Tech trust-busters, listen up.
Apple has released updated developer guidelines that provide suggestions for how best to incorporate its new “Sign in with Apple” button. As first spotted by Reuters, the guidelines contain some curious instruction, especially for those trying to assess whether Apple’s behavior is anti-competitive.
The guidelines suggest that developers place Apple’s new sign-in button “above other buttons.” They also recommend developers make the button “the same size or larger” than other sign-in buttons.
This explicit instruction is eyebrow-raising, not least because those “other” sign-in buttons usually come from Apple’s competitors, Google and Facebook. As Reuters points out, people often go with the the first sign-in option they see, so placement has a lot to do with usage.
But Apple is also earnestly offering up its sign-in button as what they consider a better alternative to the others, especially from a privacy standpoint. Apple says it won’t track information about your app activity – and then use that info for ad targeting – when you use their button. Facebook and Google, on the other hand, use app sign-ins to gather user data.
Also in contrast to its fellow behemoths, Apple sign-in gives users the option not to provide their actual emails. Instead, Apple will generate random emails for each app, which are then connected to your Apple account. It’s a nifty way to decouple your app activity from a personal identifier, like your email address, that companies use for ad targeting.
Apple unveiled “Sign in with Apple” at its Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) Monday. It touted the feature for its convenience and privacy upside. In a press release about updated app store guidelines, the company stated, “Sign in with Apple will be available for beta testing this summer. It will be required as an option for users in apps that support third-party sign-in when it is commercially available later this year.”
Even if Apple sign-in is good for user privacy, that doesn’t mean there’s not a business upside for the company. Replacing Facebook’s and Google’s sign-ins with Apple’s might impact those companies’ advertising business, and, subsequently, industry dominance.
Apple is being scrutinized for whether its ownership of the app store – which involves taking a 30 percent cut of app revenue, as well as prominently, and sometimes automatically, offering its own apps – constitutes monopolistic behavior. And Congress announced Monday that the House Judiciary Committee would begin an investigation into whether tech giants including Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple need to be brought to heel by anti-trust law.
Shockingly, Tim Cook responded to the news of the congressional probe by saying that Apple is not a monopoly.