Remove preinstalled apps, EU tells phone makers
EU phone and gadget makers urged to refrain from adding preinstalled apps to new phones, in a bid to tackle some companies, such as Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft and Amazon, who do not profit market, and acting as ‘gatekeepers’.
This comes even as the EU continues to debate and reflect on its digital markets law.
Companies work together to create a market oligopoly
Andy Yen, CEO and founder of Swiss company Proton, said companies like Google and Apple benefit from general user behavior, where around 95% of users tend to never change their default settings. This causes an app to remain a default app, even though users have the option to delete it.
The EU is about to introduce its new digital markets law, section 6 of which will allow users to get rid of any “preinstalled software applications”.
Experts said the big players spend billions of dollars to make sure they always have the upper hand. For example, all Apple phones have Google as their default browser because Google pays Apple a huge amount of money every year for the same.
Google was fined massive 4 million euros in July 2018 by the European Commission, for having paid large sums to “the largest manufacturers” to install Google products on their mobiles “exclusively”.
Need stricter rules
Renew MEP Stéphanie Yon-Courtin called for stricter rules so that online competition can be put back on track.
Proton wrote an email explaining how the so-called “Big Tech” companies act as “gatekeepers” and protect themselves from the competition. According to the mail, these companies are setting their own default apps on a majority of new smartphones, even if it costs them a significant amount of money.
Such practices have long been the concern of many regulatory authorities, and have been much more so in recent times. This was illustrated by the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) commentary on DMA, in which it stated that such monopoly business practices undermine “effective user choice”.