back to article Apple redecorates its iPhone prison to appease Europe

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs described the computer as a bicycle for the mind. But he failed to let that metaphor shape his greatest achievement, the iPhone, which has become a shackle for the soul. The iPhone is a computer; you just can't use it as one most of the time because it's a closed system. You're not free to install …

  1. JWLong

    Once Again,

    Please, think of the Children.

    1. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

      Re: Once Again,

      Please think of the ceos!

  2. Ashto5

    The Law Has No Teeth

    What quality of laws are being passed in our name?

    If Apple can weasel round the law so easily when everyone knows the intention of the Law, just how bad must the law makers be?

    1. ChoHag Silver badge

      Re: The Law Has No Teeth

      > just how bad must the law makers be?


    2. FF22

      Re: The Law Has No Teeth

      "If Apple can weasel round the law so easily"

      For one, nobody said Apple could weasel out its way. It just tried. Hopefully they will be slapped with a fine so heavy, that they will never ever try it again.

      Also laws have a "spirit" that must be fulfilled and taken into account when they're interpreted - because you can't code every single instance and way that spirit could be violated into words. That's also why we have judges presiding and deciding over cases, because the law (as any text) in itself is ALWAYS subject to interpreration, and hence to reasoning that could potentionally circumvent it.

      The point is that Apple is blatantly violating the intention and spirit of the law, and hopefully EU judges will make an example out of that.

      1. Necrohamster Silver badge

        Re: The Law Has No Teeth

        "The point is that Apple is blatantly violating the intention and spirit of the law..."

        "Intention and spirit of the law" sound like aspirational items to me.

        The only thing they (and the courts) need to worry about is that they met the actual requirements which were specified in the law.

        1. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

          Re: The Law Has No Teeth

          The “actual requirements”? The naïvety here is shocking. Laws cannot, and do not, attempt to cover every edge case of behaviour. When something is believed to be in violation of a law, but not explicitly forbidden by it, we have legal test cases: one party asserts that the behaviour is unlawful, the other defends that it is lawful, they show their supporting evidence, and a judge decides… by considering the evidence, and also the intention of the lawmakers and the general behaviours that they sought to restrain or support (or, if you will, the “spirit” of the legislation).

          The commercial courts are filled with such cases. Apple won’t get a free pass, and they shouldn’t: their decision to enforce additional, arbitrary licensing fees on popular apps is very much against the idea of fair competition. We had similar cases in the past on telephony, with incumbents setting “carriage fees” structured to prevent competition, and they were found to be anti-competitive too. The EU has decades of experience, and decades of wins, in breaking up monopolies and anti-competitive practices - I wouldn’t bet against them.

          1. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

            Re: The Law Has No Teeth

            " Laws cannot, and do not, attempt to cover every edge case of behaviour.", That's why Apple's lawyers are paid so well.

            In a actual courtroom. a persistent and well-prepared advocate can say "but the law does not say that" and win. Ultimately, the law is as-written, the interpretation is for the court, not the politicians that write the law.

            If intention was part of law, Human Rights law would not have the all-pervasive effect that it has.

      2. EBG

        Re: The Law Has No Teeth

        Honest question - does the continental "Roman Law" system require adherence to the spirit of the law ? it seem to be a much more prescriptive and literal system than ours.

    3. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: The Law Has No Teeth

      This is Apple's proposal even though they've announced it as if it's a done thing, the EU still has to okay it and presumably they won't as it makes a mockery of the DMA and makes the whole exercise pointless.

  3. Tim Roberts 1

    I'll probably be hammered from both sides for this but here goes.

    I was a relatively early user of macs, with the encouragement of my Dad, owning a Mac Plus back in the day..

    Over the years, in several iterations I graduated up to a Power PC G5 in about 2005.

    This machine served me well. and eventually died a natural death. In 2019, I went over to PC, mainly on a cost/benefit basis, but also because the "closed shop" was starting to irritate me for the software I was interested in.

    I have never owned an iPhone, and never will as I'm a very basic user - just for calls when I need to, so a cheap android one does me well.

    The software for my win10 PC is serving me well in my interests of ham radio, electronics and photography. Stand alone, single purchase software for these is imho vastly better than what was available for my old mac.

    Will I be upgrading to win11 anytime soon? Not on your nelly! I have it on a work laptop and frankly it's a piece of crap.

    1. Zolko Silver badge

      Nice story, quite similar to mine ... except that I switched to Linux, not Windows. I tried BeOS in-between (was great !) but unfortunately that one didn't go very far. So I invite you to try some sort of Linux. My current favorite is the Debian-based MX-Linux. If you're even more adventurous you can try a BSD, but that's beyond my grade.

      What I found surprising was that at the beginning MacOS could open any type of hard-disk with any format you could plug-in, but today it refuses to mount Linux Ext4 filesystems and only accepts its own and Microsoft's various FATs.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        YouTube guy says Haiku is now good enough to use as your main OS.

        Well he really uses the phrase "daily drive" which should carry a mandatory death sentence, but apart from that you may be interested in this video.

    2. jmch Silver badge

      Mixed Windows / Mac user here. I have always found software for whatever I wanted for the Mac. It isn't always the most polished, but it mostly works. And for non-niche areas like browser / office tools, Mac versions of non-Apple / MS core programs like Firefox / LibreOffice are top-notch. MacOS does put (very small) hurdles to jump over when installing downloaded software, and I'm not willy-nilly installing random stuff from wherever. I don't believe I've ever used the Mac OS App Store for anything and never missed it. I would very much rather upgrade to a newer Mac OS version than get a Windows 11 machine when it's time for a replacement.

      iOS, on the other hand.... I simply can't agree that the walled garden is in the interests of user safety, it is clearly all about Apple's monopoly and their bottom line. I understand that Apple could say "we'll only allow App stores that meet certain certification criteria", as long as they cannot create those criteria ad-hoc to exclude specific competitors, nor make the requirements unreasonably onerous (pretty sure they would do both if given the chance). It's also clear that iPhone users who want to only use the Apple AppStore (or who are not even aware of the possibility of doing so) will not be affected the slightest by Apple allowing other stores. So I really don't understand the commentors wailing and gnashing their teeth about it. It will literally have zero change to those who don't need or want it, and a great improvement for those who do.

      Incidentally, the opening of browser engine will hopefully get more and more devs to code free apps as webpages instead of native apps, even if it's design looks identical to an app. Or (not sure what the status of this is by Apple, I guess frowned upon or banned) have an app that is just a launcher to a website

  4. 45RPM Silver badge

    I think I disagree, but I’m not sure…

    Just to get this out of the way, I’m fairly sure that the iPad is a computer - and therefore a device that should be open for installing whatever on, just as the Mac is. And when I say whatever, that extends to the operating system. If I want Linux on my iPad I should be free to install it.

    But iPhone? Apple Watch? HomePod?

    No… I’m not sure that these are computers. They have many of the attributes of computers - and by any strict definition they definitely count. But in practical terms?

    The HomePod is easiest to address, if only because we’re used to interfacing with a computer using a screen and keyboard. But, I suppose, there’s nothing (in theory) to prevent someone programming a computer by just talking to it… we don’t though, and so most people seem happy with HomePod just being a speaker.

    The function of Watch and Phone is in the name. A Watch needs to tell the time for as long as possible between charges, with other functions being useful additions, and a Phone needs to be a useful communication device for as long as possible between charges. Imagine needing to make an emergency call and being unable to because some crapware had snuck in through an unsanctioned store*. Imagine if the battery had been prematurely depleted because an inefficient browser had been installed. I can understand why Apple might want to keep these devices locked down. But on the other hand, maybe I’m being unimaginative. What task do people need to perform on the iPhone that they can’t using the standard tools? Emphasis on need - you might want a different rendering engine in your browser, you don’t need it - and if you do need it, why do you need it?

    Or is this just about developers getting a bigger cut of the take? Which, as a developer, I’m fine with - but I don’t think that this will help, I don’t think that it’s the right solution to the problem.

    So, right now, I think fine. Whatever. Keep the watch and phone locked down - but set the iPad free!

    *if it sneaks through in the sanctioned store then we know who to give a kicking to. And we can kick most effectively by not buying their devices any more.

    1. Justthefacts Silver badge

      Re: I think I disagree, but I’m not sure…

      But why, even for an iPad? The item you describe (“an unlocked tablet”) already exists to buy, from multiple manufacturers. A Samsung Galaxy Tab, a Google Pixel, Lenovo make them as do OnePlus. All of these offer *basically* the same hardware product. At half the price, by the way. They are perfectly good products. The iPad screen is particularly high-quality…but if you are a Samsung fan perhaps you’d even prefer that.

      Really the main reason why people choose to pay twice as much for the iPad is specifically for the closed ecosystem. There are *many* value advantages to a closed ecosystem, but I don’t feel the need to convince others of that. If you want an open ecosystem, go buy one. It’s as if a Toyota-owner was banging on about Tesla’s being rubbish because they only offered battery-electric and no hybrid option. Tesla’s are terrible cars, but that’s not why. And I don’t see any reason to pass a law saying that Tesla must sell a hybrid version “to level the playing field”.

    2. Zolko Silver badge

      Re: I think I disagree, but I’m not sure…

      What task do people need to perform on the iPhone that they can’t using the standard tools ?

      making a secure call and be sure that nobody can intercept and decrypt de message ? Look up "Tienanmen " in a search engine ? Read ?

      1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

        Re: I think I disagree, but I’m not sure…

        "making a secure call and be sure that nobody can intercept and decrypt de message ? Look up "Tienanmen " in a search engine ? Read ?"

        Takes a special kind of stupid to be this ^ deluded. Hey, that rhymes.

    3. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: I think I disagree, but I’m not sure…

      So your definition of computer is "it's shaped like other computers"? An iPhone is a computer in every way. It has a general purpose operating system intended to run other software, with the facility to load that software at runtime (as opposed to baking it into the firmware in order to install). Its screen may be smaller, but why would that make it not a computer? It may also have a phone capability, but why would that prevent it from being a computer? Your definitions confuse me. I'm not sure that being or not being a computer is the relevant point here either.

      1. Justthefacts Silver badge

        Re: I think I disagree, but I’m not sure…

        So you agree that the reference class of iPhone is “computer”. Or “computer plus phone” maybe.

        In that case, since you can already buy “a computer” or “computer plus phone” from many other manufacturers, fully open, how exactly is your consumer choice impacted by the iPhone being closed? Where’s the monopoly? Just buy an Android, problem solved.

        It’s not the hardware, plenty of smartphones are near-identical from a hardware point of view. The iPhone is twice the price for what you regard as “the same thing”. It’s clear that what adds the value for *its customers* is precisely as a closed ecosystem.

        You see closed as a negative not positive, so you won’t buy it. But if the ecosystem were opened; you’d be left with an overpriced generic, so you still wouldn’t buy it. Why do you want to remove consumer choice from people who don’t share your consumer values?

        1. HeadPlug

          Re: I think I disagree, but I’m not sure…

          Au contraire, no one is forcing you to enable sideloading on your iPhone.

          Saying "just buy an Android" misses the bigger point - smartphones are a duopoly, and a binary choice is rarely really a choice. It's like saying "if you don't like online surveillance, go live in the woods" - there's a lot of possible options that sit in between the two extremes, that for some reason aren't being presented.

          Normally, competition would provide those other options, but due to the nature of platforms, we've seen how impossible it is for even a well-funded 3rd option to break through. That's why these companies are called "gatekeepers" - they have enormous power they can use to squash competition. So regulation steps in - the same reason they to had to break up Ma Bell, i.e. "have a phone" vs "not get extorted" is not really a choice.

          There's nothing at all forcing you to enable sideloading, on either Android or iOS. You betcha Apple won't make it easy, so you don't have to worry about accidentally enabling it. It's literally an extra choice that people now have that you don't have to exercise if you don't want to.

          1. Justthefacts Silver badge

            Re: I think I disagree, but I’m not sure…

            Nonsense. There two dominant major car manufacturer consortia, which is much closer to a duopoly. “Android” isn’t a manufacturer, it’s five manufacturers.

            It’s much closer to demanding that Tesla include a Hybrid engine in its lineup “because there should be a level playing field”.

            “There's nothing at all forcing you to enable sideloading.” No, but you *are* stopping me preventing it, in situations that are relevant to me, but not to you. I give my elderly mother an iPhone. She “can’t use computers”, and may have slight dementia. I bought the phone, and pay the plan so I am the owner. But I want to know with 100% certainty that if she downloads “the Barclays app” from the App Store, she isn’t downloading a scam. This would stop me from having that certainty.

            I don’t care whether you think my concern is reasonable; or whether you think my use case is common or not. The question is - legally, what gives you the right to force a company who wants to provide the service I want, and I want that service, to stop doing so?

            This is a big deal for me, and millions of other people. And it’s just *one* legitimate reason for wanting a walled garden option. There are several others.

            1. Dave K

              Re: I think I disagree, but I’m not sure…

              > "No, but you *are* stopping me preventing it"

              No, we're not. Apple isn't going to remove the walled garden in its entirety just like that. All we are asking for is that a gate is installed into that wall. Apple will lock that gate by default (and that's fine), but there has to be a way to unlock it if you so wish.

              > "I want to know with 100% certainty that if she downloads “the Barclays app” from the App Store, she isn’t downloading a scam."

              Never going to happen, not least because scam apps do make it past the Apple/Google police and onto the official stores from time-to-time anyway. Saying that however, even with a relaxation in rules, if you mother goes to the App store and downloads the Barclays app, she is still 100% getting an app that has been approved by Apple because the app is still coming from within Apple's walled garden. I'm sure Apple can add the ability to PIN/password protect an "enable sideloading" option, so it'd be perfectly possible and simple to lock a device to App-Store only installs. They'd have to do this anyway so that parents could lock their kid's devices to avoid the ability to accidentally sideload malware.

              > "The question is - legally, what gives you the right to force a company who wants to provide the service I want, and I want that service, to stop doing so?"

              Simple, competition law. For small companies, this isn't an issue, but as companies grow larger and their power and influence grows, so too does the scrutiny that they are subjected to - particularly around abusing their position for their own gain. As the largest phone-maker in the world (they overtook Samsung this year), Apple is a large and powerful company. Developers that write apps for mobile devices effectively *have* to provide an iOS version unless they're willing to forego a significant section of the market and the sales that come with that. Because developers pretty-much have to support iOS to succeed, this means scrutiny to ensure Apple isn't abusing their position. The EU have decided that Apple is abusing its position, hence this ruling about opening up the platform to some degree.

              TLDR: The walled garden isn't going to disappear and you will still be able to lock an iOS device to only work with the App Store if you so wish. However this shouldn't mean that everyone else with an Apple device has be subjected to Apple's whim and rules.

            2. jmch Silver badge

              Re: I think I disagree, but I’m not sure…

              "There two dominant major car manufacturer consortia"

              What rubbish! In spite of all the major consolidations going on recently, there are dozens of individual car companies / groups of companies. car making isn't remotely close to being a duopoly.

              "No, but you *are* stopping me preventing it [sideloading], in situations that are relevant to me, but not to you"

              You can simply choose to not install an alternative App Store, which is, after all, itself an App. There are some rogue apps on the official Apple App Store as well. In your specific example, get a parental control app that only allows certain apps to run.

        2. Zolko Silver badge

          Re: I think I disagree, but I’m not sure…

          how exactly is your consumer choice impacted by the iPhone being closed ?

          because it's forbidden ! The same way that a car manufacturer cannot restrict your choice of tires, even though he could argue – like you – that you can buy some other car where you can buy the tires of your choice. And it's forbidden for a good reason: to allow interoperability. That's why Nestlé had to allow compatible capsules for their Nespresso machines. Now, some company can come up with an AppStore that would be compatible with both iOS and Android, like Epic or Steam. That's what Apple wants to prevent.

          1. Justthefacts Silver badge

            Re: I think I disagree, but I’m not sure…

            You’ve chosen two terrible examples, which demonstrate why you’re wrong. The car manufacturer can’t restrict your choice of tyres, but can (and does) restrict your choice of many other components. You may well choose to engine swap your Fiat Cinquecento with a Lambo Aventador 770hp power unit, but several things happen at that point: you invalidate the manufacturers guarantee; you invalidate your insurance (driving without *valid* insurance is a criminal offence); you invalidate the type-approval of your vehicle (the police will confiscate the car if they find out); of course it will also rip the transmission out of the bonnet and straight through your chest wall, but I’m entirely uninterested in that. The important point is that, no it isn’t legal, and no there are no laws requiring compatibility of engine swap. Neither actually are there laws about compatibility of tyres - I have no idea why you think there are - that’s just manufacturer convenience.

            Nespresso: there are *also* no laws requiring compatibility. Quite the opposite. Initially the Nespresso design was on-patent, and there *weren’t* any compatible pods. Now it’s off-patent, it has been reverse-engineered, and compatible pods exist. What precisely *didn’t* happen is that somehow “the EU forced Nestle to allow compatibiity”. it was the normal and standard process of patent expiration that changed things. And Nestle did fight that with a bogus court case that it should be copyright rather than patent, with longer expiry, but correctly lost. Now in the past couple years, Nespresso have launched an all-new system, the Vertuo, and patented *that*. It’s genuinely a whole new way of making coffee (they spin it in a centrifuge). I don’t like it, to me it tastes as bad as the previous Nespresso pod system, but that’s another matter. Anyway, the new Vertuo system? There are no compatible pods, only Nespresso-licensed pods. And there’s no law requiring compatibility. So, your example demonstrates the opposite answer to what you hoped.

            1. Casca Silver badge

              Re: I think I disagree, but I’m not sure…

              Point one has nothing to do with the car manufacturer. And yes its a law at least in the EU that you cant do what you want with your car.

            2. Zolko Silver badge

              Re: I think I disagree, but I’m not sure…

              1) I don't drink Nespresso, I drink proper Italian expresso, so I don't really know the issue, it was only something I read. You might be right, thank-you for clarifying

              2) for cars on the other hand you're wrong: it is mandatory that you can replace replaceable parts with compatible gear from any manufacturer, there can be no "vendor lock-in". This goes for tires, filters, brakes, clutches .... While it's true that you can't replace the engine of a Fiat 500 with that of a Lamborghini, you can replace the engine of your Fiat 500 with an engine that you buy from someone else as Fiat, for example a refurbished one from your local workshop, without paying a cent to Fiat. Which means that if Apple itself has provided a mechanism to install external programs on the iPhone, then it's in the same ball-park as tires or wind-shield wipers : it cannot restrict from where you get those external programs.

    4. Shalghar

      Re: I think I disagree, but I’m not sure…

      The so called "smart"phone of the current kind is a computer with some built in peripherals like camera, soundcard, microphone and telephone/modem/bluetooth.More exotic versions like from ulefone or blackview also may have stranger peripherals like LASER rangefinder, nightvision camera (as in "we have a set of IR LED for night mode") or even FLIR thermo cameras built in.

      As USB C and whatever apple has goes, plugging a keyboard in, starting something like WPS office or even going full real screen via Cast lets us use the so called "phone" as any mini computer/barebone, whatever those little cigarette boxes are called by the diverse manufacturers.

      Tablets are basically hardware reduced laptops and the vast legion of peripherals, keyboards being one of them, also shows that those things are computers and can be used as such.

      As for the watches, although they are in a basic way some kind of computer, they are primarily designed to be peripherals for the "Smart"phone computer and many of those are really not much more than a glorified sms screen crossbred with a bluetooth headset.

      But just because you can use something differently need not mean you must have the right to do so or that this would be a wise decision. For hardened veterans and kamikaze tinkerers this might be fun but imagine someone who just wanted to play around suddenly bricking his phone just because he did something unmentionable and unforseen. One would have to design the phoneputers in such a way that an internal factory reset or even a "works always" emergency reboot/system wipe/recovery mode would have to be installed.

      Just think of anyone who "did nothing, honest" but "the internet is suddenly slow" and then you open a tormented browser with his tons of malware shackles AKA "toolbars", "optimizers" and the less legal trash that befalls the much too trusting "want shiny!!!" clicker and extrapolate this to every phone from every of your family, friends, acquaintances......

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I, for one will not take 'advantage' of this

    new feature.

    There again, I'm not a gamer. My use of my now fairly ancient iPhone SE (bought secondhand) is mostly for you know those strange things called 'Phone Calls'. I also use it when charging my car at home and away but little else especially NOT Social Media.

    I've never directly paid Apple £0.01 for the device or any app in the App store.

    Oh, and it isn't glued to my hands like many people today.

    1. Ace2 Silver badge

      Re: I, for one will not take 'advantage' of this

      Yeah, you don’t plan to. You don’t want to. Neither do I. But…

      When you go to a concert or sporting event now, they do “mobile ticketing.” It used to be that that was an email with a barcode.

      That would allow you to sell your tickets, though, and they wouldn’t get a cut.

      So they innovated… with “apps” that do nothing but let you log in to use your tickets.

      I bet you $10 that before too long some of those apps are going to require you to side-load from some other app store.

      Then what’s our “choice”? To not go to the fucking game?

      I wish you forking whiners would screw right off and go buy Androids. Don’t like Apple? Don’t by their stuff! STOP SCREWING IT UP FOR US!

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: I, for one will not take 'advantage' of this

        If they don't offer any non-app ticket options, they're already rejecting anyone who doesn't have a compatible phone. So yes, that might happen, but it's not like it's that new. I also don't think it's likely to happen because sideloading is confusing and that would prevent some people from buying tickets, so they'd like to decrease the difficulty as long as it doesn't decrease their control. Since Apple's store regulations don't prevent any of the things their apps do, I see little reason for them to want people to sideload them. Let's assume that I'm wrong about this and they decide to do it.

        Their choice to do something inconvenient for you does not mean we should be barred from other choices. I'm a bit surprised that you're making an argument like that, since people can and have pointed out how the restrictions on apps create inconveniences for them, both users and developers, but you don't seem to think those are important. Why is your inconvenience any more important than their inconvenience? From a legal perspective, Apple's restrictions have an anticompetitive effect and ticket sellers, while quite annoying, generally don't restrict competition more by using an app, so the legal argument doesn't work in your favor either.

      2. jmch Silver badge

        Re: I, for one will not take 'advantage' of this

        "That would allow you to sell your tickets, though, and they wouldn’t get a cut."

        If they would allow reselling of tickets at face value that would at least solve it, even if they do take a small cut. What really screws up the current ticket market is that for high-demand events, a lot of tickets are picked up by scalpers reselling them at $$$$ more than face value

  6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    While the article mostly mentions the EU or European Union ot also, at one point, just says Europe as does the earlier linked article. So just what is the scope of these changes Apple is making? Do they just apply within the EU or also to other parts of Europe? Has Brexit once again protected UK iFans from the dangers unleashed across the Channel by those dastardly EU bureaucrats?

    1. Rahbut

      The changes don't apply to the UK, just the EU.

      There's a similar piece of legistration ("Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill") happening here that could help achieve the same outcome as the DMA.

      1. Rahbut

        Since I didn't directly answer the question (assuming it was a question), the DMA is dependent upon activity within the EEA - so the EU + Iceland, Liechtenstein & Norway. One assumes that this also determines where the law should apply.

        Apple only mentions the EU in their PR blurb - not the EEA, EFTA states, continent of Europe, sovereign nations in close proximity to Europe, participating countries in the Eurovision Song Contest, or indeed the moon Europa.

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          Because they're deliberately stirring ****.

          It's an absolutely ridiculous and blatant piece of deliberate noncompliance that requires the immediate application of maximum sanctions.

          Apple will back down and actually comply fairly quickly if the (probably) Irish government can be arsed to do their job and apply the full fine.

          As a bonus, Ireland would also be able to cancel income tax entirely for a few years.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Don't worry

        Nigel 'Mine's a Pint' Farage is trying hard to become our next 'Dear Leader'.

        Between his plethora of lies (like his bosses Trump and Putin), he'll make sure that this bit of legislation will never get enacted or if by some freak it is law then he and his PRO BREXIT friends in the Government will repeal it very quickly.

        He already has the essential qualification for the job. When he opens his mouth, he lies, lies and lies. Perfect for an aspiring PM.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      It'll probably apply to other countries that are aligned with EU legislation due to the "Brussels effect". Norwary and Switzerland spring to mind but the UK will probably as well: Apple wants to reduce the overhead of dealing with multiple legislations and most countries, including the UK, have a concept of regulatory equivalence. This might mean minor changes in the blurb so that national courts are happy to enforce, but the effect will be the same.

      Of course, BoJo might have another "oven-ready" deal in his briefcase…

  7. abend0c4 Silver badge

    Apple is likely to try to make Safari more competitive

    it would seem that most of these proposals are designed so that they don't have to bother.

    Is it worth providing a browser that works only in the EU - and only on an iPhone and not on other iBling?

    1. Cruachan

      Re: Apple is likely to try to make Safari more competitive

      Probably not, as has often been said on these pages Safari on mobile is almost certainly deliberately crap because Apple make their money through apps. Even if using an alternative browser offers a better experience or means not having to pay for an app, Safari being better isn't going to make any difference.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Apple is likely to try to make Safari more competitive

      I would like Safari to get better, but on the other hand I don't want to have to deal with "well it works on Chrome so it must be OK, because that's all we test it against" brigade - web standards are web standards

      Otherwise it is just a throwback to Internet Explorer days ...

      1. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

        Re: Apple is likely to try to make Safari more competitive

        Much as I hate the “works on Chrome” argument too, the truth is that “web standards are web standards” supports them in case. Safari iOS simply is not up to date with modern standards. It’s deliberately crippled to guide publishers away from simply offering their services through their own website, and towards writing a native iOS app.

      2. Cruachan

        Re: Apple is likely to try to make Safari more competitive

        The trouble is these days "works on Chrome" is getting more and more prevalent, with Google and now also Microsoft and so many others all using Chromium there is definitely a hint that the browser engine is driving the standards, not the other way round as it should be.

        I'm old enough to remember the browser wars and the little badges "Designed for Netscape Navigator". IE in those days was an utterly awful experience (even compared to what it became, in the Win 9x days MS were miles behind the curve)

  8. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

    "The iPhone is a computer; you just can't use it as one most of the time because it's a closed system."

    Utter shite.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      My car is computer on wheels. Several in fact - both wheels and computers.

      Should I be able to use it as a general purpose computer and put whatever software I want on it ?

      Or turn the washing machine into a mail server (though I can see the potential in this) ?

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        I'm a bit confused why the discussion of what is a computer has come up so much. However, the distinction seems obvious to me: does it have an operating system capable of and intended for installing and running multiple applications not provided with the operating system? An iPhone definitely is. Your car and washing machine are not. If you wipe out the firmware of either and install what you like, then you can try to use them that way. The car may be capable of it, though it's almost certain that your washing machine is not able to be used that way.

        1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

          The reason this statement > "The iPhone is a computer; you just can't use it as one most of the time because it's a closed system." is because the iPhone's ability to be used as a computer is not determined by the 'closed-ness' or otherwise of the system. And to state you can't use it as a computer most of the time because of this is patently absurd.

          "A computer is an electronic device that processes data according to instructions that are provided by computer programs."

      2. VicMortimer Silver badge


        You absolutely should be able to do that if you want!

        Why is it so hard for some people to understand that we should be able to use the computers we own in any way we want? And if manufacturers block that from happening, it is the job of the law to force them to remove their blocks.

        1. Ace2 Silver badge

          Or, don’t buy one, dingleberry.

        2. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

          "Why is it so hard for some people to understand that we should be able to use the computers we own in any way we want? "

          True. And the way *I* want to use my computer, in this case my iPhone, is this.

          1. A secure environment where I need to spend a minimal amount of time worrying about things like malware.

          2. An environment where I know with a high degree of certainty before I install something that it's going to work, and it's not a scam.

          3. An environment where curation ensures a minimum level of quality and choice such that I can easily find what I need, and not have to filter through pages and pages of marketing lies because apps are promising things they don't deliver.

          4. An environment where irrelevant and unnecessary app permission requests are automatically denied.

          In short, I WANT the Apple curated, walled-garden ecosystem. I actively choose it precisely BECAUSE it give me what I want.

          1. X5-332960073452

            1. Stick with the Apple offerings then.

            2. You trust Apple that much !

            3. Never noticed the 'Ad' above the actual app you want, name searched for exactly.

            4 . As 1.

            Don't deny others what you may not want.

            1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

              "Don't deny others what you may not want."

              I know, I know - you saw a high horse with an empty saddle and thought you'd go for a ride. Regardless of the fact that you've got completely the wrong end of the stick.

              I'm not denying anybody anything. I have never done this. I detest people and media outlets that do this, and have ALWAYS stated that people should be allowed to make decisions based on what they personally value; and that what *I* value isn't necessarily what somebody else *must* value. I personally don't want an Android phone, but I will absolutely defend to the hilt anybody else's right to choose it for themselves.

              In fact, that is the literal essence of my comment.

              So please - learn to read before making a fool out of yourself. In fact better yet: just stay silent.

          2. The Sprocket

            Agreed 100%

            I agree 100%, brother. Me too!

      3. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

        A washing machine or car's primary prpose is not to be a computer, washign machiens dont have a general purpose screen or inputs or run third party authorized apps. A modern phone like an iphone primary pyrpose is to handle user inputs and provide outputs on a screen.

        What else would you do with an iphone without the screen or touch inputs ?

  9. Grogan Silver badge

    What they are really trying to say is "Don't think"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I did it once, but I’ve now forgotten.

  10. bofh1961

    If was really a computer...

    I could just wipe it and install Linux like I did with my laptop. Apple and Google can both fuck off and die as far as I'm concerned.

  11. Necrohamster Silver badge

    "While legal experts expect the EU to challenge Apple's insincere compliance with the DMA..."

    Dear lawmakers...if you're annoyed by malicious compliance, you didn't do a very good job setting the rules to begin with.

    1. Benegesserict Cumbersomberbatch Silver badge

      Re: "While legal experts expect the EU to challenge Apple's insincere compliance with the DMA..."

      If you believe that, I don't want you on the jury when the "It wasn't murder because I had my fingers crossed" case comes to trial.

      This law is designed to coerce Apple and anyone else who wants to behave like them into competition that threatens their (extraordinarily lucrative) business model, which is monopolistic. Ask any economist if a private monopoly is a good idea. And any Apple owner whether their business model encourages good customer service.

      If, in complying with it, they break some other law, for example by imposing onerous conditions on anyone who wants to set up an app store in competition with them, then they deserve blows from all the books that get thrown at them.

      The only way we will find out how well-designed the law is is to observe it in operation. If you're not impressed, choose some different legislators next time.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Microsoft defence

    "Describing iOS, Safari, and the App Store as "part of an integrated, end-to-end system" – and not a separate group of products"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Microsoft defence

      If those bits do not have a published SKU then that is a pretty good excuse.

      Sorta like Tesla and its refusal to sell parts to the people who buy their computers on wheels.

      Much like having to buy a replacement assembly rather than the individual part that went wrong.

      Like having to buy a full set of bricks for the inside of my wood burner rather than the one that cracked.

      Pretty common really.

      1. VicMortimer Silver badge

        Re: The Microsoft defence

        "Common" does not equal "good".

        It's absolutely not a "good excuse" - it's inexcusable.

      2. Jamie Jones Silver badge

        Re: The Microsoft defence

        So, the give them a different SKU. That argument is meaningless.

        And we're not talking about the difference between a PNG and an MPNG renderer, the OS and the web browser are obviously completely different, as Microsoft found out despite their many protestations.

        In fact, attempting to integrate the OS and a browser is a security and reliability disaster, and I'm sure the Apple techs would confirm that this isn't actually the case.

        Now, the app store may use HTML rendering, but that would make it a consumer of the browser-component, not tightly coupled to it.

        > Like having to buy a full set of bricks for the inside of my wood burner rather than the one that cracked.

        a) So what is the technical necessity behind that?

        b) 2 of the same thing is not the same as 2 completely different things.

        Finally, "everyone else is doing it so why can't we." is fortunately not a valid excuse.

  13. AndyMulhearn

    Who benefits?choice. Yeah, you now have to pay two separate

    I’m trying to work out who benefits here. If I want to use an app that’s on a separate store, I presume I have to install that store app, set up payment services (Apple pay won’t work I guess) and install the app. Err, yeah good luck with getting me to do that. Or my wife. So I struggle to see a benefit to users.

    Apple don’t benefit, of course.

    Do the app developers benefit? Well if the user community is like my wife, who is very rightly wary of sharing payment detail with any Thomas, Richard or Harold, that’s another obstacle becauseI don’t see they benefit either because users won’t be installing apps from third party app stores that require payments.

    So the EU pass a new law, they look good, Apple comply and so on but who actually benefits?

    It feels a bit like the balkanisation of sport coverage in the uk. When Sky had it all, you paid one fee to see all the sport you wanted. Not great but then BT Sport split the rights so you get the “choice” to pay twice or stop watching some sports. Calling that choice is, imho, taking the piss…

  14. Ace2 Silver badge

    The difference between a prison and a fortified keep is mostly a matter of perspective.

    1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Sure, if the perspective is "I can go for a walk outside when I feel like it."

    2. doublelayer Silver badge

      Not at all. It's a matter of position. Your perspective may be basically the same, but your ability to control the situation is a major difference. The strongest prisons will not protect you if you are a prisoner. They're not meant to protect you, but protect things from you. The people running the prison may choose to protect you, but it's not intrinsic to the structure.

  15. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

    Contempt and posturing

    Apple reserves its contempt for democracies such as the EU because it's a waste of time attempting to influence policy in China.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Contempt and posturing

      Indeed, China says "drop your trousers" and Apple does that and bends over as well. Are there any instances on record of Apple maliciously complying with the law in China? No.

  16. Persona


    This is a perfect example of what happens when people with the power to pass laws have too much time on their hands. They interfere for no sensible reason. Claiming it's to stop monopolies and abuse of power and promote freedom of choice rings false as iPhones are less than 25% market share of smartphones in Europe and also globally. If people don't like the way the Apple ecosystem works or their high prices they don't have to buy an iPhone, and they can buy into the Android ecosystems if they want. Similarly if app developers don't like the Apple T&C's they don't have to develop for iPhones.

    For the 25% of smartphone owners who like the way the iPhone works, respect their choice and and don't try and turn it into an Android phone or general purpose computers.

  17. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

    Wow welcome to the modern world of racism except its called corporate prejudice where only people with a self appointed label of ceo or label are worthy of a mention. Thats american democracy for you.

  18. JohnMurray

    Well.. probably won't apply here in the Non-EU-UK

  19. Lomax

    Je me souviens...

    • I distinctly remember western lawmakers and financial experts compulsive gamblers promising that if we just opened up to China and allowed them to take over our everything, then China would be magically transformed into a liberal democracy, and we would live happily together in perpetual prosperity.
    • I distinctly remember our captains of industry exploitative bosses hectoring us about the ills of monopolies and angrily demanding that we privatise every aspect of society - assuring us that once unshackled "the market" would guarantee freedom of choice and quality of service.
    I'm not saying we were sold a lie, but we were clearly sold a lie.

  20. Grunchy Silver badge

    Do people buy apps on the AppStore anymore? I wasn’t aware of that.

    (Android and iPhone are approximately equal, I bought a 2nd hand 2016 iPhone SE only because I could get a 2nd hand FLIR one infrared camera for it extremely cheap. I’d switch to a FOSS Linux phone in a heartbeat, except, well, I have a FLIR one in my pocket. That value proposition sort of demolishes every other cellular phone on the market…)

  21. Mostly Irrelevant

    The reason I can't just install anything I want onto hardware I own is... paternalism? The EU used to have teeth, now they only seem to care about petty meaningless minnows while they let the big fish swim right past.

    1. Persona

      I have a sneaking suspicion you don't own an iPhone. Perhaps you don't own one precisely because you can't install anything you want on it. If so great. You can buy an Android phone and install any crap on in you want. You probably already have done, so why do you want Apple to make hardware you can install what you want on? Does your Android experience suck that bad?

  22. arthoss

    Don’t care

    Not my problem let the “natural selection” work. Im sticking to the Apple App Store . It’s a waste of money, to benefit people who sell a lot of in-app purchases, seems to me.

    An Apple-made device made for the Apple software ecosystem must be enabled to use non-Apple stores?! Sounds crazy to me.

  23. DerekCurrie

    Compare the security of Android devices to that of Apple iOS devices...

    When The-Powers-That-Be don't understand software and Internet security, they blunder their way into insecurity.

    This is a great example.

    Pick a week, any week. Compare the Android security nightmares that took place that week to the almost universal lack of security nightmares on Apple iOS devices.

    Go on! Do it!

    If you did, you know that Google is consistently lousy at vetting the software at their Google Play store. Meanwhile, Apple has been relatively brilliant at vetting the software at their App Store, resulting in the single most secure mobile devices available, bar none. Killing off Apple's "Walled Garden" is the act of fools.

    There are, may be, can be, monopoly abuse concerns regarding Apple. Address them! But don't DESTROY SECURITY as your method, however inadvertent it may be.

    Apple has had a growing Fail-To-Scale reputation over the last eight years, resulting in an ever increasing density of clunk and junk coding in their software. Please DON'T exponentially add to that mess the ability to install and run Any-Old-Crap and scamware on iOS devices. You'll regret it intensely.

  24. The Sprocket

    I'm fine with the way Apple operates. I went through the 90's downloading software/shareware/freeware from all sorts of places, mainly magazine CD-ROMs. I never had issues, but some of my colleagues had a few. Viruses, poorly written keystroke loggers, etc.

    Face it—it is Apple's business and if developers/consumers don't like the way it is run, just go elsewhere. I'm sure the Android 'leaky sieve' would love to have you. I appreciate Apple's vigilance in keeping 'the bad guys' out and away. As far as developers are concerned—Microsoft and Apple have always had various regulations that MUST be adhered to.

    Sorry to disappoint the 'freedom' crowd. Blame the bad guys.

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