Apple is going to have to make a fundamental change to its mobile operating system if it wants to keep users happy and regulators out of its business.It will have to allow users to chose non-Apple applications as default apps on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.
Right now if you open a link in an email it launches Safari, Apple’s web browser. That’s fine if you like Safari, but what if you prefer Google’s Chrome browser on the iPhone? Then you have to copy the link, open Chrome, and paste it in. You can’t make Chrome the default browser on iOS. On Apple’s Mac operating system you can make Chrome the default browser.
It’s not just the browser. Apple’s mail app is the default mail app for iOS. On the desktop you can pick which mail app you want as a default.
Where this really would sting is with Apple’s new maps app, which has been universally derided as an inferior experience to what Apple had in the past. If Google made a Google Maps application for iOS that was better than Apple’s maps it would still be a second-class app because Apple wouldn’t let users make Google maps the default navigation app.
If Apple maintains its lead in the tablet market, and continues to take share in the smartphone market, then at some point regulators are going to get involved. Google will lobby against Apple pointing out its anti-competitive behaviour in mobile software, just like Microsoft was slapped for forcing Internet Explorer on people.
Before Apple has to deal with that nonsense it should just give users the choice to decide which apps should and should not be the defaults.
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