Apple is considering a move to allow users to change their default settings to third-party apps, Bloomberg reported on Thursday (Feb. 20).
Reacting to mounting criticism, rival apps could be given more prominence on iPhones and iPads. Apple is also weighing opening its HomePod speaker to third-party music streaming.
The company is debating if it will let users choose third-party web browsers and mail applications as their default options and opt out of using the company’s Safari browser and Mail app, sources told Bloomberg.
Since 2008 when the App Store began, Apple hasn’t let its customers replace pre-installed apps, making it hard for some developers to compete. Lawmakers are also concerned about Apple’s possible anti-competitive practices and are investigating antitrust violations by the company and other tech giants.
The Silicon Valley firm also is weighing whether it should allow third-party music apps like Spotify on HomePods, said people who asked not to be named discussing internal company deliberations.
During a hearing last year with the U.S. House of Representatives antitrust panel, Apple was questioned about its policy to prohibit users from setting third-party apps as defaults. Lawmakers pushed the issue of whether customers can opt to use non-Apple apps as their defaults for apps like web browsers, maps, email and music.
Apple pre-installs 38 default apps on iPhones and iPads, including the Safari web browser, Maps, Messages and Mail.
Last year, Spotify filed an antitrust complaint with the European Union complaining that Apple takes a 30 percent commission on subscriptions made on the App Store. Spotify also specifically mentioned the inability to run on the HomePod or become the default music player in Siri.
In other Apple news, the tech giant became the first major company to admit it won’t meet its projected revenue for this quarter because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Last month, Apple predicted that its revenue could fall somewhere between the range of $63 billion to $67 billion, with the wider-than-normal gulf due to the presence of the virus, which has killed hundreds of people in China and infected many worldwide.