Apple Fights Big Tech Regulation Over App Payments

Apple leaders are worried that an antitrust bill focused on opening the app store market will make iPhones less secure, despite assurances from Congress, according to a Bloomberg report Thursday (June 23).

Congress and some large firms already use Apple-approved tools that let them bypass the App Store and install third-party apps in a practice called side-loading, the report said. Apple maintains that it’s the only company that can promise a fully secure App Store to its customers.

Congress is set to vote next month on antitrust measures, a move Apple continues to fight, maintaining that “outside apps would leave iPhone users vulnerable to malware and scams,” the report said. Antitrust advocates and cybersecurity specialists, though, say Apple is looking to protect its business model more than its customers.

“Security is a giant red herring,” said Bruce Schneier, a fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, in the report. “It will scare a lot of people. The goal is to protect the monopoly.”

Apple requires all iPhone mobile app downloads take place within its App Store, where it takes up to a 30% commission on digital sales. App Store developers must submit apps for review by Apple’s team, who ensure compliance with the company’s rules on privacy and security. Developers are barred from offering sexually explicit content, all-in-one cloud gaming services and cryptocurrency mining, among other things.

Last week, JPMorgan analysts said Apple’s music and gaming revenue could reach $8.2 billion by 2025, a 36% increase that would come from a subscriber base of about 180 million people — 70 million in gaming and 110 million in music.

Most of that revenue would come from Apple Music, taking in about $7 billion. The remaining $1.2 billion would come from Apple Arcade, the gaming subscription service launched three years ago.

While Apple does not give a sales breakup for gaming and music services, its overall segment, which includes App Store, Apple TV+, Arcade and Apple Music, reported $19.82 billion in revenue for the March quarter, Reuters said.

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