Apple could be banned from offering pre-installed iPhone apps in Europe

Apple could be banned from offering preinstalled iPhone apps in Europe

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iOS 14.0.1
iOS 14.0.1 lets you set Gmail as your default email application, and have it actually stick.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple’s default apps could potentially be banned from coming preinstalled on new iPhone and iPads in Europe, according to draft European Union legislation.

The so-called Digital Services Act is intended to level the playing field for smaller companies wanting to compete with “gatekeeper platforms” (aka tech giants). The EU currently has two investigations into the App Store and one into Apple Pay.

The potential legislation is currently in its early stages.

The power of default apps

The power of default services has been at the heart of multiple antitrust investigations. One big example is the 2000 Microsoft antitrust suit in the United States. This suit took aim at the way Windows bundled Internet Explorer with Windows as the default option for going online.

Apple has been gradually making it easier to use rival services on its platforms, and taking steps to reduce its own power. For example, Apple reportedly algorithmically downgrades its own apps in App Store search. This is so they do not automatically come up as the top option in categories where Apple competes with rivals.

Apple previously didn’t let users uninstall default apps on iOS. This changed with iOS 11, which let users remove certain stock apps. Things altered even more with iOS 14. The latest OS means that users can now switch up default apps more easily.

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 which went in Apple’s favor concerning the enormous bill.

A number of developers have recently attacked Apple over what they allege is its monopoly influence. The most prominent of these is Fortnite developer Epic Games.

Source: Financial Times