Last week Meta said apple has too much power. They might actually have a point.
Last year Apple released the IOS 15 update that prevented Facebook from tracking its users by allowing people to “opt-out of tracking.” Facebook’s entire business model is based on running hyper-targeted advertising.
This move by Apple to block user data has cost Meta over 10 Billion dollars in the first year alone.
No one likes ads. Theirs a massive industry around ad blocking for web browsers, and over 90% of people opted out of tracking when presented with Apple’s IOS popup. Apple looks like a company that cares about you and your privacy. But what if Apple isn’t quite as “nice” as they are making themselves out to be?
Facebook threatened an anti-trust suit, where they make some excellent points.
The Problem With Apple
When Apple released their IOS updates to take down in-app data tracking, they stated the primary reason for this is that user choice should trump corporate preference.
But meta has pointed out that Apple is being very selective regarding user choice trumping corporate preference. Here are some examples of things apple still does today that blatantly go against this statement.
No Competing App store
Apple goes out of its way to ensure you only get apps in one place, their app store. It’s coded directly into their operating system and has functions to prevent side loading actively. That’s just a fancy way of saying you can’t download apps directly from the web. The only way to introduce another app marketplace is by jailbreaking.
If you want to download and listen to audiobooks on apple, you have two options, iBooks and Audible. The problem is that audible has to use creative workarounds by logging users in via the web first and then redirecting them back to the app before accessing their content. Audible has to do this not to break Apples terms.
Third-Party Browser Restrictions
Apple actively bans third-party browsers. You might be thinking, “but I can download google chrome?.” That is true, but the chrome, firefox, and other browsers you see on the app store are just reskinned versions of Webkit made by apple. They aren’t even the actual browser technologies you would find on your PC or other devices.
Apple claims this is for security reasons, but the CMA says this ban makes security worse.
So as you can see, Apple isn’t quite as nice as you think. They are just a giant corporation trying to maintain its grip on users.
It’s easy to hate on meta, I’m definitely not taking up for them, but there’s something about apple doing the same thing while trying to cover it up by saying they are trying to “protect us” that comes across as shady and disingenuous.
So is Apple too powerful? Yea, I think so. If they are going to restrict other businesses, they should also hold themselves to their own standards.