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Personally, as an app developer, I think Spotify is taking the right stance here.

I believe that Apple should take some cuts but not as high as 30%. I believe for some categories like microtransaction based apps Apple should take maybe 5%. Plus, I think that if Apple has a competing service, then it should waive the tax altogether. It's only fair.

If the only function of the App Store (or Play Store) is to provide hosting and some quality control then I don't see why apps can't be hosted on a secure website from the vendor - as far as I'm aware, Apple requires you have some sort of website anyway.

At least Google allows installing apps without the Play Store, perhaps it's time Apple permitted something similar with its apps? This could solve this whole problem and have other positive side effects such as people being less likely to jailbreak their iPhones.






Spotify has already turned off the ability for new accounts to pay to upgrade to a premium account inside their iOS app last year.

You pay for your account on Spotify's own web site, which bypasses Apple getting any cut at all.

https://support.spotify.com/us/account_payment_help/subscrip...

Netflix has done the same thing.

https://www.billboard.com/articles/business/8471988/spotify-...

In my book, the problem is that you are not allowed to provide a link to your payment website inside your app.


> In my book, the problem is that you are not allowed to provide a link to your payment website inside your app.

This is especially damaging to small companies. Most people have heard of Spotify, Netflix, Pandora, etc. So it's somewhat natural for them (if not a bit akward) to go to the website if they can't get premium in the app.

But for small companies that connection isn't immediately obvious. In my company for instance, we aren't allowed to put ANY reference to our website in the app (as it relates to purchasing premium). As a result when a user signs up, my only option is IAP. I cannot just assume they will naturally go to the website.


Most(every?) app that I’ve signed up for requires an email address. Some apps then send a verification or welcome email. If you mention and link to paid subscription upgrades in that email, will Apple pull your app?

As Spotify points out, and I've seen first hand, Apple prohibits you from allowing users to create accounts or enter contact information if your service has a paid option and you don't use apple's IAP.

So you couldn't even get to the point where you can send an email without first falling in line with IAP.

And according to my understanding of the Spotify timeline, and I haven't see this because I haven't published to the platform in a while, Apple now prohibits you from targeting your iOS users with upgrade communications (even if they didn't sign up via iOS, which they didn't since that's prohibited).


Will people actually read the email? Will they remember it at the time they actually want to upgrade their account?

(An "email me a payment link" button would almost certainly get rejected by Apple)


“We’ve just sent a verification code to the email you provided, please type the 4 digit code here:_ _ _ _”

It could even be 2 digits (the same 2 digits for everyone), you’re just looking to get their eyes on the email letting them know additional paid subscriptions are available on your website.


Let's assume you purposefully crafted the email or app to break the code autofill built into iOS.

I think you'd end up confusing users. Most people will go to their email expecting to see a verification code in big bold type. If you make the code less obvious, they'll get frustrated ("I came here to get a code, why am I now doing something else?") It's awful UX at a particularly business-critical moment.

And this is all assuming Apple doesn't see through your ploy and just reject the app.


It's not just those two, it's standard practice: Audible, Google Play video, Amazon video, Amazon music, Playstation Video, Vimeo, Sky Store video, and YouTube Premium/Google Music (same subscription with different marketing).

Deezer music went another route: you can pay for your subscription through an iOS device, but you'll pay a higher price. [0] I'm surprised Apple permit this.

All this strikes me as a clear indication that Apple is asking for too high a cut.

I've never been tempted to use a mobile app to shop on, say, Amazon, but Apple are clearly ok with that experience being far better on Android than on iPhone.

> In my book, the problem is that you are not allowed to provide a link to your payment website inside your app.

Interesting.

The exact words used by the Audible app for iPhone: This app does not support purchasing content. Instead, add to your wishlist.

[0] https://support.deezer.com/hc/en-gb/articles/360000633989


> Deezer music went another route: you can pay for your subscription through an iOS device, but you'll pay a higher price. [0] I'm surprised Apple permit this.

This is what Spotify used to do (charging $13 instead of the normal $10 to give apple their cut), but they stopped when apple started making apple music available at $10 (since they didn't need to pay their own tax)


That's the sort of behavior that gets your company broken up. Apple's management team doesn't seem to own a single history book between them.

How so? Isn't the tipping point of an antitrust suit a lack of competition and/or a monopolized position? Apple doesn't have that. They can do whatever they want in the confines of their own store.

They have close to 50% of the market in the US and I don't think a strict majority is required to be judged a monopoly.

You simply can't ignore iOS if you want to have a successful smartphone app business. That fact alone is enough in my opinion to consider Apple a monopoly and to take action to force them to play fair on their own platform.


I think an obvious comparison could be drawn with the movie industry of the 1940s, when the studios were forced to divest their ownership of the actual theaters their movies were shown in.

Abusing market dominance in one sector in order to shut out or outcompete other providers in another sector is the classic justification for antitrust action.


> The exact words used by the Audible app for iPhone: This app does not support purchasing content. Instead, add to your wishlist.

I honestly never really thought about why this is - I simply just hated Audible for it, and thought it was the most annoying part of their app.

However, it's odd - how come the Amazon app is allowed to get away with its own purchasing system?


I believe there's an exception for physical goods, so Amazon is ok but not Kindle, audible etc.

You're right, and I was mistaken -- the Amazon app for iPhone lets you checkout.

I believe jordanthoms's explanation is correct.


>In my book, the problem is that you are not allowed to provide a link to your payment website inside your app.

Why on earth is Apple allowed to do that? I get that it is their marketplace and their rules, but they are directly hurting competition and consumers this way. There's simply no real argument to prohibit developers like this. Seems like something the EU should combat against.


That depends on whether you prioritize the ability for developers to profit or the security of customers making the purchase. Apple is guaranteeing its users that purchases made within apps are secure and that only Apple has access to their payment info. In the alternate scenario, customers have no way of verifying the security or veracity of some random app developer collecting their payment info.

I feel for Spotify and other companies on the 30% tax but I also love knowing that any purchase by my family or myself is protected, private and easily refunded if there's a mistake. There are already a lot of apps preying on kids but it would be at another level without the in-house payment system.

I think something like 30% on the first purchase and then 5-6% for any recurring purchases would make more sense. I know it changes to 15% after a year but that's still ridiculous IMO.

Maybe there's an App Association that challenges all of these stores on their rather high recurring fees.


This is a ridiculous stance. Essentially it's the same as saying that you're scared to pay for anything online and you only trust Apple for making online payments. There are other solutions to feel secure about paying online or via an app. For instance, if the app asks you for payment, you could be first shown its rating in the store, if it's low. There could be even a separate rating judging the payment security of the app, if security is what Apple is after. You're allowing Apple to rip you off by 30% on all app transactions, it's as simple as that. (Not to mention the cost of locking yourself in their platform and hardware.)

> Essentially it's the same as saying that you're scared to pay for anything online and you only trust Apple for making online payments.

I'm not particularly scared of paying for things online. I'm scared of almost anyone else in my extended family doing so, though. If you think that concern's "ridiculous" you haven't watched them use the Web. And lots of them—especially the older ones—have (rightly!) never entirely gotten over fear of buying things online. Some(!) of them do buy things online, but reluctantly, with great deliberation. In an app on an Apple device? Concerns gone. Even for me, that little background stress of being on alert for shenanigans quiets down when I'm in the Apple ecosystem. Far lower (though non-zero—there's a reason I do almost no iOS gaming) permitted rates of douchebaggery is one of the things keeping me on iOS, and the one-source-of-payments is a vital part of that.

[EDIT] there are further benefits to users and developers alike, I should add, when the UI for a purchase is the same in every app. It's worth 30% to "defect" from that, so worth it on the individual level, but if it's permitted at all then the game's up and everyone loses.


> Essentially it's the same as saying that you're scared to pay for anything online and you only trust Apple for making online payments.

Strawman. That's not at all what the parent said.

> For instance, if the app asks you for payment, you could be first shown its rating in the store, if it's low. There could be even a separate rating judging the payment security of the app, if security is what Apple is after.

You think people should be shown a payment security score so they can judge whether they want to make an in-app purchase? You must be joking. I don't think you understand what Apple is after if that's your suggestion.

> You're allowing Apple to rip you off by 30% on all app transactions, it's as simple as that.

Your entire comment reeks of irrational anti Apple bias. It's as simple as that.


Yeah that’s really a lot simpler than just using my finger.

This is why geeks make horrible product people.

And ratings have never been faked....


Yeah... no. Your stance is ridiculous. People have already gamed sites like Yelp, Facebook, Twitter, and Google Play with fake reviews. The App Store also probably is flooded with tons of fake reviews. I'd rather trust my payment information to a company that has already demonstrated that they're incredibly thoughtful with my security regarding payments rather than trusting some giant unknown and just hoping for the best.

> Maybe there's an App Association that challenges all of these stores on their rather high recurring fees.

I think it's perfectly reasonable for governments to update their terms and agreements.


I would rather their focus was on citizens rights first but there's some merit to that.

> In my book, the problem is that you are not allowed to provide a link to your payment website inside your app.

The counter point is, if Apple allowed this, then every single App would use that method. Most people would not realize or care that they bought the XYZ in a web view vs through the AppStore payment system. Even apps that are currently paid only would switch to a "free" app with a "pay here" in-app purchase.

At this point the AppStore no longer can bring in any money for Apple except indirectly via encouraging iPhone sales.

Maybe Apple could charge the publisher for each app download or something instead to keep making money but I doubt that would be very popular.


There is still a non-zero cost to implementing a checkout page, as well as associated vendor fees etc. In a fair market the fees for Apple checkout would be along the same lines as Stripe, PayPal etc., but they are using their position as the device and OS vendor to charge 10x as much and giving developers no other option.

I disagree they should be the same. Credit card fraud risk is much higher on the internet than in person for instance. Apple through iOS and the App Store I would guess, also has a significant edge in detecting and stopping fraud through name, location, etc. While 15/30% might be too high, it should be higher than a simple payment processor as the transaction is also safer for the merchant.

Amazon's Kindle app has done the same as well.

Making micro-transactions more profitable would be an unfortunate course of action. There are enough of those apps in the store, and they are clearly profitable enough if they can buy Super Bowl airtime.

Subscriptions for apps should be different, but I see a challenge in drawing the line between Spotify/Netflix and a scam app like "awesome culculator" that charges $5/mo to people who don'didn't realize it was a subscription (there was an article on HN this week about apps like that, targeting kids and the elderly, of course).

If Apple has a stipulation about requiring a website, then maybe subscription-based apps can get a discount on the 30% fee if they also have a web or desktop-based version of their application that provides comparable functionality and takes payments.


> ...and they are clearly profitable enough if they can buy Super Bowl airtime.

This is not a good reason to limit how much money an app developer makes. You want to make the play field fair, regardless if there are some companies making a lot of money.


> There are enough of those apps in the store, and they are clearly profitable enough if they can buy Super Bowl airtime.

You're talking about the top 1% or less of micro transaction-based apps here. There are ton of indie apps that depend on micro transactions and aren't making enough to buy a Super Bowl ad.

It's unfortunate that spammy or low quality micro transaction-based apps have become commonplace, but I'd rather that be dealt with by the App Store flagging and filtering the apps with issues.


> and they are clearly profitable enough if they can buy Super Bowl airtime

These dollars are most certainly coming from VC funding. Most of these businesses aren't (and will never be) profitable.


While the Apple Tax is a problem of its own, I would hate for Apple to allow downloading apps through websites. A large part of iOS security is that everything has to be co-signed by Apple unless it's an Enterprise distribution app [1], so even if there is an exploit that breaks out of the app sandbox you don't have to worry about malicious websites drive-by downloading it.

1: they're likely refining the process of obtaining one of these certs after the recent news reports on business fraud


> I would hate for Apple to allow downloading apps through websites

This is such an extreme stance compared to what you're allowed to do on the desktop. Regardless of what Apple allows or not, shouldn't the user, the owner of the device, be allowed to install applications as they see fit, and choose to bypass any centralized app store? A smarthphone is a computer, and it's arguably many peoples primary computing device, and so I see no valid reason for the future of such devices to be a locked-down walled garden under the guise of security.

More than anything and any security, Apple benefits directly from this, just like they do lobbying against right-to-repair legislation. Because God forbid an owner of a Apple device repairing it themselves instead of have to go through official, expensive channels. Likewise with a (legitimate) company or app maker saying "We'll just let the users install it outside of the app store" and choosing not to deal with Apple's ecosystem. For example, Wireguard for macOS cannot be distributed outside of the app store due to native integration requiring APIs that Apple restricts with such clauses [1]. This is in my opinion ridiculous.

[1] https://lists.zx2c4.com/pipermail/wireguard/2019-February/00...


There are plenty of devices that allow you the freedom to do whatever you want to the software. If that is a priority, get one of those. Apple's walled garden is in fact much more secure. (and they also benefit financially. But correlation does not equal causation, necessarily)

You're missing the point. Security is throwing up a hurdle against installing outside apps (could be a bit steeper hurdle than Android's if you need). That's enough to keep your grandparents safe from installing crapware. Apple fighting tooth and nail against any possible installer, sideloading, rooting, whatnot, that's purely for the power, control and financial benefit of Apple and "their" ecosystem.

I put quotes around "their" just to remind that this ecosystem is made up by hundreds of millions of users, too. Yes Apple holds a singular power over this ecosystem but that power mostly boils down to the ability to wreck it for any particular group of participants. That's not ownership unless you want to claim that humans own the coral reefs, too.


Imagine you had a laptop or desktop where you could only install apps that were approved by the hardware manufacturer or os developer. Would you really be ok with that?

If not, how is it any different from the phone?


And that was part of the advantage of the phone. I’m not cleaning crapware and viruses from my parents and children’s phones and tablets every six months.

Do you feel that console makers shouldn’t be allowed to dictate what runs on their devices? Yes physical discs still have to be approved by the console maker. It’s been that way for 30 years.


> Do you feel that console makers shouldn’t be allowed to dictate what runs on their devices? Yes physical discs still have to be approved by the console maker. It’s been that way for 30 years.

Yes of course. Either allow the user full control of the hardware they apparently own, or call it what it really is, renting.


So is that also the case for my exercise equipment, my TV, my car, my car radio, my cable box, my printer, etc?

I'd say that the person in favor of restricting someone's use of their own hardware needs to come up with the argument in support of that, not the other way around.

You could have an argument in the case of a car, for safety. Cable box perhaps, but I'd say that should probably be considered a case of renting hardware for it to really make sense.

Car radio or printer, etc? Nothing comes to mind.


a laptop is not a tablet, a tablet is not a phone, a phone is not a watch; that’s part of apple’s philosophy behind how their devices work together. knock it all you want (and there are legitimate criticisms), but it works remarkably well and makes all these devices feel like they have a natural place and purpose

*EDIT: i’m not saying “place and purpose” is a reason why macos and ios have different security models, but just pointing out that “why is a laptop different to a phone” is not reeeeeeally a particularly valid place to start


They're both computers. One is smaller than the other, therefore it shouldn't allow you to run whatever apps you want? That's a ridiculous idea.

> it works remarkably well and makes all these devices feel like they have a natural place and purpose

Um really those are artificial, not natural. The nature of the devices is that they're still general purpose computers, the artificial restrictions on them give them an artificial place and purpose. It's still a thing, but Apple isn't magically altering reality.


What does the site the app is downloaded from have to do with security? The app is either signed, or it isn't.

Apple is simply erecting gratuitous roadblocks for rent-seeking purposes.


While I agree that the percentage that Apple takes per sale is too high, I completely disagree with the term 'vendor Tax'. While it's fine as a fun synonym, it's problematic as soon as people start to think about it as an actual Tax. It's not a Tax, it's the amount of money the vendor/platform owner wants to make for every sale. You can opt-out (by not being on the platform, still a choice!) if you want to. But because it's bad for the bottom-line of most companies to do so, they position themselves as a sad little broken bird that gets stomped around by the big bad corp. Newsflash: they all are generic money making capitalistic institutions that on the business side exclusively exist to make money. For profit. For doing things, any thing, to make money. That goes for Spotify and Apple just the same.

On the side of 'level playing field' they do of course still have a point, just like all the anti-trust stuff we had/have with Microsoft and Google. It does make me wonder a bit why this hasn't been involving other companies like Amazon and Facebook. (or, why it hasn't been suggested as widely as it is now)

I do wonder about the technical aspect of those store denials and watchOS problems; other streaming services do not face the same issues/pressue, so what makes spotify so special? They app is a bit crappy (it's not very good at maintaining/restoring state and doesn't have the most consistent UI), but other than that, it doesn't do much different things when compared to others (like Deezer or Tidal). Putting it as a "Apple Music vs. Spotify" thing is a bit weird too; while it might make sense, it doesn't make sense if it's just that and all the other streaming and buying services are free to do what they want. It's weird stuff.


> Putting it as a "Apple Music vs. Spotify" thing is a bit weird too; while it might make sense, it doesn't make sense if it's just that and all the other streaming and buying services are free to do what they want. It's weird stuff.

Isn't Spotify just the biggest one by a large margin?

Because frankly I never heard of Deezer or Tidal, and everyone I know that uses a music streaming service is on Spotify or, rarely, iTunes (or Apple Music? is that a rebrand or is it a new thing?)


> It's not a Tax, it's the amount of money the vendor/platform owner wants to make for every sale. You can opt-out (by not being on the platform, still a choice!) if you want to.

And I can opt out of selling things in Idaho if I don't want to pay their sales tax. I don't understand the distinction you're making at all.


If you don't sell in Idaho, you lose that market. If you don't sell on Apple's platform, you lose that market. The issue is a combination of the "tax" and the market dominance of these two companies.

...okay? I'm asking why oneplane completely disagrees with using the word "tax" here.

It kinda applies, depending.

If you consider the Appstore/iOS ecosystem to be Apple's "land", then sure that 30% is like the tax for having a presence in that land.

That's the classic meaning of "tax".

However, nowadays, in most civilised countries we expect more of "tax". We expect it to not simply flow to whoever holds power over the land (ecosystem), for them to use for profit, projecting power and keeping it. We expect the tax instead to largely be invested in things that benefit the people paying it (users). In fact, the more this happens, instead of going to the rulers, the nicer a place to live (in general).

Now one the one hand Apple is doing a pretty good job with things that benefit the users: they get security and some privacy. On the other hand, as a tax, it's fair to ask whether that 30% is really necessary for these benefits or just for lining Apple's pockets. An additional thing, looking at it pragmatically, whatever Apple's doing to Spotify doesn't seem to be in the user's benefit at all. But then, they don't pay tax. So that points to the 30% being significantly more than the tax required to benefit the users.

It seems to me that Apple should lower this tax to a rate that Spotify is willing to pay and put up with.

Thing is, Apple is not really like a modern government to its users. They are a "if you don't like it, just leave"-ocracy. So when they put up a "public" service (Apple Music), that undercuts commercial services (Spotify), it is NOT in the benefit of the people (users) like a public transport system would be. This is because the undercutting is purely based on the tax-cut, not because it's more efficient to do it as a public service rather than a commercial one.


Using the word 'tax' here is like calling anything that you need to pay for 'tax'. If you put a bit of money in a vending machine to buy some chocolate, you don't call that vending machine tax, do you?

If you were to scope it to 'services' or 'platform', then perhaps we should call virtual hosting cost not cost but tax :p and if you rent a movie, that'd then be movie tax, or rental tax? But what about actual tax, are we going to call that tax tax? Because at this point people just start using the word tax for every generic transaction.


In your vending machine example, it is a transaction, not a tax, as you implied and I agree. However Apple taking cut of app's revenue is awfully a lot like corporate tax.

In that case are transaction fees for credit cards also tax? Or PayPal fees for that matter? Or fees for using platforms like eBay and Aliexpress?

Yes, I'd call any small mostly-percentage-based transaction fee that a platform imposes a "tax" or "platform tax".

I mean, you don't have to download apps through a website if you don't want to.

It is everyone's full legal right to do whatever they want with their phone. Including downloading apps from websites.


Can I download apps for game consoles through a website?

No and that's a bad thing. Generally the ability to do so (or side-loading in general) has been to the public benefit. Think building a Playstation supercomputer cluster, debugging /modding games and of course the ability to use the things for general purpose (or media centre).

It's just that consoles never have been nearly as popular to make a stink about it. I never bought a console because of exactly this limitation: I can do anything with a computer, why would I buy a neutered computer as well? And that was fine. Because you don't need a console. But you do need a smartphone. And the choice is Android or iPhone, and the usage is about 50/50. So when the iPhone is shut tight, that's a much bigger deal.


No and that's a bad thing. Generally the ability to do so (or side-loading in general) has been to the public benefit.

There is 30 years worth of malware, ransomware spyware and viruses on PCs to show that most of the public hasn’t benefited from being able to download freely.


You have the legal right to do so, yes. You'd have to probably jailbreak your console, which is also your full legal right to do so.

There is nothing legally stopping you from doing the same thing for iOS and you can become an iOS developer much cheaper than a Gabe developer.

Legally, yes, you also have the right to do this in iOS.

Unfortunately, Apple often disagrees. They have tried to make multiple frivolous lawsuits against people doing exactly this, over the years.

Sometimes it doesn't matter what your rights are, if a company is willing to spend a bunch of money trying to submit illegal lawsuits to bankrupt you.


Citations?

A Citation that Apple wanted to criminalize jailbreaking?

Here you go: https://consumerist.com/2009/02/14/apple-wants-to-make-jailb...

That is a clear example of a bad actor.


What is "should"? Who determines should, aside from what the law currently says?

Maybe I'm uninformed, but it doesn't appear to me that access to an app store and the terms of such access (which by the way didn't even exist almost 10 years ago) is a public utility or good with an expectation of equal access or certain fair pricing.

Then, under what right does anyone claim that Apple (or any ecosystem platform) has to do anything beyond what is regulated in the payment and terms of operation? What makes your 30% price the right call? If you're an app developer, are you equally ok with someone else determining what you get to charge for your app when you're done with it? Isn't that the same (lack of) logic?


the fact that I, a software developer by trade, can't install or run any code on an ios device without running something by apple first.

that's like tesla releasing a car saying if you are a lawyer who wants to drive it you have to pay them 100k a year plus 30% of what you earn, or are "free" to drive another car (even if theirs is the fastest/safest/best-for-price in the market.)

or, now, can obtain a "provisional" license to drive it that expires weekly, with the same option to pay yearly for an annual license - these are all artificial barriers. installing software has up till now always been as simple as owning the device you're running it on and running the appropriate commands, these artificual barriers introduced by apple ensure anyone wanting to do so has to check in to see if it's okay with them.


No, your analogy oversimplifies the situation, just like that old joke about airlines selling paint for different prices.

Apple or Google's app store isn't a blank / open space where you entered an agreement that you have right to do anything you want. Just because you want to not run your code by Apple every time doesn't mean you have the right to do it.

There is no expectation that you have access to their hardware or software kit to do anything that you define. It's not like owning a car.

If the terms of your agreement are that you get time-limited / renewable access to a certain company's playground, what right do you have to insist that they change their terms, with recourse to what law?

There could be laws that decide that there should be open access. But there aren't. Why should this kind of lawsuit succeed in misinterpreting the law? The law can be rewritten, but until then I believe this effort should fail.


That's fine - I don't care about the App Store and what it offers, I just want some way to give users access to my app. Now what? Apple says "Fall in line if you want to access to our platform", I say "Thanks, but I'm not interested, I just want users to access my app somehow", but they can't and that's the crux of it. There are many legitimate apps banned from the app store, and that would be fine if the user could still install them outside of the app store. Consider the analogy of the toll bridge: if you don't want to pay, that's ok, go around. But Apple doesn't leave any alternative, and then in your argument you're putting words into peoples mouths and claiming they wanted to cross the toll bridge all along and they don't have a right to free (both literally and as in freedom) travel.

> There is no expectation

The expectation comes down to the owner of the device being allowed to have control over something they purchased, which in extension gives app developers freedom to target these users. This includes both hardware (right to repair), and software. It's completely valid, and repair, specifically, has been in news headlines months prior.


Again, that's not a correct analogy, and you're framing it like someone with deep feelings of entitlement to do what you want in the software world. That's creating a flawed argument in your logic and you're turning your desire into what you believe is legal. Or thinking that because you put work into something, someone else has to give you a forum to get paid for that work.

Actually your bridge analogy is apt, but in a way that works against your argument.

Toll bridges aren't required to have an alternate way around just because you think you have a right to go there for free by some alternative method.

Staten Island is only accessible by toll bridge. Entry to San Francisco from the north or east is only accessible by toll bridge.

Regardless, Apple built an island and a toll bridge that allows crossing for a fee. There is no entitlement in law that says you have the right to get to that island without paying what Apple charges because you think that would be "fair".


What argument do you have to support not letting users run whatever software they'd like on hardware they own?

And in extension to that, paying other people for software that they'd like to run and don't mind paying for, which is not sold through e.g. the App Store.

I'm legitimately interested in this, because I cannot see any reason why a user shouldn't be able to run any software they'd like on their own hardware, and/or pay for it however they want.


If you can't see any reason why a user isn't able to run any software they'd like on hardware they've purchased, then you need to educate yourself. Because the reason is that the contract you have with the hardware manufacturer and the terms of use do not allow you to. And there is no contradictory law or regulation that trumps that agreement.

Just because you might disagree with that contract, it doesn't change the rules. Your ability and expectation to run software of your choosing on your computer doesn't mean you have the same ability on a phone.

I could ask you, why don't you complain that even on an Android phone, you're not allowed to tinker with the baseband chip and broadcast whatever you want over the air. "Why can't I be allowed to do that? It's my right." Nope. It is not.

This is just an extension of that principle. In some other state or country the rules may be set up differently that consumer rights (however those are defined) take precedence over commercial regulations. But not here. Public opinion and law might someday change. Until then, don't confuse what you think should be with what is. It will not do you credit.

You're expressing wishes. I'm expressing facts.


> If you can't see any reason why a user isn't able to run any software they'd like on hardware they've purchased, then you need to educate yourself. Because the reason is that the contract you have with the hardware manufacturer and the terms of use do not allow you to. And there is no contradictory law or regulation that trumps that agreement.

I did not sign a contract relinquishing my rights to execute whatever code I like when I purchased my phone. Does one have to do that with an iPhone?

If you do, shouldn't it be called an applePhone, not an iPhone? If you cannot control what code is executed by the cpu, it is really more Apple's phone than your own.


I'm going to take my leave from this thread after this post, as it's kind of like talking to a wall at this point. I get nothing out of it.

You don't naturally have any expectations of a right to run whatever code you want on a phone. There is nowhere written in law or regulation that you have such a "right". So there is no such right to give up.

Apple enters into an agreement with you to give you a phone with certain capabilities. Control of what code is executed by the phone is not included in your capabilities. End of story.


That's what I wanted to know, and hearing that I'm glad I've never been interested in an apple phone.

> You don't naturally have any expectations of a right to run whatever code you want on a phone. There is nowhere written in law or regulation that you have such a "right". So there is no such right to give up.

Plenty of things that you naturally have a right to do aren't written in a law. Is there a law saying you can browse and post on hackernews on your computer?


This reminds me of a joke from my childhood.

USA: If not prohibited by law, you can do.

Taiwan: If prohibited by law, you still can do.

China: Even if allowed by law, you can't do.


> Because the reason is that the contract you have with the hardware manufacturer and the terms of use do not allow you to. And there is no contradictory law or regulation that trumps that agreement.

You are simply answering the question "Why are things this way?" with a tautological "because this is the way it is." Whether or not the status quo will change in the future, it must always start with someone questioning it.


The car analogy doesn't help that much here; plenty of cars work in that fashion. Not the average consumer car of course, but again, even then a company is free to do so. Might hurt their business, where at Apple it's not a problem because they make plenty of money.

I think that is where part of the problem lies: you can choose to do something with the platform or you can leave it alone. Seeing it as an 'I must do something with the platform' is rather strange considering it is a private, non-public platform in the sense that it has an owner and the owner is free to make whatever rules they want to as long as it is within the boundaries of the law (i.e. you can't require use of a platform to be paid with organs :p ).


the fact that I, a software developer by trade, can't install or run any code on an ios device without running something by apple first.

If I were a game developer could I install any software on my game console?

that's like tesla releasing a car saying if you are a lawyer who wants to drive it you have to pay them 100k a year plus 30% of what you earn, or are "free" to drive another car (even if theirs is the fastest/safest/best-for-price in the market.)

Let’s not make an analogy. Can I install any software on the computers in my Tesla?


I was about to argue with this and rage against Apple, but then I remembered a very similar situation everyone deals with and no one complains about: Supermarket Generics.

"How is it fair for Price Chopper to undercut Rice Crispies with a similar, cheaper product?" no on says this...


Because your choice of phone brand does not tie you to a specific grocery where you can buy rice crispies. You can simply cross the street and shop at a competing grocery.

Yeah, theres different smart phones just like theres different grocery stores

If I go to a different grocery store, I can get products that are compatible with everything else I own.

If we go with the store=phone analogy, then somehow my brand A flour and my brand B milk are magnetically repulsed and I can't make pancakes. It's not good for consumers.


There are some extra levels to this. Imagine a country where there is only one supermarket chain allowed. In that case there is no competition and no choice for consumers.

Before you should people should simply switch phones: you can switch phones, but you can't take the apps you bought with you. And even if you switch: there's only one real alternative: Android. If Apple is allowed their 30% cut on literally everythig, why wouldn't Google do the same?

This way you end up with only 2 App stores, 2 Music and 2 Movie streaming services.


I believe Google does take a cut on literally everything!

We do have only two app stores. Apple and Google just haven't managed to kill all the competing Music & Movie services. They'd love to!


Google doesn't require all app installs to run through the play store. In fact, the OS allows for other app stores to automatically install and update apps. The Play Store may be the only option preinstalled on devices, but anyone can download and install third party apps, and if you're rooted or writing a custom rom you can create/use your own app store. See the fdroid privileged extension for an example of an alternate app store that allows background installs similar to the play store. Alternate app stores in general include the Amazon app store for Android.

because people have had a longer amount of time to understand food. hang in there, my friend :)

Try telling the IRS you think their tax rates are too high. Apple owns the sandbox with the most valuable customers and if you want to play in it you gotta pay. Personally I love letting Apple handle my subscriptions and subscribing through iTunes is one of the things it does well.

Do you think apple's subscription feature is worth paying 30% more for spotify?

Do you think spotify should just suck it up and take the hit to keep prices the same because apple is providing a service (access and subscription handling) worth 30% of the price? Not even Amazon charges that much.

I don't know if the anti-competitive practices mentioned are illegal, but they're certainly scummy. The company that owns the walled garden shouldn't be bullying spotify to try and prop apple music up.


What if Apple Music is for free? Should be Apple be punished then, like MS for IE being free?

Then Apple is using its success in one market (Selling phones) to price-dump in another market (music).

It would be the poster child of an anti-trust case.


Does this view still apply if Apple considers the music subscription as part of the product/device?

Consider the countless users that, perhaps rightfully, argue that Apple should include more than 5 GB of iCloud storage for backups, user data, etc. That could be considered part of the product while it still competes in a different market with Dropbox and similar services.


Yes. Or do what everyone else does and negotiate a lower rate. The simplicity of in app transactions is great and offering that to customers makes a lot of sense. I’m More likely to keep a subscription if it’s through iTunes; it also makes moving to new devices super easy as all I have to do is login with my iTunes account and all my subscriptions are there or that and hit restore purchases and boom I’m done.

What they need to do is split off the new competing services into a walled corporation (even new entity). And they play fair by the rules, so 30% tax even to them.

Not sure if you know how enterprises work.

But it is standard practice for divisions to bill other divisions for work. I would be almost certain that Apple Music is already paying the 30% tax however since it’s internal it doesn’t really make a difference. Likewise splitting into a new entity does not change anything.


It changes a lot, since as an independent entity Apple Music (for example) is answerable to its own investors and board of directors, including having the pressure to be profitable. Right now Apple can subsidize them for as long as they force all competitors out.

With said company owned by apple and paying apple for licensing fees that just so happen to be equivalent to its yearly rev.

That's easy enough to circumvent.


Not sure that I completely follow your logic in regards to the "tax" here. With any product, you have two main things: production of the product and distribution of the product. Spotify doesn't NEED to be on Apple devices (they started off on the web), but they WANT to be on Apple devices (and Android devices) because they are great distribution channels for its product.

That said, how much is distribution worth to Spotify? Imagine that Spotify was not software, but instead it was a hardware device. Would they expect Best Buy to carry it for free? Would they expect Walmart or Target not to offer a store branded competitor? I think not.

When you don't own your distribution channel, you pay for distribution one way or another.


Mobile OS's are more than just a "distribution channel" though, because there's a significant amount of lock-in that prevents customers from buying your software from another distributor even if they want to. I think a better metaphor is like this:

A billion people live in a company town ("Appleville"). When they first decided to move there, they paid a lot of money to buy a house there, and in return they get access to all the benefits the town offers - nicely-built houses, well-maintained streets, and access to lots of public services. Because living in the town is so nice, houses there cost a lot more than they do in other areas.

While you live in the town, you've signed a contract that says you're only allowed to buy things from one store owned by the town's developer. Most popular items are available at the store, so it's never too much of an inconvience, but sometimes things are more expensive than they are in other towns, or they aren't available at all.

Every time you drive into the town, you get stopped, and a bunch of guards search your car. If they find anything in your car that you didn't buy from them, they take it, and you can't have it back.

If you ever do want to leave the town, not only will you have to buy a house somewhere else (and your existing house will be worth a lot less than what you paid for it), but you're not allowed to take any of the stuff in your house with you - it all just disappears forever.

Now imagine you're a new company trying to sell a product, and the store owner won't let you sell your product in their town for some reason (you aren't paying them enough, it violates one of their rules, etc.) Even if the people living inside the town want your product, they can't buy it unless they completely uproot their life and move somewhere else, which no one is willing to do. And so the town owner is able to kill your product, and prevent it from ever being a threat to them. (Meanwhile, the town owner copies your product and starts selling it in the store themselves).


The practice of stores like Walmart strongarming producers into reducing prices and quality is a well established problem with a number of articles and documentaries around it already.

In either case the difference between a store doing this and Apple doing this is that Best Buy is not the one of two practical ways to access the product, and consumers are not compelled to go only to Best Buy simply because they chose to go there once.

Figuring out the proper practices for phone app markets is difficult right now, because we really can't compare them to anything that already exists. Physical markets just aren't the same thing.


> I believe for some categories like microtransaction based apps Apple should take maybe 5%.

And then every PAID app will switch to FREE and charge for PRO, to circumvent the 30%. Oh, Apple complained it’s not technically a microtransaction? Fine, just separate every feature into a new purchase.

> If the only function of the App Store (or Play Store) is to provide hosting and some quality control then I don't see why apps can't be hosted on a secure website from the vendor

If the vendor server is compromised or is down, a download from the App Store won’t work for a single app, leaving customers confused and complaining to Apple, who can’t fix the issue.


> And then every PAID app will switch to FREE and charge for PRO, to circumvent the 30%.

Then make it 30% of the first 20 or 30 dollars, and 5% or less after. That more than pays for Apple's verification work without letting them gouge repeat payments.


How many apps on the store sell for over $5 let alone $30?

That's the point, yeah. For the vast majority of apps the 30% cut remains exactly the same, with no loopholes.

But if you're dealing with a $100+ per year subscription, the fee goes down to a modest processing cost.


That’s sort of true for the app itself - if the Trello API is down then the Trello app doesn’t work.

Most people know the difference.

App doesn’t download - Apple’s fault.

App doesn’t work - App developer’s fault.


I believe it is not the problem of 30% cuts. It is the Problem of Anti-Competitive behaviour when you have a competing services without the cost of cuts.

This is not the same as Amazon offering their own label in their Store. Customers could shop in dozens of many other online retail or local retail. And Amazon does not charge other label 30% cut for stocking fees.

I believe Apple should charge a fair amount only when they have a competing product or services within its locked system. Had Apple Charge 15% for the first year on Spotify and 10% for all subsequent subscription it would have been much better. I don't believe the 5% would work, as I have seen many saying 5% should be enough. The cost of running microtransaction, processing, billing, legal, etc are just about break even at 5% even in the scale of Apple. I don't see charging 10% would seem unfair. ( In US at least, in EU the processing fees are much much lower )

Or Apple should never have made Apple Music in the first place. I still don't see any value in Apple offering it. iTunes was required for iPod. And it changes the whole music industry as a whole, along with iPod sold which ultimately saved Apple. No one will buy iPhone because of Apple Music, and Apple Music itself isn't even profitable.


This opens up a wide host of negative side-effects including the extreme ease of malware. I'd say the #1 value proposition for the App Store, and why most iOS users prefer it, is the guarantee of virus-free programs.

Why don't Apple/Google ensure AV/Malware protection is a default app? Why do we depend on Apple/Google protecting us from these big bad apps?

If not Apple/Google controlling it directly, I'd imagine there would be a reasonable market for malware/AV providers on mobiles, if not solutions provided by Apple/Google.


More to the point, why do you act as if malware protection has ever been effective and not just a resource drain?

"then it should waive the tax altogether. It's only fair."

They've still got to at least cover bandwidth (minor) and payment processing.


If the only function of the App Store (or Play Store) is to provide hosting and some quality control then I don't see why apps can't be hosted on a secure website from the vendor - as far as I'm aware, Apple requires you have some sort of website anyway.

Because that worked so well for Windows with malware,viruses, and ransomware.


Apple should take no cut, and profit only from the sale of hardware. By taking cut on software they are double dipping. Good software makes the phone more valuable for users and drives phone sales.

A lower cut?

Why not only allow to use their payment system?


DOJ - SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME (SORRY FOR CAPS) HOW IS THIS DIFFERENT FROM USA vs. MICROSOFT (besides the obvious).



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