EU industry chief calls on Apple to open ecosystem to competitors


An EU commissioner called on Tim Cook to open up Apple's closed ecosystem of hardware and software.
An EU commissioner called on Tim Cook to open up Apple's closed ecosystem of hardware and software.

After meeting with Apple CEO Tim Cook in Brussels Tuesday, European Union head of industry Thierry Breton called on the tech company to open its ecosystem of hardware and software to competitors.

EU industry chief calls on Apple to open its ecosystem to rivals

The EU’s Digital Markets Act, which goes into effect in spring 2024, tries to foster competition by providing rules for Apple and other big tech companies to follow. Changes include requiring USB-C connectivity, allowing sideloading of apps from various sources and barring a company from limiting software choices for developers and users. Apple is already responding to the EU mandates, but just how far will the iPhone-maker go? And how much more will the EU demand?

“The next job for Apple and other Big Tech under the DMA (Digital Markets Act) is to open up its gates to competitors,” Breton said. “Be it the electronic wallet, browsers or app stores, consumers using an Apple iPhone should be able to benefit from competitive services by a range of providers.”

Breton, a French business executive formally titled commissioner for internal market of the EU, made his remarks about laying bare the Apple ecosystem to Reuters after his meeting with Cook. Apple has not commented on the remarks, the news organization said.

Breton also remarked on Apple’s oft-stated points that it uses a closed ecosystem to provide the best security and privacy, which sideloading and other access might threaten.

“EU regulation fosters innovation, without compromising on security and privacy,” Breton said.

During his European trip, Cook also met with Apple team members and customers in Brussels:

Apple’s likely response

While Apple did not provide comment for Reuters, any response would likely follow along the lines of previous points about why its ecosystem is closed.

As Cook said recently in a privacy summit keynote regarding legislation that would force Apple to allow apps for its devices to bypass the App Store, “We are deeply concerned about regulations that would undermine privacy and security in service of some other aim.”

In that speech at the IAPP summit in Washington, D.C., Cook called privacy one of the most essential battles of modern times. He described three fronts in the fight Apple fights. One is fighting against surveillance and data mining, another is combatting hackers and other bad actors, and the third is pushing back on regulations that weaken privacy and security.


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