Apple gathered quite a lot of attention last week during its annual WWDC event. The Developer conference once again was the debut place of the new generation of iOS. This year it also focused on hardware with the debut of the new Mac Pro. However, something else was also quite important.
No, it was not the display stand for $999 which stole the show for all the wrong reasons. There was also an underlying message during WWDC – the fight for privacy in digital services along with the increased regulatory scrutiny and critical developers.
We all love privacy
After a year of privacy blunders from many companies, including IT giants, now security is a hot topic in the industry. Apple has made quite the effort to drive home the point that it cares about privacy. In fact, the company made it a top marketing message that it cares about privacy.
Apple’s CEO Tim Cook is especially vocal about letting the world know the IT industry doesn’t need as much user data as it gathers. This led to a bit of a spat with some of his colleagues. Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai for example has said that “some” companies are trying to turn privacy into a “luxury good”.
Right after his WWDC 2019 keynote, Cook did an interview with CBS and rebutted this, by saying privacy is for everyone. And before WWDC, Apple’s Craig Federighi said to CNET that “Our business model is one that doesn’t require exploiting customers personal information in order to fund our operations. If fundamentally you’re depending…on building massive centralized hordes of personal data that you find ways to monetize, that’s intrinsically hostile to privacy. That’s just fundamentally not how we work in anything we do.”
Regulators and antitrust
And while IT companies are too busy fighting to show users and clients who cares more about privacy, there’s another issue looming. The US Justice Department is mulling antitrust actions against several of the big tech companies. Including Apple.
While little is known about the primary reasons for the probes, various media sources point to data privacy as the main reason for the potential actions. It should come as no surprise, though. Big names like Cook and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg have said numerous times that they support some regulation and want governments to step in.
So, that’s exactly what the governments around the world are slowly starting to do. Yet, it won’t be a pretty sight and it will lead to quite a bit of stressful situations for investors and shareholders. Some companies seem ready for that, though. One of them is Apple which used its WWDC 2019 event to showcase how strong its ecosystem is. But there’s a bit of a problem…
Yep, there’s a some trouble brewing in the Apple developer world, CNBC reported. One of the reasons is that Apple seems to be making more and more in-house apps which directly compete with some of the already available apps by other developers.
The company does that more and more and devs fear they will be at a disadvantage as Apple could promote its own apps. Spotify has already had a claim in the EU against Apple Music over similar concerns.
Devs are also not happy that while they do have on-going working relationships with Apple, they say they weren’t notified at all about the company’s plans to introduce competing apps, CNBC reports.
Devs also have issues with Apple’s App Review process which is way too long and doesn’t really give much helpful feedback about why a certain app is not approved. Some devs are also unhappy about the 30% cut Apple gets from their apps.
Ultimately, most of these issues seem minor compared to the bigger picture – privacy scandals and regulatory scrutiny. However, on the whole, it’s a compounding problem which all of a sudden it can become a serious issue. One that Apple shouldn’t be neglecting even now.