The iPhone 15 has USB-C, which has a lot to do with upcoming legislation in the European Union requiring smartphones and other products to share a charger. Apple may also soon be forced to open up the iPhone to third-party app stores and sideloading thanks to the EU’s Digital Markets Act.
In new comments today, EU industry chief Thierry Breton confirmed that Apple must “open its gates to competitors.”
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As a reminder, the DMA is a sweeping antitrust law aimed at technology companies. The law requires Apple to make changes to iOS, the App Store and Safari that will improve the compatibility of these platforms with other ecosystems. Since the law is currently written, Apple will have until March 5 next year to comply.
Breton made the comments after meeting Cooke in Brussels this week, Reuters reported. Breton said that with the iPhone 15 switching to USB-C, Apple should now open up things like the App Store to its competitors.
“The next challenge for Apple and other big tech companies under the DMA is to open their gates to competitors,” Breton said. “Whether it’s e-wallet, browsers or app stores, consumers using the Apple iPhone should be able to take advantage of competitive services from a range of providers.”
Apple’s counter-argument was that exposing the iPhone in this way would significantly compromise the security and privacy of users. Breton, however, does not believe this argument. “EU regulation promotes innovation without compromising security and privacy,” he said this week.
While iOS 17 does not currently include any support for third-party app stores or sideloading, Apple Vice President Craig Federighi said after WWDC in June that Apple is “working with the EU” to ensure compliance.
Apple is expected to do everything possible to limit the availability of sideloaded apps and third-party app stores. The company could also be forced to open up iMessage to other messaging platforms, but that’s still under discussion.
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