In context: Amid an antitrust investigation against Apple by EU regulators, as well as subsequent discussion around the issue, the iPhone maker has published a 31-page report defending why its iOS ecosystem is limited to the App Store. The tech giant tries to justify its refusal to allow the download of applications on its smartphones by highlighting how Android has been heavily exploited by malware.
Apple’s report, “Building a Trusted Ecosystem for Millions of Applications: A Sideloading Threat Analysis,” stand out that supporting data transfer via direct downloads and third-party app stores would “cripple” the iPhone’s privacy and security protections, exposing users to “serious security risks.”
“The iPhone is a very personal device where users store some of their most sensitive and personal information. This means that maintaining security and privacy in the iOS ecosystem is of vital importance to users,” said Apple. “However, some require Apple to support distribution of applications outside of the App Store, through direct downloads or third-party app stores, a process also known as” side-downloading. “
The European Commission’s antitrust charges against Apple claim that the company violated EU competition rules related to policies associated with the App Store. The case was triggered due to a complaint from the music streaming service Spotify.
In an effort to ease concerns around the monopoly Apple has established on iOS, he emphasized that security concerns are rampant for Android as Google’s operating system allows downloading. Specifically, Apple notes how “over the past four years, Android devices were found to have 15 to 47 times more malware infections than iPhones.”
Another statistic used in the report was that a large security company detected nearly six million attacks per month on its customers’ Android mobile devices. If Apple were forced to support side-downloading, it said cybercriminals would inevitably target iPhone users through malicious apps. Users would also have less information about apps upfront, Apple says, as third-party app stores would not “be required to provide the information that is displayed on App Store product pages and privacy labels.”
Some may consider that Apple raises a valid point when considering how Android malware has become a major security concern for the operating system. For example, a Trojan found in 200 malicious apps on both the Google Play Store and third-party app stores infected millions of devices, extracting tens of millions of dollars from victims. Due to the open platform that Android is based on, security firm Eset claims it is more “interesting” to cybercriminals than iOS.
Others, however, may counteract by showing that it is best for Apple to decline side-downloading: Apple generates tens of billions of dollars from the 30 percent cut that takes away from developers in the app store so much for the initial payment of Paid apps as well as in-app purchases. You could be set to enjoy that hefty chunk of income for at least a few more years due to an appeal in your Epic Games lawsuit.