Apple and Google do business in the smartphone sector through many avenues. One of the most important is the 30% commission established in their application stores, although they also obtain direct and indirect benefits by pre-installing their applications.
When we buy an iPhone, for example, it comes with a set of very specific Apple applications, such as the Safari browser, the email application, Maps, and others. In the case of Google, Android-based terminals that use Google Play Services come with pre-installed applications such as Gmail, Youtube, and Maps.
The European Union is working on a law known as the Digital Services Act, with which they hope to limit the data that the big players in the sector can collect from their users, important for the sale of personalized advertising, and will also affect pre-installed applications.
The legal text is at an early stage at the moment, so there are still things to be finalized and important changes could take place, but the basis clearly indicates that there will be prohibitions focused on avoiding pre-installed applications, and also on forcing any measures that force the user to install own applications.
This is intended to give more freedom to the user and stop the favoritism of companies towards their own applications, something that affects free competition and that can end up being, in some cases, harmful to the user.
It remains to be seen how this law might affect each company’s app stores, but it may end up forcing Apple and Google to make room for other real alternatives to their own app stores. On Android, it wouldn’t be complicated, but on iOS it could completely shake Apple’s foundations.