Same goes for app stores, what happens if google and apple ban you for whatever reason? Your company is screwed and you have no appeal or legal safeguards.
I'm scared shitless of "gig economy" platforms. I see a future where one or two platforms rise to the top and all jobs are handled through them. A bad rating can destroy your entire career. The platform will never forget, there will be no second chances.
Scary stuff. We as a society need to start thinking about how we rate people. Right now we all shop for that 5-star rating and punish anyone with 4. We need to mature beyond that as it grows increasingly impossible to maintain perfect ratings.
Regulation is a very very touchy subject, but if millions of people depend on your platform for their livelihood, you can't pretend to still exert arbitrary power of life and death over them with some $5/hr customer service drone trying to go over your case swiftly to meet a daily quota. We need real due process.
We checked her rating and it's 4.5 or so. But it's funny, she looks like a deadbeat here because of more discerning/critical NYC Uber drivers who gave her 4 stars 50% of the time.
Their yelp reviews are completely unreliable, everything is 4 or 5 stars. I'm used to Chicago where even a great restaurant can have 3 stars because everyone is so picky, and the 4 or 5 stars are reserved for the truly extraordinary.
I find Yelp so strange with complaints about how someplace that really doesn't do someone's favorite food style gets some stupid reviews.... or they wish a place was more like a place that is 3x more expensive (how is that fair?). I just have no clue where anyone is coming from.
We had a Neapolitan pizza place open up in in our neighborhood. Great ingredients, amazing Neapolitan pizza. It was inundated reviews complaining about how thin the crust was and floppy the pizza sometimes is. .... they were basically complaining it wasn't some fast food style pizza place where they could stuff their face.
Eventually their ratings did recover and they've got reasonable reviews now, but ... people are dumb. I need some elitist type review system I think ;)
Maybe yelp and other review sites have changed but I've given up on them for a while.
Then you shouldn't "ask" random people you don't even know. That elitist type review system is anything from a newspaper with an established critic, to a Michelin Guide. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michelin_Guide
These days, reviews on all platforms are more useful as a way to avoid genuninely awful places. As someone else said, ignore the average rating, but check a few comments to see if there's a consistent negative theme.
That's ridiculous, and only helps inflation to be normalized. For me, I've found it means it is hard to give credit for truly exceptional service. When I have to give 5s to those that just do the job like I wanted, I have few options to highlight when someone truly goes above and beyond.
3 stars in LA crushes 5 stars in other cities in the US.
And yes, I’ve lived 10 years in the Bay Area and the Chinese food pales in comparison.
Seafood: Newport Seafood(SGV). The restaurants listed above are decent for the Bay Area with Mayflower a notch or two below.
Best Taiwanese street food: Sin Ba La (Arcadia).
Southland Flavor Cafe(Cupertino)
Lastly, in LA, the 626 Night Market is lots of crazy street food.
(Bistro Na is great too.)
My favourite is "Oriental Canteen" near South Kensington station. At lunchtime I would order takeway, and then go browse a neighbouring bookshop. One day, as I was heading back the manager (who was rude on the best of days) just wordlessly held the bag with my lunch out the window so that I just grabbed it from her hands without even setting foot in her restaurant.
An excellent combination of impoliteness and efficiency for busy people who are there to exchange money for food rather than to make friends.
And I agree with how you feel about the Oriental Canteen. A really inexpensive place to get a quick meal. Can’t expect much more from it.
I reckon the food there is pretty good quality, especially by London standards. Though the menu is pretty basic. At least that was my assessment 10 years ago when I lived there.
* jiaba: for taiwanese food
* orient: best dimsum
* joyluck: good hotpot
Ratings generally have become nonsensical. Between paid reviews, influencer reviews, bot-generated reviews, one-dimensional reviews that confuse multi-dimensional experiences, friends-and-family reviews, bucket reviews where you can't tell which product of a range is being reviewed (Amazon...), and hostile fake reviews, reviews have become all-but useless.
FWIW I had to pick a removals company recently, and I crossed one company off my shortlist when I found they used a suspect ratings company for their review listings. It's possible they were fine, but any company that pays to hide or remove bad reviews may easily not be.
I'm not sure if it's even possible to create a reliable independent review system. It might seems like a trivial problem, but given all the issues it's actually incredibly hard to get it right.
I really wish that google maps, yelp etc. would have 2 or 3 categories being
Food, Service and Facilities
5 stars are just too simple, i feel the same way about Netflix thumbs up and thumbs down. Are we really so fucking simple minded that we can't handle nuanced ratings ?
"Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded." -- Yogi Berra
If I have to wait one hour to get the food, that is detrimental to the experience in my opinion
Curt, even surly service is pretty much trademark for Chinese/Vietnamese restaurants in my mind. I find the notion of "good service" actually a little overbearing sometimes honestly
Now, white people not realizing that different cultural norms are at play and calling Chinese waiters rude, now THAT is definitely deserving of contempt.
Find people you trust. Follow their reviews. Use socially gathered reviews as indicators when all else fails, and understand that half of them are probably worthless.
Generally we need to stop this because it's a major culprit in turning our world into an exhausting, low-trust, paranoid slog. Already, I mistrust non-OSS computing devices with their mystery-meat forced updates and non-removeable apps and barrage of legal agreements. If current trends hold, I'll have to second-guess my fridge because it's also serving a grocery-conglomerate, or the insurance company, my car is serving the insurance company and the state, my toilet works for pharma, and my washer and dryer... well, it goes on like that.
Constant wariness and justified cynicism are exhausting and dehumanizing and will do their part to sap an entire society. We know how this goes in the case of corrupt illiberal states, but ending up in that same place via a corrupt corporate culture/state is also possible, happening as we speak even, and halting that should be seen as another layer of defense for the liberal order.
People don't care unfortunately. Services are convenient and offer a better bang for the buck in the sort term. At some point though you lose your job and your music library is gone, you have nothing to watch because everyone streams and thus the movie/show selling market was never forced to solve it's copyright issues. You have no car because it was leased and you have no place to stay because the landlord kicked you out when you missed a rent( and buying an apartment or a house is crazy expensive across the board for some reason I still don't understand).
>Do we want to live in a world where every device is a black box that's only reparable by "authorized" personnel, where some hobby-level engineering skill won't help you prevent a 1$ dishwasher repair from costing 100$? Where every appliance comes with a plan, favors a "platform" and will make your life a headache if you disagree, serves you but also who knows how many other masters and economic agendas, and inexplicably goes dark because bankruptcy, bugs, hacks, your guess is as good as mine?
We need to find a way to make manufacturing electronics cheap. The cat is out of the bag and electronics and software will become part of everything. Maybe a smart fridge is a stupid idea now but it might make sense in a different context. I think Japan has been big on various home automation for many decades now before sv decided to reinvent the wheel but the cases I read about were much more respecting and user-controlled.
>Constant wariness and justified cynicism are exhausting and dehumanizing and will do their part to sap an entire society. We know how this goes in the case of corrupt illiberal states, but ending up in that same place via a corrupt corporate culture/state is also possible, happening as we speak even, and halting that should be seen as another layer of defense for the liberal order.
There is no liberal order anymore. Have you noticed how everything today is tense? Like every interaction has to be within very narrow and at the same time arbitrary limits? How everything even slightly political turns into a shitshow and not just online. Everyone has to be super careful of his/her personal ratings and there is no room to vent off and do your own thing because if society finds out it will tear you apart.
Connected straight to your smartphone without a server in the middle or not connected to the internet at all. E.g. make your bathtub automatically fill up with water at your preferred temperature on a specified time every day and then maintain that for x amount of time. Flush it automatically after that time if you haven't pressed a button manually. I could see coming home after work and jumping straight to the bath being convenient and this setup doesn't even need connectivity.
Maybe some stuff could connect with each other only via LAN. E.g. night/day sensors that will turn the outside lights on when there isn't enough sunlight. Or a monitoring panel( basically a tablet) that will tell you if your fridge is struggling to keep the temperature down( maybe the underside needs cleaning). That could also be used to create various profiles for your smart lightbulbs so you can get the exact type of light that you want. Slowly increasing in luminosity to wake you up or getting a red led-like light profile for when you want to watch a movie. Maybe a more blue oriented light to help suppress melatonin when you have to stay late. A coffee maker( using regular grounded coffee, not capsules) will notify you when the internal coffee storage is low. I hate it when I run out of coffee without realizing it and I have to leave the house early in the morning without any caffeine.
The possibilities are there but those that make these devices need to look and listen to how people actually live instead of just trying to impress with useless and dangerous gimmicks or try to get extra money by extracting data.
I find all of the seeming incoveniences are often interaction points, chances to bump with the world around us. Ran out of coffee? ... hmm, dig out an old stash of tea (it may even taste better), or stop by a coffee house, maybe meet a love of your life, or just live a 'different' day.
On the other hand, commute/traffic jam is indeed life-wasting -- it would even upset the smart bath-tub.
Notice that e.g. on the coffee example I specifically didn't suggest ordering coffee automatically for you or something. I buy fresh grinded(is that the right word?) coffee myself that I buy from a local coffee shop so all I would want is a reminder-maybe a specific text file where I input the stuff that I need to buy and the coffee machine adds coffee on it automatically. Then I can sync that file to my phone when I go shopping( maybe a couple of QR codes?).
Anyway the point of home IOT for me would be to get ease the mental load of keeping up with the house and maybe save some time with e.g. the bath tub( maybe if you decide to connect the system to your smartphone with e.g. a key exchange via lan you could tell the bath tub to extend the time that it keeps the water ready).
Services are indisputably a good thing and they are absolutely the way forwards. There is no reason for anybody to own much of anything and with global middle class approaching 4 billion it's simply not possible for the extremely wasteful concept of "ownership" to survive. Metering is the only way forwards besides catastrophe.
> Already, I mistrust non-OSS computing devices with their mystery-meat forced updates and non-removeable apps and barrage of legal agreements.
You've stumbled upon the actual issue which is nothing more than compelled business (in Europe and Asia) and what I guess the US calls a "coercive monopoly" . The fundamental problem with Apple's App Store is that there is no reasonable alternative. Individuals and businesses which purchase IPhone devices are forced to do business with Apple if they want to actually utilize those devices to their full potential. Similarly developers who wish to provide services around IPhones have no choice but to do business with Apple.
> We know how this goes in the case of corrupt illiberal states, but ending up in that same place via a corrupt corporate culture/state is also possible, happening as we speak even, and halting that should be seen as another layer of defense for the liberal order.
Ironically, if you want to see a government who gets this "right" take a look at China. Chinese governments have moved aggressively to prevent monopolies and the laws were modified ten years ago to draw a clear distinction between a market (where all businesses interact freely and there is fair competition) and a platform (where a single business dictates virtually all the economic terms). This, along with the relaxed IP framework, is why the Chinese market is much more competitive and dynamic than anything else going on out there. At this point I don't think anybody seriously expects America's ultra-right-wing Supreme Court to break Apple's monopoly, but earlier this year there were a lot of indicators suggesting that Apple's coercive practices were not welcome . (Though this issue might solve itself if Apple's market share in China continues to plunge.)
Also, I like the idea that it's not services themselves that are the problem, but rather platforms being used to force them down people's throats. Coming up with policy to discourage services seems much more conceptually difficult than rediscovering serious antitrust, a simple oldie-but-goodie.
On the other hand, I love perusing those 3-star restaurants as I find so many hidden gems covered in the tears of LLC owners and bored hostesses.
If I were a lesser man, I totally am, I would write a book concerning that social theory called the Star Divide.
I dislike systems that end up being like this: 1 star = -8, 2 star = -4, 3 star = -2, 4 star = -1, 5 star = 0.
I need to be able to express when things are good as well as when things are bad. When everyone and everything has a 4.5-star average rating, there's no way to tell when anything stands out as being better than similar things. You can only see when things are significantly worse.
Someone above mentioned due process. I second that. What we have right now is no where near robust enough.
So, I will have a friendly conversation with someone. The human means, ways, methods work well and are time tested, production proven.
5 stars, unless it is really bad, and they do not have some cause for that being the case.
Honestly, the income is thin, many of these people are working their asses off, and is that not harsh enough?
Not much to like in all of it.
Some removed without explanation and assumed it is because they competed with Alphabet in some way.
Scary to think two or three companies effectively have total control over your digital business and you have basically zero rights without any course for appeal, you're absolutely at the mercy of good will if there is any (often none).
Regulation is needed here, the old 'regulate thy self' is a sham soundbite, proven time and time again.
I guess gig unions could be a thing? Can we build apps for worker coordination? What if there was a way for all Uber drivers to coordinate global strikes?
We should be open for regulation that protect the rights of workers to unionize.
Uber can press a button in response to a strike and send out a push notification to potential scabs offering a bribe to cross the digital picket line. The strikers both don't know and can't efficiently tell who scabs are, and as such can't put pressure for solidarity on them.
Edit: looks like this is now legally permitted, https://tcf.org/content/report/virtual-labor-organizing/
”Due to a little-known, but far-reaching change made by the NLRB last year, virtual labor organizing by employees is now sanctioned by law in many situations and could possibly be transformative in the workplace ... NLRB recently reversed years of legal precedent that allowed employers to ban the use of workplace e-mail for organizing or communicating about the terms and conditions of work. Last year, in its decision in Purple Communications, Inc., the NLRB emphatically endorsed the right of employees to use workplace e-mail for such activities. It held that “employee use of email for statutorily protected communications on nonworking time must presumptively be permitted by employers who have chosen to give employees access to their email systems.” The NLRB added that: “Employees’ need to share information and opinions is particularly acute in the context of an initial organizing campaign.”
What scares me even shitlesser is that the legislative and regulatory momentum is pointing in the wrong direction. Governments and political movements are calling on platforms to policing their users more tightly along various axes. They are doing little or nothing to help folks act independently on the net.
I share your intuition that any good solution will involve government action. But if we just shout "there oughtta be a law" then law we get will do the opposite of what we want.
A torrent remote app would never be allowed on the IOS app store, but going to https://remote.vuze.com and pairing your Vuze app can't be banned....
It's also unfortunate that web pages have the disadvantage that they have the browser UI around them, so it reduces the space available to the page versus an app, and web pages don't have permissions that apps do like sending notifications. Some people view this as a good thing and I tend to agree, but it's still a big disconnect that my weather app can send me a notification saying there is a tornado in my area whereas a weather website needs me to actively be checking it.
On iOS, this is literally a two-tap process (share sheet -> add to home screen). I can't speak for the masses, but the reason I don't do it more often is because so many web apps are just bad on mobile. Slow, poor rendering, no attention paid to extended usability...
When you visit a proper PWA multiple times, your browser is supposed to notice and ask you if you want to save it to the Homescreen.
But you're right, web on mobile is still miserable in general.
I just pinned a few sites I use.
Or worse. This reminded me of this recent comment:
The paragraph in question:
> After an agent had been terminated, their punishment points would decay over time until such a time they reached zero (or another configurable threshold depending on how desperate the company was for warm bodies), at which time they would be sent an e-mail to their personal e-mail (which was collected during the application process), inviting them to “re-apply”. Being an early telephony company we also would send them a robo-call with the “good news”. This process was known as a “life-cycle” and it was common in certain labor markets for employees to have many such lifecycles.
Seriously, give it a read and cry, if you haven't...
I can't help but think of a platform like that but international and for all jobs. Hellish reality.
Because the problems that need to be solved aren't technical ones and won't be solved with technology. They are meatspace-based cultural, economic and social problems.
Not sure how to get general users to rate with 1-star = bad, 3-stars = ok, and 5-stars = great. Sounds like a social engineering problem. It may be more reliable to use trained evaluators, like the system used by Consumer Reports or the Michelin Guide.
... except China. In other words, China is just stealing EVERYTHING FROM EVERYONE and not even Apple or Google can stop it from happening.
This article is about pushing Google and Apple to lower percentages -- perhaps 5% from what once was 30% and that these two giants are the dangerous entities in the world? Let me know when Google and Apple shut down the wikipedia or block news about Tienanmen Square or block pictures of Winnie the Poo.
Until then I hope Apple and Google get stronger. If you want a balance against the central state, then capitalism might be your best option.
Companies in China do fine without the Google App Store.
I couldn't disagree more with this sentiment. The answer is not to intentionally sabotage competitive market forces that are driving better outcomes for consumers. That's the equivalent of a jobs program. If you can't compete, you don't compete. Businesses are inherently risky and some people will lose.
If an inordinate number of sellers are failing or struggling, that reflects a failed assessment of market risk and ill-informed decision-making. The answer is to improve the decision-making capability of participants or otherwise improve the social safety net for people who are facing new realities of economic obsolescence.
Ideally, the 5-star rating system should work like:
- 1-star means Awful
- 2-star means Bad
- 3-star means OK
- 4-star means Good
- 5-star means Excellent
- 1-star means Couldn't be worse
- 2-star means Awful
- 3-star means Bad
- 4-star means There was a problem
- 5-star means OK
Being more accepting of 4-star or 3-star ratings is not sabotaging competitive market forces; it's trying to use the 5-star rating system like it should be.
I'm definitely not going to voluntarily get worse food so I can protest the idea of ratings.
And as long as that's the case, there will always be pressure for people and services that aren't "Excellent" to go for the 5 star anyway, and as long as they're going for it, there'll be a social pressure to provide it.
The problem isn't linguistic, it's game theoretic.
>I'm definitely not going to voluntarily get worse food so I can protest the idea of ratings.
Yeah, but most people (maybe including you) certainly will "voluntarily get worse food" if you consider the price difference sufficient. In a system where 3 stars means good or excellent it can be expected there will be a non-linear increase in cost and skill requirements to hit 4 or 5 stars. They will be rarer, likely less convenient, and certainly more expensive. For a special occasion sure, maybe you go for the very best. But in general many people will be perfectly happy with a lower starred establishment that is more affordable and convenient and still perfectly decent. Sometimes people just want to fill their stomachs for the purpose of continued survival in a reasonably pleasant fashion, not have a magical gourmet experience. Scale compression removes visibility for this basic tradeoff right?
I mean, we can even find a direct example of this in the food world right now: Michelin Stars. It's a 1 to 3 scale and even a single one is a big deal. But the standards necessary to qualify and maintain it are not cheap for the restaurant. I remember reading of a very nice restaurant in a more run down area of France that had earned a star, and were very proud of it, but ultimately decided to give it up because it resulted in them being priced out of the general range of locals. Conversely there is nothing bad about going to even a 1 Michelin star restaurant, it'll still be likely to be very good.
The reviewers need to have their own ratings statistically analyzed, so that their median rating is adjusted to 3 stars out of five for the purposes of averaging across multiple reviewers.
If you only rate things as 5 stars, you have no dynamic range. I want your reviews to all be 3 stars in the average I see.
Another optimization could be to change the aggregation function such that reviewers that rated well the same things I rate well, and who rate poorly the same things I rate poorly, and those reviewers I explicitly mark as having helpful reviews, would be weighted more heavily in the number I see. That would effectively filter out bots that rate their brand as 5 stars and competitors as 1 star, because that pattern is so dissimilar from normal consumer behavior. The bots see cheap white-label crap as 5-star because the recommendations of their fellow ratings-gaming spam-bots dominate their own aggregate rating. If you rate a microwave oven as 1-star because it shipped in 3 days rather than 2, I don't really want your reviews polluting my averages. If you rate a cheap-ass USB cable as 5-stars because it "works good i had no problems", I don't want your reviews polluting my averages. If you rate a USB charger as 1-star because it "Violates USB 3.0 spec and will probably burn your house down; I am an electrical engineer and here's how I figured that out..." then you're danged right I want that reviewer's reviews to have more weight.
I don't see how a system like that would be any more complex than Google's ranking algorithms for search. If they can discover the most useful sites and weed out SEO gaming attempts by analysis of links and traffic, so too could Amazon put an actually useful rating value on the products it ships, and so too could Uber show you what drivers and riders are really like.
My friends and I were recently discussing how we haven't had a bad experience in any restaurant in awhile. But now we are so used to really good restaurants that it is extremely rare to get amazed by any restaurant.
If we compare this to our experiences in pre-Yelp era, it was so exciting to discover an amazing restaurant. Sure we ate at a lot of mediocre restaurants but joy of finding something amazing was greater back then.
I am not sure what the solution is. Stop looking up ratings?
"Epic said this is due to the success of Fortnite. If only Apple and Google had successful products to rely on for income."
It feels like in tech there are a ton of leech-like companies attempting to leverage their way into middleman positions and then rest on their laurels while dictating terms to the supply side as they hold the customer side hostage. I'm not a fan of it, and I'm glad that in the past few years there seems to be a growing awareness of it.
Tim Sweeney and Epic have been hugely supportive to other developers and I wish other companies tried to offer as much value and support to the developers that their business rests upon.
Now Apple doesn’t need 30%, but they’d lose huge amounts of money at 5%. A more reasonable guess at App Store break-even is that it requires at least 10%.
There's many good UX reasons why Apple does this, but you can't seriously think that they're charging app developers anything reasonably close to the cost Apple incurs because they have literally no incentive to do that; they have a monopoly on iPhone users (much as Google does de facto for Android users).
So they run a CDN. In the US and Europe, Fastly charges  a maximum of $0.12/GB. A messaging app like Threema is 41MB and costs 3CHF (~3USD) where I am. That's ~$0.005 for distribution of a $3 app.
For a 4GB app (the largest Apple supports), you're paying $0.48 but you're also usually charging on the order of $20 for the app, so this is ~2.5%.
Actual bandwidth costs much less. You can buy decent transit for 0.17c/Mbps/month  ($0.0005/GB if you max the pipe).
> and covers all bandwidth for distributing and updating those apps
Let's say incremental updates cost 5% (~2MB) each time and you send them once a month for 10 years. That's 240MB of extra download, for a total bandwidth of 281MB/user. That's $0.0372/user for a $3 app, just over 1%.
> And unlike google Apple actually reviews every release of every app by hand, keeping huge amounts of malware off customer devices
That primarily benefits Apple. Apple's policies also cost entire classes of apps _100%_ of their revenue, since Apple prohibits them completely.
More importantly, Apple isn’t a mere payment processer, and it certainly isn’t a mere CDN.
Then entire storefront, updated constantly with new marketing programs in hundreds of country specific stores, and in dozens of languages. Then there is the technological infrastructure behind it, from XCode to TestFlight, to crash reporting, to all the payment systems, etc, etc.
And overall developers benefit greatly from App Store review.The average iOS user downloads more apps and spends far more on the App Store in a great part because of the greater safety and security of iOS apps.
The host over 2 million apps, in hundreds of geographic locations. With updates, they are distributing billions of releases and updates a year. And some of those apps exceed a gigabyte in size.
Outside of raw bandwidth and storage costs, someone has to run those tens of thousands of servers across the world, and manage development of the distribution software.
Then you need sales and marketing personnel to build and run the App Store, and hundreds of similar staffs to build and manage the hundreds of international stores in dozens of different languages.
Then you need software development teams to build and maintain the
- payment processing, including server infrastructure, the iOS, Mac SDKs, the APIs, etc
- software distribution and updating infrastructure, from tools to manage thousands of servers, as well as track and report, and more Mac/iOS SDKs and sever APIs.
- The App Store itself, with custom app pages, search, advertising, Mobil app versions, web versions, account management, support, etc.
- App Submission infrastructure, including XCode, Swift, Automated App Analysis tools, Bitcode, the Bitcode server infrastructure, crash reporting, TestFlight test distributions and infrastructure, developer accounts including security profile generation/management, ItunesConnect account management including sales and legal reporting along with App distribution interface and controls.
And then there is
- Sales and marketing costs, advertising, developer co-marketing
- Customer support
And finally, developer support. Apple likely has at least a thousand people working in developer support, mostly on app submissions. And they are all in Cupertino, meaning Apple is spending well over $100M a year just on payroll costs for that department alone.
$1B? I’d be surprised if it’s less than triple that. They likely spend close to half a billion on App Store/Developer advertising alone.
App ecosystems or platforms were since decades free for developers, because platforms need developers more than viceversa. Apple’s case is unique, and it comes from their preexisting culture of a cultish, high-paying customer base. It is unfortunate that google and ms. copied their model, i think android app distribution should be free. At this point, i dont think they even did it for the money, but more for appearing to be ‘serious’ in their offering. It was a marketing decision.
If it had been free from the start , companies wouldnt have invested so much on building increasingly higher walled gardens. Apps would be on the web, and some third party would have done a better job of organizing and reviewing them.
I doubt app stores are a big cost as you say. It is pretty obvious from their quality that these companies just dont care about them. They use them to lock in developers.
Do you have a source for that? I'm 99.9% sure this isn't true. I've had apps rejected where the screenshots had non-english characters in the status bar, and rejections because the app had no daily content because they were testing at like 3:00 am our time and we publish our daily content around 10:00 am.
Edit: EC == European Commission
I also don't really think the Apple/Google fee is that unreasonable. Considering the resources, tools, marketplaces, tutorials, payment processing, all the other All dev stuff they provide in general. Yes if your app goes big, they make a lot of money. But for every big app there's something like 9 that fail completely (it's murky due to how many apps aren't intended to profit in the first place, and are just made to attract customers to a brand).
I don't know the numbers though. Maybe they could charge lots less. But just from my single viewpoint, it doesn't "feel" unreasonable.
Apple sells me a locked down hardware platform that requires me to go through them for all software purchases and all data purchases made with that software.
> But just from my single viewpoint, it doesn't "feel" unreasonable.
It seems unreasonable to me that Apple should get a cut of my Amazon Video purchases. Apple adds no value there; they just get in the way and try to take a cut. I already have a relationship with Amazon and when I download a video from Amazon, it costs Apple nothing.
The entire thing where I have to make a purchase through the Amazon website rather than the Amazon or Amazon Video app and then download it with Amazon Video app is just stupid.
I strongly suspect that, given enough time to compensate for the existing momentum of the App Store, if an alternative App Store was an option, Apple would either improve its offerings, lower what it charges, or see a mass migration of publishers away from the App Store.
Edit: Clarity of meaning.
You can go into the Google Play store (which most people would think was the "official" and "safe" method of getting apps) and still get malware and/or a virus on your Android phone. Now imagine that Google offered both an official Play store and an alternative open Play store. Which do you think the majority of users would use and have a positive opinion of?
There's no reason for Apple to offer that on their phones since it dilutes the customer experience. Anyone that would care about doing that can still do that via XCode by side-loading the apps.
Case in point - where's the competitor for the Mac App Store on macOS? There's not. Users have to do all the legwork themselves. That's literally no different than side-loading your own apps.
Yeah, double-clicking that DMG and dragging the .app 30 pixels to the Applications shortcut is a lot of work.
>That's literally no different than side-loading your own apps.
Yup, clicking and dragging is the same as configuring a different machine to properly build and provision.
You're being purposely disingenuous.
Second: many, many sites host their own DMG downloads, with zero fake download buttons. I don't think searching for an app's website on Google is significantly harder than searching for an app in the App Store (also I'm not sure typing in search terms is "one click", but whatever). I'll admit that using the App Store is slightly less work to install stuff, and somewhat more secure.
But from a user standpoint (I use a Mac with one or two App Store apps and dozens of DMG-installer-based apps) it's not a huge difference. And from a developer standpoint, that's not worth 30% of my revenue.
This exists now and is free. I’m not saying it’s a good user experience (especially the one week limitation), but it’s definitely possible and legit / legal / free.
Why do you think that is?
Promotion: only the ones that seem to be successful anyways. Mostly no niche apps
Analytics: Not everybody needs this and they're pretty basic, too.
They also introduce hurdles: Rating system (can be easily abused), or in the case of the App Store: review process (sometimes somewhat arbitrary), no insight into payments (you can't even issue a refund).
One service that is indeed quite useful: They handle all payment processing and country's tax. You just get a single payment wired to your bank account. Makes your own taxes a lot easier. This and distribution are probably the biggest benefit for most apps (especially niche apps), but does this justify a 30% cut?
Which is why the article emphasized Netflix trying to get customers to sign up through their web site, and not the app.
What is more unfair is that Apple forbids apps to open/link websites where subscriptions can be done to “workaround” the iTunes subscription. If you take Spotify for instance and login as free user, there are absolutely zero mentions that you can upgrade to premium, because they decided to lose those potential customers and rather let them know through other channels of their purchasing options (eg: emails).
On the other hand, this creates a very safe and simple environment for iPhone users. Absolutely NO app asks for a credit card, ever. You either pay one-click safely through iTunes, or nothing. There is no phishing, no mismanaged credit card handling, no credit cards “stolen by hackers from the app I installed into my iPhone”. I’m not saying this fully justifies the above unfair rule, but it’s at least a partial positive side effect.
Having recently jumped through the series of hoops necessary to cancel an NYTimes subscription, I am strongly biased towards App Store and Amazon-Prime-based subscriptions, even though they are arguably unfair to the providers.
Slight anecdote, because of that policy, Amazon doesn't support links to Amazon from Kindle Books. Which is fine 99.999% of the time. Until you buy a book about AWS and you can't click on any of the links to documentation on Amazon's websites....
However, Apple also wants a cut if I were to purchase a movie through the Amazon Video app. Amazon has disallowed such purchases for this reason. Instead, I have to go back to the web, make the purchase, and then I can view it with the app.
Some may argue that this is a fair price for having your app hosted on the app store. However, since Apple prevents any other means of me getting apps on my phone, I find it unfair rent-seeking.
Worse, Apple very clearly wants subscriptions to work just like in-app purchases.
Other than inventing the modern phone, writing the operating system and developer tools, running the store, manufacturing the phones people are consuming Amazon's product on and convincing people to buy them...you can argue about what's "fair," but Apple's certainly adding value.
It's similar to Fortnite's model: sell the game at a low cost (free actually), and then make money from inessential addons (skins).
You do have something to do with the os. Your app is running on the os.
Come on now.
> writing the operating system
Which OS, iOS, that the phone purchaser inherently paid for? Or macOS, that the computer purchaser inherently paid for?
> developer tools
Which you need to purchase a developer license for to be useful.
Apple is adding value, AND double dipping. Most of your examples are things they've already been compensated for.
They invented the app ecosystem, which is far more important than just inventing a phone. Without Apple, the application market would still be controlled by Sprint and AT&T and Verizon.
Not defending Apple or attacking it, just pointing out the facts.
They can keep their 30% cut if they allow me to sideload apps from external sources.
I don't know if you've used an iPhone, but do you really think AT&T's walled garden would have anything approaching the quality of the best apps on the App Store?
Sadly, people have forgotten how much life sucked for mobile developers before the iPhone. Apple's contribution is reflected in various peoples' prejudices and agendas, but not in history books. Only Nixon could go to China, and only Jobs could have stared down AT&T from a position of weakness.
I'm not an Apple partisan, and I'm definitely not going to defend the concept of locking a general-purpose computing platform away from its own users, but I'll always give him credit for that.
Do roads add value? Should trucks pay a 30% of their cargo retail price in road tolls?
I agree with your point that Apple adds value. I just do not see that as a justification to take a 30% share of all apps that run on their devices.
This is a good point. But I would rather see this apps more highly taxed than to allow monopolistic empires to grow.
Well, what are you saying? I seriously don’t understand what you meant.
IBM Simon, 1992.
Applr popularised, they didn't invent. Ironically given the target of their 1984 ad.
I have voted with my wallet. But it is getting harder to do so, soon only linux will be left.
Steam is almost exactly the same way because it's not like you can take your Steam purchase and use it without Steam. Yes, you can buy DLC and other add-ons directly from the publisher if you wanted to but that's moreso because of how the publishers have created their products rather than how Steam works as a platform.
As for your Amazon example, Apple does absolutely add value there. They manage and keep track of all your purchases and payments so that there's a single, unified method for both paying and resolving issues. Additionally, since Apple functions as the payment processor, you're also paying for the security functionality. The only reason you have to make a purchase from the Amazon website is because Amazon wants to control the purchasing and doesn't want to pay Apple for their payment processing.
It's just a difference of whether you prefer the consistency of the experience that Apple prefers at the expense of other companies or whether you prefer to deal with several different experiences that could potentially open everything up for fraud and problems. People who aren't as tech savvy or who don't want to have to wade through a bunch of BS just to make a purchase may prefer Apple's method. Others may prefer digging through and doing all that in order to have a broader pool to choose from.
I like having all my subscriptions in the same place so I can easily see what I'm paying and cancel.
A. You can choose to buy an Android phone like 80%+ of the smart phone world.
B. You can buy content outside of the Apple store and use it within the app (Amazon, Udemy, Spotify, Google Play Music, every video streaming service, etc.)
It seems unreasonable to me that Apple should get a cut of my Amazon Video purchases.
They don't, in fact you can't buy Amazon content within the app.
Your rant is misplaced and you've missed the point entirely. I never said Apple adds no value. I think they add quite a bit of value, which is why I've bought a number of their products. I am talking about a specific case for which Apple thinks it is due 30%.
Apple does not add value by inserting itself into a transaction I am trying to conduct with Amazon. I've already paid for all the value. First to Apple for the device, and then to Amazon for the data. Am I or Amazon supposed to pay Apple for my use of the device as well? And if so... where is the value added?
In truth, The App Store is far more than a mere payment processor, though it might be best in the world at that. The costs of hosting, distributing and updating two million apps across hundreds of localized stores, and also vetting every release and update for those millions of apps, is immense.
All their work makes the App Store easy and safe to use anywhere in the world and that helps developers sell more apps.
But Apple doesn't have a majority of market share (by number of devices), so, in my opinion, antitrust regulators have completely discounted their behavior.
On the other hand, the experience of using Apple Pay is miles beyond Google Checkout/Wallet/Pay/Android Pay/whatever marketing's new name-of-the-week-is, and only allowing One Blessed Way of taking payment on Apple devices is a big component of that. Having one consistent flow that I can execute in three seconds from muscle memory really does make buying-from-random-apps-and-retailers experience much nicer and more predictable than it is on the web and on other mobile platforms.
Unless Apple and google start allowing sales outside their stores I don’t think steam is comparable.
Technically this is not correct. Practically it is.
You can install Apps on iOS devices without the app store (called sideloading, and it's a PITA): https://beebom.com/how-to-sideload-apps-iphone-ios-10-withou...
I suspect they'll either put a limit on # of free keys or start charging per key, something like 5% of your listed retail price.
No one can launch a competing app service on iOS. Apparently you can on Android, but I'm not sure why no one succeeded yet. Maybe the same reason as no one succeeded yet replacing Steam either, you need some kind of critical mass and that takes time to build.
Predictably, this is where the goalposts have moved but it's really orthogonal to whether there's value or not. Also as pointed out elsewhere, Steam is in a competitive market and charges the same commission. Also in Apple's favor is the well attested to value of the App Store vs Google Play and others in terms of raw revenue.
 'Predictably' as in "Being locked down or not is a red herring to the value argument" in grandparent
That’s the value add IMO, not the aluminum case, the Apple logo, or anything else. A locked garden isn’t perfect, but it’s better than an open sewer.
The Apple App Store does not fill all those conditions. In fact, I can safely say it does not do some of things you say, including the part about stuff just working.
And those transaction fees actually pay for something, like customer protection, SLAs (not a shitty status site) and no, the credit card company doesn't add unskippable ads on top of the checkout process or advertise a scam clone version of what you are trying to buy to you.
You tell me if the app store fees provide 100x as much.
I'm not sure it's possible to create a hugely successful iPhone app that isn't on the App Store. Apple has a monopoly and is using it to squeeze excessive fees from developers.
Valve gets 30% of apps distributed using Steam. In other words, only companies that value Steam at the 30% premium will use it -- and many of them don't. Meanwhile Steam has to be responsive to customers because it has competition, so it's forced to be a better product than monopoly app stores.
It's like saying that $25 is "the market price" for eight ounces of tuna fish because there are restaurants that charge that price and some people patronize them, so a monopoly that charges $50/pound in all cases is not charging unreasonable prices.
Whereas most Android phones come with Google apps and the Play Store as the only ways to get new apps.
For IOS though, fortnite launched it in the IOS store because there is no real practical way to get users to install their app outside of Apples app store.
It's functionally impossible to release an app on iOS without paying Apple.
Compared to the 0% of self-publishing, Apple's fees are excessive.
Apple's fees aren't excessive because they offer their services and provide their value to every app published through their store. Yes, they could offer a way to publish the app without those features and not charge the fee but that would further complicate the experience for users. I mean, technically, companies are absolutely allowed to host apps for users to side load themselves. It's just that no one wants to do that because it's not worth it when the costs Apple are taking are actually reasonable.
The business could choose to launch on Android only, and hope that convinces consumers to switch, but that's about it for options.
I’m getting very tired of the phrase “de facto” bandied about in front of monopoly as a way to use the latter word in a way that has no legal or technical merit. Words have meanings. Apple has a walled garden which competes with similar products, it’s just that Apple’s is better in many ways. They have a valuable audience, they don’t suffe from the security issues of their competitors, and that may make you want to use them. So use them, or don’t, and accept the trade-offs.
Don’t like Apple? Try android, their competition in the same space.
As per usual, competition is a good answer. Competition in making iPhones is nonsensical. Competition in distributing and selling iOS apps isn't, and would be good for the market. Or at least it might be good for the market. That's the whole premise of this discussion, and for most discussions about monopolistic tendencies.
People just want something they can’t have, so they play word games to make themselves sound righteous rather than selfish or petulant. No amount of talking around the issue or downvotes changes it, and it’s why an AG will laugh in your face if you claim Apple is violating antitrust regulations with their system.
Which is likewise why Apple doesn't have a monopoly on phones.
> Apps is the space for competition, and Apple doesn’t have a monopoly on apps, or phones. In fact you can almost always get the same apps on multiple platforms.
The market isn't the app market itself, it's not that there aren't a hundred flashlight apps, it's the distribution market. All the flashlight apps have to come through Apple.
It's as if Walmart is the only retailer in California. That there are arbitrarily many manufacturers or that other retailers exist in Florida doesn't mean they don't have a retail monopoly in California.
And the fact is you can't get an app for your iPhone from the Play Store. They aren't the same market because they can't be substituted for each other.
IOS device software distribution -> apple has a monopoly
High end phones -> apple probably has a monopoly
Total revenue of phones sold -> apple probably has a monopoly
Number of phones (in use?) by OS -> android has a monopoly
Number of computers by OS -> nobody has a monopoly http://gs.statcounter.com/os-market-share
Which is why it matters if there are close substitutes or not.
> IOS device software distribution -> apple has a monopoly
There are no good substitutes for this. There is no viable alternative for distributing apps to the people with iOS devices. Distributing apps to people with Android devices isn't a substitute because they're different people, in the same way that distribution in the Northeast is not a substitute for distribution in the Southwest.
> High end phones -> apple probably has a monopoly
There are high end Android phones that are probably adequate substitutes. But if there weren't (or you think they aren't adequate substitutes) then sure.
> Total revenue of phones sold -> apple probably has a monopoly
The market you've specified is "phones" which is obviously not something Apple has a monopoly on. Whole Foods doesn't have a monopoly on food just because they have high margins. There are tons of non-Apple phones if all you need to satisfy to be part of the market is to be a phone.
It may even be a weak market definition because it's too broad -- a feature phone isn't a very good substitute for an iPhone. A better market definition might be smartphones, but even then they still don't have a monopoly. It's not about revenue or margins, it's a question of whether the consumer has a reasonable alternative supplier of something sufficiently equivalent.
> Number of phones (in use?) by OS -> android has a monopoly
The market in that case is would be "phone OS" but then Android has the obvious competition from iOS. Also, Android isn't a company, it's a product. It's nearly impossible for a piece of open source software to have "a monopoly" when literally everyone is allowed to supply it and anyone can do so at trivial cost. All the Android phone manufacturers are each independent suppliers of it.
> Number of computers by OS -> nobody has a monopoly
The market in that case is "computer OS" which is a poor market definition because desktop and phone operating systems are poor substitutes for each other.
This is why I think we need a new way of identifying market abuse.
> The problem with what the EU is doing is that they aren't interested in applying a rigorous standard.
Yeah, this is what I and a lot of other people have a problem with these EU antitrust laws and even GDPR . In the google case, they literally had the android play clauses set from day 1 when they had 0% market share and instead of telling google that they could no longer bundle chrome/search to the play store now that they reached 50% market share in mobile OS (their magic antitrust metric), they waited 7 years and then threw a ridiculous fine at them. If the laws were clear, this wouldn't be a problem.
I can’t understand this at all. If I go through the trouble to create a product and I want to control the user experience for that product, that’s my right and privilege. The market will decide if they want to purchase my product or not.
Consumers have spoken, and spoken extremely loudly, that they like Apple’s approach. Why would you want to deny the right for this product to exist?
It’s an amazing product, and what Apple has accomplished with their App Store is nothing short of incredible. I love their approach and I think they are 100% entitled to charge what they want on their own marketplace.
I'm not sure why this is supposed to be controversial. It's not a prohibition on checking signatures, it's just a requirement to give the user the option of doing something else.
Once you sell something it's not yours anymore. Companies shouldn't be allowed to stick up everyone in an ancillary market just because they have more market power.
> I can’t understand this at all. If I go through the trouble to create a product and I want to control the user experience for that product, that’s my right and privilege. The market will decide if they want to purchase my product or not.
That's assuming that markets are perfect. What you're saying would be true if there were two versions of the iPhone, one that could only run signed apps and one that was exactly the same but can also run unsigned apps and the customer chose the first one. But that isn't the case, and because that isn't the case you end up forcing someone who wants an iPhone for a reason other than mandatory signing to accept mandatory signing (and the consequent app store monopoly) even though they don't want it. That isn't the market deciding, it's the manufacturer deciding for the market.
> Consumers have spoken, and spoken extremely loudly, that they like Apple’s approach.
This is not really supported by the evidence. The large majority of phone customers chose Android and even among iPhone customers there are multiple other reasons (hardware, UI, status signaling) to choose an iPhone even if you don't want or don't care about app gatekeeping.
The fact that customers don't want it is the whole issue. The first time most users are given a choice between installing an app they want that isn't approved or not having the app, they're going to install it. And given a choice between a distribution method that restricts apps and then charges 30% more and one that doesn't and has lower prices, they're going to pick the lower prices. Otherwise Apple wouldn't have to lock all the doors and windows from the outside -- you could just choose to never install anything outside Apple's store, even if you had the option to do otherwise.
> This is not really supported by the evidence...
This isn’t about Apple vs Android or market share. The success of iOS speaks for itself, and in particular the success of the App Store speaks for itself. It is self-evident from the billions of dollars that apps have earned (is it tens of billions now?) that the model is successful and widely used both by developers and consumers. Apple users are much more prolific spenders on the Apple App Store than users of the Android market as well, the majority of that money going directly to developers. This is partly demographics, but also partly the security, reliability, and trust provided by the walled garden.
> And given a choice between a distribution method that restricts apps and then charges 30% more and one that doesn't and has lower prices
As long as apps that are not sold through the Apple Store do not use any Apple APIs to operate, that would be fair.
But if you want to use the massive infrastructure that Apple has built  then I think you have to play by Apple’s rules.
The iPhone is a device which you own, yes, but it is also a massive collection of services which Apple spends 10s of billions of dollars developing and supporting in order to deliver the overall experience.
As an app developer, the APIs, services, documentation, training, support, and marketing combine to justify the 30%. The “App Store” application itself, and all the search, discovery, reviews, auto-updates, billing, services, and support is just one piece of the massive infra that Apple provides to all the apps running on its platform.
 - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17823937
Requiring everyone to use something and then claiming that everyone wants to use it because everyone uses it is a bit circular, isn't it?
> This is partly demographics, but also partly the security, reliability, and trust provided by the walled garden.
But why do you need the walls instead of just a sign that says "now leaving Apple's garden"? If being in Apple's store means you're trusted and make more money then go be in Apple's store. That still doesn't explain why it should be prohibited for a user to install an app outside of it. And then we would find out which factors actually make the difference, instead of claiming it's this and then taking an action inconsistent with it -- if nobody wanted to install apps outside the store then there would be no reason to prohibit it because no one would be trying to do it.
> As long as apps that are not sold through the Apple Store do not use any Apple APIs to operate, that would be fair.
They don't even allow that. If they did you would soon have alternate APIs from Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Canonical, Mozilla or others. But Apple encouraging that would be like Microsoft encouraging use of Sun Java. Apple gets more from people using their API than the people get from using it instead of an alternative.
Neither does my opinion, of course. And either way, the fact that people like the Apple user experience doesn't mean they like or are even informed about the benefits and drawbacks of the iOS App Store model. They may have spoken for that model, or they may hate that model but still buy iPhones because they communicate with the rest of their Apple devices, or because the hardware is innovative and superior, or because they don't want to be tracked by a much scarier surveillance machinery. Without separating the parts and letting each compete on its own, we'll never know what about it is something consumers want and what about it they'd rather pass on.
I'm not calling for an end to products like Apple's. I think it's great that people have access to devices that follow clear policies and security practices which are guaranteed by a trustworthy party.
I do think, though, that this decision should be made by the user in the end. The opportunity to set defaults is already an extremely strong lever for the first-party vendor, and people such as yourself who like it as is have no reason to change anything about it.
I also think that competition can and should happen on different levels, and that control of e.g. hardware or system APIs should not automatically translate to exclusive control over the third-party ecosystem, unless the user explicitly wants this. One possible approach to regulating this, without preventing actual highly integrated products, could be to require the vendor to allow third-party app stores if the product ships with an app store itself. If the iOS experience is actually better with iOS App Store compared to a third-party app store with e.g. lower fees, better search and less stringent controls, why not let them battle it out and let the consumer decide?
It's important to recognize that Apple has created world-class products. It's also important to recognize that the existing duopoly is an extremely strong detractor against competition. It's like the government inviting bids for a giant construction project - if they require the bidders to do everything and the kitchen sink, then only the largest consortiums will be able to apply, whereas if the project is split into several reasonably-sized parts then smaller companies can compete as well and the end result will be cheaper, better executed and more accountable. I think we all agree that competition is a good thing, the question is how large to draw the boundary of what constitutes an integrated product and what should be considered out of scope, to compete in a different market. I think we owe it to society and to future businesses to ensure that a superior product still has a chance of succeeding in the marketplace.
I can buy a Mercedes, and if I want to I can pay a Merc dealership $1400 parts and labor for an ignition coil when the similar part andlabor for a Toyota would be $200. I can also go to a non-Merc shop and seek repairs (and take some risks) for less money. What I can’t do is buy a Mercedes, then turn around and demand that Mercedes sell their parts at Toyota rates and claim that Mercedes has a monopoly on Mercedes.
I mean I could, but I’d rightly be an object of scorn and ridicule. To go back to the WalMart analogy, they have their own store brands as well, and they’re only sold in WalMarts. Why not force them to sell from other outlets, since they’re a monopoly in your fantastical estimation? It’s legal and frankly ethical to restrict sales that way, and a world of other options exist; it’s not WalMart mayo, or no mayo ever again.
By contrast for a real illegal monopoly see Standard Oil or AT&T. If I wanted to use the phone lines, I could pay whatever they wanted or train carrier pigeons. My access to “phone” was entirely a function of whether I was willing to play their game. It wasn’t a matter of having different choices of providers and platforms and marketplaces, it was have a phone with AT&T, or don’t have a phone.
Not according to Apple.
> Why not force them to sell from other outlets, since they’re a monopoly in your fantastical estimation?
They're not a monopoly because the other stores already have products that are adequate substitutes. People can buy a different brand of laundry detergent from a different store without having to replace their washing machine.
> If I wanted to use the phone lines, I could pay whatever they wanted or train carrier pigeons.
Not true -- if you wanted to use phone line all you would have to do is go to Canada where they have non-AT&T phone lines and use them there.
Obviously it isn't very practical to leave the country every time you want to make a phone call, but how is that any different than needing to buy a new phone every time you want to buy an app?
Google copied Apple?
Bethesda, for example, recently announced that they're launching Fallout 76 on their own personal launcher (https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2018/08/fallout-76s-pc-versio...).
I've noticed this trend in the game industry. Any game company that is large enough will work on their own launcher (look at Blizzard, Epic Games, EA, etc.)
Of course Apple would argue that they are connecting you to their customers. When there are a million apps in the store I'm not sure how true that is.
However I question whether the App Store is connecting you to those customers in any meaningful way when there is so much competition in there. Sure if you are lucky enough to get to the front page then you can do OK but most don't.
If you are basing your business on getting exposure in the App Store then you are building it on shaky foundations.
The fee is paying towards the development of Android. Your comparison of "same services" isn't remotely valid.
Nobody is locked to valve on PC. Large game publishers have their own PC stores precisely to avoid getting ripped off by Valve. EA has Origin, Ubisoft has Uplay, Blizzard/Activision has Battle.net. MS has the Microsoft Store. There are many little indie stores with their own handling of profits, like itch.io :
>itch.io costs nothing to use. You are free to create pages and upload your content without ever having to pay anything. Advertisements will never be placed on any of your pages.
>You get to decide how much you want to support itch.io by choosing what percentage of your sales should go towards our operational costs and continued development of the platform. We call that open revenue sharing.
Subscription MMORPGs also all have their own payment schemes and external launchers that bypass Valve's little greedy hands.
Being locked to a single app store on any platform is a mistake. PCs are great because we don't suffer this, for now. Until MS decides to make Windows S the default and lock people from freely switching to a normal version of Windows.
The entire platform the app runs on was created by Apple. The hardware, the OS, the programming language, the SDKs.
Thousands of APIs used to build the apps, maybe a million pages of documentation on those APIs.
All the toolchain to develop, build, test, and deploy apps for purchase in hundreds of countries including customer profiles, billing, and support.
Billions of dollars of iCloud infrastructure for backend services to support everything from push notifications, data sync, backup, automatic updates, etc.
Then you get into the actual app store and you have all the work that went into the UX there for discovering, installing, buying and reviewing apps. In-app purchases and subscription services to support different business models. Family sharing, parental controls, parental approval requirements for kids’ phones.
I could go on for hours and probably still miss huge swaths of functionality that Apple invested millions of dollars into, just so that you could pull up chair and with a few lines of code start writing an app that can reach billions of devices.
Not to mention all the marketing and training and support Apple does to prime their customers to be big users of the App Store.
Yeah, and the bandwidth to download the app as well.
Personally I think 30% is a steal for what you get in return.
Oh, and I’ll just add one more thing; you can distribute your app for free and you pay Apple nothing (or nearly nothing) for the benefit of all their hard work and infrastructure and support.
I mean it would be like Amazon paying Apple a cut, if I buy a TV from amazon. AFAIK, it is only for digital goods that Apple charges, but I am not sure how the demarcation works.
On the flip side, if Apple/Google allow any app to use in-app purchases without a commission, then all apps will use in-app purchases for everything.
Yes. That's why they cut out remote control purchasing feature from their iOS app, to avoid hypocrisy charges and to avoid the sticky situation where a steam app tried the same (letting you make microtransaction purchases by remoting in to your phone or something).
Same as why Epic dropped their marketplace cut down from 30% something like one week before their "30% is unfair" press campaign which in turn was used to take the spotlight off criticism of Fortnite's release on Android as a timed exclusive with Samsung's new flagship.
Actually the ratio is more like 1 to 500k. There are millions of apps in both stores, but I'd bet less than 1000 make significant income exclusively from the app stores.
There’s a reason the new Fallout 76 is skipping Steam and will be sold through a Bethesda launcher.
They're complaining Apple is taking too much without alternative. If the app store provided 30% worth of value, it would be voluntarily chosen like Steam is. Why derail with such a ridiculous equivalence?