, adding to long-standing rumors about an iPhone rival from Tesla. Modified iPhone 11 Pro in the style of the Tesla Cybertruck, by Caviar. Musk's remark came after being asked about the potential scenario of Twitter being removed from app stores, which could conceivably happen if the...
General Black Friday Deals 2022 Green

All the Apple Black Friday Deals You Can Still Get

Friday November 25, 2022 4:40 am PST by
Although Black Friday is now technically over, many Apple products are still seeing major discounts through the weekend as we head into Cyber Monday. In this article, you'll find every Apple device with a notable Black Friday sale that's still available. We'll be updating as prices change and new deals arrive, so be sure to keep an eye out if you don't see the sale you're looking for yet. Note:...