In Washington, D.C. On Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila), Apple CEO Tim Cook slammed moves to regulate his company’s App Store, arguing that new rules could jeopardize the privacy of Apple iPhone users.
In light of the growing pressure on Apple’s app market dominance, which some have argued amounts to a monopoly, Cook put forth the Silicon Valley giant’s perspective.
International Association of Privacy Professionals gathering: “We are deeply concerned about regulations that would undermine privacy and security in service of some other objective,” Cook said.
According to the proponents of these regulations, there is no harm in giving people the option of using a more secure method, but taking away that option will leave users with fewer options, not more.
To put it another way, policymakers around the world are putting pressure on Apple to allow apps from outside the App Store to be installed on its billions of iPhones, which are currently only accessible through that store.
Apple and Google are the market leaders, with their operating systems powering the vast majority of smartphones in use around the world.
Epic Games, the maker of “Fortnite,” has taken Apple to court, accusing the iPhone maker of operating a monopoly in the App Store, where it sells digital goods or services.
In November, a federal judge ordered Apple to loosen its control over its App Store payment options, but said Epic had failed to prove that antitrust violations had occurred.
In Europe, Apple has also been involved in a dispute with regulators.
iPhone users could “sideload” applications from outside the App Store without Apple’s approval for malicious code or data-gathering features, according to Cook.
In other words, “data-hungry companies would be able to avoid our privacy rules and once again track our users against their will,” he added.
Apple’s detractors argue that the App Store is rigged to benefit the company’s bottom line at the expense of consumers and independent software developers.
Unvetted iPhone apps could have “profound consequences” if they’re allowed on the platform, Cook said. On this matter, “we will continue to make our voices clear.”