Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney, whose high-profile antitrust lawsuit against Apple is now under appeal, is today calling out The iPhone maker itself isn’t around to give its competitors access to an advertising slot: the iPhone’s Settings screen. Some iOS 15 users noticed that Apple is now advertising its services at the top of their settings, just below their Apple ID. The services being suggested are personalized to the device owner based on which one they are already subscribed to, it appears.
For example, those who don’t have a subscription to Apple Music may see an ad offering a six-month free trial. However, current Apple Music subscribers may instead see a prompt to add in a service they don’t have yet, such as AppleCare coverage for their devices.
Sweeney suggests that this type of first-party advertising is an anti-risk for Apple, because some of the services it’s emphasizing here are those that compete directly with third-party apps published on its App Store. But those third-party apps can’t gain access to the iPhone’s Settings screen, of course—they can only bid for ad slots within the App Store.
Sweeney writes: “New among those banning Fortnite: settings-screen ads for its music service that come before actual settings, and which aren’t available to other advertisers like Spotify or SoundCloud.”
Zucetta told Nerdshala that he saw the ad on an iPhone 8 he owned that was running iOS 15. But others have seen ads on newer devices as well. and some respondents noted that they were receiving Also Apple’s promotion in the form of push notifications.
The issue here is tricky because promotion isn’t always a situation where Apple is harming a rival for its own sake.
For example, on an iPhone 13 Pro Max that we own is running iOS 15.1, the prompt was used to inform us that we still had a few days left to add AppleCare+ coverage. (We already have most of Apple’s other subscriptions.) But in this case, there aren’t third-party apps offering a direct competitor to AppleCare, in the same way that Spotify competes directly with Apple Music. Instead, warranty companies such as Asurion partner with mobile carriers To sell iPhone insurance plans, such as AT&T and Verizon, instead of selling directly to consumers through the App Store.
Some might even argue that a reminder to add warranty coverage is a useful feature, not an unwanted intrusion.
While Sweeney’s tweets have raised awareness of first-party promotions in settings, they are not new.
Apple has often used the iPhone’s Settings screen to market its services to its customers in the same way it is doing now.
Last year, for example, it was seen Ongoing Promotions for Apple Arcadehandjob Apple Care And Apple TV+ in settings. Outside of this screen, Apple has also promoted its services in other unusual ways, including through the use of sending notifications. And it’s cross-promoted its services inside its own apps over the years – like Prompts to subscribe to Apple Music while using iTunes.
But regulators today are taking a closer look at the platforms and how they are using or abusing their market power. Google is currently Appeal of a record penalty in the EU This requires that device manufacturers preinstall Google’s suite of apps with the phones they sell. Meanwhile, Samsung where will it stop Running ads in your first-party apps on Galaxy devices. (It displayed ads for other companies and people who promoted your products, Sometimes.)
Epic Games did not comment further on Sweeney’s tweet, including whether or not the company will use this latest information in its upcoming appeal. Apple has been asked for comment but has not responded.