That’s the takeaway from a new Comscore study that ranks the popularity of preinstalled iOS and Android apps, such as Apple’s Messages, alongside apps made by other developers. The results show that the majority of apps people use on their phones in the US come preinstalled by either Apple or Google. The first-of-its-kind report was commissioned by Facebook, one of Apple’s loudest critics, and shared exclusively with The Verge.
Preinstalled services dominate when it comes to basics like weather, photos, and clocks, according to the report, suggesting these categories will be difficult for other apps to compete in. Defaults don’t win out exclusively, though: Apple Maps and Music don’t appear on the iOS list at all, and Gmail makes the iOS list several entries below Apple Mail.
The timing, as Facebook likely intentioned, is apt: Apple and Google are increasingly under scrutiny for how they favor their own services over competitors like Spotify. US lawmakers are currently reviewing a new set of bills designed to curb the power of Big Tech, including legislation that could potentially bar Apple and Google from giving their services the upper hand against rivals.
The pushback stems from how Apple and Google bundle their apps and services with their mobile operating systems in ways that some of their competitors think is unfair. The criticism is harsher against Apple, given that it more tightly controls the apps that come preinstalled on the iPhone and doesn’t allow developers to circumvent its App Store.