Sep 7, 2021 - Technology

Apple's big concession: A willingness to concede

Apple logo
Photo: Jeremy Moeller/Getty Images)

Apple spent another week on its heels last week, settling cases with regulators and, on Friday, agreeing to delay a controversial plan to start monitoring iPhones for child sexual abuse material.

Why it matters: The individual moves themselves won't hurt Apple and could actually take some pressure off the company. The downside for the company is they show that Apple can back down if pushed hard enough.

Driving the news: Apple said Friday that it would delay implementation of its plan to scan for childhood sexual abuse material, which critics worried could lead to broader screening of otherwise private and encrypted data and communications.

  • The company announced earlier in the week that makers of certain "reader" apps for viewing subscription content would be able to include a link in their apps to an outside web site for managing accounts. The move was made to settle an investigation from Japanese regulators.

The big picture: Those moves followed other concessions that Apple made as part of a tentative deal to settle a class-action lawsuit with developers over the App Store.

  • The concessions around the App Store come as the company looks to preserve the key pillars of that service: Apple's sole control over what apps are allowed, its commission structure and its prohibition of rival payment systems.
  • Critics have called those changes insufficient, and Apple still faces pressure from regulators around the world over the App Store and a lawsuit by "Fortnite" developer Epic Games, which aims to force the company to open the iPhone to other app stores and payment mechanisms. (A trial took place earlier this year, and a federal judge could rule on that suit at any time.)
Go deeper