EU’s antitrust chief warns Apple to treat all apps equally

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Margrethe Vestager, Europe’s antitrust chief, has warned Apple to give equal treatment to all apps on its platform. This comes after the company introduced new privacy changes that have attracted accusations of anti-competitive practices from rival Facebook.

Apple will ask iPhone users for consent to track their data and offer personalized ads that the company says is a move to protect users’ privacy.

This is slated to happen sometime in the spring. The move will, however, limit the apps’ ability to collect data from phones, which are usually used for targeted advertising.

Facebook’s cries

Facebook has been one of the most prominent critics, even though it always fails to mention that it stands to lose a large chunk of its revenue because of this move.

Facebook in a blog post published December, said that this was anti-competitive behavior and that Apple’s personalized ads platform would be excluded from the new requirements that give users a choice to opt into tracking by third parties.

Vestager said that even though the issue is currently about privacy, it can turn into an antitrust problem if Apple decided to tilt the playing field in its favor.

Apple under the spotlight

Vestager spoke to Reuters in an interview on Monday and said that it can be competitive if it is shown that Apple is not treating its apps the same way.

Vestager said that so far, she has not had any complaints about Apple’s new privacy policy. She said that the privacy move is similar to her proposal last year which aimed to curb the powers of US tech giants and give some control back to the consumers.

Apple is currently being investigated in two separate filings by the EU on mobile payment (Apple Pay) and the App Store.