Apple is facing another legislative threat to the App Store in form of the bi-partisan “Open Market Act” which will open iOS to sideloading if passed. Ahead of the discussion on the bill, Apple has urged the top lawmakers to reject the bill in a letter. The company has highlighted that contrary to its intended impact, the bill will be harmful to consumers in several ways.
The Open Market Act argues that Apple and Google enjoy an unfair advantage over competitors because of their ownership of iOS and Android operating systems and imposing anti-competitive policies like charging a commission for all in-app purchases which increase the price of purchases and subscriptions. The bill proposes to allow sideloading on iOS and Android so that consumers have more choices and they pay less.
Sideloading refers to alternative app stores on an operating system for apps distribution. For Apple to allow third-party app stores on iOS, in addition to the App Store, means that apps will surpass the App Store review process to filter out malicious malware which could drastically impact users’ privacy, security, and make it easy to commit fraud.
Apple warns legislators of possible abuse of sideloading on iOS by big social media apps
Tech giant’s letter, obtained by Bloomberg News is written to Senate Judiciary Chair Dick Durbin and Republican Chuck Grassley before the bill is put up for discussion on Thursday, February 3, 2022. The letter highlights the dire consequences of users’ security and privacy, the creation of expansive liability exposure, and much worse. The company’s head of government affairs in the Americas, Tim Powderly wrote:
The company said the bill, S. 2710, would harm user security and privacy, create expansive liability exposure and legal uncertainty, and would deny consumer choice.“We are deeply concerned that the legislation, unless amended, would make it easier for big social media platforms to avoid the pro-consumer practices of Apple’s App Store, and allow them to continue business as usual,”
“Sideloading would enable bad actors to evade Apple’s privacy and security protections by distributing apps without critical privacy and security checks,” he said. “These provisions would allow malware, scams and data-exploitation to proliferate.”
A new South Korean permitted alternative payment methods on iOS and Android but the upcoming U.S. bill is moving one step further seeking to permit sideloading. The tech company has already published two reports on the adverse ramifications of permitting sideloading on iOS and its CEO Tim Cook equates it to a car without airbags or seat belts.
- Apple says Android devices have 15 to 47 times more malware infections than iPhone because of sideloading
- Apple’s new privacy white paper explains the “Real-world attacks on platforms that allow sideloading”