US government wants to break up Apple

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US senator Elizabeth Warren thinks Apple has an unfair advantage on the App Store and believes the company should not be in control of the iOS app marketplace.

Speaking to The Verge, senator Warren discussed the idea of breaking Apple up.

“Apple, you’ve got to break it apart from their App Store,” she says. “It’s got to be one or the other. Either they run the platform or they play in the store. They don’t get to do both at the same time.”

The argument goes like this: if Apple builds apps (which it does), then it has to compete with other app developers (which it does). If it runs an app store (which it does), then it has access to valuable customer data (which it does) – unlike its competitors.

But it’s not just data, it’s also the possibility to favour its own solutions against its competitors. Google has been accused of doing similar things with its Maps and Search features on Android.

“If you run a platform where others come to sell, then you don’t get to sell your own items on the platform because you have two comparative advantages. One, you’ve sucked up information about every buyer and every seller before you’ve made a decision about what you’re going to sell. And second, you have the capacity — because you run the platform — to prefer your product over anyone else’s product. It gives an enormous comparative advantage to the platform.”

One of the arguments why Apple runs its own App Store is the security of its ecosystem. Every app goes through rigorous tests by the company itself, to make sure it’s safe to use. Warren hasn’t commented on the security aspect.

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