Apple heads into developer conference under more scrutiny than ever

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Apple needs a distraction, and it needs one fast.

On Monday, the company will hold its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC 2021) during one of the most fraught moments for developer relations in Apple history. While Apple emerged from the Epic v. Apple trial in a seemingly strong legal position, its reputation took a body blow. Evidence revealed the company doesn’t “treat every developer the same” — it cut special deals with big companies like Amazon and Hulu and made arbitrary, cutthroat decisions to lock competition out and lock users in.

Developers have known or suspected these things for years, and at first, online reactions seemed muted. This is the third year in a row that the shadow of antitrust regulation has hung over...

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