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EU may force Apple to loosen iPhone app restrictions

updated 02:30 pm EDT, Thu July 1, 2010

EU could make mobile app operability mandatory

EU commissioner Neelie Kroes in an interview has warned that the iPhone and other phones may be pushed open by new European interoperability rules. Citing Apple as an example, she observed that the App Store and other closed platforms were examples of customer lock-in for proprietary technology. Kroes stopped short of proposing exact measures in a EurActiv talk but made clear Apple wouldn't be immune to an overall push for interoperability by the European Commission, whose Digital Agenda could make licensing and publishing formats a legal requirement.

"We need to make sure that significant market players cannot just choose to deny interoperability with their product," she said. "This is particularly important in cases where standards don't exist... This is not just about Microsoft or any big company like Apple, IBM or Intel. The main challenge is that consumers need choice when it comes to software or hardware products."

What the EU could do to Apple could vary but may have an example in the motivations behind $1.4 billion fine against Microsoft. The software developer was accused by the Commission of both refusing to give out code necessary for apps to support the same features as Windows or else discouraging it by demanding a premium royalty for the option. Apple largely provides access to the same programming interfaces as it uses for iOS devices, but it may have to make it easier for developers to write apps without using Xcode or requiring that all apps must be approved by Apple.

In the US, Apple is already believed to be under FTC investigation for banning third-party development suites. Adobe and others have complained that the iOS SDK rules make it artificially difficult to develop for platforms like Android at the same time, forcing companies to spend extra for multi-platform work and often leading many to write only for iOS hardware.

By Electronista Staff


  1. MyRightEye

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2008


    s**** the EU

    s**** all globalization. This is what happens when you have a massively powerful political or judicial force. Imagine what it will be like when the globalist's plans are complete and we have a one world court, one world bank, one world government etc. It's why we're seeing a resurgence in "10th Amendment" / "State's Rights" here in the US. Small local government is the answer, not world government.

  1. Zanziboy

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2008


    It's not about consumers!

    The EU has lost the lead in mobile handset technology as indicated by the ongoing failure of Ericsson and Nokia. Now, they're just out to s**** Apple and Google to take the pressure off Nokia and Ericsson long enough for their subsidies and regulations to kick in and provide EU manufacturers a monopoly.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001



    It's because it's a large group. If it were up to the countries themselves, they'd be all "Do what you want, Apple!".

    And I didn't realize the 10th amendment disappeared in the US. Seem to recall many using it as reasons not to follow various federal laws. Then again, they have no problem accepting federal monies for all sorts of pork projects in their states, and have no problem asking the feds for help when disaster strikes. It's just the other times when they say "Oh, keep the federal government out of our lives!"

  1. TomSawyer

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2008


    Headline should read

    "Steve Jobs about to tell the EU to go $crew itself. Apple to free up production capacity to feed more iOS devices to tech hungry Asia and the Americas."

  1. aristotles

    Grizzled Veteran

    Joined: Jul 2004


    As an EU citizen

    I want an investigation launched into who is paying this woman off. Why did they do nothing when MSFT had their playsforsure platform that only worked on windows before the iPod launched? The Ipod ecosystem works on OS X and windows but neither the old playsforsure or Zune work on anything other than windows officially.

    All of the music is sold in standard AAC format which is playable by iPods, Zune and any other player that wants to implement the openly licensable AAC format.

    This woman is being paid by MSFT to launch these "investigations". Follow the money.

  1. aristotles

    Grizzled Veteran

    Joined: Jul 2004


    Apps are written for a platform

    Is this woman really that stupid? You cannot have app interoperability on consoles so why would anyone expect to run iOS apps on another platform?

    Do they expect Apple to abandon the SDK and adopt Java instead? Are they smoking crack? I think this woman is mentally retarded.

  1. MacnnChester

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2007


    To anti-govt. retards ...

    I don't know yet the specifics of this ruling or its future, but this isn't about big government vs. small government. This is about regulating a "public" resource. Phone companies use a public resource - radio frequencies - and they must abide by laws like anyone else. The 10th amendment does not give a state the right to bandwidth or radio frequencies ... that is a federal role anymore than the 10th amendment gives states the right to make up their own immigration laws.

    This commissioner may very well be off base or may be being paid off by Nokia, however federal or EU governments DO have the legal right AND the moral authority to at least look into the fairness corporate policies or possible corrupt relationships when public resources are being used.

    Again, she might be too far into the weeds and I don't see a problem so far with what I know about Apple's walled garden, but don't stupidly quote the 10th Amendment until you understand what it means!

  1. Bobfozz

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2008


    Have you noticed how well the EU is doing now?

    All these countries under one banner and a third of them have seriously major debt problems.

    Seriouslly, does anyone care whether Opera runs as a Browser? Apple's Safari is good, has small share, but the EU will freak out eventually and try to whip it in line too. I may not be crazy about MS anything, but they got the shaft on these EU pronouncements. All this is going to do is cause the cost of everything to rise while the Chinese crawl in under the radar.

    It's funny, but after WWII was over, they went crazy. The Brits are in the EU but still use pounds sterling. Germany is constantly being asked to dole out money to the idiots who made bad decisions. Norway is debt free and has more money than Croesus. Finland is sucking rocks with the Nokia stuff. It's no wonder things are a mess over there (and in OUR gulf).. these commissioners are people who have never held real jobs or run real businesses... their "work" is to placate those who can't compete because they don't have something very outstanding. It's sickening.

  1. TomMcIn

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 2001


    Clean Up EU house first

    The rest if the world just had to bail out a number of EU countries and now one of their bureaucrats is telling Apple how to run its business. Dumb.

  1. fahlman

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2003


    comment title

    FU EU

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