[Update 1/11: This is one rumor Apple is happy to deny. Here’s a statement to Buzzfeed:“There is no truth to this rumor,” Apple spokesperson Trudy Muller said in a statement to BuzzFeed News. “We are entirely focused on switching users from Android to iPhone, and that is going great.”]
Apple launched a Move to iOS app in September, pictured, that enables Android users to quickly transfer documents, photos, contacts and other personal data to a new iPhone. This eases the pain for Android users to switch to iOS, which clearly benefits Apple. Interestingly, the Telegraph is reporting that Apple is now developing a similar tool that goes in the opposite direction, letting iPhone users more easily transfer to Android devices.
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Why would Apple want to do something like this? The Telegraph explanation is that it is related to European competition fears. Mobile operators in Europe have complained that few users switch away from iPhone which inhibits negotiations with Apple over contractual terms.
The telecoms operators are concerned that Apple is artificially limiting competition by making it hard to leave the iOS ecosystem. Hence, it seems Apple has agreed to help in this area by making this transitioning tool. The report ‘says Apple has privately agreed’ to make the service, so a public launch is unclear.
Whilst it is unlikely Apple would honor the requests out of the goodness of their hearts, it is possible that the telecoms operators could have presented the issue as an anticompetitive complaint which could have let to legal action in court. This is just speculation, but it explains why Apple would be cooperative. In October, Apple said the rate of Android switchers was at the highest point ever for new iPhone sales.
The European Commission began an investigation in 2013 over Apple’s terms with mobile operators, but the investigation was dropped as insufficient evidence of illicit behaviour was found.
Apple’s Move to iOS app annoyed Android users, garnering thousands of 1 stars in the Google Play Store. Perhaps they would be more receptive to an app that sent users in the other direction …