New EU Draft Could Prevent Apple from Pre-Installing Apps on iPhone

iPhone iOS 14 Picture in PictureiPhone iOS 14 Picture in Picture

It is prevalent for smartphone manufacturers to preinstall their applications on the phone. In some cases, the user will not be able to remove the preinstalled app. A draft of the EU’s Digital Services Act now says that companies should not preinstall their apps on laptops and smartphones. The new law might affect Apple as they preinstall apps like Pages, Apple Music, and others on the iPhone and iPad.

The draft suggests that Big Tech companies like Google and Apple may be banned from favoring their own services on their sites or platforms. Such a practice will cause hindrance to rivals and these companies should not be allowed to pre-install their own applications on devices like iPhone or iPad.

A report by Bloomberg says the draft will be revealed in December. Once in effect, platforms have to share customer data with business rivals and ensure a level playing field for similar services.

Due to be unveiled in December by the European Commission, the bloc’s executive body, the legislation will seek to modernize rules governing the internet to give platforms greater responsibility for what users post on their sites as well as propose regulation aimed at curbing the power of large platforms.

EU believes that companies should not give preferential treatment to themselves or third party services. Moreover, users should be free to uninstall any of the apps from their devices. The new legislation will not allow Apple to ship their devices with preinstalled apps. Lastly, Google and Facebook are required to furnish annual audits of their advertising data.

Our Take

Apple will not be affected much by the new legislation. Furthermore, most iPhone/iPad users see apps like iMessage and others as value addition and not bloatware. Apple already allows users to remove almost all of the preinstalled apps. However, Apple will no longer earn money by letting Google add their search bar as default on iOS devices.

[via FT, Bloomberg]

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