1) Apple's apps come preinstalled on every iPhone.
2) Apple's apps have permission to do things that 3rd party apps cannot.
If I search for "Web Browser" on the App Store... well, technically I'll get results from third parties, but every single one is just a UI skin around Apple's own browser. That strikes me as a much larger problem.
Since Apple makes the hardware and the software I don't have a problem with them preinstalling their own products.
However, when a user is clearly searching for alternatives on the app store, it matters how far down you have to scroll to find a 3rd party app.
Spotify being the 23rd result for a "music" search is absurd.
If I delete Apple's Calendar, install a third party Calendar app (like Fantastical), and click a date link, I'll get a message asking me if I want to reinstall Apple's Calendar. I think it's pretty darn clear in that scenario what the user actually wants.
That strikes me as a frivolous concern, but if it worries Apple, there's an easy solution—add a "defaults" menu in Settings, like every other OS. Set it up so the default can only be changed by the user, and remains associated with the first party app even on uninstall.
We're coming up on the 13th version of iOS, and Apple hasn't done this yet. I don't think it's because they haven't gotten around to it.
Actually, I suspect that advantaging their own apps is a key part of Apple's business strategy for the future. Consider their recent shift towards "services". If the iPhone didn't exist, it would be silly to expect Apple to outdo major incumbents like Spotify, Netflix, and Venmo, but Apple thinks it can leverage its status as iPhone platform holder against competitors.
This becomes a vicious self-justifying cycle that is profitable for Apple but harmful to those consumers, who are kept tech illiterate when they're denied the opportunity to step outside their comfort zone and learn something new.
Other apps can take advantage of this too. Apps like Reddit and Outlook have similar settings to do the same. They even offer options for other browsers like Firefox. But, developers would need to add each browser option themselves, instead of relying on a defaults system from Apple.
So each individual app would need to request Chrome, something I'm sure Google's apps can do, but [insert random app here] won't.
What ruined companies (and what MS was actually prosecuted for) was Microsoft telling PC manufacturers "we will only sell you Windows OS if you agree to NOT install any other browsers on your computers." Those agreements were how MS abused their OS monopoly to wrongfully exclude other browsers from the market. Up to that point, Netscape was selling their browser direct to Dell, HP, Gateway, etc. to be preloaded on machines they sold.
Microsoft was a supplier to PC companies and the market they distorted was the software supplier market. Apple themselves are the device manufacturer and have under 50% share in that market; it's not a comparable situation.
Notice this key quote from below, "However, the DOJ did not require Microsoft to change any of its code nor prevent Microsoft from tying other software with Windows in the future."
Not really a loss I would say.
I have hard time believing this was not intentional.
Edit: on Android Spotify is at place 2-4. iTunes is nowhere to be seen but that could be explained with the horrible reviews it has received (some are even legit).
Google Play says nada about trackers. Exodus project (and therefore F-Droid) does.
If you come from CopperheadOS I can recommend /e/ or LineageOS + microG (/e/ also contains microG). microG does not implement GAds. You will still need to block trackers though.
My understanding is that GrapheneOS is the successor to CopperheadOS, and I think that's what I'll try next. There isn't an Exodus Privacy or F-Droid for iOS and these are sorely missed.
1. Apple Music
4. Spotify New music and podcasts
YouTube - Music Channel
Music - Wikipedia
Youtube Music on the App Store
For me Google even has a "Related search: Music platforms" box that contains YouTube, Google Play, SoundCloud, iTunes and TIDAL (no Spotify)
That search term is so broad it's difficult to figure out exactly what the users intent is for that. Do they want to listen to music? Do they want to create or record music?
FWIW, I just searched for "music" and saw: An ad, a story ("run with music"), apple music, two music players I've never heard of and finally Spotify in position 6.
I disagree. It's broad in the sense that that the user could be searching for any number of things. It's not broad in the sense that the user is likely looking for a music listening app.
Think of the real world equivalent. In common conversation when someone says "I like music", do you presume that they enjoy listening to, or making, music?
I'd say the intent is pretty clear for the majority of users.
Search optimization. Determine what most users ultimately end up selecting for specific queries, build up your data set over time, then weigh priorities and determine result order based on that.
That still feels like Apple is penalising Spotify ...
It's 5th for me today, not including the Pandora ad at the top.
Quote from the infographic in the article:
"Before Apple Music arrived in the App Store, Spotify was for years the first result in searches for “music.” Shortly after Apple Music was added to the store in June 2016, it took the top spot. By then, Spotify had fallen to fourth place. In Feb. 2018, Apple apps suddenly appeared in the top six results for “music.” By the end of 2018, there were eight, some of which were unrelated to music. At this point, Spotify was the 23rd result. Spotify complained to European regulators in March that Apple was abusing its role as the gatekeeper of the App Store. By April, all but two of Apple’s apps disappeared from the top results for “music.”"
If I search for "Music" on google (incognito, google.com), spotify is nr 16 (page 2).
* Search ad for Spotify.
* App Store story for "Run With Music".
* Apple Music.
* Some app called "Music".
* Some app called "Music>".
* YouTube Music.
Not only that, but the autocreated links to addresses in the messaging app will not work with other map apps. In fact, if you've uninstalled the apple maps app, the address links in messenger are completely useless.
* unless i'm mistaken, but I'm a fairly adept technical user and haven't found a way to make address links work.
Meta comment regarding HN community... looking at the comments here it seems like most people didn’t read the article, and just assumed what is being reported.
> Please don't comment on whether someone read an article. "Did you even read the article? It mentions that" can be shortened to "The article mentions that."
(Just for what it's worth, I did read the article in full before commenting, and I don't think the paraphrased portion changes what I wrote.)
Not to mention all the Samsung bloatware.
1. Granting more permissions to third party apps won't cause the iPhone to ship with Samsung bloatware.
2. I'm not necessarily advocating for 3rd party app privileges to be significantly expanded. However, Apple's own apps should mostly play by the same rules. If they can't, that's a sign the rules are too restrictive.
Apple tends to open capabilities up once they’re confident they’ve been able to make them reasonably airtight against abuse. That seems like a very sensible policy to me, even if it means that certain features come at a glacial pace.
In order to remain competitive, they’d be forced to release half-baked/under-tested APIs, which is never good. That’s exactly how the Android developer story got as bad as it did at its lowest points.
Whose apps should have come preinstalled on iPhones? Samsungs? No apps, let the user install everything from scratch?
The whole value proposition from Apple is that you get something that "Just works".
It might have issues and bugs, like everything has, but the idea behind "just works" => is more or less ready, no fiddling required for the regular Joe.
At Redmond, we believe everyones apps should come pre-installed. Bought a PC for serious work? well f--- you and please enjoy some candy crush!
That's because at that time Microsoft had a monopoly.
>At apple, they even don't know what these words mean... /s
That's because Apple never had a monopoly. Their market share was always on the low 10% (desktop), or the mid-40s (mobile).
Permissions are the bigger issue, though.
Pixel 3 lacks a basic pre-installed app which iOS includes: Voice Notes/Recorder. Scouring the Play store for a simple functionality like this seems silly, and it made me appreciate that Apple's pre-installed kit includes this staple feature.
Scrolling a dozen entries to find an alternate Podcast app, however. That's a joke.
While the pre-installed option is a convenience, it should be much easier to find an alternative, when desired.
However, if I were Spotify, I wouldn't be too concerned about this particular problem. Apple Music and Apple Podcasts come preinstalled on every iPhone, so Spotify effectively lost the discoverability battle before the user even got to the App Store.
By contrast, I'd be quite concerned that Apple is outright preventing me from making my app as good as their first party offerings. Spotify will not ever be able to open Podcast links shared from Safari, or fully integrate into Siri.
Apple is abusing its market position, it has been obvious for me long before this article and the lawsuits. But coming from a country not a member of EU or strong enough on its own, its hard to do anything about it.
The algorithm examines 42
different signals, they said,
including an app’s relevance
to a given search, its
ratings, and its popularity
based on downloads and user
If you searched for “podcast”
in May 2018, you would have
had to scroll through as many
as 14 Apple apps before
finding one made by another
“We make mistakes all the
time,” Mr. Cue said.
“We’re happy to admit when we
do,” Mr. Schiller said. “This
wasn’t a mistake.”
It's difficult to make any sense at all of such a result.
Not saying that's a good algorithm, but one _might_ be tempted to think that with enough users it should be fine. The 'bug' being that all Apple's users are Apple users, so Apple apps would get pushed high for any search.
I'm certainly not suggesting that's what happeened (or even that it would be something so simplistic), but it gives me an idea at least how something that, when presented only with the symptoms, seems so unbelievable.
> The algorithm examines 42
different signals, they said, including an app’s relevance to a given search, its ratings, and its popularity based on downloads and user clicks. ...
> If you searched for “podcast” in May 2018, you would have had to scroll through as many as 14 Apple apps before finding one made by another publisher. ...
> “We make mistakes all the
time,” Mr. Cue said.
> “We’re happy to admit when we do,” Mr. Schiller said. “This wasn’t a mistake.”
For those on desktop, please stop formatting quotes like code. They’re just impossible to read on anything but a very wide screen.
This article has "interactive" in the URL. Note sure, but I think this is some special articles they do with a focus on just that? I believe there have been some other examples posted here previously, like this one: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/07/03/upshot/a-quic...
I'm not trying to say "you're right, I'm wrong", or the opposite: different strokes and all that. I found your excitement about the design quite interesting.
But it went one step further by providing the casus belli against the distribution of software outside of Apple's walled garden. Create something Apple didn't approve of, and you get booted. A clear break from its desktop programs, which could be freely installed from wherever.
Now the full picture is beginning to emerge. It was good going for app developers when Apple was largely a devices company, but as it moves into software and content creation/delivery, its position as marketplace gatekeeper means that everyone else will have to start paying tributes (in the form of ads, which appear above organic search results) if you don't want to end up relegated to the bottom of its search algorithm.
What's not fine is not being able to install a third party App Store with different policies so that users can choose whatever they prefer.
Apple's main thing is security, and one important aspect of how they achieve it is by only allowing signed code, which Apple also does some basic tests on, to be installed on the device. Many think this is a valuable service.
In the third party App Store scenario, does the developer still submit an app to Apple for approval? How does Apple then make the approved app available to the third party? How is this different from a website that gives App recommendations?
MacOS gives up a lot of security for those extra abilities, and on MacOS I don't feel like I ever really had security. For example, I begrudgingly run shell injection attacks on myself every time I download some large codebase, which I am never going to review all of, or run brew, etc. It has been that way since the very beginning. Not so with iOS.
Can you elaborate?
Are you arguing that macOS users need less security than iOS users?
> It has been that way since the very beginning. Not so with iOS.
I have to say that "it's this way because it has always been this way" is a very poor argument.
That said, I would only agree (ideologically speaking) to Apple being as unreasonable as they are now if they allowed third party stores and let users chose which store they prefer. I really don't know how that would work but it would not be my first option.
The idea I get hung up on is Apple doesn't control the market, they control access to the customers companies want. And those customers made a free choice to enter apple's ecosystem. They could get an Android, they could get none of the above. The game consoles have had an incredibly locked down marketplace. nintendo had to basically build their brand on it in the wake of atari in the 80s. Why do mobile marketplaces get such additional scrutiny? The orders of magnitude more money? The pervasiveness of mobile devices? The utility of the devices?
The area where I do struggle is the apple tax, they don't pay it while everyone else has to. My reflexive feeling, is that if you can't provide 20% value over what apple can provide, there might be intrinsic issues; your product might be a commodity. But for something like spotify, where the service exists way beyond the iOS platform, it seems wild that apple get 20% of anything that goes through its platform.
When you buy a Switch it means you can only play games Nintendo has approved. Unlike the app store, the policies are much more restrictive there. Random Joe can't put a game on the Switch. When you develop for the Switch it means if you have a game similar to a Nintendo game _they won't sell you a license and your product is dead in the water_.
People love to forget: The App Store was the first major distribution mechanism where anyone can join the program, no pre-vetting required, and so long as you obey the rules you can sell any app you want. Prior to that every distribution mechanism (sans selling it yourself on the web) was far more discriminatory, restricted, and took a bigger cut of your sales.
There's not much they can do in this regard; they might actually pay the Apple Tax in the accounting sense, but the tax taken goes into the same bank account. They can't take less money from the $10 Apple Music charge since the tax has to go somewhere, and they can't just charge less money for their services since that would just be changing the price for the users, making competition even angrier about Apple undercutting them.
The Apple tax is 30% by the way.
Apple does not control a market, but it controls a marketplace. Perhaps the fact that Apple's marketplace isn't the largest by most measures allows it to set rather market-fixing terms to the stalls it allows others to put in it, perhaps that's ok.
But once the other stalls paid their legal due to the marketplace owner (i.e. assented to the various terms, as unfair they may be), they and the customers have a justified expectation that competition would be fair from now on - the default is fair and free competition, and inasmuch as the other stalls haven't signed their rights off, these must be respected.
Now if the marketplace owner would then put in further roadblocks to make the other stalls hard to find and his stalls easy to find, despite that not being in the original terms, that should be not legal. As far as I know, nowhere did Apple reserve the 'right' to hide other due-paying apps and promote its own in searches.
For that alone, Apple's behaviour should be banned outright, even if it is their marketplace. If Apple can constantly alter the deal, than no stall or customer can be safe. The long term process would then be in favour of eliminating competition, both internally in Apple's marketplace, and in general as vendors flee to the largest marketplace since it is regulated by law. That's not in the public interest at all.
Edit: I did not remember correctly! This feature was added in iOS 10, released in September 2016.
The same company that won't admit hardware flaws won't admit they use your Data.
Although I agree that one shouldn't trust anyone, there's a difference here: certain uses of personal data come with reporting requirements, or are outright forbidden, whereas I think that there are no such requirements around hardware flaws.
No need to if the algorithm includes to artificially normalize having some of their apps syroketing their raning value.
Am I the only one having these sorts of problems over and over again? or I am i just an outlier?
Have you looked for a non-free option?
Health shows this, so if your app integrates with that you may not need to see it in-app.
The same wasn’t true for desktop OSes (at the time), Microsoft Windows had an overwhelming chunk of Europe’s market share.
Not to mention Apple employees are banned from making apps outside of company time, since they are aware of the issue with insiders having power to make apps that out compete the rest.
This is markedly different then, for example, Google altering search results to promote their own products, because Google owns something like 90% of Search.
In the retail/wholesale model, the retail store buys the third party products and their own store brand products, and sells them both. It might favor the store brand with more promotion or better shelf placement, but both products appear on the shelves, and the third-party has generally already been compensated for their goods (or is contractually owed compensation). In uncommon situations, such as with new products, compensation may be contingent on products sold through (to end customers), but that is not the norm.
In the appstore model, third-party app makers sell apps in Apple's store. Apple sells apps in Apple's store and promotes its own apps ahead of competing apps. It even promotes unrelated apps ahead of competing apps in a blatant attempt to push competitors off the first 2 pages of search results (i.e., off the shelf). Apple also frequently bans apps that compete with Apple's own apps or features, even if such competing apps existed for years before Apple's own apps.
Any one of the aforementioned acts by Apple could be treated as an antitrust issue. And that's not even a comprehensive list.
Well no. What you cited was related to the Supreme Court's analysis of the App Store case, but that was only related to the issue of standing.
How it differs from brick and mortar stores buying inventory isn't relevant to the actual merits of the case, which hasn't been in court yet.
The "market" is smaller than you think. A classic way to determine alternatives to a product is by asking "if I raise the price of all apps, how many people will buy something else?" Iphone owners are kinda stuck eating the increase, aren't they?
Apple controls 100% of the iPhone app market. An iPhone owner made a $1000 investment into their phone and cannot just switch to Android. Apple takes advantage of that fact for their own benefit.
And everyone makes a choice when they purchase a product— you could say invest in a product—if they want to buy into that.
Of course it costs money to buy something different. The salient point is that there is a obvious and competitive choice before you buy, that Apple does nothing to restrict you from making that choice before you buy, and that you can switch if you feel like it, which makes it not a monopoly.
Monopoly is not defined as the lack of compatibility between two competing products. Monopoly is also not defined as having a closed ecosystem.
I think it’s fair to argue if you think it should be illegal to have closed ecosystems. Personally I strongly disagree because there are clear trade-offs involved and the market should be able to decide if it wants a closed ecosystem product offering from Vendor A or an open ecosystem offering from Vendor B.
The problem with a closed ecosystem is when it is combined with a monopolistic market. In this discussion I believed the two points have become conflated, but while Apple certainly has a walled garden, there is compelling evidence the smartphone market is highly competitive.
Imagine a world where Apple continues to clamp down on 3rd party services that compete with their own offerings, like Spotify. Apple could completely ban Spotify from selling subscriptions outside the App Store, and raise their fee to 70%. Google, wanting to push their own Google Play Music service, eventually adopts similar rules on Android, or perhaps implements them in a theoretical successor like Fuchsia.
This would basically mean you cannot build a music streaming service without also building your own mobile platform. That in turn would effectively mean we can only ever have as many streaming services as we do mobile platforms.
Even though neither Google nor Apple have 80%+ marketshare, this behavior strikes me as deeply anti-competive. It's not a world I want to live in.
Offering rebates for using your product and not using someone else’s, for example, may be illegal if you are a monopoly but not illegal if you are not.
There are innumerable things a given company could do that harms its competition. Up to a point, that’s kinda the whole idea! It doesn’t become illegal unless it is done by leveraging a monopoly market position.
If Apple clamps down on 3rd party apps to the point where it is no longer serving its user-base, the user base has many good alternatives, and Apple would lose business.
I think the Spotify example is a good one; if Apple kicked off Spotify, there could be millions of people switching to Android just because of that. Apple might love the idea that only Apple Music should exist on their iPhone (in fact they was kinda Steve’s original vision) but they can’t get away with it specifically because they would be clobbered by the competition if they tried.
Even as (if) Apple’s reputation shifts away from “walled garden that protects you from junk and malware and spyware” toward “overlord trying to control what you can buy” this causes some users to leave.
As long as there’s viable competitors, I’d rather let users vote with their wallets. This is actually the best way to give people the choice of which system you would prefer using. If the fully open system is preferred by most users then most users will choose that product. But because there are actually huge trade-offs and very hard unsolved problems with a fully open system, it’s important to provide consumers both options.
We'll never know unless/until it happens, but I think you are 100% wrong on this point—most would just switch to Apple Music. Phones are much too expensive to switch immediately, and while some users might initially want to switch at their next upgrade cycle, they would need to sign up for Apple Music in the interim, and then they'll become accustomed to it.
iPhone users are a captive market. The costs of switching are too high, both economically and in terms of inertia.
But the take that I got from reading the article is if you say "Podcast" in the search box, you'll see pages and pages of Apple's own apps, unrelated to podcasts, before you start seeing podcast apps.
So there's that...
If I own the football team, and the field, and the city (hell, why not), then sure I can choose who plays QB, so I choose my son. Maybe at the start he's even not that bad of a QB, and our team wins some games. Everyone is happy.
After a little while though, people realize there's no sense trying out for QB on my team. My son, now left without anyone gunning for his job becomes complacent. We start losing games more and more.
With enough control over the market (like Apple has with the App Store), there become less and less QBs to choose from, and it's not just my team that gets worse, but the whole league.
Apple built, run, maintains and owns a stadium. The stadium has a food court with many food stalls.
Some of them, Apple runs themselves, but tons of others are run by people who pay N% of their revenues to Apple to be able to have them.
They still need to supply their own food, branding, marketing, furniture, and pay their staff, Apple gives them access to the stadium crowds and a payment processing system.
Apple is not obligated to advertise those third party stalls over their own.
If they don't like the arrangement they can always go somewhere else (there is an even bigger stadium in town that has available food stalls).
So the argument is going to boil down to this... Is the curation Apple does to the App Store worth market effects of effectively turning it into a stadium for software? Given that I can't easily give my friend the tool I built to run on their phone, and the App Store is filled with "bad" apps (by basically every definition), I'm going to argue it's not worth it.
For starters, nobody forces you to sell merchandise for this particular team's fans...
But the analogy breaks down here, because merchandize such as t-shirts is not dependent on the stadium to be used. You could sell it outside the stadium.
Whereas iOS software leverages the fact that the iOS is being sold, maintained, having the necessary APIs, and so on, and that iOS devices are being made and sell decently and lure people willing to pay for apps.
So it's like you want to sell a ware that's inherently dependent on the stadium (hence my stall analogy), but you don't like the terms of the stadium builder/owner/maintainer that allows businessmen to have those stalls on their stadium...
A privately owned stadium is not be required to open up its space to third-party sellers. But once it does, it cannot then abuse its position as the landlord to interfere with the market activities of those third parties. That's the part you're missing in your fervent defense of Apple's antitrust activities--Apple didn't have to open up the app store to third parties, but having done so, they must now act in a non-abusive matter.
I don't understand how you arrived at this conclusion.
I figured that it'd mean nobody tries out for QB on your team, all the best QBs go to other teams, eventually your team starts to suck and lose fans and therefore revenue, and the market forces either force you to get a new QB or your business in the team suffers and maybe folds. Problem solved either way, eventually.
It's as if you're the one selling all the tickets to the only stadium in town, and you make it so that when your team plays, tickets are cheaper, more abundant, and more visible.
Another local team wants to play too, but their ticket prices are outrageous, there's no promotion of the event either, and they might actually be banned from the stadium unless they use ONLY your equipment.
An iOS app/ticket/whatever wouldn't work/get you into the other "stadiums." Ergo, the market for the iOS thing does not include those other "stadiums."
Repeated for emphasis: it's irrelevant that there are other mobile app stores, because you can't sell iOS apps on them. The antitrust issues are related to Apple's actions within the iOS app market. Authorities can and do segment markets based on meaningful distinctions ,like the fact that iOS apps wouldn't work on an Android phone.
Repeated for emphasis: it's irrelevant that you can't sell iOS apps on them. Selling iOS apps is not a basic human right, nor a market right. As long as you can still sell apps, there's no judge who cares if you can specifically sell iOS apps.
You can't sell your physical products at Costco either unless they accept them, and even if they do, they are always free to promote and prioritize their own brand over yours...
>Authorities can and do segment markets based on meaningful distinctions ,like the fact that iOS apps wouldn't work on an Android phone.
Only for authorities that's not a meaningful distinction...
Microsoft then had a monopoly on desktop OSes at the time, at 95+ (close to 97%, in fact).
Apple has a paltry sub-50% share of mobile OSes.
The "But they have 100% share on their own products" is not an argument, as far as the law is concerned, as monopolies are not judged this way. That's the same reason why you can't legally force McDonalds to also sell Burger King burgers, or GAP to sell Banana Republic clothes...
And even MS monopoly position wasn't the issue (having a monopoly naturally is not illegal). The issue was it used its monopoly position to threaten and bribe OEMs to not work with competitors.
Monopolies aren't inherently illegal. See e.g., patents and copyrights, which are legally granted or protected monopolies.
What is illegal is anti-competitive practices. This doesn't require a dominant or even majority market position--authorities in the US and EU have gone after companies with relatively small market shares that engaged in anti competitive actions (though they haven't done so in many years).
That's not what monopoly means legally.
>Monopolies aren't inherently illegal
That's true, but a vendor controlling their own store is not a monopoly.
Monopoly is when the vendor has 100% of the overall market...
From the DOJ guidance on antitrust law (https://www.justice.gov/atr/competition-and-monopoly-single-...)
Regarding the first element, it is "settled law" that the offense of monopolization requires "the possession of monopoly power in the relevant market."(5) As discussed in chapter 2, monopoly power means substantial market power that is durable rather than fleeting--market power being the ability to raise prices profitability above those that would be charged in a competitive market.(6)
Someone could sell cars for $5K and have 99% of the car market in a small city of 1000 people, while another one sells a single car for 100M and has 20 times the other's revenue. It's still the cheap car guy that has the monopoly.
It's not relevant for monopoly law and whether it's a monopoly, which is what's discussed here...
Antitrust is about power, and Apple has a lot of it.
We don't get to pick our "complete" definition we prefer because "we deserve free money/mobile platform access". There's an actual, legal, one...
>Antitrust is about power, and Apple has a lot of it.
Only in the same sense that McDonalds has power not to sell Burger King burgers, and a shop owner has owner to sell whatever the duck they want.
Not power related to monopoly over the mobile market or the app market in general.
Microsoft also had a court order to comply with that they forgot about in Windows 7. https://www.engadget.com/2013/03/06/microsoft-european-commi...
Microsoft had a dominant market position, and anti-competitively leveraged that market position in operating systems to muscle its way into the internet browser market.