Apple, facing renewed antitrust pressure, released a new privacy document on Wednesday. It reiterated the firm’s opposition to third-party app stores and downloads directly from vendors as lawmakers on Capitol Hill prepared to debate key legislation.
Apple New Privacy Statement Issues Warning on Antitrust Bills
In the statement, Apple took direct aim at antitrust legislation that is looking to stop iOS apps only being accessible via the App Store:
Some have suggested that we should create ways for developers to distribute their apps outside of the App Store, through websites or third-party app stores, a process called “sideloading.” Allowing sideloading would degrade the security of the iOS platform and expose users to serious security risks not only on third-party app stores, but also on the App Store. Because of the large size of the iPhone user base and the sensitive data stored on their phones – photos, location data, health and financial information – allowing sideloading would spur a flood of new investment into attacks on the platform.
As CNet noted, the statement landed shortly before U.S. lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee were set to start a debate on proposed antitrust legislation that could in fact demand Apple allow sideloading. It was timed to be picked up as part of the morning’s political coverage.
Tim Cook Makes Calls as Wary Tech Lobbies Lawmakers
The New York Times reported that Apple and other tech giants like Amazon, Facebook, and Google have been undertaking a major lobbying campaign in response to these bills. Indeed, Apple CEO Tim Cook is said to have personally called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other key lawmakers. He reportedly warned that the legislation was rushed and would be detrimental to consumers. It’s not just in the U.S. where Apple is navigating growing antitrust drives. The company is also facing scrutiny from the UK, the EU, and Germany.