U.S. Government to Investigate Sideloading and Web App Restrictions on iOS

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has launched an investigation into competition in mobile app ecosystems.

apple logo us flag smooth
On behalf of the United States Department of Commerce, the NTIA is now requesting comments about competition in mobile app ecosystems. The investigation was triggered by an executive order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy from July last year, with the aim of making recommendations for improving competition, reducing barriers to entry, and maximizing user benefit. President Biden's executive order explained:

The American information technology sector has long been an engine of innovation and growth, but today a small number of dominant Internet platforms use their power to exclude market entrants, to extract monopoly profits, and to gather intimate personal information that they can exploit for their own advantage. Too many small businesses across the economy depend on those platforms and a few online marketplaces for their survival...

The formal request for comment lists in detail how iOS is likely to come under scrutiny as part of the investigation, with questions related to benefits of developing a standalone app for a platform compared to cross-platform web apps, how web apps should operate on mobile platforms, the availability of other methods of app distribution, and app sideloading. Particular attention is given to iOS's "unique barriers" that prevent users and developers from taking advantage of web apps, apps from alternative app stores, or sideloaded apps.

"The app economy is becoming a fundamental way that Americans interact with their environment," the request for comment explains, "Thus, it is critical that this market be robust, open, innovative, and secure—and without barriers to entry and growth."

The Federal Register is now open to comments from the public about competition in mobile app ecosystems. The information gathered as part of the investigation will be used to inform President Biden's competition agenda later this year.

Apple's ecosystem is increasingly coming under intense scrutiny by governments around the world, including in the United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea, the European Union, and more, with a clear appetite from global regulators to explore requirements around app sideloading and interoperability.

Note: Due to the political or social nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Political News forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Top Rated Comments

BootsWalking Avatar
26 months ago
It's only because the EU hates to see a successful American company. Oh wait, this is the US Government calling for regulation. In that case, Apple should leave the US market. That should about cover the expected responses in this comment section.
Score: 62 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Psychicbob Avatar
26 months ago
I’d prefer to stay in the walled garden to be honest, and to not be impacted, server-side, by the side-loaders.
Score: 52 Votes (Like | Disagree)
4743913 Avatar
26 months ago

I’d prefer to stay in the walled garden to be honest, and to not be impacted, server-side, by the side-loaders.
are you impacted by macs or pcs? because they sideload too except that it's called "install software" for them.
Score: 51 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Boris Bronson Avatar
26 months ago
Apple should just pull out of the USA.
Score: 33 Votes (Like | Disagree)
No5tromo Avatar
26 months ago
I expect some people in here to start blaming the EU
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Quu Avatar
26 months ago
The walls are closing in on Apple for once.
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iPhone 15 Pro FineWoven

Apple Reportedly Stops Production of FineWoven Accessories

Sunday April 21, 2024 6:03 am PDT by
Apple has stopped production of FineWoven accessories, according to the Apple leaker and prototype collector known as "Kosutami." In a post on X (formerly Twitter), Kosutami explained that Apple has stopped production of FineWoven accessories due to its poor durability. The company may move to another non-leather material for its premium accessories in the future. Kosutami has revealed...
maxresdefault

Apple Announces 'Let Loose' Event on May 7 Amid Rumors of New iPads

Tuesday April 23, 2024 7:11 am PDT by
Apple has announced it will be holding a special event on Tuesday, May 7 at 7 a.m. Pacific Time (10 a.m. Eastern Time), with a live stream to be available on Apple.com and on YouTube as usual. The event invitation has a tagline of "Let Loose" and shows an artistic render of an Apple Pencil, suggesting that iPads will be a focus of the event. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more ...
Apple Vision Pro Dual Loop Band Orange Feature 2

Apple Cuts Vision Pro Shipments as Demand Falls 'Sharply Beyond Expectations'

Tuesday April 23, 2024 9:44 am PDT by
Apple has dropped the number of Vision Pro units that it plans to ship in 2024, going from an expected 700 to 800k units to just 400k to 450k units, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Orders have been scaled back before the Vision Pro has launched in markets outside of the United States, which Kuo says is a sign that demand in the U.S. has "fallen sharply beyond expectations." As a...
iOS 17 All New Features Thumb

iOS 17.5 Will Add These New Features to Your iPhone

Sunday April 21, 2024 3:00 am PDT by
The upcoming iOS 17.5 update for the iPhone includes only a few new user-facing features, but hidden code changes reveal some additional possibilities. Below, we have recapped everything new in the iOS 17.5 and iPadOS 17.5 beta so far. Web Distribution Starting with the second beta of iOS 17.5, eligible developers are able to distribute their iOS apps to iPhone users located in the EU...
Provenance Emulator

PlayStation and SEGA Emulator for iPhone and Apple TV Coming to App Store [Updated]

Friday April 19, 2024 8:29 am PDT by
The lead developer of the multi-emulator app Provenance has told iMore that his team is working towards releasing the app on the App Store, but he did not provide a timeframe. Provenance is a frontend for many existing emulators, and it would allow iPhone and Apple TV users to emulate games released for a wide variety of classic game consoles, including the original PlayStation, SEGA Genesis,...
iPad And Calculator App Feature

Apple Finally Plans to Release a Calculator App for iPad Later This Year

Tuesday April 23, 2024 9:08 am PDT by
Apple is finally planning a Calculator app for the iPad, over 14 years after launching the device, according to a source familiar with the matter. iPadOS 18 will include a built-in Calculator app for all iPad models that are compatible with the software update, which is expected to be unveiled during the opening keynote of Apple's annual developers conference WWDC on June 10. The lack of ...