US government: iOS has unique barriers preventing users from sideloading apps


The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has launched an investigation into competition in mobile app ecosystems. Taking a behalf of the United States Department of Commerce, the NTIA now requests comments about the competition in mobile app ecosystems. Apparently, iOS stands as a big target of the investigation. The investigation’s trigger was an executive order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy from July last year. The goal was to make recommendations for the improvement of competition. It also targets the reduction of barriers to entry and maximizes user benefit. President Biden’s executive order was as follows:

“The American information technology sector has long been an engine of innovation and growth, but today a small number of dominant Internet platforms use their power to exclude market entrants, to extract monopoly profits, and to gather intimate personal information that they can exploit for their own advantage. Too many small businesses across the economy depend on those platforms and a few online marketplaces for their survival…”


The formal request for comment is listing how iOS is likely to come under scrutiny as part of the investigation. There are many questions regarding the benefits of developing a standalone app for a platform that is compared to cross-platform web apps. It also involves how web apps will operate on mobile platforms, the availability of other methods of app distribution, and app sideloading. There is particular attention going on in the iOS direction. According to the report, Apple’s operating system has unique barriers. These barriers prevent users and developers from taking advantage of web apps. Furthermore, they can benefit from alternative app stores or sideloaded apps. Of course, all these three alternatives hurt Apple’s security guidelines.

“The app economy is becoming a fundamental way that Americans interact with their environment,” the request for comment explains, “Thus, it is critical that this market be robust, open, innovative, and secure—and without barriers to entry and growth.”

Worth noting, that the US Government has just opened the Federal Register. As a result, anyone can comment about competition in the mobile app ecosystem. The information will be used as part of the investigation. This will be part of Biden’s agenda in a near future.

iOS has been a target across the globe

The United States isn’t the first government to pursue iOS. Recently, the United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea, and the EU, are going against Apple’s iOS. All these governments want to explore app sideloading and interoperability.

There are benefits to being able to download apps outside of regular stores. However, there are certain security concerns and also it can be a good trigger for piracy. While the company needs to deal with this new legal battle, it also needs to control its employees that aren’t very happy with the return to normal work.

Despite the problems, the company is having one of its best-ever fiscal second quarters. The company shared record-breaking results from January to March.

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