Apple urges US lawmakers against bill to allow iOS apps outside the App Store

Apple is once again fighting against bills that try to force the company to allow distribution of iOS apps outside the App Store. This time, the company urged U.S. lawmakers to reject an antitrust bill in the U.S. Senate that would allow users to install any apps on iPhone and iPad.

As reported by Bloomberg, Apple has written a letter to Senate Judiciary Chair Dick Durbin and Republican Chuck Grassley claiming that the S. 2710 bill will “hurt user privacy and security” if passed. The legislation would make Apple allow “sideloading” on iOS, which is the process of installing software downloaded through the web or sources other than the official App Store.

Apple fears that “big media platforms” will bypass Apple’s guidelines for protecting user data if sideloading on iOS is allowed. Tim Powderly, Apple’s head of government affairs in the Americas, also said that enabling software installation outside the App Store would make it easier to spread malware and scams among iOS users.

As noted by the report, the bill has a high chance of being approved by the committee since it has bipartisan co-sponsors. However, getting approval from the full Senate will be a difficult task. Multiple US states have been trying to pass bills to end App Store exclusivity on iOS, but so far none of them have been successful.

9to5Mac’s Take

Apple’s fear of such a bill goes far beyond just security and privacy. The company currently forces developers to pay a commission of between 15% and 30% for every sale made in the iOS ecosystem, even within third-party apps. If developers can distribute their apps outside of the App Store, they will no longer need to pay Apple to sell iOS apps.

Apple has recently been forced to allow alternative payment systems in the Netherlands and South Korea, but even so, the company claims that it will still charge developers the 30% commission.

Judge Yvonne Rogers in the Epic Games case ruled last year that Apple could no longer forbid developers to redirect users to third-party payment systems. However, Apple is now appealing that ruling, which means that it will still take time before a final decision is made. Until then, the company is unlikely to change how iOS apps are distributed.

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