Apple has faced multiple allegations of anti-competitive practices in several countries as investigations into the company’s dominant position progress. Now, the US Department of Justice is investigating the fact that Apple forces developers to adopt the “Sign in with Apple” button if the app has other third-party sign-in methods.
As reported by Information, the researchers want to know if the “Sign in with Apple” button makes it difficult for users to migrate to another platform, such as Android or Windows. While some members of Congress praise Apple for its privacy efforts, others believe the company has abused control of the software on its devices to harm its competitors.
Report sources said some developers started filing login button complaints with American researchers last summer. “Sign in with Apple” was introduced in 2019 as an easy and secure way to create an account on apps and websites using just one Apple ID.
However, while using “Sign in with Apple” in iOS and Mac applications is optional for developers, Apple forces them to use their own solution if the application already offers login via Facebook, Google or other services. Two developers told the Justice Department that they removed all login buttons from their apps just because they didn’t want to adopt Apple’s button.
Representatives of two iPhone app developers who complained to Justice Department investigators about Apple’s requirements told The Information that after Apple made the login button mandatory, they removed all login buttons from their app because they didn’t want to include Apple’s and potentially lose out on getting information about their customers.
These developers told researchers that Apple’s button separates them from their users and claimed that it was another method the company uses to tighten its control over their mobile devices.
Other developers believe that “Sign in with Apple” is a great feature as it is convenient for users, not to mention the privacy behind it, but at the same time, it reinforces Apple’s power over developers. An Apple spokesperson declined to comment on the antitrust investigation, reiterating that the login feature ensures the privacy of user data.
As noted in the report, the Justice Department’s antitrust investigation against Apple is being conducted by attorneys led by Manish Kuma, who is a “veteran of the agency who is head of the San Francisco office of the antitrust unit.” While there are multiple accusations that Apple is a monopoly, a decision on whether or not to sue Apple could take months or even years.
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