Apple disagrees with Japanese claims that built-in apps harm competition

Iphone 13 Mini Safari Hero
Iphone 13 Mini Safari Hero (Image credit: Joseph Keller / iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple says it doesn't agree with Japan's concerns about the way it bundles Safari with iPhones.
  • A Japanese report had previously also suggested that third-party App Stores should be allowed.

Apple says that it disagrees with a report by Japanese authorities that suggests the inclusion of Safari pre-installed on devices harms competition. The same report also floats the idea that App;e should allow people to install apps from multiple app stores.

The report itself isn't aimed only at Apple — Google also came in for the same criticism. While Google has yet to respond, saying that it is still looking into Japan's concerns, Apple was much quicker to argue its corner according to Kyodo News.

The U.S. technology giant said in a statement, "We respectfully disagree with a number of conclusions" in the government report released the same day that expressed concern over the strong influence of Apple and Alphabet Inc.'s Google LLC in the OS market.Apple added that it is facing "intense competition in every segment" in which it operates, adding that it will continue to "engage constructively with the Japanese government."

It's thought that Japanese authorities are concerned that by bundling their own web browsers on devices, Apple and Google are making it more difficult for competing apps to get a foothold.

In the interim report released following discussions about digital market competition, the government sees the Google and Apple internet browsing apps being preinstalled in smartphones as a problem.

The same report also notes that developers are "paying a high fee to Apple as they can only distribute their products through the company's store." As a result, talk of allowing users to install apps via an app store of their choice is also being floated.

This is far from the first time that Apple has found itself fighting for its App Store life, of course. The accusation that shipping a web browser pre-installed hurts competition is also an old one — it was leveled at Microsoft back in 2009 over the way it bundled Internet Explorer on all Windows PCs, too.

Whether you feel that Safari is the best iPhone browser or not, it's easy to see why it being preinstalled could put other apps at a disadvantage.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.