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Google will lose $50M or more in 2018 from Fortnite bypassing the Play Store (techcrunch.com)
121 points by doppp 3 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 211 comments





The framing of this article feels weird to me. Google offers a service (distribution), and it just so happens Fortnite doesn't need it. It also completely ignores how much Fortnite will lose from people who don't install it because they can't figure out how.

A better way would be "Fortnite is big enough to bypass Google and still make $180MM", rather than acting like this is Google's fault. I mean, the fact that phone OSes get a cut of everything on their platform is already an insane racket.


In a few years the media (which has always been very pro-Apple) has internalized the idea, that all your software MUST come from a single corporation controlled walled garden and pay tax to them. The whole concept of being able to install software from a source you choose is now so foreign that they'll speak against it when possible.

And unfortunately, this seems to be the case with a lot of HN commenters as well.


I've been running open source, free, libre, etc software since the mid-90s. My firewall is openbsd. my laptop runs linux. I use emacs for most of my software editing. I want you to understand that I am a big open source weenie, and have been for decades.

I think asking consumers to evaluate risk of installing third party apps and manage permissions is insane. My phone runs iOS. My family the same. The volume of malware in the Play Store alone, much less in the sideloading community is mind boggling. If I ran Android I would only install software that I had written myself or come from a trusted vendor, and only use a browser (probably not Chrome even, but Firefox) for any third party content.

Any anti-walled-garden screed has to grapple with the fact that in the real world, the walled garden protects people from mass data theft and infiltration. Windows used to be like this, before many more users switched to Mac (which is harder, but not impossible) to backdoor. Replicating the internet security environment of the late 90s but on our phones would be a disaster for the technology-using world.


There's something to be said for having a known good source of software that you can trust. GNU/Linux of course follows the same model, where you're expected to get the majority of your software from the distro repository. So, I don't think this model is inherently antithetical to free software.

I'm a free software nerd and I run LineageOS-sans-Google on my mobile device. I get the vast majority of my software through F-Droid, which works like a GNU/Linux distribution - they build all packages from source and sign with their own key. Only time I would sideload a package is if it's not available in F-Droid (because it's proprietary - although I've since found out about Yalp and use that instead) or if I'm building it myself. It works well enough for me.

I think the objectionable part of a walled garden, at least to a free software nerd, is the walled part. I appreciate the option of being able to step outside if I feel I need to.


That's not accurate. Side-loading applications is certainly a risk but not Play Store.

"In 2016, the annual probability that a user downloaded a PHA (potentially harmful applications) from Google Play was .04% and we reduced that by 50% in 2017 for an annual average of .02%.

In 2017, downloading a PHA from Google Play was less likely than the odds of an asteroid hitting the earth."

Source: https://source.android.com/security/reports/Google_Android_S...


> I think asking consumers to evaluate risk of installing third party apps and manage permissions is insane.

Is it? What do you think billions of people using Windows have done for decades?


Gatekeeper on macOS is a great compromise. I wish iOS would adopt the same model.

here here. Can you imagine that if, back in the early 80s, when PCs and Apple computers were just starting out if companies like Software Etc., Egghead or RadioShack or Fry's or other venues had to get ALL their software (boxed packages) from Apple or IBM (or possibly MS) before they were allowed to sell it? I'm sure IBM and Apple would have benefitted a ton, but companies like Adobe, Id, Epic, Norton, and a slew of others... would have suffered and probably never made it as far as they have. The kind of anti-competition models these companies have over the market is a massive stranglehold.

Now the crux is this. In the 80s, 90s and arguably most of the 00's the average Joe and average Katey didn't store 90% of their personal secrets, nude photos, diaries, drug deal receipts, etc... on their desktops and later laptop computers. It wasn't until this decade that such massive amounts of personal information started to become digital. Yes very likely I among thousands of HNs had already crazy personal lives going back to the mid-80s on a desktop hard drive sitting in some dump right now. But hey, at least they barely work and CC info is probably stale.

But today, the environment is much different. I'm not arguing that what Apple and Google is OK, but at least they got some kind of notion that free-for-all might not be appropriate right now.

It might take some time but I definitely welcome new models. For example: * Certified third party app stores * Independent Software Certifiers

It can be up to the user to decide if they want to either use a specific store or decide to specifically trust the certificate of an independent software certifier. And at that point Google could, for example, treat the app as a pass through on their own store. The software certifiers will need to keep a reputation up, for example.

I know I'm providing simple examples here - not that I want to discuss in detail on HN the finer points of these ideas - but that I want there to BE another way that can allow software to be sold online, without the 30% Apple markup that chokes the independent software vendors out there.


The problem is that Apple and Google are not trying to give people the ability to download the software they want without catching malware, but to make a profit. If Google were trying to provide that service they would not ban ad blockers from their store. They would not charge arbitary 30%, but whatever operating a software repository actually costs.

The problem here is not a lack of competition. Ultimately, there needs to be one default software repository that people can trust -- you can't have a free-for-all here for the same reason you can't have a free-for-all for software in general. The profit motive is the problem.



That's just the art of writing headlines. How else do they generate online conversation except by stating it in a obviously flawed way provoking people like you to point out the flaw and people with a penchant for "charity" to come to their defense, and so on and so forth?

Why are we still falling for this crap?


I have never thought about it like this. Thanks and please keep pointing it out!

> Why are we still falling for this crap?

We fall for this because a subset of us has been provoked to point out the obvious flaw in the headline or the summary and another subset has been provoked into defending the part that isn't flawed.

I alternated between feeling like this was a question worth answering and feeling like a dick for answering this with your own words.


I mean, it was a rhetorical question, which by definition is a question asked not to elicit an answer but to make a point.

>the fact that phone OSes get a cut

That's how a platform business _works_ though.

I mean we could discuss reasonable limits or something or how a platform effects competition once it's entrenched, but you're basically just saying "The concept of a platform business is an insane racket."

Do you think building a global software distribution platform is easy? Let alone the value of compounding network effects.


The concept of a platform business is an insane racket.

Google and Apple have created and invested in their platforms - it’s not insane for them to make profit from them.

They've created an artificial need for the platforms by closing their systems. Open systems don't require these kinds of platforms. I can install whatever I want on my PC and I like it that way.

> I can install whatever I want on my PC and I like it that way.

Good for you, but many other people appreciate the curated platforms that Google and Apple have built and like it that way instead. They're not 'insane' for liking it a different way to you - there's benefits of both approaches.


Yes you can, and so can the unwashed masses that have 10 toolbars in IE, ransomware, viruses, etc.

And it’s not just dumb people downloading from shady sources. Look for a printer driver online and you’re just as likely to find a fake malware site as the real site.

The need for trusted sources for downloading apps with limited permissions can easily be seen if you look at some people’s PCs - or Android devices.


> I can install whatever I want on my PC and I like it that way.

True on Android, too. And both platforms have OS vendor app stores.


Perhaps you've missed the point of the article -- Google's platform is open, and you can install whatever you want without using their store, which is the route Epic has taken with Fortnite.

Google spends absurd amounts of money developing and supporting Android, providing security updates, providing feature updates, and even goes so far as to spend money marketing Android. They then give Android, for free, to manufacturers to use on their phones. They also create, support, and give, for free, many of the development tools which developers like Epic Games then use to create Android applications and games.

After spending an insane amount of money creating and supporting these things, it seems completely justifiable that Google would then ask for a cut of the profits for applications that are built on top of the tools and infrastructure that Google provides for free.


The fact that it is hard and provides value does not stop it from also being unethical. The conversation about antitrust needs to move beyond just monopolies and recognize that an oligopoly of mega-corporations staking out their own kingdoms is still massively anti-competitive. Corporate feudalism isn't my idea of free-market capitalism.

How about physical stores and selling items in retail space? Companies pay money to get shelf space and special promotional displays in CPG all the time.

> It also completely ignores how much Fortnite will lose from people who don't install it because they can't figure out how.

Like Snapchat, this may be a case where deliberately counterintuitive behavior may actually help, since sideloading will now become "cool" for the teenagers/millennials it targets.


It will probably introduce some people to die loading and, by disabling the prevention, maybe enable some malware APKs to be accidentally installed.

Not that much interesting software is available from outside the Play Store. Only OGYoutube comes to my mind here.


will now become "cool"

If it does and becomes the «new normal» then that could cost Google alot more...


How is this any more or less insane than every console maker getting a cut of every game distributed either physically or digitally? For you to sell a physical game disk, you still have to have a cryptographic signature issued by the console maker.

Who's saying that's a good thing for a healthy free market?

It’s not but it’s been that way since the first Atari game system came out.

Atari and other early consoles had unlicensed, unapproved software distributed for them legally.

This did become impossible eventually as security technology improved.


It actually started in 1983 with the NES from what I can tell. NES's lockout chip was reverse engineered and Nintendo sued.

Because consoles are proprietary closed source boxen and android isn't?

Everything that makes Android, Android to most Western consumers is closed source - the play store, Google Maps, Youtube, the dialer, Chrome, etc.

Google has abandoned more and more of the open source parts of AOSP with closed source alternatives over the years.

That’s not to mention all of the drivers that are proprietary....


But it is pretty interesting how easy it has always been to bypass the Play Store. It's user friendly, yes, and I like it, but it essentially enables Epic Games' workaround.

Google could have easily added way more (still acceptable for most users) friction into the process in the first place. Maybe having the switch in the developer settings, maybe having to enable it over ADB. That'd surely have made Epic Games think harder about this move.


The original statement was....

Because consoles are proprietary closed source boxen and android isn't

The fact that you can install software outside of the app store no more makes the version of Android that most people run "open source" than it does Windows or MacOS.


It is misleading. It would be more honest (imho) to describe Google as "missing out on" rather than "losing". I don't think you can "lose" that which you never had.

Is that actually the frameing of the article or just the headline? I feel like they just choose a borderline clickbait headline. Maybe they even wrote that headline after the fact.

I'd say the framing is right, because it highlights why this is news: The Play Store is way more than a service for Google - it's one of the primary ways they keep control over the Android ecosystem.

To my knowledge, this is the first time, someone uses the side-loading loophole on a commercial scale. It should be interesting to observe Google's reaction to that.


> A better way would be "Fortnite is big enough to bypass Google and still make $180MM", rather than acting like this is Google's fault.

> I mean, the fact that phone OSes get a cut of everything on their platform is already an insane racket.

isn't it Google's decision to charge insane amounts for apps that they didn't create?


Good job TechCrunch.

Not just a cut but 30%.

That's up there with federal income tax.

Companies pay taxes on profits, not on revenue. Google takes 30% cut of the revenue. That's quite a difference.

sure, as a private company I have a running budget based on the profits of my application. 30% of that revenue which I will never get will be going to another company which has a record of paying little to no taxes.

Now, how do you think the government makes up the difference in the tax loop holes? By raising taxes on companies like mine and restricting/regulating on how I structure my profits/income so that it can stay in business. So indirectly 30% off the revenue is affecting my tax situation with the federal government.

Again, 30% is on par with federal income tax.


I think the comment was saying that it's way worse than income tax. I don't think you're disagreeing.

Exactly; it's at least one order of magnitude worse than the income tax.

agree. I read your comment defensively. my fault. I was trying to imply that Google is acting like some government entity taxing your income.

I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I am still a big fan of Android´s openess (at least compared to the walled garden that is iOS) and I think it should the right of every company or developer to NOT use a closed platform to distribute its app.

However on the other hand, this move by Epic sets a dangerous precedent: Factually, Google get´s economically punished for being more open than Apple. This does not feel right for me.

From a business point-of-view (when sideloading becomes more common) the "right" move for Google would be to fork AOSP, make new Android versions as closed as iOS (while still distributed for free) and prevent any sideloading. No sane CEO who is measured by increasing shareholder value could justify stayig open if this jeopardizes the revenues without providing major benefits.

I, as a user, think this is a sad and alarming development. However, apparently most comments and media do not share this opinion? Are there any reasons why Google deserves no revenues while Apple get´s 30%? When there are none, this situation can't be sustainable from an economic point of view.


No. Neither of the companies "deserve" anything.

If I bought a phone, it is my phone, and I am free to do what I want with it, including installing software that these companies don't approve of.


> From a business point-of-view (when sideloading becomes more common) the "right" move for Google would be to fork AOSP, make new Android versions as closed as iOS (while still distributed for free) and prevent any sideloading. No sane CEO who is measured by increasing shareholder value could justify stayig open if this jeopardizes the revenues without providing major benefits.

The problem here is that while Google controls the software, it doesn't control the hardware. All the real power is in the hands of the OEMs.

If Google wanted to close Android, they'd need to either:

- Leverage/convince all the OEMs into adopting the closed fork

- Watch as they lose control completely when someone else makes a dominant fork

- Watch the Android ecosystem crumble as everyone throws out their own fork

I don't think this would work because the OEMs have no incentive to do it. They don't get any cut of the Play Store profits so they have no interest in its success. To the contrary, Samsung at least has its own store. Plus, Android's openness is one of the things differentiating it from Apple. If they closed it down, they have the compromised privacy of a Google device with the closed platform of an Apple device. Apple's closedness then ceases to be a problem and they can differentiate with their privacy-friendliness.


- Leverage/convince all the OEMs into adopting the closed fork

You mean like they already force OEMs to use thier closed source apps and force them not to make any phones that are use Android forks?


From a business point-of-view (when sideloading becomes more common) the "right" move for Google would be to fork AOSP, make new Android versions as closed as iOS (while still distributed for free) and prevent any sideloading.

You haven’t been paying attention...

Google has been abandoning AOSP for years and making closed source equivalents.


There are already multiple separate app stores for Android and not just the Google Play. This is nothing new for Google to be honest.

And if they were to make Android a closed system, what would make me buy an Android phone instead of an iOS phone anymore? Openness is one of the biggest selling points for Android.


People don’t buy Android because it’s “open” - they buy it because it’s cheap. If people cared about open, the “Year of Linux on the Desktop” would have already happened.

Android is cheap and it's widely used because it's open. If manufacturers weren't able to customize it to their needs, we would still be living in a world with separate OSes for every single manufacturer. This is important especially in Asia where the market is completely different from western market. In Asia it's also very important to be able to live without Google proprietary software in Android because for example in China it's currently blocked. They are using Baidu for all the things we are using Google services for.

Year of Linux on the Desktop is hard to see since corporate users are so tightly coupled with MS ecosystem. If Microsoft could build at least equivalent mobile OS as Android or iOS, they would get pretty much all corporate customers to themselves and it would most definitely affect private customers as well. Oh, and Windows has gotten a lot better in the last 10 years so there's really no need for a basic user to change over to Linux.


Android is cheap and it's widely used because it's open. If manufacturers weren't able to customize it to their needs, we would still be living in a world with separate OSes for every single manufacturer.

That’s not what happened with PCs. DOS/Windows was never open but when OEMs wanted an OS, they chose Windows. By 1990, every manufacturer of computers besides Apple who tried to make thier own operating system was dead.

Before Android or iOS, there were dozens of Windows Mobile phones. Most Manufacturers were not capable of making thier own OS.

If Microsoft could build at least equivalent mobile OS as Android or iOS, they would get pretty much all corporate customers to themselves and it would most definitely affect private customers as well.

They could and they did make a good mobile OS. By the time it was released it was too late. Android had already won over all of the OEMs and developers didn’t want to develop for it.

Also, with the iPhone, the trend of the “consumerization of IT” started. Blackberry owned the corporate world before the iPhone. But between both Apple adding features that made it a decent corporate alternative and executives bringing thier iPhones to work and demanding from the IT department that they make it work, Apple basically took over the corporate mobile market.


A better direction might be making side-loading safer. Rather than forcing people to whitelist all APKs, adding signatures, doing organisational verification.

Stuff that Google Play does, just split out from the marketing and download service.


The problem is that a tremendous amount of sideloading happens offline. This makes it very hard for anybody to make it safe.

I don't recognise that market. Why are these people able to get APKs without a network connection?

Either way, I would imagine that the sort of market we're talking about here —Fortnite, an online-only game— would probably have a network connection available.

And even then, signature chains would still work for strong signing the APK, even if it were installed offline.


I currently tolerate Google apps on my phone because Android is just open _enough_ for me to get by. If Google were to put walls around Android in this way, I'd never use anything Google ever again.

I can't find the article but I remember reading how Google is closing the platform more and more. That's the reason why many people are forced to use MicroG since things are routed through Google Play Services. So in many ways you already "need" Google in your phone for certain apps to work correctly. There's also a rant from CopperheadOS' twitter about how Google make things worse and worse for ROM developers.

I would love to see an updated article about this whole subject.


The alternative is an un-updatable phone that is full of security holes. Remember the good old days when somebody would find a uxss in webview and we'd all just shrug our shoulders at the 80% of users who'd never see the fix because the oems wouldn't ever push updates to people?

> the "right" move for Google would be to fork AOSP, make new Android versions as closed as iOS

I wonder whether Google's new operating system 'Fuschia' serves this purpose...


> In the process, it’s costing Google around $50 million this year in platform fees, according to a new report.

It's not costing Google anything, and they're not losing money on this either. It's revenue that they might have expected to earn, which they're now not going to be earning.


I hate this sort of framing, and it's so common. "Google will miss out on ..." would have been accurate and still interesting.

The same "lose" language is often used when discussing tax cuts or tax breaks ("lost tax revenue"). I wonder whether those journalists misunderstand economics that much, or if it's done on purpose.


Also, what solution would there be? Allow other companies to bypass Google's revenue system in this area? How much will they lose from other companies who want to be treated equal to Fortnite.

edit: This is a question folks, I'm not sure why you're down voting a question.. ya'll are touchy as hell lol.

To put it differently, since I think my first attempt just confused you all in mass:

If Google were to lower it's take from 30% to 15% (fake numbers), for everyone, so that Epic would use their business - would that gain them money or lose them money?

It's a question, yikes ya'll.


Anyone can provide an APK download from their website and bypass the Play Store. Unlike iOS, Android is not a walled garden. For most app developers, the ease of discovery, installation and payment provided by the Play Store is worth the 30% fee. Epic Games clearly think that Fortnite is in such high demand that it isn't worth paying the Play Store tax; Fortnite players will make the effort to find the app, install it manually and provide their credit card details for in-app purchases.

Android freely allows you to circumvent the Play Store via manual installation or a third-party app store, which is an advantage in terms of user choice but less secure than the iOS walled garden. Google decide what can go on the Play Store, but they don't control what users can install. I personally prefer the Android approach, but there are merits to both.


I think you misunderstand me. As I said in another post:

> In other words, the claim is that Google is "losing" money by their choices which cause Fortnite to choose to not use them. But it's those same choices which make Google money.

> So if Google were to, for example, take less of a cut - they might get Fortnite onto their system. But how much would they loose from all the other companies currently using Google at the current rate?

I'm not sure what your point is, so I can only assume you're arguing what you thought I meant. My point was simple a question, hypothetically if Google were to chance it's pricing scheme to something that would fit Epic, would it be a net gain or a loss to them?

I'm unsure how anything in your post applies to my question.


Google intentionally allow app developers to do this. They have chosen to leave this option on the table. They could have just as easily chosen to make the installation of apps from third-party sources impossible or prohibitively inconvenient.

One app is not going to change Google's approach to the Play Store, even a multi-million dollar app. The vast majority of apps don't have the marketing power to profitably circumvent the Play Store, so cutting fees across the board would be a huge net loss for Google. Offering special discounts on the Play Store fee is a very slippery slope - if you offer it to anyone, everyone is going to start demanding it. It would undermine the value proposition of the Play Store and create a two-tier system, with one rule for blockbuster apps and one rule for everyone else.

App developers begrudgingly pay the Play Store tax because it's preferable to the alternatives. They'd very much prefer to get all the benefits of the Play Store at lower cost, but Google has absolutely no reason to sell their service at less than the market rate. One outlier does not change that equation.


Android is only a walled garden to OEMs that want to make both Google sanctioned Android phones and phones based on Android forks....

Not any more, at least not unless Google want to keep racking up multi-billion dollar fines.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17556497


I don't understand the framing of this conversation. Does other companies owe Google money by merely existing?

No, it's the same writing that frames piracy as "costing" money to the developers. If something costs you some money there's the implication that you had the money, and then you didn't have it after that something happening. As much as they'd like to believe it, projected earnings aren't money you actually have

> No, it's the same writing that frames piracy as "costing" money to the developers.

I hope you're not referring to me. I never once said anything about Google losing money. I merely asked the question, would they gain or lose given a scenario.

I didn't state anything.


I'd say that the piracy does cost developers something. Not every pirated copy is a lost sale, but there are some number of people who are capable of buying software that instead choose to pirate it for any number of reasons and would buy it if piracy was not an option.

I wouldn't say it's a high percentage, but it's not insignificant.

I'd count that as a lost sale.

But I do agree that this is a different situation. This is just a high profile application that has decided to forgo something completely optional.


> I'd count that as a lost sale.

It's a lost sale, but that's still not a cost. It's just money they never got. If it had actually cost them, then I'd expect it would take away money they previously had, like I say lunch costs me $15 because after the transaction I'm down $15 (but up a lunch).

At best, it's akin to opportunity cost.


I think you misunderstand me.

In other words, the claim is that Google is "losing" money by their choices which cause Fortnite to choose to not use them. But it's those same choices which make Google money.

So if Google were to, for example, take less of a cut - they might get Fortnite onto their system. But how much would they loose from all the other companies currently using Google at the current rate?


What Google really should have done was allowed FortNite onto the play store at a reduced cut, as a one-off discount that only applies to this title and nobody else. Some percentage of 50M is better than 0%.

Should they? Everybody would have complained that Google was giving them preferential treatment just because they're big and important. Is there a precedent for this?

I think that everybody does this in almost every industry, huge players get different rules than everybody else. You might not like this but I can almost guarantee that if you were running a successful app store the amount of money involved would make you behave in the same manner and bend the rules for the big guys to get a piece of that big money.

Depending on who you ask and how they feel about their platform, the answer is "yes, on that platform".

Android is based on Linux, Google doesn't get to make that sort of ownership claim.

Those people I was talking about that think that some money should be paid for existing on their platform, their reasoning is unrelated to what the OS is based on.

losing out on potential earnings isn't the same as losing money

Correct, and grass is green, water is wet, etc. Is there a point here? I never made the claim that they're "losing" money, so why are you citing it here?

I made the question that, if Google were to make a pricing change to support Epic, would it gain them money? Or lose money due to other companies also giving less (since hypothetically that's what Epic wants, less cut taken by Google).


>Also, what solution would there be?

Solution to what?


Hypothetically, to Google getting Epic's business. Is lost customers not a problem in your eyes?

People are sitting here being pedantic about "lost" revenue, even though I said nothing about that. My point however, is that assuming Google would want Epic's business (which seems reasonable), would they gain or lose money by changing their pricing structure to fit something Epic would put up with.

Ie, if they reduced Google's take from 30% to 15% (fake numbers), would they gain or lose money? It's a hypothetical question, one which I guess I should edit since clearly everyone is arguing about random shit lol.


> would they gain or lose money by changing their pricing structure to fit something Epic would put up with.

I can't see any reason a company with an existing property with Fortnite's visibility would be willing to pay much of anything for App Store placement other than access to a pure walled garden like iOS.

Not sure you can write a policy that fits that kind of product and most of what actually gets delivered vis the Appstore, and which doesn't have the overhead of a human-in-the-loop on pricing decisions.


Health insurers are really bad for this, too. Notwithstanding the obvious need for any one of a variety of reforms, their messaging is "It's unfair that this is costing us money to pay for services which could have been better provided other ways", when in reality, it's costing their insured money, not them. That money is the insurance pool. The insurer is collecting a (healthy) admin fee off the top of the pool, and you can guarantee that's the last in line to face any challenges.

In reality it's more "this is costing us profit, because, with few exceptions, we get to skim the cream off of unspent premiums", which sure, capitalism, but they frame it from a position of "(un)fairness", as if they had some implicit entitlement to such.


CEO of Epic

>The 30% store tax is a high cost in a world where game developers' 70% must cover all the cost of developing, operating, and supporting their games. There's a rationale for this on console where there's enormous investment in hardware, often sold below cost, and marketing campaigns in broad partnership with publishers. But on open platforms, 30% is disproportionate to the cost of the services these stores perform, such as payment processing, download bandwidth, and customer service. We're intimately familiar with these costs from our experience operating Fortnite as a direct-to-customer service on PC and Mac.

https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/digitalfoundry-2018-fortn...

And another interesting quote from him

>If you look at it, the stores on the smartphone platforms actually do very little. They’ll put ads up in front of your game. When you search for Fortnite on iOS you’ll often get PUBG or Minecraft ads. Whoever bought that ad in front of us is the top result when searching for Fortnite. It’s just a bad experience. Why not just make the game available direct to users, instead of having the store get between us and our customers and inject all kinds of cruft like that? It’s a general criticism I have of the smartphone platforms right now.

https://venturebeat.com/2018/08/03/tim-sweeney-epics-ceo-on-...


How about the 30% of store tax must cover the cost of developing, operating and supporting their Open Platforms Operating System? Along with payment processing, download bandwidth, and customer service?

Google doesn't charge them a cent for using Android. As a matter of fact if you don't like the Google Store, Maps, and Search it has to offer for free, you could have forked the whole thing and tidy up all the loose end and call it something else.


> How about the 30% of store tax must cover the cost of developing, operating and supporting their Open Platforms Operating System?

> Google doesn't charge them a cent for using Android.

Why should Epic care about Android's development costs? They don't pay Microsoft a cent for Windows, why should they pay Google for Android?

Google chose this business model, software developers certainly have no obligation to support it.

> Along with payment processing, download bandwidth, and customer service?

Epic has all this infrastructure already, they need it for their PC customers. Why overpay for Google's?


> Why should Epic care about Android's development costs?

He seems to care about console makers' costs and considers their 30% there reasonable, but he does not seem to consider them reasonable here.

> Why overpay for Google's?

I don't think he's under any obligation too, but it's interesting to see platforms like Steam gain traction despite not handling most of the investment in the platform, and that's on Windows where you can get an installer.


> He seems to care about console makers' costs and considers their 30% there reasonable, but he does not seem to consider them reasonable here.

Because the absolute majority of Android devices are not made by Google, just like the absolute majority of Windows devices are not made by Microsoft. What if Microsoft took away 30% of revenue from all software developers publishing on Windows Store?


>Because the absolute majority of Android devices are not made by Google, just like the absolute majority of Windows devices are not made by Microsoft. What if Microsoft took away 30% of revenue from all software developers publishing on Windows Store?

And you have to paid for Windows License? Somewhere along the line someone will have to paid. Open Source isn't free.

Of course it is perfectly fine for EPIC to avoid the 30% charge. But to judge Google charging 30% as unreasonable while you are getting the ecosystem for free, and than compare the cost of console maker is just being hypocrite.

This is speaking as someone who doesn't like Google even before the first iPhone shipped.


> And you have to paid for Windows License? Somewhere along the line someone will have to paid. Open Source isn't free.

Open source is free. Android is based on Linux, just like Ubuntu, and smartphone manufacturers are major contributors to AOSP[1].

[1] https://www.androidpolice.com/2012/04/26/key-android-enginee...


> What if Microsoft took away 30% of revenue from all software developers publishing on Windows Store?

This is exactly how it works. Steam also takes a 30% cut.

This is literally how every app platform works now.


30% is outrageous

Also analytics and distribution channels.

The CEO of Epic knows full well that the primary service the Play Store provides is access to the users who have the Play Store installed and use it as their primary means of obtaining apps.

That's a strange definition of lose. A third party doesn't contract with someone for their product launch, and that is considered a loss of money?

"Unlike Apple, which only allows apps to be downloaded from its own storefront"

So as i read it, the argument being made is: if Google had chosen the same path as apple did in their app store, Google would not have missed this opportunity.


So you're saying this publisher would have used Google's store, even though they didn't when they had the choice, if Google had locked down its phone?

Yeah, that really got my goat too. Google getting a cut of Fortnite’s revenue would be pure rent seeking.

That is essentially what taking a large cut on your app platform is: rent seeking. It's your ecosystem, but it comes out of my pocket as the consumer (unless you're large enough to avoid, like Fortnite).

Discovery, ratings, etc., and managing payments are services with value, especially for small players with apps that don't have an established fan base before they are released for the paltform. Charging for these services is reasonable.

Allowing people to get apps that don't need these services elsewhere is also a good idea.


Charging a reasonable fee for these services would be reasonable. 30% is extortion.

Try selling a game at retail where the whole seller and the reseller get a cut.....

How do you come to that conclusion?

What percentage would not be extortion to you?

Why that percentage? What are the costs for all the services these storefronts provide?


What does Fortnite's size have to do with this? Can't anyone distribute apps that way?

"$50m that google won't earn" sounds less cool.

And yet the distinction is semantically important. I hate it when economists phrase missed opportunities as losses.

Although IMHO that particular terminology leads to poisonous thinking in Economics. People start obsessing about missed opportunities because they are a loss, like that guy stole your opportunity away because he got there first.

these are journalists, not economists

If the distributor was given an intent (open a google play account) to distribute through their platform then yea, you can say that google was expecting to rent some property but the tenants found a better place.

It's wild how a company distributing an Android app in the exact same way that they already distribute the PC version of the same program has blown up into this huge and controversial news story.

Yes, there are no headlines saying "Valve will lose $600M or more in 2018 from Fortnite"...

https://thenextweb.com/gaming/2018/08/07/fallout-76-and-fort...

It is really impressive that these companies have been able to justify a 30% cut for running a hosting service with stripped down search engine and payment processor. It's like they say in real estate: Location Location Location.


Its big news when Bethesda does the same with Steam.

"Unlike Apple, which only allows apps to be downloaded from its own storefront, Google’s platform is more open."

Oh the irony. Android is more open than iOS and yet its Google that EU found to be at fault with Android. How is this not a classic example that, if anything, Android provides a more open platform?


It's (unfortunately) not illegal anywhere to have non-open platforms. It is illegal in the EU to use the dominant market position of one product to push another product in an anticompetitive manner.

The latter is what Google got done for in the EU. You might think what Apple does is worse, and should be illegal, but that would be a separate hypothetical law.


Is this not what happens with the bundling of Mail, Calendar and Music in iOS and the fact that many default actions and integrations for these apps in iOS are not available to alternatives?

No, Google got in trouble for mandating other companies/products to include Google products (gmail, chrome, etc) in their products (Samsung Galaxy 9, LG whatever phone, etc).

Apple doesn't mandate any other company to change something with their product (Apple installs mail, calendar, music on their own iPhone, iPad, etc). They aren't using their market position to coerce another company to do something in Apple's favor. (as far as Android vs. iOS and the associated hardware phones and tablets).


> No, Google got in trouble for mandating other companies/products to include Google products (gmail, chrome, etc) in their products (Samsung Galaxy 9, LG whatever phone, etc).

If you only look for one thing they got in trouble for. Other things include prioritizing their shopping results on their search engine. There are cases and rulings that don't have anything to do with "coerce another company" wrt monopoly laws. You can be in trouble for only putting your own products on your own products too, no other company has to be involved...just have to be large enough (by volume).


Only Chrome, Play Store and Search app.

… and Google Play Services, which is the bigger angle and what took Android from being "open" to arguably impossible to support the bulk of "Android" software

https://stratechery.com/2018/the-european-commission-versus-...

You don't get Google Play Services without a lot of terms and conditions, and without it you can't really be a useful Android product short of trying to replace the whole store like Amazon does to questionable degrees.


My understanding is that Apple does not have a large enough market share in the EU to be considered for similar violations.

The primary concern is that Apple puts it's own software and features on it's own devices. That's fine, and what Google does on the Pixel line is also fine and not under scrutiny.

The issue is that Google uses blatantly illegal terms to force bundling of various apps upon other manufacturers, and this is illegal in both the US and the EU and most other jurisdictions.

This is a business-to-business issue, not a business-to-consumer issue. Hence why Apple putting it's own software on it's own hardware is not similar. (Also, Apple is not even approaching being a monopoly, Google already is one.)


The reason EU fined Google wasn't that Android was not an open ecosystem, but that Google leveraged other dominant services (Youtube, Maps etc...) to enforce manufacturers to install Search and Chrome on Android phones.

Apple aren't doing anything to prevent competition with their platform. Google are/were. It's that simple.

iOS is a closed platform, and Android is a more open platform, but that's 100% orthogonal to Apple or Google's _business practices_. Closed platforms are not illegal, while anticompetitive behaviour is.


> Apple aren't doing anything to prevent competition with their platform.

This is a categorically false statement. I can point to a lot of places where Apple are doing quite a bit to prevent competition on their platform. I mean, browser engine choice is the easiest to see of dozens of ways Apple is doing something to prevent competition on their platform. Did you mean something else by your statement I do not understand?

Even if you mean "with their platform" vs "on their platform" as if users can go somewhere else, that's a far cry from "aren't doing anything" as they are in fact doing lots of things.


The best way I can think of describing this is like going into McDonald's and asking for a Whopper. You're not going to have a good time. You can't get whatever you want. McDonald's controls everything involved with their own operation, so they get to decide what's on the menu. And competitors products are not on it.

That's Apple.

Google is more like the only lumberyard in the reasonable vicinity. But they'll only sell you lumber if you also buy nails, a hammer, paint, and pipe from them as well even though there are closer, cheaper, or better alternatives elsewhere for those. They're using their position to force others into deals they don't want to be in.


I do mean with their platform, which is why I wrote that and not on their platform.

Only offering your software on your hardware isn't anticompetitive. It's the default for almost everything - your smart fridge isn't anticompetitive because you can't install a different web browser, your modem/router isn't anticompetitive because you can't switch to openwrt, your smart toothbrush isn't anticompetitive because you can't install custom firmware, et cetera.

What is anticompetitive on Google's end has absolutely nothing to do with the software, and everything to do with the licensing. Google have a couple simple rules that make their behaviour anticompetitive. If you want to ship an Android phone with google apps, then:

1) You may not ship any android phones without google apps 2) You may not ship a phone with google apps and a default search engine which is not Google

So, if you're a new manufacturer, Smasung, and you wish to make an Android phone, you have two choices:

1) Use Google Apps and immediately get an extremely mature operating system with a very large software library, but you may not compete with google. Not even that you may not use _that device_ to compete with google. You're not allowed to make any Android-based devices which compete, even if those themselves don't use google software.

2) Develop API-compatible replacements for everything in Google apps, or you can't access the android ecosystem because of how tightly integrated things are. Note, some of these APIs are not clearly documented and have mysterious behaviour. This option is thus only really available to megacorporations who can afford to sink a couple years of development into the project before selling a single device.

This is fundamentally different from what Apple is doing, which is simply selling a product.


> Only offering your software on your hardware isn't anticompetitive

I'd say that it has been upheld that only offering your software on your platform has been ruled as anticompetitive if you are large enough. Same with prioritizing your results on your platform, etc. Regardless of if that platform is hardware or any other restricted area with a majority presence.

> your smart fridge isn't anticompetitive because you can't install a different web browser

Unfortunately, I'm afraid if you have the vast majority of the fridge market, and you lock out development for it, you very likely will be accused of anticompetitive behavior.

> This is fundamentally different from what Apple is doing, which is simply selling a product.

Yes, that is very true it is fundamentally different and the specific part about the Android licensing is anticompetitive for those reasons and Apple would not be subject to those rulings. Many of the other software installation practices that Google/Microsoft have been ruled anticompetitive for, however, are very similar to what Apple is doing and only their smaller market share prevents the violation. But we shouldn't pretend that Apple isn't doing anything to prevent competition here, just not in the way that Google did with the most recent Android ruling. Apple does plenty to prevent competition with their platform as do most companies. To say it does nothing is wrong.


So a lot of places is “1”?

I was just trying to avoid a large and obvious enumeration in my comment. I assumed we all knew things like browser engine, development/compilation hardware, app store choice, software installation method, system OS choice, runtime eval approach (e.g. JIT), phone/sms app choice, keyboard choice, etc, etc are not subject to choice and in most cases competition is actively prevented. I suppose my assumption was wrong though.

You can develop on other platforms - see Xamarin

You want to be able to install another OS on an iPhone? Unless you happen to have an Android phone that has hardware that is supported by one of the forks - good luck with that.

Yes you can use scripting languages with iOS apps, games do it all of the time.

Alternate voip apps integrate well with the native iOS dialer. For instance a call using Skype looks just like a call on the native phone dialer and your Skype call history is integrated with your regular phone call history. You can even say call X using Y with Siri and it will use the alternate app - same with messages. If you use a third party VoIP app, and you’re connected to Bluetooth in your car, it uses the phone call Bluetooth protocol just like the native dialer.

Third party keyboard support has been available for 3 years and unlike Android, you can install a third party keyboard and not give it network access so you’re not installing a keylogger.


Sigh. My comment has nothing to do with what you can do elsewhere. I was responding specifically to the false claim "aren't doing anything to prevent competition" which is untrue, they are doing things.

Your claim was that you couldn’t have third party keyboards on iOS (untrue), you couldn’t have third party dialer (untrue), you couldn’t use third party development environments (untrue), you had to develop on the Mac (untrue). You couldn’t use a third party SMS client- Google Voice let’s you do that.

Unfortunately, whether we agree or not, automatic defaults, prominence of placement, ease of change, and several other factors all contribute to rulings of active competition prevention. That you can change (with or without caveats) is often not enough. None of it relates to the original false statement that Apple does nothing to prevent competition with their platform which it does for many values of platform.

I was incorrect on the keyboard choice, but caveats about what the dialer can be used for or what system that you have to compile on remain. Again though, that's nitpicking here, they have restrictions on all sorts of places that will conveniently be ignored in responses (e.g. alternative installation methods) to make specific points. The general point stands, they actively stifle. To say they don't or that it's only 1 comes off as bias. To ask someone to list some examples to make the general, obvious point is a bit derailing.


Now you're changing the argument...

What are the caveats with the dialer?

To ask someone to list some examples to make the general, obvious point is a bit derailing.

How is it "derailing" to ask you to give specifics and then systematically get them torn down?


Can you explain to me how the Apple Maps limitation of Siri is not anti-competitive? I believe you are right but I am curious as a layman.

Apple is 24% of the smartphone market so anything they do on their their systems only affects that minority portion and isn't denying competitors access to the market.

Android on the other hand has a 74% share of smartphone market so anything they do impacts a majority of the market and could limit others access to the market.


What Apple Maps limitation? You can open Google Maps with Siri now with an ugly work around (https://www.tuaw.com/2012/12/17/how-to-use-google-maps-with-...)

And in iOS 12 any app will be able to provide a Siri shortcut.


There was nothing “open” about Google not allowing manufacturers to ship phones using Android forks if they also ship Google certified Android phones.

On the scale of 1-10 openness, that’s a -100


What's your rating for not allowing anyone else to build compatible phones at all?

The same but Steve Jobs never ranted back in the day....

https://mobile.twitter.com/arubin/status/27808662429?lang=en

the definition of open: "mkdir android ; cd android ; repo init -u git://android.git.kernel.org/platform/manifest.git ; repo sync ; make"


To put it simply, Apple's actions would not be tolerated if they were in a dominant position, as defined by market share not revenue or any other metric.

In general, reasonable societies don't want all businesses subjected to fairness rules, only the ones whose unfairness can be harmful. This is because being subjected to some of these fairness rules is a hindrance to small company growth. They have chosen to use volume as a metric to determine the size at which these rules kick in. It would be tough to argue that other metrics, such as revenue, should be used to determine size because volume determines the number of people affected not cost.


Apple isn't absuing its monopoly in one area to force phone manufacturers who license its software to include inessential software that helps increase its market share in others.

In no small part, because Apple doesn't license its software to other manufacturers, and doesn't have a monopoly on mobile devices operating systems in Europe.

The EU sanctioned Microsoft for forcing manfuacturers to include Internet Explorer, even though Windows is an open platform and users could download competing browsers.


EU's document says that iOS does not compete in the same market as Android, so it was entirely excluded from consideration. Funny isn't it? :)

This is because iOS is not an Android competitor. iOS is not licensed to manufacturers, it is not even in the market. Android, on the other hand, is. Licensing to third parties is the key issue at hand. (Windows Mobile was arguably Android's last viable competitor, and it's dead.)

read the law about dominant position in a market

On the other hand, Epic will lose out on the easy-to-access money that users have available on the Play Store through gift cards or google pay.

The only reason I downloaded Hearthstone on my ios device was so I could use store credit to purchase packs. Otherwise I would have just remained a solely F2P player.


It's incredibly pain free to spend money on the google store. Just throw your fingerprint on there and who knows how much you've spent.

the fingerprint reading API (not sure the name in Google's world) isn't dependent on Google Play Services, is it? If it isn't, in theory they could still implement it to be the confirmation for purchasing I'd imagine.

Totally. I'm just saying google play is convenient.

Next week on techcrunch, "Nintendo steals $50m by distributing games via cartridge and bypassing the Steam store."

This article title bugs me because it implies that Google _inherently deserves_ to make $50m from a game that they neither developed nor previously offered through the Play Store.

IMO, they're not losing _anything_ - they're just not gaining the extra revenue they would have gotten had Epic chosen to go the "usual" route.


I think this is a good trend. Not that I have much of an opinion on how much Google makes off any particular game but I'm glad people are willing to install programs on their devices without getting anyone's permission.

What's crazy to me is that the 30% fee is standardized across every app in the exact same way.

As an Indi game developer, the 30% fee is totally worth the trade for help in discovery. The play store has received about $1000, for their distribution service with my game.

But a game like Fortnite receives almost the identical service from Google and is charged 50 million? Sure some costs scale, like bandwith.... so its not exactly apples to apples, but WAY to close in my opinion.

Would Fortnite be on the Play Store if Google charged 5%, or even 10%. The real issue is the unreasonableness in this pricing structure.


I can't imagine that 100% of the people interested in fortnite for android are willing to sideload the apk. I would be surprised if this wasn't having a net-negative impact on the total number of android users. I wonder if this is just to avoid paying a percentage on in-app purchases? What else could it be?

Epic, well Tim Sweeney, bemoaned Microsoft for pushing to get developers to release apps/games within their store. I think Epic feels, and probably rightly so, that they can go the direct route and come out okay.

And if they judged incorrectly, they can always distribute it in the store later. Much easier to add it to Google Play than remove it from Google Play from a PR standpoint.


I'm sure Epic doesn't mind given their savings of staying out of Google Play.

1) It's hard to overstate how much people love Fortnite. They can also lose ~25% of sales and still make the money without the cut. 2) It's not necessarily about the money, there's lots of other rules besides the 30% cut that might be the actual sticking point.

It will be available on samsung galaxy apps store, so for all Samsung users (quite a lot) no need to side install an apk.

Probably less discoverable there than on Fortnite's website to be honest.

> I can't imagine that 100% of the people interested in fortnite for android are willing to sideload the apk.

As long as more than 70% are, it's a net gain for Epic.


If they can then leverage this to be a secondary app store that they get a cut (smaller than Google's cut to encourage people to use it), then they can come out making far more money even if they lose more than 30% of installs by doing this.

If they lose less than 30% of their installs, but are making 30% more on each IAP, they're rolling profit. Bear in mind, most users won't even buy stuff, so the question is... will they lose a lot of paying customers, and my guess for that is no.

Also, Tim Sweeney is an outspoken critic of the app store model, so it's unsurprising to see Epic go this way where they can.


sounds like he's a hypocrite also, as his game is on IOS and even available there first.

I wouldn't call that hypocritical. He can hate the model because of his first hand experience with it. He'd also be a fool to turn down the iOS market.

He's the CEO of a major company, he presumably can't let his personal views lead him to not be part of iOS. But his board/investors can probably be reasonably sold on the idea of saving the 30% margin Google takes... and also aligns well with his ideals.

Great! For the odd app or two which can actually feasibly pull this off, it is good that it's on the table. I'm sure Google is not losing sleep over this (after all, they miss out on the expenditures as much as the revenues). "Lose" is really the wrong way to put it: it wasn't theirs to begin with.

It was my understanding that Google / Apple do not charge a fee on in-app purchases which are not platform specific and which use third-party payment processing.

Never having played Fortnite, I assumed that in-app purchases are specific to your account and would carry-over if you moved from Android to iOS. Is that not the case?


The funny thing about Google as a Gatekeeper is that it's already a Gatekeeper via search. Even in a world where there are no 30% distribution shares, most products still live and die by their ranking on search results for either brand searches or long tail keywords. It's not uncommon to see brands buying their own name as keywords just to rank #1 on search results pages that are more and more fully loaded with ads above-the-fold, including competitors who buy keywords against well know brands.

The Play store is just additional icing on the cake. They're not losing sleep over the one unicorn exception known as Fortnite. 99.9% of other companies do not have the word of mouth to overcome the various gates, whether it's Google or Apple or Steam.


I wonder what sort of deal Samsung has - it's featured prominently on the Galaxy Apps main page.

Rather have no mandatory middleman, fortnite made the right choice.

However the article is leaning towards a "google shouldn't allow this to earn more money" kind of view, but how much is this on the total that google makes from being a middleman?


Alternatively, how much does Google gain by having a platform that allows companies to bypass the Play store? Myself, a tiny and possibly unrepresentative data point, counts as one customer who chooses them specifically for this reason.

I hope this becomes a trend but there should be an easy way for non-savvy users to check keys & hashes to make sure they're not duped with tainted binaries.

"Google will lose"

what?

They won't gain from that particular source. They'll still make fucking BILLIONS.

Epic Games will save 50M$.


I wonder if this becomes a norm in the Android freemium gaming community, will they start advertising more Android ads to iPhone users. Maybe even start offering free "trade-up" program if they spend enough.

If a user spends $1000, and 30% goes to Apple, that's $300 that could of bought the user a dedicated gaming device that will allow them to avoid that 30% tax.

I love Apple, but 30% for in-app purchases is something I will never find comfortable.

I get the exposure, but a game like Fortnite already has enough exposure.

Will freemium gaming companies eventually produce their own device to avoid this 30%.

Only time will tell, but I can say that if I had a game generating $300 million in revenue, and 60 million went to Apple, I wouldn't mind spending a few million in research on how to get out of paying that 60 million for the next year.


> If a user spends $1000, and 30% goes to Apple, that's $300 that could of bought the user a dedicated gaming device that will allow them to avoid that 30% tax.

How many iOS users willing to invest $300 on a low-end Android device to play Fortnite in order to start saving 30% after spending over $700 in in-app purchases do you think exist in the world?


Why do you assume that that money goes back to the customer?

They're not paying the 30%, the developer is. That's just 30% more money the developer makes. The price point for the item wasn't chosen solely based on how much the lose through the app store, it was chosen based on what the customer will bear.

They know that they're only getting 69 cents on that 99 cent download. But they'd take 34 cents if the item will only move at 49 cents. And they'd happily charge $1.50 if they thought you'd buy it.


Probably a significant amount

If you're rich enough to spend $1000 on mobile games, you probably don't care about a 30% saving.

But the company selling you those services does. Do you think the consumables are any cheaper just because they're not paying the 30% App Store fee? Think again

The $1000 can be spend on multiple games.

Enough to pay off more than a few annual developer salaries.

I wonder how much Google regrets not being a walled garden like iOS.

I wonder how many people won’t buy Fortnite hats because getting their CC out is so much more friction than just charging it to your Google account.

Amazon Video / Prime Video takes the exact same approach. You have to sideload Amazon's app store to install the player.

Looks like it's on google play right now, and I have it installed and don't remember sideloading.

Interesting. It wasn’t always there.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/video/splash/sd/t/appstore


I understand the perspective of most of the comments here. Yes, google is not really loosing 50 million bucks. But, isnt a major fraction of what would be spend on fortnite is a lost income which otherwise would have been spent on playstore? And this lost income would be significant since fortnite is massively successful?

Well, biggest apps are the ones strongarming platform vendors. Weixin, for example, threatened to quit apple app store because of in app purchases. Apple's Chinese C-levels were personally sent to Shenzhen appeasing Tencent when they began intentionally degrading weixin's functionality for users with Chinese IPs.

I doubt this would change anything for Epic Games because of Tim Sweeney's opinions on stores but what is a good revenue split between developers and Google?

What would be a reasonable split between Google and app developers? Or is there a better method that Google should use, like charging X% for individual services?

Just curious why in China there are several app stores for Android (Tencent, 360, Baidu etc), while the rest of the world uses mainly Google Play Store?

The Google Play Store is outside the great firewall and therefore probably unusable in China. Phone makers aren't going to ship phones with unusable app stores, so they need to use alternatives. It's the same reason UC Browser and QQ Browser are so popular in China.

I'm curious why there aren't more app store outside China, as evidently from China example, the app store business is sustainable, and Android outside China has a bigger market.

Samsung, Motorola, Amazon, etc. have tried. The trick is to convince all the developers to publish on your app store, so the users will use your app store. They're not going to bother if the phones also have the Google Play Store. The phone manufacturers need to include the Play Store or users won't buy the phones. There is a large first mover advantage.

Play Store is the default app store on essentially all Android devices aside from the Amazon Kindle Fire. Adding a third-party app store involves enabling sideloading in the system settings and manually downloading an APK. Why would a user go to that effort, when essentially all Android apps are already available on the Play Store?

Did anyone else get a weird pop up add that you couldn’t x out of?

Can't google just block installs from websites in a future android update?

I don't want my kid to install apps from websites...


You can use Google's parent control app (Family Link) to disable sideloading on your kid's phones.

By default it is blocked although it's usually one of the first things I turn off. I always have at least one or two apps that aren't on the play store.

I hope that Google doesn't block this feature and turn entirely into a walled garden.


As soon as they do, they die with users like me. I am pretty tolerant of the eco-system lock in because I can so easily opt-over the wall when I want to. If they change that, I'll go to the next platform that respects my ability to make choices for myself, even if they don't match what some people in power in California thinks I should choose.

If they make that change, there won't be another platform to jump to.

I'm curious to what platform do you go if they do that



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