Apple complains UK watchdog wants to make iOS a 'clone' of Android

Trending 7 months ago

The UK title watchdog's projected iOS remedies successful a probe of its "substantial and entrenched marketplace power" successful nan mobile ecosystem "would efficaciously move Apple into a clone of Android," nan iPhone shaper told nan CMA.

The logic for its unhappiness? The UK Competition and Markets Authority's (CMA) cardinal hole is to termination Apple's WebKit request connected iOS amid claims it is anti-competitive. (If you usage a browser, e.g. Chrome aliases Firefox, connected an iPhone, it must usage nan aforesaid WebKit motor arsenic Safari.)

The move is portion of a larger probe into mobile browser and unreality gaming platforms by nan CMA, and nan hated remedies are portion of an issues statement [PDF] nan CMA put retired successful December past year.

The CMA's connection cited its marketplace study, which recovered "evidence that nan value of each browsers connected Apple devices is constricted by nan slower gait of improvement of WebKit, that web developers person cancelled features owed to a deficiency of support by WebKit, and that businesses carnivore higher costs from having to trust connected autochthonal apps compared to web apps, and from moving pinch bugs and glitches that are inherent successful WebKit."

In a consequence revenge successful December but published yesterday, Apple snapped back, claiming a removal of nan WebKit request would "prevent azygous updates of apps rendering web content, arsenic Android does."

The title watchdog besides suggested that Apple alteration sideloading and replacement apps stores, which Apple claimed successful its submission would "degrade nan robust personification protections of Apple's curated model."

Apple added that nan effect of nan tweaks it was asked to make would beryllium that iOS "would beryllium turned into different type of Android" – frankincense reducing user choice.

The CMA has said Apple and Google person an effective duopoly successful nan UK's mobile ecosystem.

Apple besides said successful its consequence that it was "particularly concerned by immoderate of nan remedy options that nan CMA is now considering successful narration to unreality gaming, which look to autumn extracurricular nan underlying ground for nan marketplace investigation."

Apple is fighting this hard. In precocious January, respective weeks aft nan CMA gave Apple nan issues statement, nan iPhone shaper appealed [PDF] successful nan country's Competition Appeal Tribunal, contending that nan CMA was overstepping its authority successful moreover opening nan investigation, seeking a enactment of nan probe and asking for a uncovering that it was "invalid and of nary ineligible effect."

Google, meanwhile, claimed successful its January 25 filing [PDF] that nan CMA's issues connection incorrectly recovered that Android uses default settings to create marketplace barriers, saying that Chrome was a unfortunate of its ain success. It claimed that while Chrome remains nan astir celebrated browser connected Android, "this reflects users exercising their state to prime and usage their preferred browser irrespective of which browsers travel preinstalled aliases group arsenic default connected their devices" and cited figures that "over 80 percent" of UK Android users are assured pinch "changing settings connected smartphones (e.g. changing default settings)."

As for browser motor tweaks, Google added that this wouldn't use to its mobile OS because "on Android, developers tin usage immoderate browser motor they want."

As The Register noted earlier this week, Google Chrome is based connected Blink (via its unfastened root Chromium foundation), which was forked from WebKit astir 10 years agone ago. Mozilla's Firefox, meanwhile, is based connected Gecko, while Microsoft's Edge browser is based connected Chromium codification (using Blink).

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The European Commission has already fined Google €4.34 cardinal ($4.67 billion) complete its Android operating system. Also successful nan wings is nan upcoming European Digital Markets Act (DMA), which is already successful unit – but will only specify which companies are nan "gatekeepers" successful September (it's a shoo-in Apple is one) – giving Big Tech until March 2024 to comply. The DMA is wide expected to unit Apple to let third-party app stores and perchance to change nan WebKit request and make its iMessages level "interoperable," and make some Apple and Google let third-party costs options successful apps connected their respective app stores arsenic good arsenic forcing them to trim nan committee they return from developers' revenues.

Just this morning, Japan's Fair Trade Commission besides recommended that some Apple and Google see third-party app stores connected their platforms.

iOS 17 is expected to beryllium previewed astatine nan Worldwide Developers Conference successful June 2023. According to immoderate reports, Apple is considering making immoderate regulator-driven changes astatine that point. We person asked Apple for comment. ®