Apple Relaxes Policies Due to European Union Influence

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By Nathan Cartmell 

Apple, the tech giant known for its proprietary ecosystem of products, has been resistant to changing its policies. However, the European Union has been exerting pressure on the company to make changes to its hardware and software policies. In a recent development, Apple has announced its decision to open its software restrictions for non-Apple app stores. This has been viewed as a significant move towards greater openness and flexibility for users. 

Recently, the EU has introduced new legislation that is aimed at ensuring tech companies are operating fairly and competitively. As a part of this legislation, Apple is now required to open its app store policies, which have been perceived as very restrictive when compared to other mobile tech giants like Samsung and Google. Apple has been criticized for its anti-customization and anti-standardization stance that limits user ability to modify and personalize their Apple devices. The company is famously anti-Right to Repair, which has clashed with US legislation in recent years. Consequently, Apple has already switched to USB-C from their proprietary Lightning cable for their latest iPhone 15 series and other recent products such as the AirPods Pro and iPads, which comes from a previous EU resolution that is coming into effect in 2024. These decisions are expected to give users more flexibility and options when it comes to customizing and modifying their Apple devices. 

While many people are excited about fewer restrictions, Apple is characteristically cautious. The company has prioritized privacy over customizability in many instances, and that is something that this legislation, in Apple’s view, causes problems with. According to the company’s news page, the company stated that “the new options for processing payments and downloading apps on iOS open new avenues for malware, fraud and scams, illicit and harmful content, and other privacy and security threats”. While Apple is putting guardrails in place to deter privacy lapses, the new policies might be more vulnerable.  

Apple’s move to make their software policies less strict is expected to bring more transparency and accountability to Apple’s business practices and provide users with greater control over their data and the apps they use on their devices. Despite Apple’s objections and efforts to lock down the products in their ecosystem, The new regulations have been seen as a positive step towards creating a level playing field for all tech companies operating within the European Union.