June 5, 2019
By Stephen Nellis
(Reuters) – Apple Inc will require developers to position a new “Sign on with Apple” button in iPhone and iPad apps above rival buttons from Alphabet Inc’s Google and Facebook Inc, according to developer guidelines released this week.
The move to give Apple prime placement is significant because users often select the default or top option on apps. And Apple will force apps to offer its button if they want to offer options to login with Facebook or Google.
Apple unveiled its login button on Monday, emphasizing users’ privacy and also introducing a feature that randomly generates an email address to avoid revealing the person’s true email.
Many consumers choose to sign in to independent apps using their accounts from Google or Facebook because it saves the trouble of having to create and remember separate user names and passwords for dozens of different apps.
But the login buttons can send some data back to their makers about the user’s app habits. Apple’s software chief Craig Federighi said during a keynote address on Monday that Apple was seeking to give users a more private option and developers a way to offer a fast one-step login without sending their user’s data to another company.
Apple confirmed that apps that have their own dedicated login system and do not use buttons from Google or Facebook, such as apps from game maker Nintendo Co Ltd, will not be required to use Apple’s login button. Apple’s button also works on websites. Its use will not be required because Apple does not hold review power over websites the way it does apps on its own store, but Apple still requires it to be given top placement if it is used.
Apple declined to comment further beyond its executives’ public remarks on Sign in with Apple. Facebook and Google declined to comment on the move, though Google said it does not require use of Google’s login button for apps in its Play Store on Android devices.
Apple’s mandate to developers around login tools comes as developers and rivals have alleged that some of its App Store practices, such as taking a commission of up to 30% of sales made through the store, are anticompetitive.
United States antitrust regulators are also laying the ground for a potential antitrust review of Apple and other major technology companies, Reuters reported Monday. In an interview with CBS News that aired on Tuesday, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said it was “fair” for regulators to scrutinize Apple given its size but said the company is not a monopoly in any of the markets it operates in.
(Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)