Apple CEO Tim Cook criticizes European law that would break App Store hold
Tim Cook, chief executive officer of Apple, speaks at the 2019 Dreamforce conference in San Francisco on November 19, 2019.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Apple CEO Tim Cook said that he believes a proposed European law known as DMA would “not be in the best interest of users,” signaling the iPhone maker’s opposition to European legislation that would force it to allow users to install software outside of Apple’s App Store.
“I look at the tech regulation that’s being discussed, I think there are good parts of it. And I think there are parts of it that are not in the best interests of the user,” Cook said on Wednesday through videoconference at the Viva Tech conference in France.
The European Union proposed two laws regulating big tech companies, the Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act, earlier this year. The DSA focuses on the online ad industry, but the DMA focuses on companies with large numbers of customers — like Apple, Google and Amazon — and sets rules requiring them to open up their platforms to competitors.
One of Cook’s issues with the law is that it would force Apple to permit sideloading apps on the iPhone, which is manually installing software from the internet or a file instead of through an app store. Currently, Apple’s App Store is the only way to install apps on an iPhone, which has made it the focus of lawsuits and regulators around the world. Apple has claimed that its control over the App Store ensures high-quality apps and helps prevent malware.
Cook noted that the iPhone’s market share in France is only 23% and said that permitting sideloading on iPhones would damage both the privacy and security of users, citing increased malware on Android phones versus iPhones. Google’s Android allows sideloading.
“If you take an example of where I don’t think it’s in the best interest, that the current DMA language that is being discussed, would force sideloading on the iPhone,” Cook said. “And so this would be an alternate way of getting apps onto the iPhone, as we look at that, that would destroy the security of the iPhone.”
Cook said that Apple would participate in the debate over the proposed regulation, and said that he thought that some parts of the DSA are “right on,” citing that it would regulate platforms with disinformation pushing issues like vaccine hesitancy.
Some projects never ship: ‘Failing is a part of life’
During the 30-minute session on Wednesday, Cook was asked about upcoming products like the long-rumored Apple Car, which he declined to talk about, saying that he will keep that secret. “There always has to be something up our sleeve,” Cook said.
Cook also said that Apple starts a lot of projects that fail and never ship.
“We do allow ourselves to fail. We try to fail internally, instead of externally, because we don’t want to involve customers into failure. But we develop things and and subsequently decide not to ship. We we begin going down a certain road and sometimes adjust significantly because of the discovery that we make in that process.”
He added, “Failing is a part of life, part of whether you’re a new company startup or a company that’s been around for a while. If you’re not failing you’re not trying enough different things.”
However, Cook did hint at an augmented reality product in the future. Apple is working on virtual reality and AR headsets in its Technology Development Group.
“We’ve been working with AR first with our phones, and iPads, and later we’ll see where that goes in terms of products,” Cook said.