Apple’s upcoming privacy changes that will require app developers to ask users for permission before tracking them for advertising purposes has spurred European Commission VP Margrethe Vestager to warn Apple that it must treat all apps equally, including its own.
Vestager told Reuters that “it can be competition if it is shown that Apple is not treating its own apps in the same way,” in an interview on Monday.
Apple has said that the opt-out options do apply to all developers that track users and that the rules include Apple. However, Apple will not need to display pop-ups asking for tracking permission, because its advertising platform does not track users.
Vestager said so far she has not received any complaint about Apple’s changes. She also thinks it’s a good move for users’ privacy. “It is a very good thing to have a clear opt-out option. If you look at the Digital Services Act, the Digital Markets Act, these are some of the solutions we are looking at there,” she said.
Apple is currently the target of two EU investigations, one into its mobile payment system, Apple Pay, and the other into its App Store.
Apple is also the target of criticism by Facebook over Apple’s upcoming privacy requirements. The social network has claimed Apple’s moves are anti-competitive, as it says the Cupertino firm’s own apps are exempt from the rules.
Zuckerberg claimed Apple’s new changes around IDFA (Identifier For Advertisers) are not actually intended to protect consumer privacy, but instead are actually intended to harm Facebook’s business interests.
“Apple may say they’re doing this to help people, but the moves clearly track with their competitive interests,” Zuckerberg claimed. The Facebook CEO labeled Apple as “one of [Facebook’s] biggest competitors” despite the social network relying on the iPhone and iOS as half of its mobile platform in the United States.