Apple should separate Rambo's software development from his reporting rather than retaliate against him, if that is indeed what is happening, but it is a little disingenuous for him to make the above claim.
Rambo reverse engineers Apple products and publishes findings on 9to5Mac.com, in particular future product references that have slipped prematurely into releases. (To be clear I have no problem with this, but it likely violates the terms of the Apple Developer Agreement.)
Recently, Rambo published an article where he got early access to Apple Arcade, which I think may have crossed a line:
In a later post from a collaborating author, they described how they gained access to the unannounced service through their own Apple account, rather than a leak from an employee, which could easily be argued was unauthorized access.
My bigger issue here is the complete lack of transparency or visibility into the process. It's this kind of stuff is why I strongly support some government action to change the current state of affairs with regards to the App Store being the only way to get apps on iOS.
These companies have been notoriously opaque in how they make such decisions (and sometimes inconsistent), and the fact that their stores are monopolies on their platforms makes this much worse.
This is indeed the core of the problem. If Apple provided a clear citation, e.g. “the following protected information was shared under your name at this URL on this date, which violates section xyz of your developer agreement,” it would still be unfortunate, but it would be miles ahead of Apple’s maddening “for more information please reread” stance.
If you're going to discontinue service with a client then provide proper background into why that is. It's a damn courtesy.
Which is a distinction when it comes to possible ways to fix the problem.
I'm absolutely in favor of a "right to examine" law around algorithmic decisions that impact an individual.
If the author is being disingenuous and misrepresenting why likely was banned then I am sure other facts are being left out as well.
And how do you know the author is being disingenuous ?
If he's been reverse engineering and publish the results of developer-only pre-releases in violation of his T&Cs, then he has a pretty good idea why.
And, even if they cited whatever part of whatever agreement, it would just be onto the next excuse. It's a bottomless pit of arguing that solves nothing.
It's the same reason reddit moderators don't answer when you ask why you got banned. Either you know why and you're just trying to weasel out of it, or you don't know why and you're a bad contributor in general, or you don't know why and don't care and just want back in. And the answer to all three is no. Why? Because who cares about you? You're one of millions. You're one infinitesimal speck in a deluge of others, all providing similar things but who are following the rules. You are not special. You are replaceable. After you're gone, 5 other developers will take your place, paying their dues, and following the rules, and you won't be missed.
Nobody's app idea is so fucking star spangled awesome as to make them above the rules. You wanna play in Apple's sandbox? Cool, they're happy to have you. Do it right. And if you don't, they'll boot you out. Simple as.
Sure, some explanations from Apple would be ideal, but I think fuzzyZeus makes a good realpolitik argument for why that doesn't happen--and didn't deserve to get downvoted into oblivion for it.
And speaking of explanations, why doesn't the OP give us more explanations? The OP details all the delays and non-comm of Apple without even mentioning his own activities--especially if they were as serious as alleged. If he did non-standard or gray-area activities, you'd think he'd explain them and how they should be considered legit. The fact that he does not mention them at all is very detrimental to his case, and will likely cause a Streisand effect.
Yes, apps and devs are still critical to the iOS ecosystem, but fuzzyZeus is right that there is too much supply putting the balance of power on Apple's side.
In the original article, Rambo is complaining that his dev account has been limited in some way. Anyway, how is that relevant when no one in this thread is contesting that the OP's account was (or was not) suspended/disabled in some way?
> they should be clear that that's what they're actually doing and offer at least a sentence or two as to why
I pretty much said the same, but given all the missing information, it might be a case where they can't or don't want to. As other comments have pointed out, Apple has covered themselves legally with their TOS explicitly stating accounts could be terminated without notice for violations. Other comments have also pointed out that Apple might be in a legal situation where they were advised to not communicate (blame the corporate lawyers).
> The argument that this just can't possibly scale is dubious
Well FussyZeus had a whole explanation for his/her opinion backed by his/her experience and a certain attitude towards the whole situation. Your only argument is that Amazon, Twitter, and FB do manage to give explanations. Yes, but not always, and Google that you don't mention is notorious for not giving explanations and not being able to speak to a human about it.
I have the feeling that this is not a minor violation and there is credible speculation the OP seems to have behaved in ways that might merit what happened. So I think it's premature to jump to the conclusion that Apple can and should be more forthcoming in this case.
FZ's only cited experience is "I've done moderation for communities before." As I noted, I've done moderation for communities before. I've also worked closely with professional community managers in other positions. And as I noted elsewhere, I can't quite shake the feeling that neither FZ's experience nor mine is directly comparable to this -- being kicked off a forum is not generally going to destroy your business. "Other companies give explanations" isn't my only argument; my main argument, I'd say, is that when it's reasonable to assume cancelling someone's account will screw with their livelihood, a company should maintain a certain standard of care and communication that exceeds the standard of care a forum community manager has. Is that really such a crazy argument for me to make? (And, yes, I'll also stand by my assertion that even the forum community manager should probably meet the "we're telling you why you're banned" standard of care.)
So, anyway, I guess I agree with this:
> I have the feeling that this is not a minor violation and there is credible speculation the OP seems to have behaved in ways that might merit what happened.
I just have trouble with this:
> So I think it's premature to jump to the conclusion that Apple can and should be more forthcoming in this case.
Unless saying "we've cancelled your development account because you keep digging through private frameworks and publishing crap you know we don't want revealed" would somehow compromise an ongoing investigation (unlikely, unless there's genuine criminal activity here), I just don't think getting to that conclusion requires much of a jump.
Is Apple heavy-handed in this? Definitely, and that should be fixed. But like in the current situation, they had/have significant cause to initiate an action (that turned out to be heavy-handed).
I know we who post here on HN would like to believe this is true, but I have seen no evidence that it actually is.
I am not anymore.
To be honest though they might have put in the biggest effort themselves when it comes to making sure everyone dislike them.
Their relationship to us has always been in very simple terms: These are the ways you're allowed to behave while doing business on our platform. Accept that, or do not publish here. If you publish here and break these rules, you will be removed without second chance.
Yet again, and again, and again, we get pleas from fellow developers who broke those rules but think Apple's just being mean. No, they're not. They outlined exactly how you should not Do the Thing, and you Did the Thing, and now you're off. This situation is fixed, and you knew the outcomes. You made your bed, sleep in it.
And I don't think anyone suggests Apple should get rid of all the rules and accept anarchy on the platform, that'd be insane. They have the right to set the rules on their platform, and enforce them. And the developers should not be surprised when violations are handled accordingly.
The first problem is that a lot of the rules are entirely vague, to the extent that it's hard to make judgments based on the wording. (Essentially what we used to call "rubber law" years ago, a vaguely worded law that can be used to support whatever the state currently wants.).
The second problem is that you generally don't get clear explanation what rules you broke. That may seem reasonable, but whoever makes those decisions is bound to make some errors. And if you don't know what rule(s) you supposedly broke and how, you can hardly appeal the decision.
Yes, for Apple it's much easier/cheaper to provide as little information as possible, eliminating the issue of appeals (i.e. costs). But it's a bit of a dick move, really.
If you set rules for your platform, you really need to plan for proper enforcement, including providing information what rule was broken/how and allowing appeals.
We developers would like to believe this is true, but I'm not sure it is. I don't think Apple would care if the third party developer ecosystem went away. They don't depend on it to sell their products.
I need my bank's app (well, all four of my banks' apps actually), my email provider's app, a few games, etc. I might have a couple of "indie" apps, maybe. But I could certainly live without them.
I just want to add that I'm an Apple user and developer and I agree with you.
There have been past stories right here, when HN flip-flopped between taking a suspended developer's side and then Apple's after it turned out that the dev was not being fully honest. Lemme dig that link up.
I love Rambo (the dev) and the information he provides but he clearly violated the NDA. I wonder how the pitchforkers here would handle it if someone violated their company's NDA.
I'm also glad that big companies are under constant scrutiny so they can't bully smaller devs who don't have a voice as loud as Rambo's. In this case though, I don't think Rambo was bullied.
Welcome to the Internet! :)
> I love Rambo (the dev) and the information he provides but he clearly violated the NDA. I wonder how the pitchforkers here would handle it if someone violated their company's NDA.
Yeah see, I don't know this person from a hole in the wall, so I have no attachment and that's kind of how you have to approach these things. I've seen this song and dance so many times when someone who has social pull in a given community suffers a blow. It's not fun to swing the hammer (or at least it never was for me) but someone has to.
Big companies don’t take a moral stand when it comes to what platform to target. It’s all about where the money is.
Companies don’t make decisions for petty reasons. There is a reason that Google, Amazon and Microsoft develop for iOS even while they compete against Apple.
Slavery was also profitable for slave-owners. Fascism was also profitable for the willing corporate partners of the state. The argumentam ad pecuniam is valid only for the accountants, not for policy-makers.
It is not as if Apple has given developers this platform to create and sell software out of the goodness of their own hearts; the App Store is wildly profitable for them. What is being asked for here (in the comments, not in the blog post that was linked to) is nothing more than some common courtesy.
I didn't do that. It wasn't that bad. But I didn't mean it. But this wording. But that rule is unfair. On and on and on. And yeah, once in a blue fucking moon, we get someone who understands they messed up, knows why, and wants us to bend the rules just for them this one time because they super super promise they won't do it again. NO.
The Apple app store isn't free. I've paid thousands of dollars to Apple for Apple products. They brand themselves as a premium outlet. It's not just some free web service or ad driven where you can leave and go to some other community with no cost.
They're being paid, a lot of money. Being able to talk to a human being is not a big ask; it's perfectly reasonable and they can afford it. The Apple store has tons of retail employees who are willing to spend half an hour addressing the concerns of any customer (and retail customers can be the worst), they should be able to do the same for the app store as well.
When you rule by fist and swathing generalizations in an app marketplace, developers (and their incomes) become casualties.
The stakes are a little bit higher than being banned from an internet website. Business owners should be held to a higher standard than online community moderators.
And sometimes they're right, but it's such a vanishingly small number that you'd be forgiven for mistaking it as a rounding error.
> When you rule by fist and swathing generalizations in an app marketplace, developers (and their incomes) become casualties.
And what's the alternative?
The alternative is to... maybe not be super unfriendly and unhelpful when your account gets terminated? Maybe issue a warning first stating when and how you're violating a rule so you have a chance to correct it?
The problem is this data is not tracked. Internally, an organization would say: Moderation was performed > Moderation was Investigated > $outcome, being either: Correct/Incorrect. But because of the he said/she said factor, if it was wrong, the person is reinstated, and they wouldn't be complaining about it. If it wasn't, that person would then, as is the case of the OP, be posting on their own blog or whatever complaining about it. The point being: those complaining about being kicked out are a self-selected group of people who were kicked out who believe Apple was incorrect in their decision. The others aren't talking about it because it's already resolved for them.
Who's right? Who knows. Even the GP comment we're all replying to conveys information, relevant, that the poster of the blog post decided to omit from their recounting of the events. Information which would prove Apple's actions correct. I don't know if Apple was right to ban him, but the fact that the first reply makes mention of documented instances of the developer breaking the ToS is interesting, since said developer made no mention of it themselves. It certainly dings their credibility as far as I'm concerned.
> The alternative is to... maybe not be super unfriendly and unhelpful when your account gets terminated? Maybe issue a warning first stating when and how you're violating a rule so you have a chance to correct it?
You do. Failing an app review, for example, does not lead to account termination. You're given explicit notes on what's wrong with the app, what you're doing that Apple doesn't like, and the only "consequence" of that is that your new code doesn't go live yet. You're given exactly that: time to fix it.
In the case of the GP though, if we assume this is correct and this person was using their developer access to publish information about upcoming Apple products ahead of their release curve, which is indeed against the ToS, then there's no way to have them "fix" that. They're abusing their privileged access in a way Apple doesn't want. Therefore, revoking that access is the logical next step.
I get the little guy means nothing, so why bother, but some level of "Yep, that was a goof, you're back, sorry" would go a long way.
Get back to us with outcomes.
Wrong. Haven't in years. Gave it up because it's thankless work.
> And it doesn't surprise anyone here than you don't work with the community, you just enforce the rules as strictly as you possibly can.
You don't know a thing about where I worked or the rules I enforced. You're swinging blindly in an attempt to bruise my ego. It will not work.
> I'm sorry your life has divulged into trying to flex the insignificant "power" you unknowingly sacrificed your free time for on any mere user who dare break an online community rule around THE FussyZeus.
I don't regret a thing. It wasn't about being above other people, it was about making sure the community at large had the best experience possible because every dingle who came along and thought the rules didn't apply to them harmed that experience.
I enjoyed the communities I moderated. I still do, though I don't moderate anymore. This attitude is precisely why I quit after decades of doing it. Everyone wants moderation but nobody wants moderators. Everybody wants content policed, controlled, and curated but everybody hates the people who do it. Everyone wants the community rules enforced but not against them, their friends, or the people they like in the community.
I did it for a long time, and if my feedback is to believed, I did a damn good job. But I never once got a thank you until I announced I was leaving. Every day I worked through an inbox full of abuse, insults, mud slinging, questioning of my masculinity, my sexual orientation, my race, my gender, much like what you've done right here: dismissing me as some loser who has nothing better to do, who is powerless and so sought out a role that gave me power.
Wrong, wrong, wrong.
When you had to take a moderation action against someone, you didn't just lock them out of their account with no explanation as to why and ignore any request for clarification, right?
We did that all the time, for the reasons I've outlined above. If I consider all the years I spent working on this sort of stuff, I could count on two hands the number of people who, when confronted with clear and unambiguous proof that they had broken rules, simply owned it and left it at that. And I was never policing something even remotely approaching something the size of the Apple developer community.
Yes, I could've explained it to each other person. I could've exchanged a number of emails back and forth, trying to make them understand. But I come back to the simple problem that 99% of people will never interact with moderation staff of any kind, because they follow rules. They don't bend them, they don't look for loopholes, they don't push envelopes. They're fine. We'll never talk. That 1% however, we talk all the time because they're constantly pushing buttons, trying wording, looking for exceptions, looking for ways to get around things.
Why? I don't know. It seems to be just a thing humans like doing. And after you've entered your roughly 500th conversation with someone who knows they got busted and doesn't want to own up to it, or wants it excused, or wants to plead ignorance or whatever, it just all starts to sound the same. The same excuses, the same pleas, the same insults.
I was always open to check something out that another mod had done. Review is never a bad thing, and sure, we reversed a few. And other mods I'm sure reviewed me all the time, too. But again, the vast, vast majority of situations were just people who broke rules they disagreed with. And once we verify that, you go in the bin. Further discussion is not warranted.
In any case, we're not talking about a community forum, we're talking about an account that's necessary for Rambo's business. I suppose you may sincerely believe that it would be absolutely fine if your employer or your bank or the sole source of a component that you need for a business suddenly stopped doing business with you and didn't bother to ever explain why. But I hope you understand why a lot of us think that's maybe not the best possible approach.
The problem is that some of these are getting to be impactful enough that it's starting to look socially useful to give accused persons some of the same protections as we've learned the real legal system needs.
But that's the problem. These people who don't agree with the rules? They have the capacity to vote, to not develop applications for the App Store, not buy them from others and publish accounts to try to move public opinion and encourage others to do the same. That's what they're doing right now.
You're saying if they don't like the rules they should do what? Shut up and do nothing? That doesn't effect change. So instead they raise Cain and do what they can to put pressure on Apple and their reputation in order to bring about a change in policy.
Telling dissenters to eat sand because their opponent is bigger than them is not going to convince anybody that Apple is right. It does more to convince people that Apple is problematic.
It's not "impossible." It might be difficult, but good customer service always is. I'm not sure why I should take Apple's side just because providing decent service for a fabulously profitable global corporation can be tricky.
as someone who has been a victim of automated bans and account deactivation multiple times on multiple platforms, I view this statement as factually incorrect.
>Nobody's app idea is so fucking star spangled awesome as to make them above the rules.
Except, historically, any apps made by FAANG.
I'm never in defense of actions where the victim is entirely out of the loop with regards to corrections they could possibly make in order to comply with whatever rules need to be complied with.
This is by no means universal.
The App Store is the only Apple supported way to release apps, there are unsupported third party app stores as well. Lack of transparency is not good, but I'm not sure what the issue is with there being only one officially supported way to download apps.
It is Apple's product and software, they are selling the "Apple Experience" as much as the hardware. Having a single store with strict guidelines and QC helps to ensure the most consistent experience.
If you only care about using the hardware how you see fit you can JailBreak and get access to almost anything. You take the same risks you would if there were other, easier to access, unsupported ways to download unmoderated apps.
If you want freedom buy an Android.
Apple is selling a product in which they have not decided to include a way to easily download unsupported Apps. I do not think it is the government's role to tell Apple they have to allow a easy way for users to install Apps from different channels.
Surely not all conceivable restrictions would be good, but some (like GDPR) are clearly net positives.
(Personally, I wouldn't be heartbroken if Apple was forced to allow apps to be installed outside the App Store and to not require all in-app purchases to go through them -- I think that would actually end up being healthier for the platform in the long run, especially if they're serious about positioning it as a general purpose computing platform rather than an "application console" -- but I'm not at all sure American antitrust regulators will see it that way.)
While I've generally come down more on your side of that argument in the past, I'm not longer quite so sure; Apple's control over the iOS app ecosystem as things are now has no precedent in the history of computing I'm aware of, and I could certainly see a plausible case made that this control does ultimately harm consumers by making it effectively impossible to install non-Apple-sanctioned software on iOS devices. Both "if you didn't want to accept that you shouldn't have bought an iOS device" and "but you can technically jailbreak the device if you find a way Apple hasn't cut off yet" are plausible defenses, too, but neither one seems to me like a legal slam-dunk.
Looking at the overall phone market Apple has around 50% share in the US but only 20% globally. This is not high enough to constitute a monopoly especially when there are clearly competitors in the space.
That is an absurd comparison, Apple is one of a duopoly, there are only two mobile app marketplaces, thus, iOS is a market.
The App Store is a feature of iOS devices, if Apple decided they no longer wanted an App Store they could remove it entirely.
It is not reasonable to require Hardware and Software vendors to support third party Applications to run on their systems.
Vendors that do support this functionality sell it as a feature of their product, but this should not be a expectation.
You are comparing a tiny subset of the car market with the entire smartphone market. A more proportional comparison would be electric-car market vs feature-phone market.
> The App Store is a feature of iOS devices, if Apple decided they no longer wanted an App Store they could remove it entirely.
No, they couldn't, it would kill the iPhone... Removing apps from a tesla? maybe it would make some people unhappy, but it still functions as a car, as far as a car is concerned it is ancillary.
Availability of apps, programs etc beyond the vendors creations are a critical function to any computer platform that is not single use - Isn't this obvious? Do you really think the value of iPhones to the majority of it's users are merely as a more advanced feature phone?
On iOS, these are nothing more than hacks.
Do Android users blame Google or the phone manufacturer when they download a damaging app?
This exploit existed in the wild for iOS for years, and all a user had to do is visit a website for their device to be exploited.
There are plenty of other recent exploits found in the wild for iOS. This implant is undetectable and uploaded iOS users' photos and location data to the attackers.
All four of these iOS exploits were found in the same month.
You have a single "store" interface with user configurable channels which users can add at their own risk.
If you don't make it trivial for an attacker to induce a user to configure such a channel you avoid most bad outcomes for stupid people. For example you shouldn't be able to click a link and prompt the user as such prompts do not work.
Personally I would expect
- A setting in configuration menus to enable 3rd party channels
- explicitly entering the channel data
- a white list of known safe channels run by good actors even if not reviewed
- a black list of known bad channels that can't be enabled
Those ‘attackers’ will be the same media outlets who encouraged people to Jailbreak in the early days, or Google and Facebook using their respective monopolies to blanket advertise.
I think we should call it Android. Given that, and a lack of a closed ecosystem, is why Android is hacked as much as it is, which is why I would never get rid of my iPhone in favor of an Android device - well, that and the lesser quality hardware, of course. But I think you see my point.
As an Apple user, I don't say this very often, but you're seriously drinking the Kool-Aid here. Neither mobile OS has a significant advantage in hardware quality at the high end.
A very slippery slope that will not end well for anyone, i.e. Apple, end users, and developers included. This is something I wouldn't advocate for personally and I'm not an Apple fanboi. I don't particularly care for the closed ecosystem but it does create security advantages and Apple is making efforts to protect users more so than greedy Corporate interests when it comes to data and privacy rights.
*edit: formatting of quoted text.
An anti-trust case against an established monopoly is a slippery slope? I'm having trouble understanding the fear here.
> I don't particularly care for the closed ecosystem but it does create security advantages
Anyone can claim "security advantages" from their walled garden, there's nothing particular about their implementation that grants them any additional security. Further, there are plenty of instances where Apple has had to remove malware and violating apps well _after_ they had been released to the store so it's not entirely clear what the true advantage for the consumer is here.
> and Apple is making efforts to protect users more so than greedy Corporate interests when it comes to data and privacy rights.
Do you believe this is the only model? Why should the manufacturer of my computer have any reason to be "protecting my privacy." Why are they involved in that discussion in the first place?
This is just not true. Apple does tons of stuff to keep users protected from third-party software distributed through their app store.
Sometimes those things are frustrating and get in the way of app developers, like me. But I see why they are doing them, and I see THAT they are doing them, and I am, in the end, happy they do. Because of that, the computing platform I use that I feel is the most secure is by far iOS. I can trust it far further than I can any desktop system on the market today.
That is worrying.
They can punish him for unfavorable coverage by pointing at the Apple Developer Agreement.
There should be some form of legal protection, for example limiting company control of app stores (which would be a basic anti-monopoly measure).
Because the market is punished due to Apple's opaque policies and politics.
Lack of competition and options hurts the entire market.
I don't see how this would improve the situation, and it would most likely make it worse.
> Devs have absolutely no recourse against this monopoly.
Devs have no right to demand that Apple let them into their ecosystem. It belongs to Apple. The ultimate dev recourse is not to go complaining to the government but to build their own ecosystem that out-competes Apple's. Good luck.
And if that's the answer, then devs who don't like how Apple manages their ecosystem should simply go find some other kind of coding to do.
Apple isn't a traditional distribution channel. If FedEx bans me, I can switch to UPS (or USPS, or ...); if Apple bans me, for all practical purposes I can't compete in the mobile space in the US anymore.
What "non-competing and unrelated company" are we talking about?
If a third-party dev company is depending on Apple's ecosystem for their business, they're not "unrelated". They've made a business choice that has consequences: one of them is that their business is now at the mercy of Apple's app review process. But they knew that going in and chose to take the risk anyway. Not all choices end up well.
> if Apple bans me, for all practical purposes I can't compete in the mobile space in the US anymore.
That's because you're just one person. Samsung, LG, and other phone manufacturers compete with Apple in the mobile space just fine.
Re: Samsung, LG, etc. I'm not referring to phone manufacturers, I'm referring to businesses which must provide mobile device integration for their (otherwise unrelated) products and services. Examples include banks, game publishers, remote product controllers (for you car, or drone, or IoT light fixture, or ...), etc. "Only available on Android" generally isn't going to be viable - customers expect you to work with their (mainstream) device.
In the sense that they either do what Apple says they can, or they don't get to play in Apple's sandbox, yes, of course. That's because Apple owns the sandbox and therefore gets to make the rules for everyone that plays in it. And everybody who wants to build Apple apps knows that going in.
> there is functionality that you simply cannot provide without a native app. If your competitor chooses to provide that functionality and you don't, your business will no longer be viable.
Yep. And everyone who builds Apple apps knows that up front.
> 'm referring to businesses which must provide mobile device integration for their (otherwise unrelated) products and services.
"Must" in the sense that they chose to try to build a business that requires it, yes. But nothing forced them to choose that business.
Basically, your argument is "Apple should allow other businesses to use their infrastructure, which they have spent many years and many billions of dollars building, however those other businesses want". That's unrealistic; no business in the history of the world has done that with something they own.
In some cases (e.g., banks, which you mention), Apple isn't going to kick them off the app store; if there is an issue with CapitalOne's app, for example, someone at CapitalOne will talk to someone at Apple and they will figure something out. Apple are not fools; they know everyone does banking online and their users aren't going to accept their bank's app not working. But that's because the banks are also large businesses and Apple can't just ignore them. It's not because Apple is under any requirement to be nice.
No. My argument is that companies which choose to place themselves as sole gatekeepers of their devices, and which also have such significant market share, should be subject to some minimal regulation that includes neutrality, oversight, and transparency requirements (at minimum).
> no business in the history of the world has done that with something they own
This claim is factually incorrect. Rail companies (in the US and Europe), telecoms, electric, gas, and other utilities all immediately come to mind. In most of the western world (but notably not the US), ISPs are subject to open access laws; these have been very successful.
> that's because the banks are also large businesses and Apple can't just ignore them. It's not because Apple is under any requirement to be nice.
I understand there is not currently any legal requirement; I'm arguing that we need one.
Are being "sole gatekeepers" of devices they manufacture and sell. Why shouldn't they be?
> Rail companies (in the US and Europe), telecoms, electric, gas, and other utilities all immediately come to mind.
All of whom have government granted monopolies, so they do not "own" the things they manage the way Apple owns its infrastructure. And of course the same applies to ISPs, as I have pointed out multiple times now. You are completely ignoring this crucial fact.
The issue isn't (necessarily) that Apple banned a particular account for a particular reason. The issue is that Apple (or Google) banning an account could easily render a given company (in an unrelated market segment) non-competitive overnight. That company would effectively have no recourse, and there is no alternative provider for them to switch to. I do not think that's a generally desirable state of affairs.
A reasonable analogy (in the US) would be an ISP banning a particular website. If the ISP were large enough (ex Comcast or Verizon), any web based US business banned in this manner would effectively become non-viable on the spot.
Tech companies should not be allowed to unilaterally control our economy in this manner. (This is all in addition to the existing consumer protection concerns.)
This analogy is flawed. Apple cannot "ban" people from the Internet. It can only choose to prohibit certain app developers from using its app store. But app developers can still reach customers in other ways. Choosing to base your business on Apple allowing you to use its app store is a business decision that has known risks up front. If you choose to do it, the risk is on you.
An ISP ban of a website means that website is literally off the Internet as far as all of that ISP's users are concerned. The website is not trying to use something the ISP owns; the ISP does not own the Internet (whereas Apple does own its app store). The website has no business relationship with the ISP the way app devs do with Apple. Also, the ISP's monopoly of its customer's Internet access is not a product of market forces the way Apple's position in the mobile app space is; the ISPs have monopolies granted by governments.
A better analogy to Apple would be a website's hosting company deciding not to host them any more based on the content of the website. The business running the site, by choosing to have a third party hosting company (instead of just buying their own servers and their own direct connection to the Internet), has taken a business risk; if the risk materializes, they have to make a business decision to either switch to an alternate method of hosting or shut down. But they knew that risk up front when they chose to do business with that hosting company.
My (current) point isn't about Apple banning individual consumers, but rather about Apple (or Google) banning companies from distributing via their infrastructure. From the perspective of the affected company, this is in fact roughly equivalent to an ISP blocking access to their website.
> But app developers can still reach customers in other ways.
Not in a commercially viable manner, at least in the US. That's my current view anyway, and you haven't (yet) convinced me that it's flawed.
> An ISP ban of a website means that website is literally off the Internet as far as all of that ISP's users are concerned.
And by analogy, an Apple ban of a publisher means that their app is literally blocked as far as all Apple device users are concerned. My original analogy holds.
> The website has no business relationship with the ISP the way app devs do with Apple.
Devs don't necessarily want to have a relationship with Apple, they're forced to in order to maintain a viable company (in some market segments, in the US). It is precisely this lack of choice that necessitates neutrality regulations of some sort. In fact, if an ISP were to charge website owners in order to reach their customers it would match the Apple app store model almost perfectly.
(Resident : User) :: (House : Device) :: (ISP : Apple) :: (Website : App) :: (DNS Record : Dev Account)
Your proposed hosting analogy is fatally flawed because an app developer can't switch distributors and still reach the (very significant, in the US) Apple device user subset. Apple is akin to an ISP, and blocking a developer account is equivalent to blocking any and all web properties owned by a particular individual.
It doesn't matter who "owns" the internet or a particular app store, or how the current state of affairs came to be. Any company possessing such unilateral control over effectively unrelated segments of the market is a completely unacceptable situation and needs to be remedied by lawmakers.
Um, what? How is "mobile app developers" an unrelated segment of the market from "mobile phone manufacturers"?
> is a completely unacceptable situation and needs to be remedied by lawmakers.
No, remedy by lawmakers is exactly what you do not want. Basically, the situation is that a bunch of businesses made bad business decisions--they built businesses that were critically dependent on Apple being nice to them, and Apple wasn't. Businesses that make bad business decisions are supposed to fail; getting lawmakers to shield them from failing is how you get bad businesses and badly served customers.
The correct response for people who want to develop Apple apps and can't because Apple has banned them is to either build their own infrastructure to compete with Apple's, as I said upthread, or to find some other line of business.
My impression is that your position is one of preventing over regulation and preserving a free marketplace. I generally agree, but think that it's essential to maintain the stability and openness of the market by preventing large players from abusing their market dominance. I can't see how allowing Apple (or anyone else) to install themselves as sole gatekeeper of their very large service and then make arbitrary and opaque decisions about who gets to participate in it is in any way a good idea. It seems easily abused and detrimental to the market as a whole - consumers and smaller businesses alike.
Responses to various points from both your comments below, but I suspect any differences in the above is likely to lead to differences in the below being largely irrelevant to each of us.
Re unrelated market segments: I'm pointing out that, for example, Tesla's car app is expected by consumers to work with both Android and iOS. I don't think anyone is arguing that Tesla and Apple are in competition (or even remotely related) though. It seems silly to me to suggest that if Apple terminated business with Tesla that Tesla should simply roll their own infrastructure and expect consumers to switch away from iOS. That's an absolutely enormous barrier to entry, and easily abused. DJI provides an app for their drones (https://www.dji.com/goapp). Should it really be legal for Apple to decide to remove that from their app store without some sort of justification? Shouldn't the barrier to doing so be reasonably high (ex intentional abuse, illegal behavior, etc)? Is it reasonable if someone purchases a device, but later the associated app is removed by Apple and they lose functionality that they paid for?
Re government regulation: In fact it is exactly what I do want. I want general open access, neutrality, and transparency laws that apply to both ISPs and closed marketplaces. I'd also like a law requiring that users be allowed to configure roots of trust in _all cases_ for devices that they legally own, but I'm not holding out hope for that one.
Re my ISP analogy not holding: Sure, Apple can't force consumers to purchase their devices. Neither can an ISP force you to purchase a house in a particular area. So what? It doesn't follow that either of them should be permitted to arbitrarily regulate how I engage with a third party. This is why I compared a mobile device to a house and a user to a resident in my analogy - in both cases it is costly and difficult for most consumers to change who they do business with.
Re Apple not caring what you or I think because we're small, they built the infra, they own the infra, they were upfront with their ToS, etc: I'm arguing that things need to be changed. They ought to be legally required to do business with you unless they can provide documented justification that includes evidence of serious abuse on your part. This is conceptually the same (to me at least) as requiring net neutrality and open access of all ISPs.
For mobile phone service and mobile internet access, I think this is a reasonable position (though not everyone would agree with it).
But that's not what we're talking about. We're talking about a specific infrastructure for distributing mobile apps, which Apple built and which they own. Apple does not prevent anyone from operating a mobile website and having customers connect to it. To argue that Apple's app store should be considered "essential infrastructure" is to argue that access to particular bells and whistles in mobile apps (whichever ones require a native app as opposed to a mobile website to function acceptably) is "essential infrastructure". I don't think that's a valid claim; it is much, much too strong.
> My impression is that your position is one of preventing over regulation and preserving a free marketplace.
My position is what I just said above: that the government should not be brought in to regulate something just because certain app developers aren't being allowed to distribute native apps through Apple's app store. That's not "essential infrastructure".
> I'm pointing out that, for example, Tesla's car app is expected by consumers to work with both Android and iOS.
And Apple is not going to ban Tesla's car app from its app store, because Tesla is a large enough company that Apple can't ignore them.
> It seems silly to me to suggest that if Apple terminated business with Tesla that Tesla should simply roll their own infrastructure and expect consumers to switch away from iOS.
Knowing Elon Musk, I think that's exactly what they would do. (Or, equivalently, they would figure out how to put whatever functionality they needed into a mobile website and build the infrastructure to make it work acceptably.) And I don't see why they couldn't, if they had to. But I also don't see that Apple would try it in the first place; see above.
> It doesn't follow that either of them should be permitted to arbitrarily regulate how I engage with a third party.
When Apple bans an app from the app store, as I've already said, they are not regulating a third party. They are terminating a business relationship between them and the app developer. An ISP does not have a business relationship with a website that they (hypothetically) decide to prevent their users from reaching.
Yes, Apple terminating a business relationship with an app developer affects that app developer's customers. But that's true of any business relationship. If your ISP decided to terminate your Internet service (say because you kept sending child porn in your emails), that would affect everyone who wants to connect with you over the Internet. But the ISP would not be terminating a business relationship with them; it would be terminating a business relationship with you.
You could argue that your ISP should not be allowed to terminate your Internet service because Internet service is now "essential infrastructure"; but, as I noted above, access to Apple's app store is not the same thing.
> They ought to be legally required to do business with you unless they can provide documented justification that includes evidence of serious abuse on your part.
I think having the government do this would do far more harm than good.
And here's the inconvenient truth: unless the affected company is large enough to make Apple pay attention, their perspective doesn't matter.
I get that it would be nice if Apple didn't do these things. It would be nice if Apple allowed every indie dev and every small dev company to build their dream app without having to jump through hoops and risk having their business shut down on Apple's whim. But Apple doesn't care what you or I think would be nice. They built their infrastructure and they own it. If they choose to manage it in a manner you don't like, they simply aren't going to care, and you have no right to insist that they care.
> Not in a commercially viable manner, at least in the US. That's my current view anyway, and you haven't (yet) convinced me that it's flawed.
I didn't say "commercially viable". Apple is under no obligation to make sure the business model you would like to have in a perfect world is commercially viable.
> My original analogy holds.
No, it doesn't, because Apple's ban of a publisher is a ban of another business that they have a business relationship with. The ban is basically saying that Apple doesn't want to have a business relationship with them any more. And no business has a right to insist that Apple have a business relationship with them.
If an ISP bans a website, they are "banning" a business that they have no relationship with. More precisely, they are restricting the actions of their customers in a way that impacts a third party (the website) with whom they have no relationship. In a sane world, ISPs would not have monopolies over the last mile Internet connection and so customers who wanted to get to website X and couldn't through one ISP would simply pick another (and ISPs who arbitrarily "banned" websites would end up going out of business because nobody would want to buy that kind of Internet access). But ISPs lobbied the government to get special monopoly privileges, and that means they gave up the right to arbitrarily restrict their customers' Internet access. That's a special circumstance that doesn't apply to other businesses like Apple.
> Devs don't necessarily want to have a relationship with Apple, they're forced to in order to maintain a viable company
No, they're "forced" to because they picked that particular area of business. But nobody forced them to pick that area of business. They chose to, knowing the risks involved. Nobody has a right to insist that their chosen business model must be viable.
> Apple is akin to an ISP
No, it isn't. Apple can't force people to buy its devices. ISPs can force people to get Internet access from them because they have government granted monopolies.
Quantum entanglement doesn't actually allow you to do that; you can't use it to transmit information FTL.
So in this case, a dev has (we think) broken the ToS of his agreement with Apple by publishing information before launch.
What do you think the government should do about this?
At the very least, Apple and Google should have to appoint a "public ombudsman" overseen by the government that handles these kinds of complaints/problems that people can actually contact. And if they don't seem to be handling them very well, they need to get fined increasingly severely until they do.
But in this case, where the developer (we think) has clearly broken the ToS of the agreement, which was basically "we will provide you with privileged access to information so that you can develop for upcoming products, but please don't share that with the public". What do you think the ombudsman should do?
What you normally do with such a person?
People who break NDAs get punished according to the NDA. You take them to court and you hit them with the correct penalty. Or you do what most normal companies do and simply omit them from anything requiring an NDA in the future.
You don't get to summarily punish them with no notice and no explanation. You don't get to yank their iTunes, iCloud or development account unless that is a specific term of the NDA. You don't get to exert punishments simply because you can.
When you act like that, you are creating a "blacklist" and the law generally takes a dim view of that.
These companies have been operating above the law for far too long because 1) what they provide is "free" so damages are difficult to prove and 2) they are so big that most individuals really can't oppose them.
The only way anyone punishes these companies is if they happen to have a big enough social following to provoke enough negative PR to actually cost the company money.
However, if we define the "market" as "places that you can legally purchase and install iOS device apps from", the App Store is close to 95%+ of the market share.
In that case are all of the console makers “monopolies” since they have to approve both digital and physical media distributed on their platform?
Does Apple also have a “monopoly” in the smart speaker market since they control what runs on the HomePod even though they are a distance third to Amazon and Google? What about the “AppleTV”? Should Apple have been forced to open up the 2nd/3rd generation AppleTV to developers?
Do they have a “monopoly” on AirPods since they don’t allow third party smart assistants?
Personally, I would say that they are monopolies. And people are starting to think about them that way because so many games now have an "always online" component. The problem is that even if I own a game disk, that game that I paid money for is suddenly worthless when Sony or Microsoft pull the plug on the online servers.
The issue is stronger with Google and Apple in that smart phones are almost reaching "necessity" level and you can't opt out. You either have Android, iOS or nothing.
We have been here before. Monopoly laws are not some immutable commandments from on high. Monopoly laws were passed in response to specific abuses in rail, steel, coal, etc. We will create new laws to deal with the current crop of abusers.
And whether you "personally" think they are monopolies. They are in no sense of the word "monopolies" by any definition that has been used by the US or EU.
This is not correct. Nothing like the Sherman Act existed prior to it even though there were "anti-competition" rules from common law. The Sherman Act was a product of its times and changed the laws and the way of thinking about monopolies.
Standard Oil was never a "monopoly" according to your definition, and yet was declared to be so by the US Supreme Court in 1911.
Your assertions about "monopoly law" are shallower and more dogmatic than its actual application in the real world.
I have no duty to continue to engage to someone who can't exhibit simple reading comprehension or basic use of Google.
You're just arguing against a strict definition of the word "monopoly, which is utterly besides the point.
Again, the regulations in the EU speak of the term "market dominance", in order to decide whether a case is anti-competitive or not. They do not (as far as I'm aware) mention the word "monopoly", except perhaps in a figurative sense.
The EU website should have all the further answers you need, all the cases, translated into all the languages, and the regulations written down in relatively simple language (you don't need a lawyer to understand). It's really all there:
There's even a search engine so you can look up all the cases.
Even though it's technically incorrect to refer to these situations as "monopoly", that still happens in conversation.
But if you then correct someone for not using the strict meaning of monopoly properly, then really you're just showing that you are unaware of the regulations around anti-competitive behaviour. The actual rules don't mention "monopoly", they are centred all around market dominance.
It should be pretty clear what people mean in this context when they say "monopoly" and it doesn't really help to take that word literally, since all the actual regulations are about market dominance.
* But if you then correct someone for not using the strict meaning of monopoly properly, then really you're just showing that you are unaware of the regulations around anti-competitive behaviour. The actual rules don't mention "monopoly", they are centred all around market dominance.*
I guess if I’m “unaware” so is both the EU and the United States since you still have failed to show where either government has defined a monopoly as a minor player nor has either government defined a market as narrowly as you’re trying to. What next? Apple has a monopoly on smart speakers running whatever variant of iOS that the HomePod runs?
What random posters on HN “mean” by monopoly is irrelevant.
That said 'monopoly' is essentially a fine word, it captures the essence of the situation.
Monopolists in particular dictate the terms to all their surrounding entities, which is what Apple does.
It's actually a misunderstanding of the nature of monopoly to characterise it as the only 'single provider' of a service, because that technical differentiation doesn't articulate the real nature of what's happening, which is generally an imbalance of power.
A 'responsable regulatory approach' to such things and social media is well past due, the only risk from my perspective is that the powers that be are fools and will either get it entirely wrong, either by over regulating or missing the pointe entirely.
One of those meanings isn’t “a company is doing something with their platform that I don’t like”.
I wonder what would happen if they kicked Uber of the platform.
I would expect that either Uber would find a way for its iPhone users to side-load their app, or Uber would calmly point out to Apple how many users they were likely to lose.
They don't. Not in the US, not in phones or watches. They may have the majority market share in US tablets.
> isn't a monopoly whatsoever?
No, not even if that was true. Monopoly doesn't mean "any company I don't like." You're acting like "Apple isn't a monopoly" means "there's no problems with Apple at all."
Monopoly has a specific meaning. Look it up.
Monopoly means whatever the decision of the high court says it means and that is squared with the legislative.
There are no hard and fast rules in litigation or civil law.
Monopoly has a very specific definition in US law, in fact. https://definitions.uslegal.com/m/monopoly/ The legislature might conceivably change that definition in the future, but that's not relevant to the law as it stands today, which is what we're talking about. Microsoft came much closer to that definition a few decades ago than Apple does now, and they still managed to avoid serious consequences.
> There are no hard and fast rules in litigation or civil law.
There are quite a lot of hard and fast rules to be found in every area of the law. It's kind of a fundamental property of the law.
Laws change and are updated all the time.
I stand by my original assertion.
Apple with its App store most certainly is a monopoly/oligarch with unchecked power in the mobile space to destroy entire companies on a whim, companies like Uber would be irreparably damaged for example if removed from Apple’s platform. I believe this fact to be self evident and indisputable - Apple clearly has monopolistic power in this space.
I couldn't disagree more. IMO governments should be kept separate from business matters as long as those businesses don't pose a threat to the nation. Otherwise, it'd be against the freedom of individuals and companies to involve government agencies into the matter.
The problem is that when a company controls a large enough chunk of a given market, their policies have the potential to cause serious harm. Regarding Apple, many of the counter arguments here seem to focus only on the consumer protection aspect of things. The more serious issue IMO is the business aspect - in the US, a company can't produce a viable mobile solution without targeting both Apple's and Google's app stores. For better or worse, these privately controlled app stores have become equivalent to essential public infrastructure from a business perspective.
Imagine being sent to jail and not being told what the offence was.
Then someone probably said, well we can block his dev account, may make it harder for him to reverse engineer everything right away.
Then they told someone else to block him, and they flipped a switch somewhere.
Nobody documents anything, and a few weeks later, when Rambo manages to escalate this through the support team, noone knows the background and noone can tell him what the issue is.
That's my speculation how things like that happen....
I’d assume they know this might be the cause and by leaving that out of the blog post, I feel like it’s a bit dishonest. Just tell it how it is.
“I caused a bunch of bad PR for Apple back in the days, wonder if that could be the reason for my account being shadow-banned?”
Not saying apple is doing the right thing here though. They should be honest too!
It is routine for people who breaks the terms and conditions to have their account revoked.
Right, but isn't that the important point here? I mean, 9to5mac publishes good content that most of us read. There's little argument that what they do is valuable in some existential sense, and you aren't trying to convince anyone that what they do is wrong.
The question is if whether Apple is retaliating against aggressive journalists and their sources, right? You seem to agree that this would be bad, but then sweep what seems to be the core issue away with "if that is indeed what is happening" before engaging with the spin in the article.
I mean... if the article is spun, I guess that's bad too, but frankly I don't care much. If Apple is retaliating for valuable journalism, I care very much and want to hear about that.
If the journalist signs a Terms of Service agreement and then violates the agreement they are breaking the contract and Apple has every right to end the Service. If he legally acquired and published info without signing a TOS then the info is fair game. Retaliation would be suing him for the disclosures. Ending the Service is just standard operating procedure.
I enjoy the writing and he seems like a really nice and capable guy. Nonetheless, he promised not to do something and then appears to have done it anyway. We don't yet know if his account is suspended because of this, but if so, it happened due to his own choices.
Also, the reason his content is widely read and is interesting is not because he has some unique ability. There are lots of people who could do the kind of system/app spelunking he does. However, other people follow the TOS associated with the access. It would appear that he has chosen to violate the agreements and that has enabled him to produce content that is unique. Frankly, Apple has been very patient so far.
I feel for him on a personal level, but if he violated the TOS then there is no controversy here. Every developer access agreement I have ever seen from many different companies has clear TOS relating to non-disclosure of proprietary info.
Another interesting angle is that if he is violating the TOS, he may have also jeopardized his employer's access to Apple developer programs.
On the other hand, maybe this is all just a snafu...
The real reason that people don't do this is because they choose to do other things with their time.
I do understand why Edward Snowden used his real name for his leak. It gave him credibility.
But why do that for stuff like this? I mean, did his reputation on 9to5Mac.com increase sales of his apps? Or get him speaking engagements? Or was it just bragging?
If you'd like to address iOS and macOS users, the ramp to doing so is quite clear and navigable. If you'd like to avoid 'exorbitantly overpriced shit hardware' while ignoring say, secondhand MacBook Airs, well, also good news: Android is a perfectly addressable market. If that's an untenable position for your particular sensibilities, you are totally free to compete.
If that seems like bullying, capitalism is going to be tough to navigate. You're already ignoring the rules to get your own piece of it, so chastising those who are more successful at the exact same game you're playing simply obliterates your whole philosophy in general and makes you an unreliable narrator, and I hope you see that.
"I just can't turn down the market so I'm simply forced to develop for platforms I loathe (all the way to my checking account)," on the other hand... yeah, that's a touch more obvious.
I didn't state this was a valid/legal/good path or trying to defend anyone whom does use a hackintosh. The truth is that there are people who can't afford Apple products to develop and they will abuse this loop hole until they can.
This comment wasn't rude or aggressive, but I was merely proposing an alternative solution. The down-votes are more aggressive than the comment could have even been misconstrued.
Then I started digging around and found out a lot of the stuff he writes about either lands in a grey area, or could be interpreted as crossing the agreement devs sign when they want to use their app store.
While I have sympathy for him, I agree with you, it's incumbent on both sides to keep his dev work separated from his gossip site. Knowing how competitive it is to break Apple news early (as they one of, if not THE hardest company to get early product information) and get that out to the masses.
Want to be in the Apple Dev program? Don’t violate NDAs by publishing what they expressway say you can’t publish.
IDK. Maybe I’m just big into personal responsibility and knowing that you shouldn’t bite the hand that feeds you. He did a thing, and now pays a price. I guess I don’t see a lot of gray area.
Could you make the argument that Apple’s walled garden has issues, sure. But this guy clearly broke his contract so why would he or I be surprised when he was kicked out?
Just how chilling effect is that? Not being able to criticise and freely talk about a corporation and its product due to fear of having your company financially destroyed or even your personal Apple ID killed over saying something bad over a corporate product. Are you sure you're defending that?
You should absolutely be able to critique anything at all. Are you saying leaking preproduction software against your contract to not do that is a first amendment issue?
I do believe no one has tried to silence his speech, as proven by this post about it. He broke a contract and now isn’t allowed to use their tools.
Are you really claiming that being cut off from financials due to criticism is not an attempt to punish criticism?
> No. That wasn’t what I basically support at all. Thanks for the strawman.
It's not a strawman if you don't understand why being financially punished for criticising a corporation is hugely problematic. You really want to live in the world where you're afraid of having your devices rendered useless and your company blocked from market because you dared say anything against Facebook, Google, Apple and other behemoths?
If my company had a meeting where I learned about quarterly results ahead of any public disclosure, and then I published them somehow, I wouldn't have grounds to complain when they find out and terminate me.
If the OP had a totally clean use of his dev account, and he published articles critical of Apple without inside info, and then had his dev account terminated, then I'd be worried about Apple's overreach and dangerous power. But that's NOT what appears to have happened here.
It's not "a person throwing you out of his house", it's "your governor forcing you to leave your state because you dared critcize him". Power makes a difference.
Another analogy: it's like someone having a big "please wipe your shoes" sign on their front door, and you walk in with muddy boots and track mud everywhere. They'd be entitled to be annoyed and ask you to leave because you broke the terms of their invitation.
If Apple is now a publisher with editorial control, why would anyone trust them as a middleman to their customer base? Seems risky.
"No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be held liable on account of—
(A) any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable"
It's the guy who brought us a bunch of early iOS 13 leaks among other things: https://www.hackingwithswift.com/articles/164/interview-guil...
How is that Apple's fault? Considering the suspension emails and other info are automated, it's likely that he missed them or they went into his spam somehow.
In this case, there may even be a lawsuit involved so it's not as simple as a customer service rep telling them "you've been banned".
My experience with Apple is that they do what they want and getting anything out of them occurs on their timeline. If you don't like it, get stuffed, they won't budge.
Hoping they reinstate the account feels a bit like a pipe dream given his activity on 5to9mac, and I'm sure Apple was entirely in the right to suspend his account, but he should have been able to discover that in days, r even immediately upon trying to log in (it's not hard to say "this account has been locked because:..." instead of just "this account has been locked") rather than "never being told".
'If you run to the press and trash us, it never helps.'
Their app store is their monopoly, sure, but if you don't want to use Apple products you are not barred from using other cellphones and app stores.
This is different than, e.g. saying that there is a monopoly with the electricity provider. If you don't want to use company A for that, you have absolutely no access to electricity at all.
The question is instead, I think, if after some size, companies wield so much power that they should be regulated as if they were monopolies, just because of the sheer amount of people that depends on their services.
But that's a whole other can of worms and a different discussion than "Apple is a monopoly"
I.e. the term "monopoly" has a very specific legal definition which is not met by whatever behavior Apple is having.
Does that make it ok? not necessarily and the nuance is debatable. But the fact is that as per the current definition, it's not a monopoly.
That's why I said they should be regulated...because they currently aren't. When anti-trust laws were being written, software walled gardens weren't a thing. They should be updated for modern times, since the App Store is basically its own industry. It brings in tens of billions of dollars in revenue every year, which is more than the GDP of some countries.
iOS isn't great software (ok, "good software" for 13) in a vacuum. It's inherently, inextricably tied in with Apple's world-class hardware; and vice versa as well. To allow unfettered access to both is a risk to users, whose trust in Apple has been built up over more than a decade.
It's not a monopoly. It's an experience.
I think the point is that there are other electricity providers in other areas, so monopoly rules don't apply.
Their electric service is their monopoly, sure, but if you don't want to use company A electricity you are not barred from buying a house somewhere else, with a different electric service.
This is different than, e.g. saying that there is a monopoly with the app store. If you don't want to use Apple for that, you have absolutely no access to iPhone software at all.
However I do understand that for a lot of people, moving from Apple to Android (and vice versa) is not as easy or straightforward to do, and thus why perhaps the discussion should be about regulating those companies that hold so much power, as if they were a monopoly. That doesn't make them a monopoly by current definitions though.
When did being able to access / sell to a private marketplace become an entitlement of public accommodation?
If the Supreme Court rules in favor of this then by all means go ahead and assert this. I personally don't believe the iPhone App Store (or any other app store) yet rises to the level of a forum of open public access and certain pricing in the name of public good.
You are perfectly free to develop apps and sell them elsewhere.
Yeah, you just lose access to a giant chunk of the market and severely limit your growth potential.
The entire industry with its millions of jobs and immeasurable value to society is two stores owned by two companies. That needs to be regulated.
What does that have to do with this? Anti-trust laws are to protect competitive forces in the market, not human rights.
Allowing these companies to have limitless control over millions of jobs with no regulation whatsoever gives us the crappy situation we have today. Someone could have their developer account terminated by accident/laziness, and then that person's entire livelihood is destroyed and they're left with no recourse because Apple/Google can't be bothered to even answer the phone. The Play store is an endless sea of malware, adware, and spyware, and any attempt at making a competitive marketplace is hopeless and instantly attacked by Google (remember Fortnite installer fiasco?). There's so much anti-competitive and clearly harmful (for developers and consumers) bullshit going on in these two stores every day that it's ridiculous that there still is not any strong regulatory action against them.
> I personally exercise a bit more restraint in saying that things call for government intervention.
Good for you. I heard that a lot in college. People who just took an economics class for the first time felt compelled to "pick a side", and everyone always picked that same side as you (me too). Yet that decision is made so so far detached from any real life problems or data that it's effectively arbitrary. If you feel that this characterization doesn't apply to you, then please contribute to the discussion with some actual substantive arguments and not hand-wavy virtue signaling.
This isn't a monopoly. With your logic I could scope down to arbitrary levels and call everything a monopoly.
* Oh, Safari is a monopoly because you can only set the search engines Safari lets you!
* Verizon is a monopoly because they look the bootloader on a phone bought from Verizon!
* Target is a monopoly because you can only buy the products Target sells when you're in Target!
Monopolies are considered in the scheme of the wider industry. And in the wider industry, Apple is far from a monopoly. Both users and businesses can move to other platforms that in fact have more consumers.
Just like you could go to another supermarket down the street, you can switch from iOS to Android.
Nobody ever claims they get more revenue on android than IOS
In the buildup to this rule Apple was wrong, inconsistent and sometimes just ridiculous in their app rejections.
Calling broad attention to their problems, like their keyboard issues, is the only way they choose to listen.
How? Apple isn't saying that they're going to take negative action against someone for going to the press and bad-mouthing them and, frankly, there's no evidence that this has ever happened with them. That would be vindictive. What they said, on the other hand, is that it wouldn't be helpful to do so and that is an accurate statement.
Apple doesn't change decisions based on media reporting. They make and change decisions based on the information they have. There has never been a reversal of a decision that came as a result of media intervention. It has always come as a result of the affected party giving Apple some information that they didn't have before.
Apple is taking it from a relationship standpoint. If someone trash talks you in public and your opinion of them has gone down, you have every right to stop interacting with them.
Now saying they have market power and should not being able to do that, well that is the domain of different regulations.
They haven't quashed free speech. They've built a consequence to speech into their developer agreement, as an exercise of their freedom of association.
If you're in a bar and you trashtalk the waitstaff to their faces, it's fully within their rights to eject you. You're free to stand on the sidewalk outside of the bar and continue to exercise your rights. Just as OP is free to speak about their experiences with Apple. But Apple, and the bar, have no obligation to maintain a business relationship with anybody.
Also from the CNET article: a political countdown timer, a podcasting app and South Park streaming episodes app were all never approved.
It's always resolved through either a change by the developer or a change in the review policy at Apple. Again, the statement is about the relationship between the developer and Apple. If anything, Apple will be less likely to cave or change a decision just because of media pressure. Otherwise, the countdown timer, podcast app, and South Park would have just been approved after the media got wind of it. You're literally arguing against yourself with that point.
It's obviously not quite as clear-cut when it comes to relationships between individuals that have rights.
You have not thought this through, at all...
What is Apple defending here? Not their right not to be criticized because that doesn't exist. Their NDAs? That would be legitimate but locking Rambo out of his account won't achieve that aim.
So the only reason to disable his account is to punish him. That's the job of the state, its courts and executive. Not of a for-profit company that does not even allow him to know why he is being punished, let alone a hearing or an appeal court.
I'm fairly leftist, and I support a pretty strong freedom of speech, but I'm also familiar enough with other rights to see how they get balanced against one another, a la "the right to swing your fist ends at my face." I read popehat, because the authors are attorneys specializing in the first amendment. They defend people I find deplorable; they've got politics I disagree with. But I keep reading, because they're experts and it's a good source of fact.
But to answer your question, apple is first and foremost a US company.
Sealand doesn't seem all that socialist to me but I'm not very familiar with it.
> But to answer your question, apple is first and foremost a US company.
Rights != what the law says rights are. Else it wouldn't be possible for the state to violate your rights on a large scale.
Anyway, Apple is subject to the laws of every country it operates in.
I'm not surprised one bit. I generally don't talk about downvoting, but it's pertinent to the topic of free speech and consequences for speaking.
There's a common theme in "free speech" advocacy -- folks assert that free speech must not have any consequences. Addressing that misconception with facts about the US legal system and precedent frequently results in downvotes. Which is rather ironic -- downvoting is a consequence that can result in "censorship." But karma comes and goes with the popularity of my opinions; I'm not bothered.
And spreading pre-release confidential information is different from criticizing the company.
Apple is also free to decide who it wants to welcome into its developer community, and it’s fair that they take the content of your speech into account in that decision.
Presumably in violation of the developer program's NDA.
4. Confidentiality. Except as otherwise set forth herein, you agree that any Apple prerelease software, services, and/or hardware (including related documentation and materials)
provided to you as an Apple Developer (“Pre-Release Materials”) and any information disclosed
by Apple to you in connection with Apple Events will be considered and referred to as “Apple
Notwithstanding the foregoing, Apple Confidential Information will not include: (a) information that is
generally and legitimately available to the public through no fault or breach of yours; (b) information
that is generally made available to the public by Apple; (c) information that is independently
developed by you without the use of any Apple Confidential Information; (d) information that was
rightfully obtained from a third party who had the right to transfer or disclose it to you without
limitation; or (e) any third party software and/or documentation provided to you by Apple and
accompanied by licensing terms that do not impose confidentiality obligations on the use or
disclosure of such software and/or documentation. Further, Apple agrees that you will not be
bound by the foregoing confidentiality terms with regard to technical information about Apple prerelease software, services and/or hardware disclosed by Apple at WWDC (Apple’s Worldwide
Developers Conference), except that you may not post screen shots of, write public reviews of, or
redistribute any such materials.
Personally I hate this new move towards Apple/Microsoft/Google being gatekeepers for everything that can run on a machine. It's fucking bullshit.
Apple/Google/Microsoft thinking is easier to understand if the black slab in your hand is considered one thing, not two things. If it is not a general purpose personal computing device (PC), but a branded PDA that makes calls.
For most consumers, that’s right, and for them, the strategy is right. Make the PDA experience seamless and safe.
It's what people want. The population is happily giving these companies all this power, and refuses to abandon them or pressure them in any way when they do this stuff.
And to be fair, I don't see Google acting nearly this badly. If anything, they're the opposite: they don't exercise enough control over their app store, so it has a lot of spyware and malware. As for MS, they seem to be incompetent and powerless: they tried to make an app store for Windows 10 and that was a big flop, and of course they tried to ape Apple/Google with Windows Phone, and that was a big flop too.
Even if that seems likely doing all that without a "real" full locking of the account and an email seems kind of odd.
There will always be false positives because even if reviewed or decided by group or committee, human judgement is always flawed and none of us really know if a ban is appropriate or justified. (And even if it is, there is always a concept of remorse or forgiveness that should be a thing too.)
Just think of your own personal experience. How many times have you been wrong when being judgemental about other people? How many times have they been wrong about you? Most of the time that's just a mild social thing and it has no consequence, but practices like shadow banning make it consequential.
I don’t think this specific one has anything to do with the NDA.
That article clearly indicates he sourced some information from the developer program betas, which would be a violation of the NDA when publicized.
The same way that you can't stop paying rent to your landlord because he hasn't fixed your sink, Apple can't harass someone because they believe he is in violation of a contract.
> Your rights under this license to use and access the Content will terminate automatically without notice from Apple if you fail to comply with any of these provisions.
Given that there is clear public evidence that he is misrepresenting what happened and that he has profited from breaking the NDA, why is any of this work that Apple should do?
A supervisor shouldn't/wouldn't string him along in this situation
Do you think he doesn’t know that 9to5mac published the information he provided to them?
We can see he has very likely violated the NDA.
By not mentioning this, and presenting himself as just another developer trying to make nice apps, we can see that he clearly has the capacity to be disingenuous. Most developers don’t reverse engineer Apple software and supply the results for publication.
We also know that if Apple froze people’s accounts for failing to sign a Brazilian legal form (or similar), it would affect a lot of people and we’d know it was a real possibility. But they don’t.
We don’t know anything with 100% certainty, but we easily have enough certainty to make it obvious that failing to mention his reverse engineering practice is a major red flag for his credibility.
Why is distributing information covered by the NDA ok, but screenshots not?
> Why is distributing information covered by the NDA ok, but screenshots not?
Because that's what the license agreement says. Information about prerelease software is OK to discuss, sharing screenshots is not.