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European Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton has appealed to Apple CEO Tim Cook to open the company’s ecosystem to the competition, comprising the Cupertino giant’s hardware and software creations. The request follows the European Union’s success in pushing the iPhone maker to embrace the USB-C port.
Reuters reported that Breton made the appeal after the meeting between the two in Brussels. “The next job for Apple and other Big Tech, under the DMA (Digital Markets Act) is to open up its gates to competitors,” Breton told the outlet. “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.”
The change is also being pushed to other big techs as the EU continues to highlight its vision to cultivate competition in its market. However, it will be a huge challenge for Apple, which is benefiting from its reputation of having a walled garden for its ecosystem as it cites the importance of security and privacy of its customers.
EU says it has these points in mind and that they will continuously be observed despite the changes. “EU regulation fosters innovation, without compromising on security and privacy,” said Breton.
Apple seems to be already preparing for this, with Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering, revealing in June that the company was already in talks with the EU about app sideloading.
“We want to make sure that whatever we do is the right thing for our customers: the safety of our customers,” Federighi said at that time. “We are working with the EU on what safe compliance could look like.”
In August, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman confirmed that Apple would bring app sideloading to the EU market in Spring 2024. The journalist noted, however, that Apple would “downplay it and lock it down so significantly.” If this is true, it means Apple will roll out the function without making big or huge direct announcements about it, and it will be hidden inside Settings. This should discourage users not only from using the sideloading option but also from discovering it.
In preparation for that, Apple launched a new page on its official website. Labeled “Apps by Apple,” the page highlights Apple’s app offerings for its customers.
While these moves point to Apple’s effort in preparing for the changes that will affect its software, it is unknown what further preparations the Cupertino giant is making on the hardware side aside from adopting a new USB-C port.