The US government is looking into sideloading and web app restrictions on iOS

The US government is looking into sideloading and web app restrictions on iOS

Tech Highlights:

  • The formal request for comment contains details regarding how iOS is more than likely to face scrutiny as part of the investigation. Questions related to the benefits of developing standalone apps for a platform compared to cross-platform web apps, how web apps should operate on mobile platforms, the availability of other methods of app distribution and app sideloading all involve Apple.

  • The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has launched an investigation into mobile app ecosystem competition, including Apple’s iOS. Investigations into iOS Sideloading and Other Topics The National Telecommunications and Information Administration is presently seeking input on competition in mobile app ecosystems. Requests for comments are made on behalf of the US Department of Commerce. The probe was launched in July of last year, after an executive directive on Promoting Competition in the American Economy. The goal is to give recommendations for increasing competition, lowering entry barriers, and increasing user benefit.

Additionally, iOS’s “unique barriers” are receiving particular attention. This is especially in regards to the prevention of users and developers being able to take advantage of web apps, apps from alternate app stores, as well as sideloaded apps. The request for comment explains that the app economy is a major way that Americans are able to interact with their environment. They argue that it is “critical” for the market to be robust, open, innovative and secure. There should be no barriers to entry and growth.

On Thursday, reports circulated that Apple is facing accusations from the EU concerning NFC tech. Currently, the EU is claiming that Apple may be breaking the law by not allowing third-party developers to access the entirety of the tech giant’s NFC tech. This arrives in addition to the EU making complaints that Apple needs to open the iPhone to third-party app stores as well as make iMessage a cross-platform messaging service.

Right now, the Federal Register is open to comments from the public concerning competition in mobile app ecosystems. Information gathered from this part of the investigation will be used to inform President Biden’s competition agenda to occur later this year. Apple’s current ecosystem has seen a variety of criticism across the globe. Governments within the United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea and the EU have all called for regulations regarding app sideloading and interoperability.

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