France Telecom Orange wrestles Apple over e-SIMs, App Store

France Telecom CEO Stéphane Richard said he is wary of the influence that Apple has managed to attain in the mobile market. The CEO cited Apple's push to replace SIM cards with software-only e-SIMs and its control over its App Store as areas of potential disagreement.

However, in an interview with All Things Digital, the France Telecom (FT) exec would appear to have persuaded Apple not to proceed with e-SIMs, but instead focus on jointly developing a standard for smaller SIM cards. Richard said that Apple had been promoting the idea of e-SIMs so as to provide more space within the handset for extra functionality.

"All of us [the mobile operators] told them it was a bad idea because the SIM card was a critical piece of the security and authentication process," he said. "It would be very difficult for a telco or operator to manage the customer relationship. I think that they understood this point."

"We are going to work with them in order to standardise a new format of SIM which takes into account our needs with security and authentication and also is compatible with their wishes in terms of size," added Richard.

But the situation with regard to Apple's App Store would seem less amicable. Richard stated that having Apple decide which app it would, and would not, support is a problem. While the two firms have so far been able to find solutions to this issue, Richard admitted that it had been tough going and indicated that FT would be prepared to mount a legal challenge if necessary.

"The problem is the day when Apple says 'I don't want this one.'" The ideal resolution, according to Richard, would be to have these services embedded natively into the handset, as is done today with Android-based devices.

For more:
- see this All Things Digital article

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