No applications may be permanently installed on Android or iOS.
As regulators continue to investigate large internet firms for monopolistic conduct, legislators in the United States have already introduced numerous antitrust laws that would change how businesses such as Apple, Google, Amazon, and others operate. One of them would like consumers to be able to remove pre-installed programmes.
Following last year’s congressional antitrust probes, legislators have suggested a new measure that would require Apple and other smartphone manufacturers to make their default apps user-removable.
For instance, iPhone users would have to have the ability to uninstall Apple’s Phone, Clock, Messages, Mail, FaceTime, and other default apps if they choose.
“It would be equally easy to download the other five apps as the Apple one, so they’re not using their market dominance to favor their own products and services,” Democratic Representative David Cicilline told Bloomberg.
It’s worth mentioning that Apple had already made moves to allow the deletion of some of its default apps before Congress even introduced the bill. Notes, Mail, Calendar, Weather, and even FaceTime can be fully uninstalled. Other apps, including Phone, Messages, Clock, Wallet, and Watch, cannot be removed but can be hidden from view.
Additionally, the legislation does not explicitly target Apple or smartphone makers in general. It also prohibits tech companies outside the realm of hardware manufacturing from “self-preferring” products. For instance, Amazon’s Prime subscription service would have to be restructured since it “disadvantages some sellers who rely on the e-commerce platform,” Cicilline said.
Bloomberg asked Cicilline if Microsoft would fall into the bill’s restrictions. However, the lawmaker gave a vague answer saying it would be up to the US Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission to make that determination. There are also a couple of limitations to the bill. For one, it only applies to products and services with more than 50 million monthly active users. Secondly, the owning company must have a market capitalization of $600 billion or more.