A former Apple executive has admitted in a new interview that he’s ‘really worried’ about the iPhone maker’s anti-competitive tactics with respect to the App Store.
Phillip Shoemaker, who ran Apple’s third-party app reviews, told Bloomberg that the company’s increasing shift toward being a predominantly services-focused business raises some concerns around competition.
It comes as Apple on Wednesday published a blog post on Wednesday hitting back at critics who say the App Store provides it an unfair advantage for pushing its own apps and services.
Shoemaker discussed how Apple has increasingly launched its own version of services that closely mirrors those offered by developers.
Developers often rely on the App Store as their primary form of distribution, as they have to go through Apple’s app distribution platform in order to get their applications on users’ iPhones.
‘There is now a conflict as Apple goes into these spaces that are ripe with competition,’ Shoemaker told Bloomberg. ‘I’m really worried about the competition.’
Apple has removed many screen-time management apps from the App Store after it launched its own app for that purpose, called Screen Time, the New York Times recently reported.
Developers believe their apps were unfairly removed by Apple because the firm wanted to promote its own app, but Apple claimed it did so over consumer privacy concerns.
Additionally, Spotify submitted a complaint with Europe’s antitrust watchdog, arguing that Apple abuses its App Store policies to impact rivals like Spotify, which competes with Apple Music.
This debate is likely to grow even stronger as Apple prepares to launch a slew of new services later this year, including Apple TV+, its streaming subscription service, and Apple Arcade, its game subscription service.
Shoemaker acknowledged this threat in a separate blog post on Medium.
‘Over the years, Apple has struggled with using the App Store as a weapon against competitors,’ Shoemaker explained.
‘Apps like Google Voice and Rhapsody had very difficult times getting through the App Store process, mainly because they were the first of their kind — and Apple just didn’t know how to respond.’
Shoemaker is now calling on Apple to changes its App Store policies, particularly those that apply to services that could directly rival Apple, so that they have a fair chance at competing.
Apple faces other potential headwinds in addition to mounting pressure from the likes of Spotify.
Earlier this month, the US Supreme Court gave the go-ahead for a lawsuit by consumers accusing Apple of monopolizing the market for iPhone software applications and forcing them to overpay, rejecting the company’s bid to escape claims that its practices violate federal antitrust law.
The plaintiffs said the Cupertino, California-based technology company required apps be sold through its App Store and extracted an excessive 30 percent commission on purchases.