US administration: “In iOS should be the installation of third-party applications!”
The White House report criticizes the policies of the Apple and Google app stores.
Apple Corporation and Google have long faced criticism from regulators in Europe about how tightly they control the distribution of software on their mobile platforms. Now, similar rhetoric is coming across the other side of the Atlantic.
In a new report The White House, dedicated to increasing competition in the markets for mobile offerings, was proposed to pass legislation that would oblige Apple and Google’s mobile software ecosystems to be more open. An extensive write-up claims that iOS and Android currently stifle competition between developers with unnecessary hurdles.
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration of the Department of Commerce (NTIA) listed several key messages in a statement:
- “Consumers should have more control over their devices. They should be able to choose default apps, use alternative stores, remove or hide pre-installed apps.”
- “Apple should not be able to promote their apps in a non-competitive way. Apple should not be able to prioritize its own applications by influencing their display in search results, or discriminate against other applications that represent their counterpart.”
- “Apple should remove restrictions on alternative ways for consumers to download and install applications. While maintaining adequate privacy and security capabilities, laws and regulations should prohibit restrictions on third-party downloads, alternative app stores, and web apps.”
- “Eliminate restrictions on in-app purchases. This can be achieved by preventing developers from using the App Store’s built-in payment system.”
When talking about installing third-party applications, you can hear the term “sideloading” (“sideloading”). In Apple reality, this is a way to install applications on iOS devices bypassing the official App Store. Thus, you can install applications that are not available in the built-in store or even hacked applications. Of course, the method is illegitimate, since it uses the vulnerabilities of the apple operating system.
However, due to pressure from Europe, and now the US, Apple may be forced to make “sideload” available by default on its operating system. This will enable users to install applications from third party stores or directly via “.ipa” files without third party programs.
Apple, in turn, insists that you can’t just abandon the system that the company has been building for years. With third-party app stores, a corporation simply cannot vouch for the security of its platform, which is already not fully protected from threats . The corporation is confident that activating “sideloading” by default will give attackers even more opportunities to compromise iOS devices.
On Android, for example, from the very first versions it was possible to install third-party “.apk” files directly from the file system. Later, third-party app stores appeared, such as Samsung Galaxy Store, Huawei App Gallery, Xiaomi GetApps, RuStore, etc. Has this affected Android security globally?
One way or another, back in December last year, it was reported that Cupertino was preparing changes to iOS that would allow you to install applications not from the official store. However, the timing of these changes, as well as the implementation format, are still in question.
Regulators in different countries regularly put a spoke in the wheel of American tech giants. South Korea and the Netherlands, for example, have previously pushed for Apple and Google to allow users to make purchases through third-party payment systems, and the European Union to oblige Apple to switch all new iPhones to USB-C after 2024.