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Apple's Audacity (stratechery.com)
192 points by tchalla on June 4, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 172 comments



"Sign In with Apple" - the likely effects of this policy change is frankly great as far as I'm concerned, but its another example of the industry trying to police privacy itself. I think the net effect of Apple's decision is likely positive, but they've effectively been forced to almost abuse their dominant market position to do it.

In a better functioning world, I'd have hoped this kind of thing would have been driven by sensible legislation across the entire industry, rather than relying on the good intentions of Apple and the success of the App Store to push the change.


> I'd have hoped this kind of thing would have been driven by sensible legislation across the entire industry

Recently I watched the movie "The Captain", where a private in the military finds an officer's uniform and uses it to fraudulently assert authority. (It's a true story)

He meets all kinds of people, and all kinds of thing happen that shouldn't happen. It's obvious that some of the people he meets doubt his authenticity but "go with it" because his actions are aligned with their self-interests.

I took away from this one thing: it's easier for people to just "go with it" than stand up and say no. And moreso when you profit from it.

That's what I think is behind the whole privacy thing.

That said, I hope a privacy market opportunity attracts the attention of some unconflicted players.


>but its another example of the industry trying to police privacy itself.

"Industry" policing itself would be Google and Facebook changing their business model of their own accord to the detriment of their current business.

Apple is not the "industry" in this case, Apple is their regulator.


> I'd have hoped this kind of thing would have been driven by sensible legislation across the entire industry

I imagine you’ve noticed, but in the real world, Congress is not capable of writing sensible tech legislation. So we may get legislation, but if we do, it won’t be sensible.

So as much as I would also appreciate some sensible tech regulations (the endless adhesion contracts on websites and apps really need to be reigned in), I’m hoping congress stays away from this.

These are the guys behind DMCA, CFAA, and other great hits. If anyone could screw this up, it would be them.


> In a better functioning world, I'd have hoped this kind of thing would have been driven by sensible legislation

One of the mainstays of capitalism is that competition should generate better, fairer options given sufficient competition and time. Part of the allure of letting the market solve these problems is that they can do so without the need for legislation (which could be compromised, incomplete, or unjustly preferential).

Now whether or not we prefer the capitalist or socialist method of solving this issue is a big question, but I don’t think you can argue that the system isn’t “functioning” as intended right now.


> but I don’t think you can argue that the system isn’t “functioning” as intended right now.

The only reason this can work is Apple having a dominant position and being benevolent--that's not competition generating better, fairer options.


Why do you think Apple is simply behaving benevolently? It's in their interest. Not only do they buy good will with customers, they also keep people in their ecosystem. They can wax on about how they're providing these services on principal, but it helps their bottom line, which is what you want in a system. Google/Facebook model provides different trade-offs and services for those that don't want to pay the Apple tax.


It’s commonly known as a “strategy credit”.

But if I have a choice between trading my money for services and trading my privacy/dealing with annoying ads, I would much rather pay for services.


I had "benevolent" in scare-quotes when typing up the reply. Since the whole point was that this is not an example of a healthy, competitive market I didn't want to be too over the top about it.


Legislation is typically a very suboptimal solution. Even something like GDPR, which is well-intentioned significantly increases barrier-to-entry for small competitors.


It never ceases to amaze me the trust that the tech industry has in both the competence and the benevolence of the government.


I don't think that the government is generally competent or benevolent, but I am 100% sure that the tech industry is not benevolent, and that bothers me in direct proportion to their competence.


It's a lot easier for me to switch phones or services than it is for me to switch jurisdictions.


Furthermore, with government, there is at least some notion of accountability. Imperfect as it may be, generally speaking when people in government fuck up, they have to deal with repercussions and consequences. Furthermore, there are mechanisms such as FOIA that any citizen or organization can utilize to find out if and when those fuck ups happen, as well.

Big Tech though is basically a closed black box that has immense power and is almost totally unregulated. This leaves an incredible amount of room for abuse. Therefore, I am totally okay with a semi-competent, sometimes-benevolent entity that is accountable to the public (government) to much more tightly regulate this industry.


> generally speaking when people in government fuck up, they have to deal with repercussions and consequences.

Re-election rates for congressmen over the years hovers at around 90%. Senators are around 85%. Perhaps they're all doing a great job, but I'm skeptical

https://www.opensecrets.org/overview/reelect.php


People don't vote based on monopolies and privacy. Politicians can get away with all matter of things if they appeal to the electorate's baser instincts and prejudices.

EDIT: "Prejudices" don't necessarily mean race, religion, etc. It also could be "evil capitalist" vs "evil socialist" or "baby killing war monger" vs "peace loving hippy".

And giving more power to the government couldn't possibly lead to abuse.....


The government is at least supposed to serve the populace, even if it has a spotty record of actually doing so. Corporations, on the other hand, don't even have to pretend to have society's best interests in mind.


Government doesn't serve the populace - they serve geography. A person living in California has far less national voting power than someone living in Rhode Island or Middle America since each state has two Senators regardless of their size and the Electoral College favors smaller states. Congressional districts even for representatives mean you have more voting power if you're in rural areas than if you live in major cities.

Middle America and the Bible Belt don't vote based on tech issues.....


Oh you mean the US government then

And you're absolutely right, and if California has an issue with that they can push for changes or even for their separation from the US (taxation without enough representation and all that).


It never ceases to amaze me the trust that tech workers have in both the competence and the benevolence of capitalism.


Do you think that government ownership would lead to more competence and benevolence? If so, just visit the inside of any government agency.


> If so, just visit the inside of any government agency.

How is this still a retort? OF COURSE MANY GOVERNMENT AGENCIES SUCK. That is the direct result of fifty-plus years of "government is terrible, elect us and we'll prove it." Even some of our more popular agencies are so underfunded they can barely do their original mission, much less the aspirational stuff we want of them. NASA says it'll take--pulling numbers out of thin air--$10 billion to reliably go to the moon. Our electeds' response is "you can have $3 billion" and then we complain that NASA hasn't sent anybody to the moon yet.

Never mind this patchwork of responsibility where virtually everything is no one's actual fault or job. The much-complained-about Department of Motor Vehicles is, in various states, operated as an independent entity, part of the department of transportation, part of an agency that handles licenses for everything that needs a license, or simply just kind of happens. There's no one whose job it is to say "this thing needs to work well" and since everyone doesn't like it, it doesn't command any kind of respect for being paid properly.

And then speaking of paid properly, why on Flying Spaghetti Monster's Earth would someone go to work for a state or local government and get paid, especially in tech, on average about two thirds of what he or she could be making in the so-called "private sector," or go to work for the Federal government and not only have the same wage penalty but ALSO be subjected to random "well, we couldn't get our heads out of our ass so you're not getting paid for anywhere from one to one hundred days, sorry" instances.

"Just visit the inside of any government agency" my shiny metal ass; we MADE this problem and now we kick dirt at it as though decades of voters bitching about government haven't gotten us exactly the front-line government services we deserve as a consequence of those votes.


So which parts of the government should we give more power? The CIA? The FBI? Any part of the justice system? Those government agencies have plenty of power and funding especially with the “War on Terror” and the “War on Crime/Drugs”. Private corporations don’t have the power to take away my life/liberty/property. The government does. Given a choice between corporate power and government power, I would rather see less government power.

Even the military is a wasteful mess because of government power. The military has told the civilian government that they don’t need some of the weapons or military bases that they are getting but the government - because of corporate meddling -keeps funding things that the military has said they don’t want.

Why would you trust these same government officials not to be persuaded by corporate officials. This is the same government that got rid of Net neutrality, bans cities from creating municipal broadband, extended copyrighted repeatedly and protects draconian DRM.


Get your arguments in order and come back like an adult and make your point. That wall of text is all over the place.


Or visit the inside of any company...


Well seeing that tech workers are benefiting from capitalism why wouldn't they trust it?

What's the alternative? If you have a household income over $60K (the national average), are you willing to give everything over $60K up to make things more "fair"?

Yes I'm all for the social safety net.


Why are we satisfied with Sign In with <Big Company>? Shouldn't this be an open standard? I mean, I know open/federated identity systems have failed several times, but there's no reason why we can have a spec where your device or browser generates per-site credentials and stores them in some encrypted replicated storage. And for email-relay, that's been going on since penet.fi in the 90s. Email is already federated, and there's no reason why you can't use third party email anonymizing services.

Apple had an opportunity to produce something that might be adoptable by everyone, but instead they went walled-garden again.


And then you have to trust the third party.


You only have to trust a third party with a throw-away email forwarding system. But we know how to do anonymous remailing/forwarding already, and Apple could have adopted a spec that forces developers to use a forwarding system that is end-to-end encrypted if they want to email your throwaway.


And part of that “email forwarding” is access to all of your mail including your password resets.


You missed the point. There's no access because you can require end-to-end encryption for mails that use the forwarding system, just like the PGP remailer/forwarding systems, so the remailer node isn't subject to MITM.

Moreover, if you're using "Sign in with X" in the first place, there's no password and no password reset. Key Exchange is the big MITM vulnerability.

There's decades of experience now around building distributed identity. Bitcoin wallets are a large scale example of that. If we're going to finally flip the switch on not using verifiable, public email addresses as part of credentials, we should rip the bandaid off and get rid of the centrality all together.


So instead of asking developer to support another Oauth provider which should be a simple change, now they have to support an encrypted email system that isn’t widely supported. Also, an iCloud ID doesn’t require you to use an Apple email address. So you also have to have an email provider that supports E2E encryption.


Sure, why not. Folks have no trouble laying on all kinds of requirements when GDPR is brought up, but now suddenly requiring S/MIME or alternatives is a bridge to far.

If we're going to have single signon for the world, and finally get rid of passwords, it should not be locked into one OS platform.

If I sign on from Apple, how go I log in on my Linux desktop or non Apple device?


You’re depending on every single email provider and client to support it.

GDPR is not a great example. A lot of American companies didn’t even bother and just blocked everyone with an EU IP address.


Well as an end user, I do trust Apple. I want to put this in the hands of a for profit company that has the reach and know how to make this viable right now, not in some far distant future where adoption is low. While I like the idea, in practical terms the goal is:

1. Make a login system that is private, secure and easy

2. Have it be widely adopted right now

3. Have it work forever, seamlessly

A for profit company with the reach of Apple is the perfect solution for all three points.


> Apple is going to leverage its monopoly position as app provider on the iPhone to force developers...to use Sign In With Apple.

So, is Ben making the argument that the above is illegal? I don't see any difference to Apple "requiring" developers to use a new framework.

He later says that even Android developers will be required to offer Sign In with Apple... but I don't see how that is possibly the case.


I haven't read the mechanics of this fully yet, but the first obvious scenario I can foresee:

1. Customer signs up for service on iPhone with "Sign in With Apple".

2. Customer sells iPhone.

3. Customer buys Android phone.

How does customer sign in and keep their same account on the new phone? For sure there might be other mitigation strategies (a web UI that allows account migration etc), but this decision absolutely has ramifications beyond just iOS users of apps using third party signin.

Same is true of customers with devices in both ecosystems - Android phone and an iPad tablet, for example. If customer signs up on the iPad with "Sign in With Apple", how do they log in on the Android phone that only has the other third party login integrations?

People are going to have to think this through, and Apple forcing it on all Apps using third party signin means they are going to have to think it through soon.


”How does customer sign in and keep their same account on the new phone?”

I would guess by keeping their Apple ID. AFAIK, you don’t have to buy anything from Apple to get one.

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204316:

”An Apple ID is the account you use to access Apple services like iCloud, the App Store, the iTunes Store, Apple Music, and more. It includes the email address and password that you use to sign in”

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204316#web:

”Use a web browser If you need to create an Apple ID on your device — including your Android device or Apple TV — you can usually follow the steps provided when you set up your device or Apple service for the first time”


You need 2fa to use sign in with apple. That requires an apple device. Dunno how apple will handle it if someone sells their only apple device and no longe4 has 2fa.

(Unclear how this works now, it’s an issue with apple 2fa even without signin with apple)


And how do they login on the Android phone with the Apple ID with no changes to the Android app? That's the question OP didn't understand and which your reply completely ignores. While this is an iOS change, it will have effects beyond just iOS.

I think most of us are fully aware an Apple ID survives even if you have no Apple devices without recourse to Apple help links.


I imagine it would be the same as logging in with any other OAuth provider. I highly doubt Apple would lock people out of the ability to sign in with their Apple ID on the web, and if you can sign in on the web, you can sign in on Android.

What remains to be seen is if they'll provide an Android SDK as well.

Edit: from the developer docs "Sign In with Apple works natively on iOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS. And it works in any browser, which means you can deploy it on your website and in versions of your apps running on other platforms."


Facebook doesn't control Android yet people are able to login using "Sign in with Facebook" button on Android phones.


Of course. But the "Sign in with Facebook" button didn't appear by magic on the Android app, did it? Someone had to add support to their app for it.

This change may incur similar cost, as Apple are forcing Sign in with Apple on _any_ app submitted to the appstore with third party login support, which is a crazy number of apps. You have a "Sign in with Facebook" button on your iOS app today? Guess what, you have to add a "Sign in with Apple" button or you don't get to play on Apple's store.

Many of these apps also ship on Android, and users will rightly expect the account they created on one device to work on another.


> But the "Sign in with Facebook" button didn't appear by magic on the Android app, did it? Someone had to add support to their app for it.

It would be nice if you could add an identity provider to your OS and the app could ask the OS to identify you using your provider of choice for that application.


It would be foolish for a developer to add Sign in with Apple to their iOS app and not their Android app. If a developer did something so stupid its their fault, not Apples, for users not being able to sign in from Android devices.


I'm having a hard time believing Apple hasn't considered the lock-in effect of Sign In With Apple to be just like the lock-in effect of iMessages.


One of the worst things that could happen to the Apple ecosystem would be for them to gain real dominance, either in phones or in the desktop / laptop space. Then all these "integrations" which are harmless / annoying nudges would suddenly become clear abuses of a monopoly position.


I agree. But do you have a plausible scenario for how Apple will "gain real dominance"? I can't see it happening anytime soon.


If iMessage group chats are any indication, you just lose your access to that identity. Notifications meant for it will silently fail to be delivered, and you will need to create a new identity outside of Apple’s ecosystem and inform any groups still using your old identity that you have a new one.


I think you may be misunderstanding what he's saying about Android. Here's what he wrote:

> Apple is going to leverage its monopoly position as app provider on the iPhone to force developers (who use 3rd party solutions) to use Sign In With Apple. Keep in mind, that also means building Sign In With Apple into related websites, and even Android apps, at least if you want users to be able to login anywhere other than their iPhones.

The developer will be required to support "Sign in with Apple" on the iPhone - otherwise Apple will reject your app.

Once a user creates an account with "Sign in with Apple", the developer has a choice. They can either:

1. Exclusively support iOS, or

2. Add "Sign in with Apple" across all platforms they support.

Both of these advantage Apple.


This only applies to apps that use third party logins. If you roll your own login (and only your own login), then you require zero changes. The "Sign In With Apple" implementation, at least on the surface, appears to be a standard OpenID process -- the same thing that Facebook & Google use if you're offering a log-in through those accounts -- so actual dev time should be pretty minimal.


> Both of these advantage Apple.

And privacy-conscious users. Which is me. I always create an account using email instead of using FB/Goog login, but now I don't have to share my real email address for any service that I just want to try out.


this may be a naive/dumb question, but I'll ask anyway:

is the third option (support "Sign in with Apple" on iOS, but not on android) really that unappealing to app developers?

it kinda seems like only a really small fraction of an app's user base would have an Apple account and an iPhone or iPad and an android device anyway. and since this new "Sign in With Apple" will require additional android dev work to roll out, and since it prevents app developers from getting all the info they want about their user, wouldn't some of them just omit it from their android apps?


What's audacious is that Ben thinks Apple hasn't considered the antitrust implications of the above hypothetical.

I really doubt they'd force developers to use Sign in with Apple, instead they'll just make it desired and profitable. My guess: this goes as far as Apple Pay app integration does now - some but not all apps, and in the least required.


> I really doubt they'd force developers to use Sign in with Apple

If developers allow any third-party authentication (Google, Facebook, etc), they must also allow Sign In with Apple. This is a June 3 update, and it will be a requirement before the end of the year.


Apple is telling developers that Sign In with Apple will be required if you support Facebook, Google or any other third-party login:

> Sign In with Apple will be available for beta testing this summer. It will be required as an option for users in apps that support third-party sign-in when it is commercially available later this year.

https://developer.apple.com/news/?id=06032019j


> What's audacious is that Ben thinks Apple hasn't considered the antitrust implications of the above hypothetical.

Why not try it? Worst case they have to loosen requirements, and have to pay a tiny fraction of their cash reserves as a fine. Antitrust hast lost its teeth a long time ago. So there is a potential huge reward with low risk.

Not saying that that's moral and should be done, but that seems to be the sad status quo.


How is it in any more "audacious" for Apple to force apps to use Apple's authentication for their platform than it is for Amazon to force you to use an Amazon account to use their platform (retail and AWS), or the console makers to do the same?


The author heard Cook’s comments as advocating for privacy, but that’s wrong. He’s advocating for privacy legislation.

The utility of privacy legislation for a company like Apple is to protect itself from completion by firms too small to afford the armies of lawyers and compliance experts that Apple can. The tech industry it seems has finally caught on to the age old racket of regulatory capture. Every big tech chief can be heard begging governments to “stop us before we sin.”

With their business models well proven and scale achieved, they will lobby for more regulations and of course volunteer to bring their distinctive expertise to the drafting table.


These iPhone price graphs would be better if they accounted for inflation - which still shows a large increase in price, especially if you look at the flagship phones.

https://kyso.io/eoin/iphone-prices


> These iPhone price graphs would be better if they accounted for inflation

I started normalizing the prices to 2018 prices after reading your comment, up until I realized the title points out that the values are inflation adjusted.

Also followed the links to find the original posting if anyone was curious.

https://www.reddit.com/r/iphone/comments/9v45n9/the_cost_of_...


I would love for Apple to create an App Store populated only with apps that did things their way, guaranteeing a certain level of security and privacy.

They could easily allow other app stores that did things the other way, surviving off capturing user details and selling it off wholesale or whatever.

Let consumers make their own choice.

It would enable Apple to get rid of a shedload of insecure , spammy apps that provide minimal benefits to users in a crowded app market.

Apple could, if managed properly, turn it into a major selling point.


> It would enable Apple to get rid of a shedload of insecure , spammy apps that provide minimal benefits to users in a crowded app market.

But those apps would still be Apple's problem, because they run on Apple's operating system. If Apple lets other "stores" on the platform, you can bet one of them is going to be the cesspool of every bad app there ever was; and when those apps do damage, Apple will be blamed.

Think of it this way: At the moment, there are two layers of protection for iOS users. The first layer is the app approval layer; the vast majority of malicious apps just don't get approved at all. Then, for those that slip past that defense, there are the normal OS defenses. And if an app is caught violating the rules, they can be kicked out.

If they let other app stores onto their platform, suddenly that first layer is gone: every malicious app in existence will find its way onto a chunk of their users' phones, at which point the OS protection are a single point of failure.


> If Apple lets other "stores" on the platform, you can bet one of them is going to be the cesspool of every bad app there ever was; and when those apps do damage, Apple will be blamed.

Google is doing just fine with 70-80% of the world I'm sure Apple can figure it out.


As long as you exclude China from the world - they mostly use AOSP variants with no Google Services.


This is what I’d like to see; Require all Apps distributed via their AppStore to conform to their requirements regarding privacy and whatever else they want like they are doing right now. Apps can and should get kicked out of their store if they repeatedly sell user data or otherwise don’t follow Apple’s rules.

Then let App devs, if they want to do that, apply for additional manual checks. They could probably get away with charging for that check. If Apple is satisfied that the App only does what it’s supposed to and doesn’t abuse its privileges or send data to third parties, approve it and mark it as such.

Some kind of badge prominently displayed on the App Store marking that App as “checked by Apple” or something.

Give App Store users an option to hide Apps not checked by Apple.

Sure it gives Apple even greater power as a gatekeeper but I think the benefit to consumers caring about privacy outweighs that.


How is Apple suppose to do “manual” checks to ensure that data sent to the app makers server is not then sent to third parties?

Your design gives way too much credit to the average user who is not clamoring for any app that is not on the App Store.

Where is the killer app that’s available for Android but not for iOS that making its developer serious money?


>”Let consumers make their own choice.”

Consumer choice is predicated on information symmetry that does not exist in this market. Consumers make the wrong choice all the time and it’s the company that allowed it to happen that pays for it in the form of bad PR.

See: YouTube and the weird kids content. There wasn’t anyone stepping up to defend Google with the argument that “Google was just letting consumers (parents) make the choice.”


Thank you for bringing up "information symmetry." I feel like this is always missing in discussions of free markets and capitalism. To me, information asymmetry is what most regulations are trying to address (package labeling, testing, process standards). In areas where consumer/producer already have the same information regulations aren't needed and cause unnecessary problems.


Ben doesn't explicitly draw this line, but it seems Apple is betting that courts reward orientation towards privacy in the face of monopolistic actions.


It's not just the courts. There's tremendous consumer frustration with the invasiveness of Facebook and Google tracking. Since Apple doesn't really make that much on being a service provider, relative to FB/Google, it gives them more room to make a strong play for the privacy market.

Being "the big tech company that doesn't stalk you like a creepy ex" is a potentially huge market.


There is no general frustration of the invasiveness of Google outside of the geek community. In general, people do have privacy concerns over Facebook but even then, few leave and even some of them just go over to Instagram.


> Being "the big tech company that doesn't stalk you like a creepy ex" is a potentially huge market.

Genuine question - has anyone actually reliably demonstrated a pro-privacy position to meaningfully increase sales in the tech industry? Doing the opposite certainly doesn't seemed to have harmed the financial success of many so far...

Sure Apple are very pro-privacy and I applaud them for that, but if their approach was, say like Googles, I think they would probably still be selling largely the same number of iPhones.

Perhaps I am wrong, and let me be clear I like Apple's position. I just don't know today that it translates to the masses as a sales driving proposition.


I don’t know of any numbers, but it is certainly a lockin factor. I once thought about android, now I never would as long as apple has this privacy stance. I have talked to others who feel the same.

Again, no hard numbers, but it’s at least common enough that others I speak to routinely agree its important to them.


There haven't really been pro-privacy options before. So no, no one has proven that it meaningfully increases sales. And it'll take years for it to show up in sales.

Doesn't mean it's wrong.


There's tremendous consumer frustration with the invasiveness of Facebook and Google tracking.

Is there? https://jakeseliger.com/2018/11/14/is-there-an-actual-facebo.... I often see this claim in the media and on HN, but "tremendous frustration" doesn't seem to show up as behavior change in the data.


That article is a brief political opinion piece. I wouldn't consider it an authoritative source.


Or it's just providing value through differentiation that can't be achieved by competitors without cannibalizing their revenue model. Seems like smartphones offer almost the same feature set, everything is easily copied/improved/iterated.


Except tying is one of the few antitrust things that is still per-se illegal, so it won't matter.

(IE it's illegal regardless of reason).

If it got to SCOTUS, it would probably end up under rule of reason as with anything else, but i'd also suspect Apple would lose in that circumstance.

Their goal for consumers could be achieved without the tying - issue guidelines as to what you will require in terms of privacy for any third party identity service used in IOS apps.

Offer Apple sign-in as just one thing that meets those requirements.`

Either facebook and google change to meet your requirements, which achieves your consumer goal.

or people move to Apple sign-in, which also achieves your consumer goal.

Tada, no direct tying.

This is just one example, but it's hard to see a path for them to win on that one in court. Their best hope is really a good definition of their market and finding of no market power. If a court finds otherwise, their odds of winning here seem ... low.


>Except tying is one of the few antitrust things that is still per-se illegal, so it won't matter.

Nope. Courts have been subjecting tying to rule of reason analyses for a while now.

Illinois Tool Works:

>Over the years, however, this Court’s strong disapproval of tying arrangements has substantially diminished. Rather than relying on assumptions, in its more recent opinions the Court has required a showing of market power in the tying product. Our early opinions consistently assumed that “[t]ying arrangements serve hardly any purpose beyond the suppression of competition.” Standard Oil Co., 337 U. S., at 305–306. In 1962, in Loew’s, 371 U. S., at 47–48, the Court relied on this assumption despite evidence of significant competition in the market for the tying product. And as recently as 1969, Justice Black, writing for the majority, relied on the assumption as support for the proposition “that, at least when certain prerequisites are met, arrangements of this kind are illegal in and of themselves, and no specific showing of unreasonable competitive effect is required.” Fortner Enterprises, Inc. v. United States Steel Corp., 394 U. S. 495, 498–499 (Fortner I). Explaining the Court’s decision to allow the suit to proceed to trial, he stated that “decisions rejecting the need for proof of truly dominant power over the tying product have all been based on a recognition that because tying arrangements generally serve no legitimate business purpose that cannot be achieved in some less restrictive way, the presence of any appreciable restraint on competition provides a sufficient reason for invalidating the tie.” Id., at 503.

>Reflecting a changing view of tying arrangements, four Justices dissented in Fortner I, arguing that the challenged “tie”—the extension of a $2 million line of credit on condition that the borrower purchase prefabricated houses from the defendant—might well have served a legitimate purpose. Id., at 510 (opinion of White, J.); id., at 520 (opinion of Fortas, J.). In his opinion, Justice White noted that promotional tie-ins may provide “uniquely advantageous deals” to purchasers. Id., at 519. And Justice Fortas concluded that the arrangement was best characterized as “a sale of a single product with the incidental provision of financing.” Id., at 522.

>The dissenters’ view that tying arrangements may well be procompetitive ultimately prevailed; indeed, it did so in the very same lawsuit. After the Court remanded the suit in Fortner I, a bench trial resulted in judgment for the plaintiff, and the case eventually made its way back to this Court. Upon return, we unanimously held that the plaintiff’s failure of proof on the issue of market power was fatal to its case—the plaintiff had proved “nothing more than a willingness to provide cheap financing in order to sell expensive houses.” United States Steel Corp. v. Fortner Enterprises, Inc., 429 U. S. 610, 622 (1977) (Fortner II).

And overturning the per se rule for patents:

>After considering the congressional judgment reflected in the 1988 amendment, we conclude that tying arrangements involving patented products should be evaluated under the standards applied in cases like Fortner II and Jefferson Parish rather than under the per se rule applied in Morton Salt and Loew’s. While some such arrangements are still unlawful, such as those that are the product of a true monopoly or a marketwide conspiracy, see, e.g., United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc., 334 U. S. 131, 145–146 (1948), that conclusion must be supported by proof of power in the relevant market rather than by a mere presumption thereof.[Footnote 4]

>Congress, the antitrust enforcement agencies, and most economists have all reached the conclusion that a patent does not necessarily confer market power upon the patentee. Today, we reach the same conclusion, and therefore hold that, in all cases involving a tying arrangement, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant has market power in the tying product.

https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/547/28/#tab-opin...

Apple should have no fears about flexing on Facebook and Google.


"Nope. Courts have been subjecting tying to rule of reason analyses for a while now."

This is not quite right. You are right that i removed some nuance, which, imho, would not matter much in this particular case but might matter in others.

Your cites are about the presumption of market power, which is not the same as rule of reason analysis in full. It's definitely part of it.

It's definitely true courts are "less per-se". But even illinois tool works is about whether the market power presumption could be rebutted, not about whether the effect was to restrain trade. They still only require a showing of market power.

Your cites even say that, with the illinois toolworks one explicit saying that if they can show market power, partial summary judgement on liability should be granted.

The more interesting part of the rule of reason is about the latter (restraint of trade) more than the former (market power)

Wikipedia even agrees with what i said https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rule_of_reason, see the last section.

" Further, the Court retained the per se rule against tying contracts but raised the threshold showing of market power that plaintiffs must make to satisfy the rule's requirement of "economic power" (see Jefferson Parish Hospital District No. 2 v. Hyde, 466 U.S. 2 (1985).[2]".

The square cite from ITW is "Held: Because a patent does not necessarily confer market power upon the patentee, in all cases involving a tying arrangement, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant has market power in the tying product. "

(IE they just have to show market power)

You can see basically all courts have followed this since.


Edit: My above comment was originally mistakenly copied from the Federal Circuit, not the Supreme Court decision.

>The Court held that in all cases involving a tying arrangement, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant has market power in the tying product. While some such arrangements were still unlawful, such as those that were the product of a true monopoly or a market-wide conspiracy, that conclusion had to have been supported by proof of power in the relevant market rather than by a mere presumption thereof. The court recognized that many tying arrangements, even those involving patents and requirements ties were fully consistent with a free, competitive market.

https://www.lexisnexis.com/lawschool/resources/p/casebrief-i...


This is a lexis case brief for law school students, not a scotus holding? Probably not what you would rely on for real.

The entire decision text is here: https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/547/28/ You'll note your quote does not appear there.

I mean, at some point you may just have to trust me since I specialize in this area of law, among others :)

The state of the world on tying is specifically "If you can show these X things, it will be per-se illegal, regardless of reason". If you can't, it won't be, and will be analyzed under rule of reason.

But i understand if you want to think otherwise.

(And i'll admit i'm too lazy to go look up recent appeals court cases on tying for you right now)


I updated the original comment. It's pretty clear.

>Congress, the antitrust enforcement agencies, and most economists have all reached the conclusion that a patent does not necessarily confer market power upon the patentee. Today, we reach the same conclusion, and therefore hold that, in all cases involving a tying arrangement, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant has market power in the tying product.


Again, you are repeatedly confusing market power and the rest of per-se illegality vs rule of reason.

Per-se vs rule of reason is much more about whether you can show that there was a pro-consumer reason to do something, or whether it is illegal regardless of reason.

It happens that a lot of per-se illegality in antitrust also did not require a showing market power, either (which is what changed in case you are citing). All you had to show was an arrangement exists at all, regardless of market power.

As i've said several times now, and even the cases you cite confirm, while you must prove market power (and a small number of other things, actually) in per-se tying, IF YOU DO, it is illegal.

It does not matter if you were doing it for a pro-consumer reason or not, the court will not hear evidence on it.

I'm really unsure why you are armchair lawyering this.


Is pro-film and audio production the target market for the new MacPro?

At first I thought they might be going for the ML demographic, which has the budget and demand for beefy workstations, but they're using AMD GPUs, not nvidia.


Mostly yes.

Apple has traditionally been the computer for creatives. In recent years, they've let their pro hardware and software lines languish and I think they've lost quite a bit of ground since you can buy a windows computer that runs the same editing software for quite a bit cheaper.

Pro film and audio production people also have huge budgets, as evidenced by the $43000 reference monitor they compared the new display to in the keynote.


Macs are so, so, so good for audio, nothing else comes close. Super low-latency out of the box, no drivers to install for either interfaces or MIDI controllers, and compatibility with Firewire and Thunderbolt interfaces on every machine built in the last 10 years. CoreAudio is incredibly stable and performant thanks to a double-buffer queue [1]. Logic Pro is an incredible feature-complete DAW for $200 that competes with Digital Performer ($500), Ableton ($750) and Pro Tools ($600).

[1] https://www.cs.cmu.edu/~music/cmsip/slides/09-audio.pdf


That’s not really true because Windows does come close, and I say that as someone whose every day DAW is running on MacOS. I also have Windows on other machines to compare it to. Out of the box a Mac is fine as is but a well configured well spec’d Windows box is really good once paired with a decent interface.


As someone who develops a DAW, that's really not my experience. With the very same soundcard (so far RME, MOTU, Apogee) on the very same hardware, I get consistently lower latencies on Windows with ASIO than CoreAudio.


Not if you use the regular audio channels. Both my MacBook Pro and Mac mini suffer really bad audio stutter because of the T2 chip.


There are plenty of professionals working in content creation everyday that don’t have that kind of budget to spend $43000 on a monitor or even the budget for a well specified new Mac Pro.


Apple seems to be somewhat unhappy with nvidia. I think AMD might have ML stuff in their roadmap and Apple is making a bet they will make it before they fix their relationship with nvidia.


From what I hear, Nvidia won't allow Apple to write "bare metal" drivers for their cards. I don't know enough about GPU programming to know exactly what Nvidia is allowing and what they aren't.


I wish we knew the truth behind this. In my opinion Apple is losing more than Nvidia and Nvidia seems to be trying harder to make this work than Apple.

From my understanding, Apple has been writing/maintaining GPU drivers. They've been pretty bad at optimizing them (they also are dropping OpenGL support) so Nvidia wants to maintain drivers themselves. As Apple has been locking down more and more of the OS, it's pushing out Nvidia from creating and distributing drivers. If Apple ceded to Nvidia, I imagine it would be harder for Apple to push things like Metal.

The details of the fight are probably a lot more detailed since they would be negotiating about hardware supply and long term contracts.


If Apple secedes control of the video drivers to Nvidia then they are beholden to Nvidia’s schedule and priorities.

Something similar happen with Google. They couldn’t update some of their Nexus phones because they were dependent on drivers they didn’t control.


Just a thought: from purely brand perspective, do you want consumers to associate your name with film/audio production or with ”nerd stuff”.

The real profits come from consumers. Pro-market is moneywise small (on Apple scale).

Maybe one (or main?) purpose of the pro-lineup is to just make consumer products more attractive. Bit like with cars - some people read and dream about highend models and buy the $30-40k model.


A thousand times this. I genuinely don't think Apple expects to sell a huge number of these, but it's about establishing themselves as that company that sells that awesome high end Mac that creative professionals use.


The audacity of the monitor stand?


More like the audacity of using its monopoly position on app distribution to push for their new SSO solution, Sign In With Apple.


Peasants around Apple's newly launched $1000 monitor stand (c. 2019):

https://9gag.com/gag/an9wYQo

:)


Isn’t Single Sign On monopolistic by definition? Do we want 400 SSO providers? Wouldn’t that not be “Single” Sign On? Before we ring the alarm of anti-trust and monopolies, do we really understand what the alternative means?


This is interesting...Apple and Google are going in totally different directions, based on their market strengths. Not a shocker but I'm interested to see how it plays out.

I've not read any of the apple docs so I'm not sure but I suspect Sign In with Apple is going to be required as an option, not required to be used. In other words a given app may have Facebook, Google, Apple sign in.

I don't think it's required today but what if Google takes the same stance as Apple and mandates that all Play Store apps must have Google sign in available.

So not 400 but at least two and likely three since Facebook is popular too.

If Apple mandates the use of Sign In then I think there may be some monopolistic issues. I'm not familiar with the actual law, grossly generalizing some comments below the theme is Apple cannot be monopolistic since there is an alternative in Android and Android has a larger world wide market share. I don't understand that line of reasoning but admit I do not know what the law says. Seems to me if you have complete control and it's harmful than that is monopolistic...


In my opinion, yes, we do want 400 SSO providers – providing the same, standardized mechanism to sign in. Maybe something along the lines of ID4me [1].

In the long run, there will probably be government-provided digital identities for everyone.

But right now, Apple is probably one of very few institutions that are both willing and able to provide a SSO system with great usability, privacy and market penetration.

[1] https://id4me.org


I think the general U.S. population is okay with monopolies that make their lives better. Apple will continue to push the envelope. Developers can fight back (does anyone remember the Apple vs Spotify thing?) but if Apple keeps putting out a consistent quality experience, the vast maturity of the population won't be sympathetic.


How is Apple a monopoly? They don't even have a majority of the US market.

I do agree they have incredible market strength. But that comes from a large base of loyal customers with deep pockets, not from monopolizing the market.


Closed ecosystem technology service conglomerate is a better way to say it. The word monopoly gets used interchangeably within antitrust conversations all the time to mean abusive market position and behavior.

Apple is forcing anyone that uses Sign in With Facebook or Google to also support Sign in With Apple, or they will be removed from the app store. Quite a power play. (hence the title of the article)

Can you make the argument that they are abusing their position as one of two mobile operating systems to force unnatural adoption of their service, at the expense of their competition, Google and Facebook.


The fact that they don't have anywhere near a numerical majority of devices always makes me pause on this stuff.

The weird thing with Apple using its market position to get their way is that they don't have all the customers, not by a long shot. It's that they have the customers you want.

I'd hazard to guess Apple looks more dominant by some customer money-weighted metric.

When Apple directly competes against companies on its own platform it does seem a bit shaky a la Spotify.

But in the general case, the idea still bites at me that you don't need Apple to access a sufficient customer base, but you want them because you want to access Apple's customers.


well said.

Heres where I think it is anti-competitive. Lets say you are building a streaming service. You choose to be android only, because you want the majority of the market, and calculate that you dont need the Apple users. Your competitor complies with more apple rules, and goes cross platform. They win because they chose to be cross platform.

It's hard to win (and by and large you usually need to be a winner, to exist in the long run) without offering your product to people, whichever device they choose to access it from.

Apple, despite being a non majority of the market share, is a king maker, they can choose the winners. And if they want to, they can cripple their competitors through a combination of app store rules, payment processing requirements and limited api access (streaming, payment, maps, etc)


How is that any different from game makers choosing not to support every console?


There are two factors that matters to a relevant market definition in monopoly; product and geographic. We don't know what product definition will eventually be chosen by the Justice Department yet, but Apple will be in surely trouble when it's defined as users with Apple mobile devices since Apple has an absolute power in this hypothetical market.

It's true that Apple doesn't have a dominant position in the phone market, but the same logic may not be applicable to the app store. Do not confuse those two; Not much customers change their expensive phone due to $1 increase of app prices which could be easily mandated by Apple even though there's nothing stop them from changing their phone. So Android apps are not really viable substitutes unless Apple allows another competing OS or app store on iPhone. Because of this reason, even Apple hasn't attempted to defend itself with "Android is a viable option!".


Which would make no sense, since it would be a circular argument that would apply to every company with a product to sell.


It's the argument that the car makers lost when it was determined you're not restricted to only their mechanics when it comes time for a warranty claim.

Ford can't restrict you to only Ford parts and Ford service mechanics and Ford Gas and Ford toll roads just because you bought a Ford.


I agree that it's not very intuitive. That's why there's no single clear definition of "market" in antitrust laws and most of the time it's done by hypothetical monopolist test, which is a highly data-driven process. I have no idea on what will be the final decision since it's not a predictable one for the outsider; I am just giving you one real possibility rather than ruling it out from the beginning.


How so? Most goods can trivially be substituted for another of the same category. A dishwasher can be substituted for another dishwasher etc.


They have complete control over the iOS application market: https://www.theverge.com/2019/5/14/18618127/apple-pepper-sup...


As does Sony over PlayStation, Microsoft over XBox, and Nintendo over their consoles.


You don't have to have the majority of the market to display anti-competitive behavior.


The EU assumes you have a market-dominant position at a market share of 40%. You don't even need a majority of the market to be treated as a "monopolist".


Such as in price-fixing, collusion, and more.


I don’t know if monopoly is the right word, but if I want to share messages with my family and friends reliably, I have to use their devices.

I could conceivably convince everyone around me to switch to WhatsApp or similar. But in practice I don’t think that’s likely so I just only buy Apple devices.

Apple also lied to us about this, claiming FaceTime would be an open protocol. I don’t think they ever said the same about iMessage.

I think there is both fraud and federal telecommunications law being violated in these acts, but I don’t have the resources to sue Apple.


The only messaging controlled by Apple is iMessage and it integrates with SMS.


It's so disheartening that every time I post about this on HN, I am downvoted into negative numbers and argued with.

If you disable iMessage, any messages people send to group chats you were in will just silently stop working. I don't know what else to say. You will never see those messages. Yes, it sort of integrates with SMS. But if you want to actually see all of your messages, once you are in you have to stay in.


I dont think most people give a second thought to decentralized protocols and standards vs institutional monopolies. (Not necessarily in those technical terms, but just the concepts in general.)

It's second nature to expect an ATT phone to call a Verizon phone. It's an automatic assumption that outlook and gmail email are cross compatible, along with any other correctly configured email server. But it doesnt even cross peoples minds that they cant order an Uber from Lyft and vice versa. Needing to be on the same closed platform is part of how the internet evolved. Its faster for large companies to release proprietary products than to push industry standardization.


I think it's true as long as they're not pricing as a monopolist would. One could argue that Standard Oil and AT&T (pre-1980s Bell System, that is) made people's lives better, but the prices they exacted from their customers were too high.

On the other hand, the increasing importance of intellectual property to the American economy (vs. the manufacturing economy) -- and the Constitutionally-sanctioned monopolies that come with it -- suggest that perhaps even monopolistic pricing is no longer the concern it once was.


That's a common misconception about Standard Oil [1]. In fact they were instrumental in lowering prices (albeit not 1:1 with their reduced production costs). John Rockefeller was a conflicted man in terms of ethics - but it was clear he felt a moral obligation to provide quality products at reasonable prices.

The "predatory" part was towards his competition. In areas where they operated he dumped product below cost. He also had the guaranteed best prices with the railroads ensuring his costs would always be dramatically lower than the competition. However even here there was a benevolence not seen in modern business. Before destroying his competition he always offered them a buyout at a favourable valuation.

[1] https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/5a78/95f431660f4c41e2050614...


Claiming that a monopolist is the good guy because he eliminates his competition by lowering prices is like closing a great novel halfway through. It's what happens _after_ all the competition has been killed off that's interesting: it's difficult to resist the temptation of raising prices significantly once there's nobody left to compete with you.


John Rockefeller was an old man by the time the antitrust suit came - the gouging phase never came with him at the helm. Further, his peak market share occurred long before. At the time of the anti trust he had 65% share, vs the 85% at Standard Oil's peak 30 years prior.

Its quite possible his successors might have followed the standard playbook. But Rockefeller himself is not an example of this consumer harming tactic. This is why his biggest critic was the daughter of another oil man, not a harmed consumer.

If you take anything away from the Rockefeller story it should be that the consumers need not be currently harmed for a successful prosecution. The standard and false "common knowledge" actually defangs the law quite a bit.


>...The "predatory" part was towards his competition. In areas where they operated he dumped product below cost.

Actually from reading your link, I don't get that impression that Standard Oil dumped product below cost to put competitors out of business. As your link states:

>...The testimonies studied by McGee and summarized in this research show that the Standard Oil did not acquire or out-compete its rivals by using predatory pricing. There is no clearcut case suggesting the opposite. In fact, Standard Oil was able to beat its competition by charging lower prices to the general public because its own average cost was significantly lower than the rest.

>...While there still remain a number of other allegations to which the Supreme Court found Standard Oil guilty, that remains beyond the scope of this research. What it can be concluded thus far is that the Supreme Court should not have found Standard Oil guilty of using predatory pricing.

The link makes a lot of references to the John McGee paper on this subject. I think that paper can be found here:

http://www-personal.umich.edu/~twod/oil/NEW_SCHOOL_COURSE200...


I don't fully agree with the linked thesis, but it was a convenient link to show the average picture and his affect on consumers. Rockefeller absolutely participated in predatory pricing within local markets. Of course if you only look at national average data you won't see this.

Rockefeller would likely have still won even in a fair fight just because of his economy of scale. But that wasn't enough for him, and he resorted to underhanded tactics like having his own subsidiaries engage in fake price wars between each other. The full ownership of those subsidiaries was intentionally obscured. In this day national average data may be sufficient to build a picture, but at that time national companies were very rare and competition was heavily regional. Note that this was only a net negative for his competitors, consumers benefited from the low prices and the predicted gouging never came after.

There is a common line of thought that because consumers weren't immediately harmed that Rockefeller should never have been tried. I don't agree with that logic - the end does not justify the means.


Correct.

This is the issue with the tech giants. Under current law, you need to find actual anticompetitive practices. Some way that Apple harms able competitors. Like maybe something they do to force people to switch to Apple phones. (Note: I did not say "entice", I said "Force".) It's anti-competitive if people would be obliged to buy Apple phones. Or if Apple controlled some essential component of mobile phone hardware and jacked up the price on that component for anyone who wanted to make an Android phone.

It has to be something like that. Something Apple is doing, which is at once negatively affecting Apple's competition and entirely dependent on Apple's market position. That's what an anti-competitive practice is.


Gating the app store, banning apps and then cloning their functionality could be construed as anti-competitive.

It's the way Apple, Amazon, and Facebook work now. Clone a product, add it to your ecosystem with enhanced proprietary integrations to your other services. Your competitors cant compete because they dont have access to the same api or the same paas. It really has nothing to do with product pricing or selling client side phones.


Gating the app store is not anti-competitive, because it doesn't harm any other app store. In fact, it could be argued that it helps other app stores since it restricts the number of products available on Apple's store. In theory, and in practice, a consumer would have access to far more product on other app stores than they would have on Apple's App store. So the other app stores have the advantage there. That coupled with the fact that the other app stores also happen to have the dominant market share position...

well, you can kind of see where a supreme court justice might be a little skeptical.

Banning apps could be anti-competitive, if the app can in no way be made available through other app stores. That is to say, if you can run the app, without restriction, on an android phone, from an android app store, you're gonna have a hard time convincing a judge or jury that Apple is engaging in anti-competitive practices.

Firstly, it can be demonstrated in court that your app is available to a larger number of handsets than is Apple's app. (You'd not believe how devastating a download and install demonstration is to a lack of market access argument in open court.) Secondly, there is no mechanism by which Apple is able to use its own App store, to squash the presence of apps on other App stores. That's the sort of mechanism that you'd need under current law. (That mechanism doesn't even have to be Apple's App Store by the way. It could be any mechanism that Apple is using to keep apps off of other app stores. Provided that Apple is the only competitor able to use that mechanism.)

This is all a good example actually of why I've been a big proponent of changing the laws first, and then going after the tech firms. But it seems there is no stomach for that out there right now. Now if we had changed the laws, we might have had a more clear attack vector. We could have said that Apple, is acting as a market participant in its own marketplace. (Not currently illegal under current law.)

There are definitely ways being a market participant, in what is effectively your own market, can be anti-competitive. Problem is, the entire economy has been polluted with companies engaging in this practice over the past 40 or 50 years. I suspect this is part of the reason there is no stomach for cracking down on the practice with new laws. You'd have everyone from Costco and Walgreens, to AMC theaters and Clothing retailers trying to restructure themselves. (Think about it. I create some new wiz bang dog food in my garage that I think is the next big thing in pet food. I try to get it into Costco but they say no. Was that anti-competitive in support of their own brand of dog food? or did my dog food genuinely fall short of their quality guidelines? Or maybe they just made a retailing decision that they have too many dog foods on offer?)

So I can see where new laws might create kind of a mess in the short to medium term, but I really think they are needed right now.


>Gating the app store is not anti-competitive, because it doesn't harm any other app store.

You make a shopping app. Apple makes a rule that says "your app type isnt allowed anymore" but then builds that banned app type itself. Its anti competitive towards shopping apps, not app stores.

Not allowing the user to set a default map app is anti competitive. No matter what map app I prefer, when I click an address it opens in Apple Maps (unless the app i clicked it in supports passing the address to a different map, which is circumventing the os protocol handlers.) The OS and App Store working in tangent to force users to use certain apps, or make the experience with competing apps infinitely more cumbersome, is absolutely anti-competitive.

Saying "you must integrate Sign in with Apple" or your app will be removed from the app store is Apple using its power to force adoption, at the expense of competing sign in solutions. Whether or not that is abuse, would be for a judge to decide.


No no no.

You have to separate these two ideas, because I guarantee you lawyers and judges will. Is gating the anti-competitive practice? Absolutely not. There are a good many legitimate reasons for gating at a retail establishment. Quality, stock levels, etc etc etc. (In fact, you can even gate customers if you want. It's your right. Though it's rarely done except for issues like, "This guy is only dressed in a thong, he can't come in my store.")

What I said might be anti-competitive, and what you are talking about in your first two examples, is banning apps. If Apple bans a shopping app, is that anti-competitive? Again, the judges would look at a lot more than just the act itself, but I was saying that I believe the act itself to be anti-competitive. But it's completely legal under current law, and our economy has grown around the idea of marketplace owners participating in their own marketplaces. (Which is what I believe to be the root anti-competitive practice here. Again, a practice completely legal under current law.) Since so much of our economy has become dependent on this sort of practice, I'm suspecting that's the reason there is little political will to try to change it.

But yeah, Apple or Android, or even your shopping app telling me that I can't put my shopping app on your shopping app is anti-competitive in my eyes. (But probably not in the eyes of a judge or legal scholar if there are other reasons at play. For example, quality.)

I think the integrate with Apple Sign in thing is a bit of a stretch, but we could try it I suppose? I'm pretty sure that one wouldn't go anywhere though.

The best bet in my mind is the "marketplace owner participating in its own market" angle. But, again, even that one would be a more sure thing if we could change the laws so that even the act of doing that is a violation. Instead of what it is now, where if you have a good reason, ie-that manufacturer's dog food simply fell short of quality standards, then the courts have to defer to that judgement. Currently, courts can't force Walgreen's, for instance, to carry Bob's Bargain Basement Garlic Flavored Mouthwash simply because Walgreen's has its own mouthwash brand in Walgreen's own stores. Walgreen's has the right to say, "garlic flavored mouthwash sucks, and none of my customers will buy it."


You cant separate the App Store from the Operating System. The Apple Platform as a whole is one thing. As a whole Apple can behave anti-competitively, by banning competing web browsers, sign in solutions, payment solutions. By being the luxury, top tier experience, they have extreme market power, without having the majority of the market share.

The argument is, that by Apple being the Platform and the Gatekeeper Apple is both a foundation and a competitor. Its the same argument against amazon selling third party products and clones of those products. Im not saying its a great argument. I do think on the OS side, Apple has gone a little too far in what power it gives its own apps, and some of its default settings.

Another food for thought, is Apple being anti-competitive towards other major tech companies (towards google and facebook) more ok than them squashing startups at birth?


A lot to unpack here, but I have to be brief. I have a lot of real work to do too.

First, current anti-trust law does not care at all whether you are a luxury brand, what your "market influence" is, etc etc etc. Current anti-trust law is mostly about market share and anti-competitive practices. Along with a few ancillary but closely related issues. (Again, another reason we need to change the laws, but that's not happening right now.)

Second, being the platform and the gatekeeper is the entire business model I've been talking about. That's the business model that has taken over the US over the past 50 or so years. Which is why I suspect that no one has the balls to go after it. Costco is the platform and the gatekeeper. So is Target. So is Walgreens. Don't even get me started on Amazon and Walmart. Etc etc etc. All, and more businesses to boot, are both the foundation and a competitor in what are effectively markets controlled by themselves. (Again, really good reason to change the law and make owning and participating in the same marketplace illegal. But the scale of the problem is a really good reason not to mess with it. I understand that, but I still think the law should be changed to make that one thing illegal and almost all the problems go away. Well, long term they'll go away. Obviously there would be short term pain.)

Finally, yeah, in layman's terms there is the idea of, let's call it, "able competition". I can't claim that my map app failed because Apple and Google were anti-competitive. The reason that claim is going nowhere is because of the idea that I never had a reasonably high chance of success in the first place. All that to say, yes, legally, in a court of law, how much of a competitor you are can absolutely come into play.

It's not corruption that makes the law pay more attention to the major players either. You can think of it this way, no one should award me millions in damages because my app failed, unless there was actually some kind of reasonable opportunity for my app to succeed in the absence of Apple's anti-competitive actions. You can probably see where that would go if ruled favorably on those kinds of questions. When you allow those kinds of claims, you just open up the door to frivolous time wasters that would be filed by millions of developers against Apple, and Google, and probably Steam as well. And that doesn't even count the physical world. The guy who made Bob's Bargain Basement Garlic Flavored Mouthwash could claim that Walgreen's and Walmart not giving him shelf space was the reason he failed. But for their anti-competitive practices, he would have made millions. But, um, yeah, he wouldn't have.


When I click on an address after searching Google in Safari, guess which app opens?

Guess what happens when I say “take me to X using Google Maps”?


Because Google isn't using standard protocol handlers?

How about if a friend sends you an address in imessage and you click it?


Is it a monopoly if all other options are ad-infested and privacy lacking?

If Apple is considered to have a monopoly on privacy-first devices and ecosystem, then let's first judge the system that allows the other (clearly undesirable) options to even exist.

Monopoly as a definitive term has criteria, and Apple doesn't meet those. By your same argument, any luxury brand "prices like a monopolist" and should be shunned.


I don't contend that Apple is a monopolist. We're discussing a hypothetical that assumes that they are, and whether it would be tolerated by law and society in today's climate as opposed to how monopolies were treated in previous generations.


So you're comparing a hypothetical assertion to previous actual monopolies?

Sounds unproductive other than to lend credence to the (false) assertion.


AT&T was a government sanctioned monopoly before they were broken up and their rates were regulated by the government.


What happens if sites start blocking Apple's anonymized login just like they block disposable emails?


Ya know, I know everyone hates the big guys, but I’m pretty impressed with the new releases, including the Apple Sign On. I personally have never liked the way Facebook Connect or Google have implemented their frameworks. To add random email and optionality (not sure if others allow optionality with sign on or if they are still all or nothing based on requested permissions) is a win in my eyes. Yes, the requirement is a little strict but that’s why their ecosystem yields consistent experiences across apps. And yes, they aren’t a non-profit, but most of us have signed up for capitalism and if this enhances our privacy long-term then I don’t think this is the worst outcome.


With everybody now having an iPhone and Macbook, they don't feel that exclusive anymore. So they need to up the game, to show they are still a luxury product.

A $50k computer is certainly a good start from this point of view, Apple needs to reassert itself as a status symbol. They need to get the word out far and wide that they are selling a computer with the price of a good car.


I think the best way to do this is to sell a $2-3k iPhone.


don't worry, green texts keeps people snobby even if they don't know what it means.


There's definitely snob, but SMS is a really bad protocol by today's standards. (Most of my family is on RCS (aka Google Chat) now, and it's a huge improvement while still being worse than iMessage.)


So unencrypted RCS is better than unencrypted SMS?


The vast majority of people don't care about E2E encryption, and those that do still probably prefer RCS to SMS (typing indicators, messages send faster, images aren't compressed as all hell, group chats work, read receipts)


green texts are such a thing! gross.


This sort of articles always show up after Apple announcement.

I see the same cycle over and over again: laughter, rage, acceptance, repeat.


The sentiment of the article leaned more toward praise than any of those you enumerated.


You are correct. I saw the 6000 figure at the top and thought oh not again.

Serves me right for not reading the rest before commenting :(


Does this mean we can't have our own login system anymore? If so how will you authenticate with APIs? You need to login to get tokens.


Unless I misunderstood, Sign in with Apple is a required option, not the only required way to login. Of course it remains to be seen how long other options are allowed to coexist.


And I believe it's only required if you offer. "sign in with facebook" or "sign in with google" link. If everything's self-contained (ie Netflix), no issues.


Required if you have other THIRD PARTY logins.

If you are your own (and only) account provider you should be fine.


is active directory (a product not a service) a third party?


That can't possibly work. How do you handle tokens, 2FA, etc?


Could it be that the new price tag of $6000 of the mac pro is a correction for the inflation Apple witnesses after 10 years of quantitative easing?

https://editorial.azureedge.net/miscelaneous/chart1-63651777...


️I'd buy it, why's everyone always get so upset about price. If you get so upset by price you probably arent the target market for a 32-core computer.......... go build your own PC


What if I'm in the market for a solid Mac workstation? The lowest spec option for a Mac Pro is 6000 dollars. That is a lot of money for a computer.

Barring the Mac Pro, what are my options? There's the Mac Mini. Reasonably priced perhaps, but pretty low on specs and upgradability. I also have my concerns over the cooling.

Then there's the iMac. Again, concerns with the upgradability and cooling. At least the pricing is decent for a Mac. That is unless you go for the iMac Pro, which is almost the same level as the entry-level Mac Pro. At least the iMac Pro comes with a monitor stand.


I guess if a fully loaded iMac or MBP are not suitable to your needs, then you are in a particular niche where I would expect a person not to balk at $6000. There's not much either my MBP or iMac can't do and I heavily abuse them. The only thing I can think of would be very very intensive video editing, and in that case, $6000 is a drop in the bucket compared to most professional editing tools and software.


Except it’s not a drop in the bucket anymore. All of the costs have come way down. To be honest I don’t think they are targeting the everyday video producer. They are targeting the high end as like you say a lot of people could use the other products.

So why wouldn’t we use the other products - they are not upgradable and rely on lots of cables and external boxes hanging off them. And for me personally the thermal design is poor. My MacBook Pro gets too hot, the fans kick in and then it’s throttled.


They could take a Mac Pro and just chop it in half to create the product so many people want.

1 MPX module. 6 DIMM slots. 700 watt power supply. One 10Gb Ethernet port. Supports up to 12 cores.

Shrink the case somewhat in two dimensions and call it the Mac Pro Mini.

How hard can this possibly be you have all the parts right there...


I guess you can be upset at the price, but people have been asking Apple for a mini-tower for decades and they're obviously not interested in offering one. I'm not sure why anyone would think the Mac Pro redesign would be it.


It's because for the past two decades Apple has always provided a Power Mac or Mac Pro at the inflation-adjusted $2500-3000 price point. As of now there is no user-serviceable Mac at that price point.

The people who are upset are not necessary those Mac users who have been clamoring for the mystical "xMac" for the past 15 or so years. We know that the chances of Apple ever releasing a sub-$2,000 tower (which is what the "xMac" was) is very slim. No, the people who are upset are people who want user-serviceable, upgradeable, and expandable Macs who were able to buy them at the traditional $2,500-$3,000 price points who now feel abandoned by Apple because Apple's remaining desktop offerings are the Mac Mini, iMac, and iMac Pro, none of which satisfy the expandability requirement of the 2012 and previous Mac Pro nor the user-serviceability requirement of the 2013 Mac Pro.

I have a 2013 Mac Pro and I'm upset with Apple because I don't want to buy a Mac Mini or an iMac yet there is nothing comparable to the Mac Pro at the $3,000 price point. Of course my Mac Pro is still working and I can still get a few more years of solid use from it for my needs (although I was really looking forward to this Mac Pro announcement after years of waiting), but when it's time to upgrade, unless Apple reverses direction (which I think is slim given that Tim Cook has been wildly successful from a financial standpoint), I'll have nothing satisfactory to upgrade to; I'll either have to pick a compromised Mac that is difficult or expensive to upgrade, somehow pony up $6,000 for an upgradeable computer, or leave the Mac entirely. That's why I'm upset, as well as many other Mac users who have waited for years for a Mac Pro upgrade only to be told by Apple that we have been abandoned.


Most people in these threads have been complaining about wanting a mini-tower from Apple at a rock-bottom price. Personally, I'd love one, too, and the Mac Pro has never been a consideration to me because of the price.

Unfortunately, cost-creep has been happening more every year. Apple seems pretty proud that the average cost of an iPhone has jumped up since the iPhoneX. For almost a decade I would buy a Macbook Pro, then aftermarket upgrade the ram and hard drive. Now that it is no longer an option that has greatly increased the cost of a new laptop for me. (to be fair to Apple, the PC laptops I was looking at also had soldered RAM and while the SSDs weren't soldered on, they had worse performance and were close in cost after upgrading). I'm still hoping PC makers catchup.

The iMac Pro seems to have filled the price-point of the old entry level Mac Pro.

It sucks there's not a Mac that fits your needs at a reasonable price...I feel similarly about their laptops. It's like pros have gone from ignored to priced out of the market.


and they are just not going to listen and instead declare the Mac Pro a success for the next few years.


What type of upgradeability do you need from the Mac Mini? Storage and GPUs can be added externally and the RAM is upgradable.




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