EU chief warns Apple not to use privacy and security as antitrust shield

"The important thing here is, of course, that it's not a shield against competition because I think customers will not give up neither security nor privacy if they use another app store or if they sideload"

What you need to know

  • EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager has warned Apple not to shield behind privacy and security amid pending antitrust laws.
  • She claimed that customers would not give up security or privacy if they used other app stores or had sideloading.
  • Apple has vehemently denied this in the past, claiming sideloading would totally compromise iOS.

The EU's competition chief has warned that Apple should not use privacy and security as a shield against the competition, fighting back against the company's recent efforts to lobby against sideloading and alternative app stores on iOS.

From Reuters:

Europe's tech chief Margrethe Vestager on Friday warned iPhone maker Apple (AAPL.O) against using privacy and security concerns to fend off competition on its App Store, reasons CEO Tim Cook gave for not allowing users to install software from outside the Store.

In an interview Vestager said that she shared the concerns of Apple regarding security and privacy, stating "I think privacy and security is of paramount importance to everyone", however she claims that this would not be compromised by sideloading on iOS or alternative app stores:

"The important thing here is, of course, that it's not a shield against competition because I think customers will not give up neither security nor privacy if they use another app store or if they sideload"

Vestager further hinted however that she was "open to changes in her proposal" and that she thought it was "possible to find a solution to this", and that she didn't have any problems with Apple's recent privacy changes.

"As I have said, I think actually several times, that it is a good thing when providers give us the service that we can easily set our preferences if we want to be tracked outside the use of an app or not as long as it's the same condition for everyone. So far, we have no reason to believe that this is not the case for Apple"

The reasoning behind Vestager's comments wasn't reported, but in recent weeks Apple has fervently defended against the prospect of sideloading and alternative app stores, stating it would compromise iOS security, leading to much more malware targeting the platform. You can read the full report of Apple's rebuttal against sideloading here.

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