Apple has a new feature coming soon to iOS, called App Tracking Transparency. It’s meant to give more power to the user, letting them choose which apps track them. But at least one VP of a large commission in the European Union wants to make sure Apple treats all apps equally.
In an interview with Reuters, European Commission VP Margrethe Vestager spoke at length about Apple’s position regarding apps, especially as it relates to tracking and user privacy. Apple’s incoming feature, which is expected to arrive sometime this spring, is designed to give users more control. It will allow them to determine which apps they let track them for advertising purposes. But Vestager is reminding Apple that it must treat all apps equally.
Even its own.
Per the report:
It can be competition if it is shown that Apple is not treating its own apps in the same way,” she told Reuters in an interview on Monday.
Vestager says it’s good that there is a clear opt-out option. But, as noted above, Vestager wants to make sure that Apple doesn’t tilt the playing field so much that an antitrust issue comes to light. Apple can’t transition to a competitive stance with this new feature, giving its own apps a leg up on the other apps available in the App Store, basically.
Of course, one of the most vocal opponents to Apple’s upcoming new feature is Facebook. It’s essentially done everything it can to try and combat Apple’s move. It’s even gone as far as to create its own privacy-related pop-up in its app, trying to get users to let the social network track them.
For what it’s worth, Apple has said that the new rules, and the opt-out for users to be tracked, must be followed by all developers releasing apps in the App Store. That includes Apple. However, Apple doesn’t rely on the same advertising tracking platform that others do, and, as a result, it won’t have to show a pop-up for users to opt-out like other apps will.
In any event, it will be interesting to see how Apple’s new feature gets rolled out soon enough. It will be smooth? We’ll have to wait and see.