Despite the fact that Apple has yet to formally acknowledge whether its Apple Car will make its way to market or not, antitrust concerns have already been mounting. These concerns stem from Ford’s recent announcement stating it will partner with Google.
In a recent report from Politico, it’s said that antitrust concerns were first raised when Ford announced its partnership with Google, and stated that starting in 2023, all of the company’s cars and trucks would have Google Maps, Assistant and Play Store preinstalled. CEO Jim Farley stated that this was an opportunity to “reinvent” the automobile, enabling further connectivity.
From there, concerns began to be raised as some worried that Apple and Google would be able to start creating a duopoly of in-car operating systems once Apple entered the fray. Commentors and those within the automotive industry have already begun vocalizing their concerns.
“The ride is no longer the point,” said Jim Heffner, a vice president at Cox Automotive Mobility who specializes in autonomous and connected vehicles. “Data is the cornerstone. … Apple and Google and others want to be at the epicenter of that.”
Most of the attention is currently on Google, which is actively piercing into the automotive industry. Apple, on the other hand, has not officially announced its own Apple Car. However, multiple reports have indicated that the company is developing an electric vehicle with a focus on self-driving.
While the Apple Car looks like an exciting new technology, a less charitable view of Apple’s strategy is the company wants to further enmesh consumers into their profitable ecosystem, where the company gets a 30 percent cut of all digital sales, said Trendacosta, associate director of policy and activism at EFF, which counts Google search rival DuckDuckGo among its donors.
For decades, Apple has espoused some of the most restrictive repair policies for its computers, phones and tablets. Only in November after a push by the White House and federal regulators did the iPhone maker announce that it would begin allowing consumers to repair their own devices.
“Apple’s whole goal is to lock you into their ecosystem,” she said. “I don’t love the idea of them doing that in car form as well.”
Though, we’re still years away from it potentially hitting the road as it’s said that Apple won’t be available until 2025. That said, if Apple is indeed making and distributing its own car, the integration of Apple apps and systems would be expected. It’s if similar partnerships like we see from Ford and Google, where Apple Maps and Music apps are preinstalled on other systems, that antitrust concerns could become more serious.