Jun 23, 2020 - Technology

Apple makes concessions to developers and antitrust regulators

Ina Fried
Apple's Tim Cook smiling

Apple CEO Tim Cook. Photo: Christoph Dernbach/picture alliance via Getty Images

While not heavily touted by Apple on Monday, the company made several moves designed to address some key criticisms leveled by developers and antitrust authorities in recent weeks.

Why it matters: The moves likely won't end all the grumbling or stop regulators in their tracks, but they might turn down the heat for Apple over charges that it is increasingly behaving like a monopolist.

Driving the news: At its developer conference, Apple announced it would:

  • Allow customers for the first time to set a different email program or web browser as the default option on the iPhone.
  • Enable the HomePod speaker to work with streaming services beyond the company's own Apple Music.

Apple is also making some changes in how it handles disputes with developers:

  • In most cases, Apple will now not hold up bug fixes even when it has found an app violates its rules.
  • Developers will also have a process to challenge whether an app violates a specific rule, as well as to challenge a rule itself.

The big picture: The moves come as Europe has launched an antitrust probe and the chairman of the House Antitrust Subcommittee has criticized the company.

  • They also follow a very public spat with Basecamp over Hey, a new email application.
  • That dispute also appears to have reached a detente, with Hey agreeing to a limited free trial in an effort to remain in compliance with Apple's terms.
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