Apple’s default apps could potentially be banned from coming preinstalled on new iPhones and iPads in Europe, according to a draft of European Union legislation. The EU currently has two investigations into the App Store and one into Apple Pay.
An early draft of the Digital Services Act, under consideration by the European Parliament, would not only require tech giants to share data with smaller rivals but would also limit the ways companies can use customer data they’ve already collected.
EU could ban pre-installed Apple apps
The Financial Times report suggests that since the draft of the proposed rule is in the early stages, it is quite unclear if all or some pre-installed apps will be banned. The proposed rule cites anti-competitive reasons for the ban and states that,
“The draft recommends that Big Tech might be prohibited from favoritism of their own services on their websites or platforms, to the hinderance of competitors, which business ought to not be enabled to pre-install their own applications on hardware gadgets, such as laptop computers or phones, or force other business to solely pre-install their software application.
Separately, Brussels desires big platforms to let users uninstall any pre-installed apps on gadgets such as mobile phones and computers, according to the draft, which remains in its early phases.”
Previously, the tech giant did not let users uninstall default apps on iOS. This changed with iOS 11, which let users remove certain stock apps like weather, calendar, voice memo, and others. Users are allowed even more customization with iOS 14. The latest operating system allows users to set third-party apps like Chrome and Gmail as the default.
After months of criticism and developers calling out Apple’s anticompetitive behavior, the tech giant has been making it easier to use rival services on its platforms and Is taking steps to reduce its own power. For example, Apple allegedly algorithmically downgrades its own apps in the App Store search, so they do not automatically come up as the top option in categories where Apple competes with rivals.
The European Union is currently battling it out with Apple over a $14.8 billion tax bill. The European Commission recently revealed that it will appeal a recent court decision that went in Apple’s favor concerning the enormous bill.
Several developers have recently attacked Apple over what they allege is its anticompetitive behavior. The most prominent of these is Fortnite developer Epic Games.