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Apple rejects Valve’s Steam Link game streaming app over ‘business conflicts’ (theverge.com)
442 points by davvid 8 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 286 comments

People who go on and on about the Google and Amazon "monopolies" -- which only benefit consumers with low prices and expansive services -- this is what actual monopolistic behavior looks like. Apple controls access to a significant share of the mobile application industry and it directly abuses that market power to harm customers by reducing competition and artificially raising prices. Apple is being sued in both US and French courts over it appstore monopoly so let's hope this ridiculous practice is stopped soon.

"Amazon will stop selling Nest smart home devices, escalating its war with Google"


Sounds like the same behavior. Google has been known to replace whole other start-up services or de-list them.

I can buy a Nest Thermostat from any of thousands of websites and it would work just fine in my home. I can't even get a Steam Link app for free from anyone and have it work effortlessly on my iOS device. These two are not the same, no matter which side you are on.

There are more non-iOS phones out there than iOS phones. I think this is why Apple isn’t too concerned about “monopoly” talk right now. (No, a “monopoly” on Apple products is not an illegal thing.)

A company doesn't need a majority of the market to be prosecuted for anti-competitive behavior and likewise having a majority of the market does not mean your every move is illegally anti-competitive.

If prosecuted under the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, existence of a monopoly is a precondition. Certainly there are non-Sherman charges that could be brought, but I'm not aware of anything that would be applicable in this instance?

To your first point, assuming Sherman is used, I believe US v Alcoa [1] is still the controlling case law. And you'd have a very hard time convincing a court that "smartphones made by Apple" constitute a product category over which it could have a 75%+ market share.

Or are there other laws under which action could be brought in this situation?

Yes it is. Pretty much the same case was when Microsoft bundled internet explorer by default in Windows, which was detrimental to Netscape Navigator.

At that time virtually everyone was using windows though. There wasn't a competitor like Android is for iOS.

That’s just incorrect on the face of it. Linux and Mac have existed for as long as Windows, or longer. It’s pure opinion to say there were no competitors.

With monopoly cases, it's all about market share. In the late 90s, Windows had 95%+ of the market[0]. I believe (but may be mistaken) that the legal threshold often used is 75%. Apple isn't there, but Windows certainly was.

[0] https://cdn.arstechnica.net/articles/culture/total-share.med...

since when does market share determine what competitors there are? competitors are businesses competing against each other for the same market share. so your chart actually proves my statement since both linux and apple existed at this time.

Alright, then how about removing Adblock from their stores?

Android is a little better, but it's by no means totally free.

You can install android apps or chrome extensions from any source, not just the Google-managed store.

This sounds minor, but its absolutely a major reason why the stores aren't monopolies. I find it startling how few people on HN remember the fact that stores have a right to decide what they want to sell and not. We don't live in communist Russia. Walmart doesn't have to sell Whole Foods-branded food, H&M doesn't have to sell Mossimo clothes, Amazon doesn't have to sell Nest thermostats, Apple doesn't have to sell Pixel devices in their stores, and Google doesn't have to sell Adblocking software.

In every single one of these cases, its because the companies managing the stores have a business interest against selling the items.

Apple's case is different in a significant way. When they block a product from their store, they establish that none of the users on their systems are able to get the item legally. However, they can still use the argument that iOS is only one platform among any mobile platforms, they don't have a massive marketshare, and they aren't taking any actions in the realm of mobile platform adoption which could be construed as hostile against competition.

Much like obstruction of justice, anticompetitive behavior is an intent that transforms behavior that would otherwise be perfectly legal into something that is not.

It is perfectly legal for Amazon to decide they don't want to carry Apple products in their store. If they decide they don't want to carry Apple products because they're releasing their own lines of phones and tablets, that may not be legal. Intent and context do matter.

You can also install ios apps by sideloading, it’s existed since at least ios9. Valve could release the binary and allow users to self install with just a drag and drop in itunes.

If you're willing not only to download sideload apps but also to modify your device so you can have root access, then it works. So not really different from Apple.

You don't need to get root on an android device to sideload apps, unless the app has specific functionality that requires root. You don't need to break anything about the system or your warranty. Its just a toggle in the settings menu.

Adblock needs root to work as intended though.

No, you just implement VpnService.

you don’t need root to sideload in ios either

This is absolutely not the case. I can install any app-store app I'd like, and it can install apps on my phone. I can even download raw apk file and install them myself.

But we're talking about AdBlock specifically, which needs root privileges.

You don't need root to install a working ad blocker.

According to the AdBlock Plus page not all features work without root.

Any features that require root would still require root if installed from the Play Store. That is not relevant to the argument that you can always install things blocked from the Play Store by getting them from other sources.

Moreover, the ad blocking features you get without root are a strict superset of the features that are possible at all on iOS.

It is relevant, because if it were a free platform you'd be able to do this kind of thing without circumventing the system software.

> It is relevant, because if it were a free platform you'd be able to do this kind of thing without circumventing the system software.

You can do it without "circumventing the system software." Unlocking the system partition is a supported operation. Then just install a program that lets you run other programs as uid 0. This is not possible for normal apps to do because running as uid 0 means you are no longer subject to the permissions system.

Also, it's irrelevant because the whole point is that Google can't block the user from running whatever apps they like by blocking the app from the Play Store. Requiring root access is orthogonal to Play Store availability.

I don't need to use third-party software to enable UAC in Windows or sudo in Linux.

Their security model is different. They are multiuser OSes protecting users against each other, while Android started as a single user OS (despite what goes on with uids underneath) protecting users from themselves.

Users running their own apps as uid 0 goes directly against the security model. Nothing stops them from changing or completely discarding the security model on their own devices, but once again, that is completely orthogonal to blocking apps on the Play Store.

It's not completely orthogonal, though. Both things are, in practice, means by which Google can control what kind of apps most users will be exposed to and will install.

Perhaps I'm not understanding the matter but I don't understand how this is different than what Microsoft faced with IE.

This is seemingly worse since at least you could still install Netscape back then.

But if you've paid for Amazon Prime then Amazon has become a platform similar your iPhone.

Just like you can buy a cheap secondary phone for Steam Link, you can join another company's "free shipping membership program" to buy your Nest (or just pay shipping or get it locally, like you said).

Regardless, I think the distinction is less clear than you make out.

Is that a serious suggestion to buy a second phone, or is it supposed to be absurd?

How does having prime lock you into Amazon, at all? You're not disallowed to shop elsewhere after signing up for Prime. You don't even have to sign up for someone else's "free shipping membership program" to buy your Nest.

You're argument doesn't work for me.

Not it wasn't meant to be absurd. I grew up carrying single-function devices, so maybe don't feel that one device should automatically be able to do every thing its electronics could support.

To be clear, I think Apple is shortsighted in this decision and the Steam Link app isn't actually very competitive with native games. But I'm not its target audience either, even though I have a decent library of Steam games (50+).

My guess is that this move is not really about Steam Link but about the next company to come along with something like "play Android games on your iPhone" functionality.

The argument on both sides is around financial burden:

* Pay more for delivery because not using Amazon Prime

* Pay more to buy an Android phone

When making this argument it's obvious that buying a new phone is much more expensive than Amazon Prime but this raises an interesting question; what is the financial threshold at which point one has to be considered a monopoly?

Most people shop on multiple websites, most people don't carry around two phones.

Most people also don't pay for a subscription service that gives you cheaper prices. If you look specifically at Prime subscribers, I bet you'd find that they make efforts to do all their shopping through Amazon where possible.

In this context, the Phone is supposed to be on the same network for latency reasons. Having multiple phones at home is not a big issue.

Amazon Prime doesn’t lock people in. That’s like saying a Costco membership stops people from shopping at other stores.

Given that Apple - as a private company - is the owner of iOS, no one can blame them for what they wish to include/exclude from their ecosystem. A mistake many people make these days is they think just because some services are so prevalent and worldwide, they ought to be under control of the law and government. The same thing happens when people complain about Google/Amazon/Facebook for their policies. They're private companies! If you don't like them, fine, quit using their services, simple as that.

The day we give a person the right to sue a private company over their policies, we will essentially kill the free market.

Google was fined for $2 billions in Europe for promoting their own services in search results. You could argue that Google search is theirs and they can do whatever they want with it, but luckily since they are a big player (close to being the only one in search) there are antitrust laws that prevent that.

Apple is in a similar positon. A lot customers depend on iOS devices and I am not sure Apple should be allowed to exclude competitors from the App Store at its discretion.

In the last century, the deciding factor about a company's freedom to do whatever it wants has always been strongly influenced by national security concerns and by monopolistic concerns.

The degree to which iOS is or isn't a "monopoly" has a lot to do with how much freedom Apple has to make decisions like this.

The same arguments were made back during the Microsoft anti-trust era.

The fact is once a company reaches a certain size different rules do apply. Here Apple is definitely abusing their control over the ecosystem to lock out a competitor. The question is is this control great enough to prevent anyone from truly competing with Apple, which is what anti-trust law is designed to protect against.

Given a company has a dominant market position the point of anti-trust and monopoly is that everybody should blame them if they abuse that position.

> If you don't like them, fine, quit using their services

Which, again, for companies with a dominant market position is an entirely unreasonable proposition. Hence, laws.

Hopefully we are still free to discuss what effects a company's perfectly legal choices could have on us as a society and as an industry? Or is that also now verboten in the name of fairness to the free market?

> Given that Apple - as a private company - is the owner of iOS, no one can blame them for what they wish to include/exclude from their ecosystem.

Apple may own their property, but iOS-device owners own their devices, and Apple have no right to prevent them from running the software they wish to run on the devices they own.

Sure, but the argument there is that Apple should allow iOS to run binaries signed by entities other than themselves (or not signed at all).

The App Store is a service owned, operated and paid for by Apple, so they should certainly get to decide what they allow on it.

Well, they are totally free to exit markets located in jurisdictions they don't intend to abide.

I refer you to read Apple's Software License Agreements carefully. They're here: https://www.apple.com/legal/sla/

Specifically it states: " The software (including Boot ROM code, embedded software and third party software), documentation, interfaces, content, fonts and any data that came with your iOS Device (“Original iOS Software”), as may be updated or replaced by feature enhancements, software updates or system restore software provided by Apple (“iOS Software Updates”), whether in read only memory, on any other media or in any other form (the Original iOS Software and iOS Software Updates are collectively referred to as the “iOS Software”) are licensed, not sold, to you by Apple Inc. (“Apple”) for use only under the terms of this License. Apple and its licensors retain ownership of the iOS Software itself and reserve all rights not expressly granted to you."

If a person has agreed to these terms, I don't see how they can complain about Apple's policies in the future. The same software that isn't owned by the person, but is Apple's, now refuses to run Steam Link. The person who agreed to such terms had it coming, you can't blame Apple for that.

Would you agree to those terms if you had a realistic alternative?

Is this contract written in a way that provides equitable consideration to the user for the provisions that solely benefit Apple?

Doesn't seem like it.

The ability of Apple to include those take-it-or-leave-it terms suggests a dominant market position (strong market power) held by Apple, regardless of other mobile device platforms.

The license is a "Contract of Adhesion" "where the terms and conditions of the contract are set by one of the parties, and the other party has little or no ability to negotiate more favorable terms and is thus placed in a "take it or leave it" position.

While these types of contracts are not illegal per se, there exists a very real possibility for unconscionability." (Wikipedia)

with unconscionability being "a doctrine in contract law that describes terms that are so extremely unjust, or overwhelmingly one-sided in favor of the party who has the superior bargaining power, that they are contrary to good conscience. Typically, an unconscionable contract is held to be unenforceable because no reasonable or informed person would otherwise agree to it. The perpetrator of the conduct is not allowed to benefit, because the consideration offered is lacking, or is so obviously inadequate, that to enforce the contract would be unfair to the party seeking to escape the contract."

> Would you agree to those terms if you had a realistic alternative?

What do you mean? If one doesn't want to agree with such terms, there are quite many android alternatives, some of which even better than iPhone/iPad in certain aspects.

Sometimes you may be required to use iOS by an employer, client, or for a particular app.

Take it or leave it...

Of course, it all may well depend on whether such terms are reasonable and legal. There are plenty of consumer protection laws that nullify all sorts of 'agreed' terms.

Or even like this

"Yelp And TripAdvisor Team Up To Pile On Google Over Search Monopoly"


An example of monopolistic Google behavior was when they refused to make a YouTube app for any Windows platform (Win8, and later Win10) - which is fine - but then they also blocked the app that Microsoft itself has developed. Because they control access to YouTube as a service, they could do that. And because YouTube is the place for videos on the Net, it hurt the platform pretty bad.

Despite the two companies collaborating on an app based on HTML5, Microsoft's app is still breaking YouTube's terms of use.

"Microsoft has not made the browser upgrades necessary to enable a fully-featured YouTube experience, and has instead re-released a YouTube app that violates our Terms of Service - It has been disabled. We value our broad developer community and therefore ask everyone to adhere to the same guidelines"


My impression was Microsoft being arrogant. Besides, Windows 8/10 users could still access YT via web.

Google intentionally ignores issues Edge/IE users have with their products because they want them to switch to Chrome. This isn’t an issue of Microsoft making “browser upgrades”, it’s an issue of Google developing to and supporting Chrome and ignoring the rest of the web.

For some products this makes sense, because Edge has made some questionable choices to either not support some standards, or have their own flavor of them (see WebRTC).

No offense, but I won't support Edge on some stuff I build because very few people use it, and it's too much of a snowflake in some areas.

Note that this doesn't apply to general apps and sites, which should work with Edge more or less out of the box. I'm speaking specifically to cases where the Edge team has decided to ignore a standard and choose their business priorities over consistency.

Your gripe with Google can be firmly applied to Microsoft.

However, I believe this instance was more a case of Microsoft scraping/ripping the youtube site, rather than continuing to collaborate with Google.

I'm sure if you or I did something like that, it would be blocked.

Same behaviour as Microsoft was punished for 15 years or so ago.

I really (at least used to) like Google but as a web developer/user who cares about competition who cares about the web ecosystem I'm starting to hope that relevant EU and US authorities will issue them a non-trivial fine for:

- intentionally working to destroy the third option on mobile phones as described above

- time and time again make their products feel slow in competing browsers

- abuse their position as the worlds most visited (?) website && ad reseller to advertise their own browser in a misleading way

I don't blame anyone if they don't want to support Edge/IE. Microsoft's browsers are horrible to develop for. Personally I'd be much happier if more of my users would switch to Chrome.

I haven't tried to write extensions for Edge or anything like that, but have you recently developed for Edge or even IE11? I've run into a few minor warts (minor as in a 5-minutes fix) with IE11, but it's been smooth sailing with Edge. Mobile FireFox has comparatively been a nightmare in spite of MDN's wonderful docs.

Edge extensions use the same new standard as Firefox, it shouldn’t be that bad.

I understand how you feel, but no.

Having been a FF/NS/Mozilla browser user since the 90s, I know it's not nice to be treated like a 2nd class citizen. However, unlike the current Edge/IE users, I made a choice.

The IE/Edge users also made a choice.

Not voting is a choice. Not educating yourself is a choice.

Choices have consequences.

This is a bad example. MS was just using the video stream directly instead of using the youtube player code that takes care of things like annotations, ads, cards, etc.

A better example is the amazon-google kerfuffle over chromecast/amazon devices. Can't recall who "started" it, but the end results is that amazon doesn't sell chromecast/google home, and google blocks youtube from amazon devices. Yes amazon initially did like MS, but eventually had a proper implementation and google still blocked it.

No, it's a good example; why is the app obliged to show ads any more than browsers aren't?

Because the browsers (users actually) are, but it’s not practical to send a cease and desist for a TOS violation to every user.

No, they're not. User choice over what a browser loads has been part of the web from the very beginning.

Didn't that Microsoft app not show YouTube ads? Seems like a pretty different scenario when you're ripping another company off.

I may be wrong, but from what I remember, it didn't show add because Google refused to allow access to the official API in order to show ads. It kind of forced Microsoft's hand.

I detest all of the apps Google makes for iOS because they are very careful not to implement any of the features that differentiate the way an iOS app works than an app on any other platform.

For example, none of the Google apps I have on my iPad support split-screen.

Android has had split-screen for a while (and anecdotally, it works with google apps)...just sayin'

Weird. Then I can only assume that iOS is buggy in some way ;-)

How is that a monopoly? I guess I may be in the minority but I have never used an app for YouTube on a desktop environment.


When I calm down and think about it a bit, the original commenter's assertion that apple controls the app market is also flawed. I haven't checked the data lately myself, but I believe that most people use apps on android phones. (It's probably just that not many people on android like to PAY. Which can't really be said to be apple's fault.)

Something tells me the ms app avoided showing ads

You could still access YouTube through the web though couldn’t you?

> People who go on and on about the Google and Amazon "monopolies" -- which only benefit consumers with low prices and expansive services

Whoa there, consumers are not the only people who matter. Suppliers are often exploited by monopolies. Have you never heard of the Fair Trade movement? Please do not forget about the suppliers of your cheap shit you don't need.

Also don't forget workers. Companies that engage in anti competitive practices in the market for their products often try to become monopsonist in the market for their workers.

Ah yes, let's suck off one corporate giant to demonstrate how bad another one is.

Google regularly breaks their websites on browsers other than Chrome.

Amazon doesn't sell popular devices competing with their Kindle line, and doesn't make it easy to install apps using Google Play Services on their Kindle devices.

Is there Amazon Kindle app for iOS? If there is, isn't it the exact same type of app as Steam Link? Access your content library, buy more content.

If Apple lets Amazon do this (presumably because Amazon is too big to ignore) and won't let Steam do it (because Steam isn't big enough), then this feels more like a cartel than monopoly.

There is, but the way the Apple app store rules work is that if you are purchasing something for use in the current app, it must go through the IAP API and give Apple their cut. Purchases for things outside the app (like physical items) are fine.

The way this works with Amazon, is in the Amazon store app a user can buy ebooks/audiobooks (along with anything else Amazon sells), and then those books are sent to the Kindle app on iOS. There is no option to buy content directly in the Kindle app.

I also believe the apps cannot directly link to each other as that would circumvent the above.


I just checked (it had been awhile) and it looks like you can no longer buy the books within the Amazon store app either, and can only get a sample.

If anyone at Apple is reading this, this creates ridiculously bad UX for iOS users.

Search for a book on Google. Click on an Amazon Kindle Search result. The Amazon iOS App launches and tries to find the book, realizes it's a Kindle result, launches Safari to show the result.

So the was trasitioned from Safari -> Amazon -> Safari pretty much because of petty politics from Apple. And all for what? A happy Kindle user isn't going to suddenly switch over to iBooks and you've just made life much worse for him.

The pettiness in the mobile platform wars is unbelievable.

This policy isn't to drive users to iBooks. It's to drive Amazon to implement Apple's IAP for a sweet 30% cut of all purchases.

So basically all that Valve has to do is to redirect everyone that wants to make a purchase through Safari to the Steam web based store. Then it would be doing all of the selling on the web like a normal store, but content consumption could be done anywhere.

Except Valve cannot put the link to their website in their iOS app. Users just have to know to go the Valve web store.

You're absolutely correct. It's been awhile since I have bought anything not on Amazon's site. At one point I thought I could buy books in their app, but it's possible that was only samples. And yes, it's comical how bad the user experience is.

Ok. What if Amazon customer buys a kindle ebook on Amazon.com and then reads it on iOS Kindle app? I don't imagine Apple gets a cut in that scenario, do they?

A comment here said that Valve was open to disabling buying in the app and they are still banned. Hmm.

I can see how Apple's position to get some cut is reasonable, but we are talking multiplatform here. Was Valve unwilling to give Apple any cut at all? Was Apple insisting on too big a cut? What's going on?

So that's why I can't buy books on the app... Even though I can find it. Always confused the hell out of me but makes sense now.

Why is the Amazon Store app not subject to the Apple fee? I’ve always bought stuff via browser and Amazon.com

The Amazon store app doesn't sell anything which might compete with iBooks or the iTunes store, i.e. - no digital books, music or movies.

In my other comment on this thread I've pointed out how this creates hilariously bad UX for iOS users.

As I edited above, it looks like Amazon changed this (or maybe it was always like that since I always use the website). According the Apple documentation though, a user should be allowed to bypass IAP for purchases that will be consumed outside the application. See:



Admittedly it has been a few years since I was deeply in iOS development dealing with this.

My understanding of Kindle and Audible on iOS is that Amazon does not _sell_ content on the iOS apps. You can only download/access your content. I always found this annoying with Audible and having to use my laptop to purchase and then download in the app. I haven't had an iPhone in a few years but I think the Steam app was similar.

I always assumed this was because Amazon didn't want to have to pay the 30% or whatever cost to Apple for in-app purchases.

Precisely. Amazon's Kindle app actually predated Apple's in-app purchasing mechanics. Apple forced Amazon to remove the already in use in-app Kindle store after Apple started charging 30%

it actually has, but you can not buy new books, only read the ones you've already bought.

Given that iPhones account for just 35% of US mobile phones [1] and only around 15% of phone shipments worldwide [2], this is in no way monopolistic.

[1] https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/13/ios-and-samsung-market-sha...

[2] https://appleinsider.com/articles/18/05/02/apples-iphone-buc...

> Given that iPhones account for just 35% of US mobile phones [1] and only around 15% of phone shipments worldwide [2], this is in no way monopolistic

Why do you think that? You are only arguing that "monopoly laws" should be called "oligopoly laws". These laws require abuse of a dominant market position, not a majority share.

I think you have it backwards. "Mono" as a prefix means one, while "oligo" means several. Therefore monopoly is a market with a single dominant player, while "oligopoly" would be a market with few but more than one dominate players.

IMO, it is time to redefine monopoly. Something, that affects a billion of users should not be let policing things like this.

Suppose a majority of those users are perfectly fine with it, and enjoy the benefits of a carefully curated system? The fact that Apples policies are widely known and people still buy iPhones in the millions is pretty good evidence that Apple has a much better grip on what their users prefer than you do.

At the same time (as an example) I have something like 150 movies I've bought on iTunes that I cannot bring to any other platform.

So Apple locks-in users to their platform (as is everyone else) then they are using the control they have over their user base to lock out competition.

This is the very definition of anti-competitive behavior.

And there is nothing intrinsically wrong with anti-competitive behavior.

If there was then patents, copyrights, trademarks, and fit of licensing, etc would all be wrong to the same degree.

Until a monopoly (or a collaborative effort by members of an oligopoly - in the case of price fixing) abuses these things we don’t care - and rightly so.

Plus, when it comes to media like movies, you really should complain about the movie studios & their licensing. That’s why Apple locks down videos - they have to or they wouldn’t be able to offer the content. You can see their free & easily shareable approach to music purchasing as a counter example to movies.

Patents, copyrights, trademarks etc all keep competition from from benefiting from your hard work (or stealing it) to give first to market a true advantage. This is not anti-competitive but rather things built into the system to reward investments in innovation.

If Apple had an open platform then they'd be required to compete on quality and services. Instead they lock-in users and lock-out competing services from even being able to exist in their platform. This is anti-competitive.

Note that I say this as a user with a MBP, iPhones, AppleTV, iPad, etc... I admit I would probably be fine switching to Android (for example) if I felt the quality of the platform was better without fear of not having access to other services (but IMO the quality isn't there).

Let's look within the platform itself, though. This is a platform en-composing millions upon millions of users across over a billion active devices (https://www.theverge.com/2016/1/26/10835748/apple-devices-ac...).

Apple leverages its control of the platform to give Apple services an advantage over the competition. If Apple is not careful this will almost certainly end in anti-trust litigation.

> If there was then patents, copyrights, trademarks, and fit of licensing, etc would all be wrong to the same degree.

Patents and copyright exist novel and interesting works and ideas for a limited amount of time. It's an obvious argument that it would be anti-competitive to allow a giant competitor to steal novel ideas from their creators without recourse. It's not obvious to me how protecting serendipity is clearly anti-competitive.

Trademarks are in no way anti-competitive. They exist to support fair business practices, in particular to prevent malicious actors from falsely claiming they represent a business. It would be anti-competitive to allow anyone to steal your trademark and sell products under it.

Apple has been very clear that they would prefer to sell open formats, they managed to convince the music labels but not the video industry. So is your position that they should have refused to sell movies with those restrictions? If so, how do you reconcile that with you choosing to buy them?

Oy, it's an example, but I'll bite...

Apple does not make their services available on anything other than Apple devices, nor do they allow other providers on their devices.

Regardless of an open format for the content, I cannot choose to use another service without also completely changing platforms, and if I change platforms I cannot use Apple's service.

On the first point again DRM is foisted on Apple against their preference. We’ve seen what an unholy mess multi-vendor DRM systems look like from the debacle that was “Play For Sure” with every vendor blaming all the others for nothing working properly. Can you really blame Apple for not wanting to wade blindly into a quagmire like that?

Secondly, you can absolutely use other services on Apple devices such as playing music bought from Amazon in the Amazon Music app, or using Pandora or Spotify. I use audible on my iPhone, and there's a perfectly usable kindle app. Apple Music works on Android, and you can transfer music bought in iTunes to any other device. Sure there are some limitations, there's no native iCloud client for Linux and it's support on Windows through iTunes is limited, but eh. There's a limit to what I think it's reasonable to expect them to do to make life more tolerable on other people's stuff.

Antitrust laws may affect monopolies and oligopolies. oligopoly: a state of limited competition, in which a market is shared by a small number of producers or sellers.

> Given that iPhones account for just 35% of US mobile phones [1] and only around 15% of phone shipments worldwide [2], this is in no way monopolistic.

What is monopolistic to you? Does it need to be over 50%? I don't think economists define it that way, they only argue that one company has excessive influence in a market, which means more power than the other companies in that market. That does seem to be true of Apple in the mobile app market.

Your statement reminds me of a reporter who said that Walmart can't possibly be a monopoly because it's revenues are "only" 5% of US consumer spending. It's scares me to death that a single company takes that much of the total, and it's silly to suggest that the largest company in the world by revenue can't possibly be a monopoly.

FWIW, the distribution of phones isn't the same as the distribution of revenue from apps. Apple brings in more app revenue than Google, even though more phones sold run Android.


Economists / anti-trust lawyers (at least in the US) look at a butt-ton of variables, and there is significant literature on the topic (source: I have a graduate degree in Economics - and love to talk about this type of stuff,) but just some of the top variables included:

1) Market definition (to your point - in the tech world, this can get problematic very fast.) 2) Market share 3) Market share rank (i.e. 4% among a million competitors who all have <1% would be pretty significant) 4) Ease of entry into a market (i.e. Google gets a lot of scrutiny in the search market because of the consensus that to build a good search engine competitor, you need a lot of data for machine learning models, which a startup can't just get $ to buy and/or cleverly build with IP.) 5) Ease of customer switching 6) Pricing behavior ...among many others.

Historically, a lot of analysis & literature to demonstrate market dominance has been on elasticity of demand: e.g. if I as dominant company X adjust prices, and customer demand doesn't change (probably because there are no substitutes and/or the switching cost is too high,) then anti-trust regulators would probably be all on my ass. But in the tech world, new models are still being developed I think, as that concept is not 100% applicable.

That reporter is right though: Walmart isn’t a monopoly. Not generally.

It can have a local monopoly of course (and often does in many more rural areas) but that’s not the same.

I think I’ve been to a Walmart once in the last 10 years. I’m not even trying to avoid them: there’s no reason or need for me to go there and I have plenty of other (just as cheap) options.

That’s not a monopoly.

They’re a massive business and a dominant national brand but that’s also not a monopoly.

In case it wasn't clear, my point was that the percentage is not the indicator of monopoly or non-monopoly. I'm not arguing that you should agree Walmart is a monopoly.

That said, your experience and you having other purchasing options isn't the only criteria, as @s3r3nity pointed out. Being on Hacker News probably means you're not in the lower 50% of the US population socioeconomically.

Being a massive business is precisely one way Walmart might be considered a monopoly. They're not a dominant national brand, they are the single largest global brand on the planet by revenue. The fact that if Walmart closed tomorrow, it would have a significant negative impact on the US economy is alone enough to warrant asking the question. When a company is "too big to fail" that automatically puts it in the potential monopoly category.

Also, there have been anti-trust cases against Walmart, some of which Walmart has settled. So it's really not super clear cut that Walmart isn't a monopoly.

Is "mobile phone" even a relevant category? What's Apple's share of the high end smart phone market?

> People who go on and on about the Google and Amazon "monopolies" -- which only benefit consumers with low prices and expansive services

That's not really true, things like the abundance of counterfeit goods on Amazon (the result of Amazon's policies and its position) are really bad for consumers.

> this is what actual monopolistic behavior looks like. Apple ... abuses [its] power ... by ... artificially raising prices

That's a strange thing to say in the context of digital games, where one of the biggest issues iOS game developers face is consumers not being willing to spend more than trifling amounts for games.

It's pretty weird to excuse Google and Amazon's monopolistic practices because Apple has different monopolistic practices.

> actual monopolistic behavior

> a significant share

If it's only "a significant share" it's by definition not a monopoly.

The legislative term is "dominant market position", but that's too long, so everyone just uses monopoly, because it is far shorter and everyone can understand with a bit of thinking what is meant.

Sure. Given that 15-16% of smartphones sold worldwide are iPhones, "dominant" is about as much of a stretch as "monopoly".

Actually, it could be a monopoly, see also Herfindahl-Hirschman index and other measures of market concentration.

> People who go on and on about the Google and Amazon "monopolies" -- which only benefit consumers

Google being the de facto gatekeeper to the web, able to enforce its own whims (such as AMP), "only benefits consumers"? Please.

> "monopolies" -- which only benefit consumers with low prices and expansive services

I'm suspicious of this given that both are shareholder-owned, eventually the shareholders are going to want a benefit too.

> let's hope this ridiculous practice is stopped soon.

I agree that these are monopolies, but it's interesting to me that the behavior in question is viewed as competitive and healthy when a company is small. The primary thing that makes the practice ridiculous is success; becoming so large that what were competitive behaviors become anti-competitive. The same things that people applauded Apple for when it was underdog 20 years ago, are now criticized.

This is like saying BMW, Toyota and the like have a monopoly because you can’t use your own infotainment software.

There are enough alternatives to the iPhone.

> This is like saying BMW, Toyota and the like have a monopoly because you can’t use your own infotainment software.

Maybe if BMW or Toyota were the market leaders in infotainment hardware

Amazon used to not carry Chromecast or Apple TV: https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/news/2017/12/19/amazon-s...

It's a bit ridiculous the amount of resources wasted by everyone having to please all these stores... maybe Europe will force them to come up with a standard so that 1 app will be compatible everywhere (a bit like HTML5) and prevent them from removing any non-malicious apps (which would be clearly defined and easy to understand for any non-attorney)...

I'd question your use of "benefit" and "low prices". Some of their services do not require purchase with currency. That doesn't mean the price for using them is low. It's just different (and often hidden, or outright incalculable).

But Apple doesn't have a significant share of the mobile phone industry - Android (Google) does - with I believe Samsung leading the way. So how can it be monopolistic?

The comparisons in other posts is not quite apples - to - apples (no pun intended) because you can't be a monopoly when you're not in a dominant market position.

Lastly, whether or not the examples you mention "benefit" customers today is irrelevant, as you need to consider the possibility that their dominant position would mean that they might not in the future (i.e. customers not acting in their best long-term interest, or companies leveraging their market dominance in the future for non-customer-centric behavior, etc.) Platitudes like "don't be evil" don't persuade me much.

Edit: don't know why folks are down-voting a comment about US anti-trust law.

Apple has 60% of market-share in high-end phone market (worldwide, it's higher in US). Oh, it is a major player

"High-end phone market" is a specious market definition, though. When you look at "smartphone market share" or even "smartphone OS market share," it's a top player, sure, but not the dominant one (Android is still multiples of iOS.)

But only about 20-25% of the overall market.

I completely agree. But on the flipside, having that control gives you a more secure and robust environment (app store) _almost_ free of spam and phising apps (Windows app store anyone?)

Can you explain how Google pulling YouTube from the Firestick was good for consumers?

came here to say something similar. How is this not a breach of anti-trust/anti-competition laws?

what next? We’ll be suing Apple for holding the monopoly on MacOS?

Here's the feedback link to tell Apple this is a total bullshit decision: https://www.apple.com/feedback/itunes.html

Choose "request an app" there.

What? I really looked forward to this.

Gaming in the apple eco system is horrible already but not even be allowed to stream?

Extremely stupid, Outright hostile

"Business conflict"? Now Apple suddenly becomes a real obstruction in my life and ultimately an enemy. This is switch to android level of bad.

stupid... hostile... a real obstruction in my life... an enemy

I think I'll clip and save this comment to demonstrate to my students the definition of an "overreaction."

I'll not save it, and continue labeling any business entity that obstructs any of my freedoms for profit as an enemy.

I don't actually see it happening, but it'd be nice if Valve just released the source code and let people compile it for themselves.

I don't think there's any "secret sauce" in the Steam in-home streaming that's actually proprietary/private. It's just a H264 video stream in one direction and controller button presses in the other, over a custom made low latency protocol.

Given Apple and Valve seemed to be working together to bring VR to the Mac recently, I'm surprised they weren't given any leeway at all.

Theres even an open-source version in Java called Moonlight or so.

I believe Moonlight uses Nvidia's GameStream protocol, so it's not quite the same (you need an Nvidia card to use it).

You're right, I confused those two.

Like many other time this has happened, I expect we'll find out that everything we've heard in the first 24 hours was incomplete or just plain wrong, and in a few days this will all get resolved.

Of course the angriest out there will simply claim it was the result of Apple buckling to public outcry rather than self-correcting over a mistake or misunderstanding, but then those people will always choose to see malevolence in any corporate actions they don't like.

They've just made a huge mistake. Upset the hardcore gamers market to stop essentially a remote desktop app?

I doubt there is much overlap between the hardcore gamer market and Apple anyway.

On the contrary. If you care about the intersection of gaming and mobile, you are almost certainly using an iOS device.

Every single one of the hardcore gamers that I know is dismissive of mobile games, at best.

The intersection of the set of "intersection of gaming and mobile" and the set of "hardcore gamers" is small.

I know a few of them, they are all game developers.

Plenty of overlap. Ipad stream-gaming on the couch while the wife watches TV, for example.

Yes yes and yes.

So now it is totally possible, you just must avoid iPads (face palm)

Essentialy Apple want force me buy some android tablet, smart move...

As someone who loves his iPad, this makes me sad. It’s not enough for me to abandon it but it’ll definitely make the upgrade decision tougher when the time comes.

Does iPad even support Xbox1/PS4/steam controllers? Last time I checked, at least PS4 gamepads did not work on ios. Without those (certainly Xbox and PS4 ones), I’m not sure I’d want to stream games onto an iPad anyway (not that this makes it better, if anything it makes it worse).

We're talking about iOS, not OSX. There's a huge overlap.

I guess the problem is the store. The app allows to access valve's store (which is far cheaper than games in the apple store). If they remove the ability to buy games I am sure the remote desktop app would be ok.

I am guessing anyway

I have a hard time with this explanation, as the Steam Store is already available through the iOS Steam app which is available on the Apple app store.

I'm assuming it could be relating to the inability to play a game you've just bought, if limited to just the Steam Store app.

That alone isn't exactly competition against the first-party's store.

You can't buy games using the Steam Store app.

You can buy games with the existing Steam app. I do it all the time during the sales.

My bad, I remember trying to before and being unable to, I just assumed it would be the same situation as the kindle app.

You can't buy games that are in the iOS store from within the Steam app

The Steam app? You sure as heck can buy games through it.

Wait so TeamViewer, Remote Desktop etc. are all banned in the Apple world because I can use them to buy things from other stores?

And yet the Steam Store app is available on the iOS App Store.

This is a very strange decision.

It's a fluff app for messaging and so on, no actual gaming.

Yes, but it allows access to the store - directly contradicting rafadc's theory.

The difference is in the steam store app doesn't actually enable you to play the games on the phone itself, while the steam link app will let you do exactly that.

> so TeamViewer, Remote Desktop etc. are all banned

If they were wrapped up in a single package that was marketed towards buying and playing those games, using the same logic they quite probably would be.

So steam should release a game streaming app that’s separate from a store app.

But they disabled the store on the streaming app. So in function it was separate.

You know what let's me access the Steam store (and many others)? Any VNC client to my other computer.

Or just the regular Steam app. Check the screenshot page on the AppStore and you'll see the store with prices and all.

Valve has said that they disabled the store and got blocked anyway.

I don't have any apple products, however can you buy a RDC app and remote to windows and buy apps in the windows store?

The ability to buy games was removed from the Steam Link app.

How are you expecting the hardcore gamers market to retaliate against Apple?

They will post on forums threatening to throw their iPhones away.

Angering gamers might not be all that bad though, as it would bolster the "Apple is for serious creative work" part of their brand identity.

Apple, pissing off game developers since 1976.

Also nobody seems to care about the app developers who probably spent months developing this app, to see it go to waste over a bussiness decision.

While I'm a bit sympathetic with the devs here, they got paid, and this was always going to be a risky proposition. They must have known that.

Adding the 3rd largest app store in the US to iOS was always going to be a seizmic shift on the App Store and could cannibalise large parts of the iOS game category.

Maybe it is because Steve Jobs didn't like games.


I've been saying this for years. There needs to be big scary button with lots of warnings that allows the users to download and run whatever binary they want. That should be guaranteed by law for any turing machine.

Curated stores are a great idea but there has to be an alternative.

It all comes down to who owns the machine. In this case you are really just leasing it from Apple.

Maybe some mid-level manager at Apple is trying to get a promotion with this.

"Look at how loyal and useful I am to the company. I saw this revenue-threatening thing in the news and I killed it."

You'd think they would've blocked e.g. Netflix and such as well (esp. from the Apple TV), given how those payments go around Apple as well. Actually there's probably an agreement between those parties somewhere.

I've been waiting for a company of this to just go full litigation as a result of something like this.

The lack of a premium "please give us a representative we can negotiate this with and get an actual explanation from" tier is a serious problem.

I'm not sure anything has angered me as a long-time Apple fan (seriously, since 1984) this much (because I've also been a gamer at least that long).

This is some creepy-[girl/boy]friend level of control.

Congratulations, you've succeeded in pissing off any Apple fan who enjoys gaming while thinking that a PC app running on the phone with some amount of latency and resolution loss (not to mention likely illegible onscreen UI elements depending on how things are rendered) is somehow going to compete with a native iOS app.

I'm really looking forward to this on the Switch once the hacks start to solidify

Considering Valve's recent shenanigans regarding visual novels, it's hard not to laugh about this. As the RPS article put it: "Ah, it’s terrible when a digital store approve your products then turn around and removes ’em."

Apple seems to be confused. To use this app my PC (or Mac) must be running the game and I must be in the same LAN. How is there a business conflict?

It's not like mobile games are competing with desktop games.

Apple is wrong here.

The need for decentralized and functional app stores are more real than ever.

This is why I'm so excited for WASM: the tech is great, but its ability to break down barriers to entry to markets for new and upcoming players is what makes it socially meaningful and worth supporting.

Apple continuing to chase revenue from apps and services really worries me.

Interesting, since chrome remote desktop is there which (I assume -- never used it) would allow you to remote-desktop into your computer and run steam.

As an apple user and gamer, this angers me.

I don’t think this will last for long...

Guess Im done with apple

I would switch to iPhone if Apple weren't like this.

Can someone please update this to the canonical non-amp URL:


Apart from not supporting googles effort to control the web, the amp page loads slower than the original and has a ridiculous “cookie agreement” with a button that doesn’t work.

This page is hosted by the verge themselves so has absolutely nothing to do with Google trying to control the web. It also does not load slower.

The concept of amp is google trying to control the web.

Also, my understanding is that all amp pages have to load the required js from an amp project cdn, which is ultimately a google cdn.

And yes, it most definitely does load slower for me - I have nothing but a blank white page for several seconds.

>And yes, it most definitely does load slower for me - I have nothing but a blank white page for several seconds.

This is quite obviously an error state, likely caused by an extension of yours. Have you tried using Amp in a fresh install of a different browser? Using different network settings?

It seems very likely that you are the reason amp doesn't work for you.

And this is coming from an amp hater.

The issue is that for some reason amp usually seems to block the content from being displayed until the javascript loads, which strikes me as the exact opposite of what an "accelerated mobile page" should do (almost like it was designed by an advertising company wanting to discourage ad blockers...). You can bypass it by activating reader mode in your browser.

Not only that, but AMP pages are only potentially perceived as 'fast' when you access them through google's search. When you do that all the AMP links' assets are pre-loaded in the background so it seems fast when you click through. But AMP pages themselves are just the same speed as anything else or slower when access without google's monopoly position pre-load.

Firefox extension: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/amp2html/

I'm trying to find something similar for Chrome, but all I'm coming up with is extensions to redirect to AMP. Anyone up for some monopolistic behavior?

Wow, when trying to access this from the EU, I'm blocked by this huge pop-up telling me to either accept their tracking or fuck off. The cookie policy makes no mention on how to access the site without clicking "I accept", it just directs you to optout.aboutads.info.


Is this really GDPR compliant?

No. Basically the GDPR is structured around a whole bunch of reasons why you might _need_ to store and process data about people ("Subjects"), for which you have implicit permission because it's necessary to something you're doing for the Subject. You need to make sure Subjects can find out what you needed, and why, and you can't change your mind later.

These purposes do not need Consent. You don't need to Consent to a retailer knowing your credit card number when you use the card to buy something. You don't need to Consent to Amazon knowing your delivery address when you buy stuff.

Consent comes in when you and the Subject both want to enable processing that isn't necessary. For example, if I buy a book from Amazon, it makes sense that I'd get a confirmatory email saying I ordered the book, and they're agreeing to sell it to me, and another one saying the book has been shipped and will be with me in 2-4 days. Those feel pretty necessary. But why would I get email about how great Amazon's new Fire tablet is? Well, Amazon could try asking me for Consent to send that sort of crap to me.

The GDPR is clear that you can't insist on implied Consent, you can't have "By visiting this web page I consent" or "To stop receiving our marketing, just unselect the default-selected boxes in the marketing permissions sub-section of your user profile, this may take up to 400 years to take effect" or similar nonsense. It needs to be a clear informed choice to give you this extra permission.

Some of the specifics will get litigated. I'm sure somebody will try to claim it's "necessary" to their business to track people and sell everything they possibly can, and I expect European courts to decide that's laughable nonsense.

>I'm sure somebody will try to claim it's "necessary" to their business to track people and sell everything they possibly can, and I expect European courts to decide that's laughable nonsense.

Who pays the verge for the reporting that you wish to read?

Is this verge reporting on this article made for free, by a volunteer, etc?

Or were they paid?

OK, so the Verge is a business, who has to make money.

How do they make money? Are you paying them to read this article? No?

So they sell advertisements to make money to show you content.

" I'm sure somebody will try to claim it's "necessary" to their business to track people and sell everything they possibly can"

In this case, tracking you through cookies for advertising purposes seems to be a "necessary" part of the verge, as it is literally a core aspect of the monetization strategy to offer free content in exchange for tracked advertising, as they explain in the pop-up.

No ads = no content. I can't see a European court claiming that Europeans have a right to free content in violation of the monetization strategy of the author. At the end of the day, verges servers are private servers and you do have to agree to their terms of use before connecting to their servers. In this case, the terms of use of connecting to a verge server for free articles is advertising tracking.

Good luck suing them, but what would be the end game? Ruin their business model?

> In this case, tracking you through cookies for advertising purposes seems to be a "necessary" part of the verge, as it is literally a core aspect of the monetization strategy to offer free content in exchange for tracked advertising, as they explain in the pop-up.

That is not how GDPR defines "legimitate interest".

Even if it is less effective, you can serve ads without tracking users via cookies. Therefore it isn't legitimate.

For an explanation see: https://www.gdpreu.org/the-regulation/key-concepts/legitimat...

> No ads = no content

True, but this isn't about serving ads or not, but about tracking individuals.

You can serve ads without user profiling, which is what TV stations have been doing since the invention of the TV. You can even infer certain demographics from the content, which should be enough to hit a target. Articles on publications like The Verge emit tons of signals about who their readers are. Consider just the profile of the website. You don't actually have to track individuals.

It's also true that tracking individuals can yield better profits, although I have my doubts about that. It's also true that, due to abuse, ads are less and less effective, but this is a race to the bottom so might as well stop it now, instead of permitting these companies to collect data that can be abused later.

But yes, if there has to be an end game, the end game IMO is for companies that are doing user tracking to fuck off and do something else.

> Good luck suing them, but what would be the end game? Ruin their business model?

Are you another American? We seem to keep having Americans who have this idea that the regulation is about lawsuits. I understand that in the US the law enforcement regime is so broken that you end up with "Sued for wrongful death" rather than "Prosecuted for murder" and "Sued for breach of constitutional rights" rather than "Prosecuted for rape" and so on ad infinitum, but everybody else with the rule of law didn't replace their courts with elected politicians and their cops with a violent gang so they still actually have criminal law.

The GDPR doesn't create a new civil tort or anything like that, its an EU regulation, disobeying is a crime so the relevant government agency could _prosecute_ if they can't get you to obey.

The European courts don't have to decide that Europeans have a "right to free content", only that this business model in which you track people without permission isn't legal.

Suppose I have a great idea for a business, I'm going to set up a stall, I'll sell bottles of Coca-Cola for 10¢ each. Obviously at this price I can't buy them wholesale, but no problem, per your agreement that I have "to make money" I will just take them from the bottling plant. Simple.

The court doesn't care about how I needed "to make money", they care that it's a crime to steal the bottles, and I'll go to jail. Oh my 10¢ Coke bottle stall doesn't work as a business if I have to pay wholesale costs instead of just taking the bottles? Well boo hoo.

Newspapers and magazines have sold advertising without individual reader targeting for years and it continues to be a viable business model. Individually tracking users is not necessary.

>Newspapers and magazines have sold advertising without individual reader targeting for years and it continues to be a viable business model

Newspapers and magazines charges a subscription. Are you suggesting we should now charge Europeans a subscriptions where we do not for others? I'm ok with that. Don't want tracking? Then give me your credit card and subscribe, or there's the door.

Plus, nearly all newspapers are in economic free fall, advertising was completely destroyed by the internet, and there are almost no newspapers which are in the "green" without having an internet product or being owned by a larger corporation.

> Then give me your credit card and subscribe, or there's the door.

I don't understand this type of thinking from some of the posters here on HN, as if GDPR is right now personally affecting you in a negative way. It's a very aggressive way of writing and I've seen a few posters comment in this way.

If you want an example of a company that does non-personalised advertising and is successful: DuckDuckGo.

How do you know I am not personally affected by freeloaders who wish to steal content from me and use laws as justification for their entitlement to free no-strings access to my work?

That's very presumptuous.

a) If you were, you would have mentioned it by now. Your name appears all over this thread, it's incredible how much GDPR has aggravated you.

b) If you are running a website and don't wish us 'thieving Europeans', then don't allows traffic from Europe.

This is the perplexing thing about your seemingly apoplectic rage on this topic. There are options available for these companies who still want to track people individually.

Calm down.

If you post content on the web without using a paywall, then people aren't "freeloading" or stealing your content. Just as I don't have to read every word on a website, nor do I have to view every add, run every piece of code, and let myself be tracked. Don't like that? Don't run a website/service without a paywall.

Yes very much so:

Newspapers and other sources of information ARE having a horrible time and it going to get worse.

BUT the solution to the revenue problem - aka advertising - is now a problem in its own right and driving the creation of content to keep itself going.

All of our major information problems trace back to 3 related things.

1) the makeup of our wetware

2) advertising as a way to subsidize/pay for content

3) the vicious cycle of increasingly louder techniques to grab audience attention, ranging from “sex sells”, partisan news, product placements, and invasive online ads.

The GDPR has the notion of "_legitimate interest_", however tracking, marketing and advertising don't fit the criteria.

For an explanation see: https://www.gdpreu.org/the-regulation/key-concepts/legitimat...

Basically you can say that a company doing home deliveries needs your home address to do so, therefore that's a legitimate interest. But note the same company cannot use your address for sending marketing materials.

And publishers cannot claim to have a legitimate interest in tracking users, even if their revenue comes from serving ads and even if their performance improves by tracking. That is because you can serve ads and do optimizations without tracking users. Even if it is less effective, it's not legitimate.

And it's not that complicated, really. The question is, by providing the service, does the user expect you to use his data or not? In case of pizza delivery, the customer does expect you to use his address for delivering pizza, but at the same time the customer doesn't expect you to give his address to other companies or to use his address for sending marketing materials.

> ... and you can't change your mind later.

Is that a typo? Isn't GDPR the implementation of the right to be forgotten plus "left-the-fuck-alone after used your shitty site for 0.5 EUR to buy an emoji"? So you can request removal of all your personal information.

Yes, Amazon needs your delivery and billing address, but they don't need the delivery address after delivery. So you can request them to delete it pronto! And the billing stuff has to be kept for 5 years, and must be used for tax administration purposes only, no spam, etc.

"You" here is the Data Controller, not the Subject.

Under the GDPR Amazon can't say "Oh, we told our customers we collected email addresses to send them stuff about their delivery, but now we've decided to use those to seed our Orbital Weapons Robots. So we'll just update our T&Cs and done, right?"

If they decide now they want email addresses for the Orbital Weapons Robots they're going to have to collect from scratch. Too bad, ask first.

Currently Amazon keeps your entire order history forever with no way to delete it. Do you think they will change this for the GDPR?

Yes. That's the No1. use case of GDPR.

EU probably won't give a big shit about a tracking cookie, because you can delete that. But if Data Controllers won't perform proper delete/anonymization, then shit will find and maximize the action potential, even if there's a rotating blade in the way.

Tumblr is not any better. No ways to access any page without clicking OK


All of the "Oath" sites are using the same process that makes you go through multiple screens and manually deselect over 100 options. I'm hoping that investigations into them are opened very quickly.

Why do you have the 'right' to access a private server without agreeing to a terms of use?

Well, because GDPR.

They can block the EU entirely (after deleting all data they may have on EU subjects) or implement a compliant privacy policy. This is not. (if you click on the policy link, they will lie that it is in accordance with GDPR, but very clearly it is not).

No, GDPR does not invalidate the personal property rights of the server owner to only allow access to their server under a terms of use.


> I'm sure somebody will try to claim it's "necessary" to their business to track people and sell everything they possibly can, and I expect European courts to decide that's laughable nonsense.

That's basically what CBSi are doing. They are claiming "Necessary Cookies are required for our sites, products, and services to function properly", where "necessary cookies" includes:

> Google Analytics / Adobe Analytics / comScore / Akamai / Nielsen / Evidon / Moat / Cedexis / Chartbeat / Index Tag Manager / Tealium Tag Manager / Google Ad Serving

Edit: Missing "

I don't think this is GDPR compliant, the choice is either track or go to another website.

For the time being I added these to uBlock:




Not sure if I'm now doing something illegal or they are, since I never consented but they're probably tracking my visits now ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Submit a complaint. You didn't accept the terms, and they breached GDPR by not offering an alternative without tracking.

Wow at first I thought this sounded like a decent law but the more I see the shittier it seems


> Tracking for advertising is the business model of free content.

Well, too bad, that business model has just become illegal in EU. Publishers will have to make do with old style banners or ads. They can still target ads using the content of the page, assuming readers of the article will be interested in the subject.

... or get consent in a compliant way. Success with that!

But according to what some are saying they are apparently required to provide their content to everyone regardless of whether or not they consent? That’s why I have a problem with. They should be able to say that you must consent in order to use the site.

Or Europeans will have to do with paygates and subscription fees.

There is no "making due". These companies are run very thin already. There is already much less talent, much less pay, and much less quality than most of us would want.

There is a breaking point for providing free content on the internet, and so many publishers are hitting it today WITH TRACKING. So many sites have moved to a X free per month with subscription, or just hard paywalls.

Enjoy your subscription models, because there is no "making due" left, we've already used it all up.

>Enjoy your subscription models, because there is no "making due" left, we've already used it all up.

Fair enough. Sites will either have to provide content worth subscribing to, or else go out of business, and users can still block advertising and tracking and users maintain control over their personal data. It's all win for the consumer.

If that happens, then everyone should be happy. Businesses who don't want to comply with the law can get out of that market and make way for others who do. Consumers have better data protections. Win win.

> They can still target ads using the content of the page, assuming readers of the article will be interested in the subject.

Seems like a perfectly fair assumption to make given that the reader has actively chosen to read said content... Certainly moreso than repeatedly showing them ads for something they already bought weeks ago.

> Do Europeans really think GDPR is a new way to steal internet content without having to pay?

Yes, I believe that was the stated purpose of the legislation.

Based on the entitled behavior in this thread, I seriously consider it.

It it a cultural thing to feel entitled to other peoples work? Or just the agegroup of people on hacker news?

I'll let you in on a little secret. There are many people who will make content that's worth reading long after all the "businesses" that depend on running spyware on their users' hardware are dead. That's not to say that the verge is worth reading.


Nationalistic flamewar will get you banned here, so please don't do it.


That’s really meta, I guess adding thse rules to uBlock means you consent.

Can also confirm that this was easily done with uBlock using the "block element" right click option.

How can you even prove that a client consented? Do you present a log of the request or something?

Well, obviously, since the only way to view the site is to accept, the fact that he viewed the site is incontrovertible proof that he accepted!


(though honestly it wouldn't surprise me if they tried that argument...)

They can try, but there is specific language banning this in the GDPR.

It’s one if the worst I have seen. There is no way not to accept this. I can’t see how this is permitted.

Meanwhile the headlining article is "NO ONE’S READY FOR GDPR". The irony is palpable.

I can’t even read the privacy policy without accepting the prompt.

I use 'Kill Sticky' to get around these popovers. Usually it works. Sometimes scrolling is broken. But it's usually better than clicking 'ok'. https://alisdair.mcdiarmid.org/kill-sticky-headers/

and you get a geo-localizing cookie installed even before clicking 'accept' - and that's with mublock already filtering out 7 requests

On the bright side, it made me find out that ublock's block element feature is really easy to use. Even works on mobile!

I tried to see your image, but I get another popup :D https://ibb.co/mO99fo

CBSi (e.g. Giant Bomb) are using similar wording: https://i.imgur.com/8wQGvIv.png. There _is_ a "Manage Settings" link, but they are treating "Google Analytics / Adobe Analytics / comScore / Akamai / Nielsen / Evidon / Moat / Cedexis / Chartbeat / Index Tag Manager / Tealium Tag Manager / Google Ad Serving" as "necessary cookies", so you cannot opt-out. You get redirected to https://l3.evidon.com/site/425/5420/6 if you click "Manage Settings".

Very poor. On Mac Safari, I switched to Reader mode, which circumvented it.

The imgur one that gets displayed is very good by comparison, except arguably some of those options shouldn't be pre-ticked.

> Is this really GDPR compliant?

No, it's not.

Start by disabling javascript, then only whitelisting websites when necessary. Also consider whether certain content is even worth vieweing when confronted with an "enable JS" banner. Your web experience is now 1000% better.

I use uMatrix to block loading content from unwanted domains, but I am considering disabling it. ~30% of websites I visit, I spend 30s adjusting the whitelist to get the page to load properly.

I would think this would make my browsing experience even more cumbersome. Is there no alternative?

I'm of the opinion that "mastering" uMatrix pays off heaps. Do you use the Scope Selector, like in this wiki example?


If you have JS disabled (or use noscript or umatrix or similar addons) you can just scroll down without needing to accept anything. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

It is not.

Add the following to My Filters in uBlock Origin:




Highly doubt it.

I don't know, this isn't new. Literally every website in the EU has been asking for your permission to store cookies for years.

ePrivacy directive != GDPR. Even if it is ok under the former it may not be under the latter. And considering that they just updated their privacy policy they seem to be trying to conform to the latter.


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