Apple Sidelines Jamf For Greater Market Share

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On August 15, Campaign for Accountability (CfA), a nonprofit watchdog group that runs the Tech Transparency Project (TTP) revealed in their report that Apple’s treatment of their software partner reeks of anticompetitive behavior.

Jamf, which is Apple’s device software management partner, is exclusive to Apple products and relies on the iPhone-maker to function effectively. But recently, the company discovered that Apple had released a product similar to Jamf for small businesses, which in turn affected Jamf stocks.

The project coordinators also learnt that IT administrators have been complaining to the company that it has become difficult for them to patch security holes in Jamf devices, suggesting that Apple might be actively undermining Jamf’s functionality. They raised concerns about how Apple taking over this side of the business translates to eliminating competition and exercising full control over the macOS ecosystem. The tech titan’s venture is known as Apple Business Essentials (ABE) service.

antitrust practices

Apple’s ABE service reeks of antitrust behavior as it slyly sidelines long-term partner Jamf’s services.

The Jamf jam

Currently, Jamf caters to over 60,000 Apple customers as it provides a wide range of services associated with Mac for business. When ABE was launched in November 2021, it was marketed as a service for small businesses and only supported some of the services rendered by Jamf. Within a few days, Jamf shares had plummeted by over 30%.

“Apple’s tight control over which companies can play in its sandbox means that it could very easily choose to break or drop Jamf if doing so could open up a new revenue stream,” said Michelle Kuppersmith, Executive Director at CfA. The report argues that Apple is wrong to capitalize on the market built by Jamf by sidelining its number one partner as it comes under anticompetitive behavior.

Kuppersmith adds, ““It was Jamf’s ideas and ingenuity that built the device management market that Apple seems primed to take over, but that may all be for naught if Apple decides to flip the switch.” The project coordinators are of the opinion that Apple’s device management behavior is just an indication of its wider ambitions. The iPhone-maker is known to aggressively market its own wares and for using tactics to limit the functionalities of competitors’ offerings.

In 2020, Tile, which is known for making smart trackers, accused Apple of deliberately stifling its growth by making changes to iOS settings, which made it difficult for Tile customers to use their devices. One year later, Apple rolled out AirTags. Furthermore, Apple did a similar turn when it shut down f.lux, an app that adjusted blue light at night, quoting a violation in the developer program. A few months later, the company launched its own version of the feature called Night Shift.

Apple’s ABE that was rolled out in March 2022 only supports a small subset of the services rendered by Jamf. However, if at some point, Apple decides to make its offerings available to larger companies, it will compete directly with Jamf for clientele.

“Apple’s history of putting external apps out of business by rolling out similar features is well known, but thus far, regulators have done little to stop it,” Kuppersmith added. “If Apple repeats this playbook with Jamf—during a time when Apple is undoubtedly under the antitrust microscope more than ever before—regulators should not flinch at taking appropriate action.”

The report cautions against anti-competitive practices by Apple and calls for greater action to prevent its monopoly in the market. In the European Union (EU), Apple is facing an antitrust lawsuit as regulators have found the iPhone-maker guilty of blocking third-party developers from accessing its NFC chip. The tech giant also lost an appeal to withdraw litigation related to banning competing apps from the App Store. The EU also found that it indulged in anticompetitive practices to give Apple Pay an edge over its rivals.

The EU has already charged Apple with antitrust practices over App Store’s terms of service.

The post Apple Sidelines Jamf For Greater Market Share appeared first on Industry Leaders Magazine.

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