Apple has been hit with antitrust claims by several developers over its privacy-oriented feature, “Sign in with Apple”. Apple introduced “Sign in with Apple” back in 2019 as a sign-in tool that allowed users to log in to third-party websites and applications securely. The feature provides users with an alternative to other sign-in options like using Facebook or Google.
The tech giant has made it a requirement that an app/service on its platform must offer “Sign in with Apple” as an alternative to the regular options like signing in with Facebook or Google. According to a recent report, the United States Department of Justice is investigating the fact that Apple forces developers to adopt its login alternative.
Apple’s privacy-oriented feature, “Sign in with Apple,” under investigation by US DOJ
The Information reports that investigators are looking into how the tech giant uses the sign-in button and other App Store rules to make it more difficult for users to switch to a competitor device maker, such as Android or Windows.
Sources for the report said that many developers began filing antitrust complaints about the feature with the U.S. investigator last summer. Two developers told the DOJ that they removed all sign-in options from their apps because they did not want to use Apple’s alternative.
“Representatives of two iPhone app developers that complained to DOJ investigators about Apple’s requirements told The Information that after Apple made its sign-in button mandatory, they removed all sign-in buttons from their app because they didn’t want to include Apple’s and potentially lose out on gaining information about their customers.
These developers told investigators that the Apple button cuts them off from their users and claimed that it was another method the company uses to entrench its control over its mobile devices.”
While many developers have praised the feature, some developers feel that making it a requirement for them to add the alternative to their apps means they will get cut off from access to information from their users. Some developers also claim the feature is used by Apple as a way to exert control over the App Store.
Back in 2019, Blix filed a complaint against the tech giant about the “Sign in with Apple” feature. The developer claimed that Apple not only stole its anonymous email sign-in feature with “Sign in with Apple,” but it also “suppressed” Blix’s iPhone app in search results and kicked its macOS app out of the App Store. The lawsuit was thrown out by the court in December 2020.
The DOJ has not yet decided whether to sue the tech giant and the conclusion could take months or even years to reach.