The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) recently published an interim report (IR) on the mobile landscape. One of the major concerns it highlighted was regarding how Apple manages its ecosystem, talking about how the App Store is the only available storefront and how web browsers on iOS necessarily need to be based on WebKit. It basically complained about Apple's "walled garden" approach to its ecosystem that restricts openness. Today, it has released Apple's 47-page response to its IR.
Essentially, Apple has retaliated strongly to all of the allegations and claimed that they are nothing more than hypothetical concerns from Apple’s rivals that would just love to see benefits being downstreamed only to a select powerful group of developers. It went on to say that:
[...] the IR reaches conclusions about technologies, product design, and competitive impact derived from the unsubstantiated allegations and hypothetical concerns raised primarily by self-serving complaints from a handful of multi-billion dollar developers such as Microsoft, Facebook, Match, Spotify, and Epic, all seeking to make deep changes to the iPhone for their own commercial gain, without independent verification.
The Cupertino giant even went on to argue that going forward with the proposed changes would basically mean scrapping all its work of the past 15 years and then restarting from scratch:
The IR appears to assume that its proposed changes would be relatively simple. Yet many would require a complete re-architecting of a product that has existed for 15 years, has been constantly improved by Apple’s investment in IP and is valued and trusted by millions of consumers.
With regards to allowing multiple storefronts on its App Store and enabling sideloading, Apple once again played the "security risk" card that it talked about back in June 2021. It also went on to say that there is nothing wrong with browser vendors being forced to use WebKit because the engine is "innovative" and keeps getting updated with new functionalities. In terms of the iPhone itself, Apple proudly noted that its customers are satisfied with the level of performance, privacy, and ease-of-use it offers.
All in all, Apple has demanded the CMA to re-evaluate the situation while keeping both developers and consumers in mind, and to also consider the negative effects the proposed changes could have on the market.