People get annoyed when folks on the internet repeatedly bring up Libre/Free software and software freedoms, but just look at this shit.
There's essentially no way for me to install an app on my iPhone if Apple doesn't want me to, even though I paid over $1000 for it.
Like, what's the point of having a non-programmable computer?
And the answer is because people don't think of phones, dishwashers, TVs, cars, gaming consoles etc as computers even though by any technical definition they are.
Comparing them to dishwashers is ... well you can't.
A phone is not a dishwasher, a phone is a phone. We have examples of modern phones and computers that allow users to install their own programs. It's only Apple that refuses to treat its customer's with respect.
Sure, we have examples of computers that allow users to install their own programs, but we also have examples of computers that by and large do not: video game consoles. It's been clear from very early on that Apple thinks of iOS devices as "application consoles."
Furthermore, while a phone clearly isn't a dishwasher, what about a smart TV? The LG OLED that I have sitting in the living room proudly proclaims it runs WebOS when I turn it on, but as far as I know, there's no way for me to put my own software onto it even though it would surely be capable of running it. I'm sure there are people who are upset about that at least in principle, but in practice most of us don't really care too much about that. The comment sections of reviews of LG TVs are not filled up with angry cries about how LG refuses to respect its customers.
There are arguments about whether Apple should treat iOS devices as equivalent to consoles. For instance, I don't think it's intrinsically bad to have started that way but as time goes on there are purely practical arguments against continuing it -- and it seems actively detrimental to where Apple wants to take the iPad. But I don't think "this shows Apple doesn't respect its customers" is a particularly useful takeaway here; the vast majority of customers really aren't jonesing to sideload apps.
Last but not least, while this whole "the platform must be open" is a favorite hobby horse of HN -- and, to repeat, I am in favor of letting people sideload iOS apps! -- it's slightly orthogonal to the beef Hey has with Apple here. Yes, if Hey could sideload their app that would get around the problem, but the real question is whether Apple is being fair by saying that Hey can't be in the store unless they allow their subscription to be bought with an in-app purchase. This is demonstrably not a standard they've applied universally, and it's dubious whether it's a standard they should have at all.
Huh? I used to make DIY games as late as early 00s, for GBA, Sega Dreamcast and PS1.
Is that no longer possible with modern consoles?
All Xbox One can acts as a DevKit but you will need to pay a 20USD ont-time fee to get a developper account that will allow you to use their SDK and various tools.
As the grandparent comment clearly says: We have examples of modern phones [...] that allow users to install their own programs.
For many (most?) people, their phone is just another appliance.
Would you be happy if your coffee machine boiled the water but did not actually make coffee, because that's what electric kettles do? It's just another appliance; but it's not an electric kettle, it's supposed to make coffee.
I don't think it's fair to say that the user you replied to is lying intentionally. There's nothing in what they said to suggest that. You may not agree with them, that doesn't make them a liar.
that's such a let-down!
i was planning to re-write the reminder app on my phone for myself because i have a unique way of using it and i thought it would be a nice app for just me...
You probably agreed to some terms and conditions to use xcode however.
I don't know if you can "route around this" with something like brew and add a dev toolchain without xcode.
Same with a Firefox extension.
(I'm not defending Apple. Apple is wrong and Mozilla is wrong.)
1) Getting your Mozilla extension signed is free, but you have to pay just to develop an iOS app
2) You can install unsigned extensions on nightly and developer builds, which seems perfectly reasonable. Stable and secure for the general public, bleeding edge + customizable for those who care.
Have you tried using one? You get daily nag popups to install today's developer build. I'm trying not to switch to Chrome entirely, but every Firefox release makes it harder.
Apple changed this a year or two ago. You do not have to pay to test apps on your own phone.
You're moving the goalposts.
But, because of the fact that you can run unsigned extensions on nightly builds, there is nothing stopping you from distributing your unsigned extension through github or bittorrent or anything else.
The original person you replied to said "Same with a Firefox extension." not a "nightly or developer build of Firefox extension".
If you can't get an extension on a regular build of Firefox, you might as well not be able to do it because for most users installing nightly or dev is a big problem.
If Microsoft was found guilty, I don’t see why Apple is innocent.
iOS has <15% marketshare, and millions of people transition back and forth across platforms regularly. I was on Android, now I'm on iOS, and tomorrow I could be on Android if there was a compelling case.
Apple is abusive, and needs to be reigned in, but comparing iOS to the late-90s Windows situation betrays a misunderstanding of the situation in the 90s.
Abuse on this market will most likely affect content producers more than users. It's not about consumers'choices. It's about the impact the current situation has on the rest of the market.
Antitrust laws also referred to as competition laws, are statutes developed by the U.S. government to protect consumers from predatory business practices.
If these laws didn't exist, consumers would not benefit from different options or competition in the marketplace. Furthermore, consumers would be forced to pay higher prices and would have access to a limited supply of products and services.
One of the most famous early use of the antitrust is United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc. in 1948 which ended the studio system. It was about vertical integration and how the studios used their power to both bully small cinemas and prevent competition on the production side. As you can see, there is no consumer in sight.
The Chicago School of economics pushed very hard for narrowing the scope of the law (obviously) but that's a fairly modern take.
Old (2013) data: https://www.statista.com/statistics/271228/android-vs-iphone...
In 2017, the iOS/Android market share between people 18-29 and people 30-59 seems to be almost identical, and while the market share of people 60+ shows a bit more of a bias toward iOs, it's not a super dramatic difference. In any case, I think this mostly reflects that there are way, way more Android phones available at a huge range of price points than there are iPhones, and if you don't have a whole lot to spend on a new phone you're more likely to get an Android. Because it's pretty difficult to get a new iPhone for less then $350 and most of them are in the $600+ range, its audience tends to skew older just because older people tend to have more money.
: The iPhone 7 is currently on sale for $350 through carriers, but the cheapest iPhone Apple admits to still making is the iPhone SE at $400.
> its audience tends to skew older just because older people tend to have more money.
Yeah, I didn't comment on the cause, but I expect that's a big reason for it.
In any case, it's still a far cry from near 90% iOS use in younger demographics. (I edited my other reply slightly - I didn't mean to imply that Android has a 90% marketshare in younger age groups, just that it's proportionally more popular than in older age groups.)
There’s nothing anti-competitive or anti-consumer about walled gardens per say. Walled gardens are consistently chosen by consumers because they make devices easier to use and maintain and the user experience more predictable through actual enforcement of consistent UI standards.
Apple makes (fewer) billions of dollars as the gatekeeper to their App Store.
Google probably takes more than a 30% cut on the ad revenue that they place on 3rd party sites.
I’m not saying it’s a perfect analogy (that would be a contradiction). But in general companies make a product, they get to derive revenue directly by selling the product, and/or they can derive revenue by selling access to the users of that product.
Google gives the Search engine away for free because they can make way more money selling advertisers access. Apple increasingly is giving their phone away free-er (lower margin) because they can derive more revenue by selling access to services like App Store.
It’s their store. They created it. They sold it with the rules they created being clearly displayed on the package. They actually believe those exact rules to be a huge competitive advantage for them.
I believe the rules should be clear and evenly enforced, and they should not discriminate based on things like political/religious viewpoint or basically content beyond maturity rating/obscenity/hate speech.
Console makers could also wipe out game studios if they shut down.
If Apple shut down the App Store iPhone users would buy Android phones - like 85% of the rest of the world.
In the US, iOS marketshare is around 45% and trails Android (which is around 50%).
Both platforms have enormous support across virtually every service. It is demonstrably easy to transition between platforms.
It looks more like 65% vs 35%, if we exclude other app stores.
If Google can’t make a competitive ecosystem, it only has itself to blame.
Also revenue has never been the deciding factor on what a “monopoly” is.
>Microsoft has just issued a new strike to Google Chrome by handing its recently launched Edge browser to all Windows 10 users via Windows Update. In a stunning move that will bring Edge to millions of users, it will be available on Windows 10 versions 1803, 1809,1903 and 1909, according to Microsoft.
Honestly, this whole think has stunk for a long time. iOS is a platform and it is dominant. It severely reeks of monopolistic behaviour when they use their leverage on one platform to gain advantage in a new one. Apple Music doesn't have to pay the 30% tax while also getting free product placement from Apple as compared to something like Spotify.
The only thing that would change this is if Apple was found to be "dominant" or have "monopoly power" in a "relevant market" as held by a court.
Isn't it anti competitive for a new service like a movie streaming app to be at a competitive disadvantage financially than if Apple decides to launch their own.
A regulator/prosecutor will certainly try to argue they're dominant! But market power is measured by market share, not share of revenue. That'd basically find anyone that sells high-end products in any category as a monopolist.
>Isn't it anti competitive for a new service like a movie streaming app to be at a competitive disadvantage financially than if Apple decides to launch their own.
Apple is not barred from competing with anyone in the App Store, just as Walmart isn't banned from competing with any of the vendors they stock in their stores.
Actually market share is routinely defined as share of revenue. It often makes more sense than number of units.
> That'd basically find anyone that sells high-end products in any category as a monopolist.
High-end products have high margins but low volume. High end producers are rarely dominating their market by share of revenue.
Cry me a river....
Consumers go in knowing that is the ecosystem they are buying into. Developers also go in knowing the same. Neither are forced, and have other options that are relatively comparable.
Phone market being essentially a duopoly, I don't want a independent service developer to be financially disadvantaged to compete and eventually the platforms owning all the big money making services.
Apple Music doesn't have to pay the 30% tax while also getting free product placement from Apple as compared to something like Spotify.
Spotify hasn’t allowed in app payments for years and don’t pay the 30% “tax” either.
Are you also against every grocery store having store brands and “slotting fees”?
Tidal had the backing of Jay-Z and several other artists.
I don't have any insider knowledge of the industry, but since COVID has been a thing, I've noticed that there are brands appearing that are local or regional, that look way better that what I'm used to, and so I'm asking myself if maybe there was something messed up or even corrupt about the distribution system before. If these brands can step in in a crisis, why didn't the store carry them before?
I don't have a really well-formed point, just a vague sense of vindication that yeah, markets (like an app store) are run by people, and maybe they're not run in the best manner and it isn't obvious. I think markets are valuable, just like computers, as tools to solve optimization problems. But like computers, they can fail to solve your specific problem, or have uncompetitive performance. Like computers, they're complex and you can easily be snowed about how well they're functioning if you're not immersed in details.
If we didn't have nanny state to protect us probably Microsoft's dominance would have went unchallenged and you won't have the plethora of different services that we see.
I could be off, but I feel like there was a time when the valuation of Microsoft was something like 100 times that of Apple, and Apple wasn't even leveraged like we expect companies to be now. I remember when it seemed like every story about Apple in the WSJ called them "beleaguered" or something similar.
And then, to have them some back and surpass Microsoft, while it was a triumph for Steve Jobs, it also did kind of seem like Microsoft had been hobbled. Especially because while Apple had broken out of its rut, Microsoft's stock price was stuck going nowhere for a very long time, post 2000.
Now Microsoft is having its own renaissance, but a lot of people thought it had lost its way.
In the real world, Microsoft and almost everyone else threw in the towel and just used Chromium because they realized there was no point in trying to make a browser engine.
Firefox is only barely hanging on while most of its revenue comes from a competitor (Google) and Apple just went its own way after supporting Safari on Windows for awhile.
The legislators - as usual ignorant of tech - didn’t do anything to curb MS’s power or control over operating systems and office productivity apps. Where they made and continue to make much of their money.
The problem has way more to do with how this affects developers then how it affects consumers. The amount of control that Apple has over the US market is the reason why they should be targeted by an anti-trust investigation here.
You also fail to share that iOS developers are paid much much more when compared to android and they only have to target fewer devices and versions which makes developing much much easier than the fragmented cluster in android.
Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony also get a cut of every game sold - even physical games.
US monopoly law has never been about producers. It’s been about consumers. Are consumers really better off with the insecure by design desktop operating systems? How much malware, ransomware, and viruses have there been on Windows? I’m not excusing Macs. The only thing that makes them safer is few people bother about writing malware for them.
Both these companies are not even monopolies in the countries they got sued in.
I’m looking forward to it because Apple is one of the most petty companies I’ve ever had the displeasure of being forced to deal with as a mobile software dev in the US where they have a huge market share.
Apple won't want to have 5 different systems for 5 different regions of the world. They'll streamline everything into one app store model that works for everybody.
For example you can't install any apps you want on a Tesla, Xbox, Playstation, Nintendo, Samsung TV, Sony Camera.
I would content they don't even do a particularly good job of that. Sure, there's almost no outright malware, but the overwhelming majority of apps are shovelware. (And why do they need ads in the app store? If the search is good, ads are purely a detriment to users.)
For all of Google's faults, and there are many, it is still to this day possible to install any software I want on my Android phone. I recognize that in the wrong hands this can go wrong, but there should always be an escape hatch, even if that escape hatch is buried under a hundred "Warning what you are doing could be insecure" dialogs (and they should be).
That being said, things aren't all peachy on the Android side: My understanding is that third party app stores for instance rely on the user's phone being configured to accept code from unknown sources -- instead it should be possible to acquire a Store in a safe and secure way, and delegate to that store the ability to install software from that store, without requiring Unknown Sources to be on. Maybe this has changed recently, I hope someone will pipe up to correct me if it has!
There still isn't a bulletproof way to download a new store in the first place, though -- I ended up temporarily granting "Install unknown apps" to my browser, downloading and installing the app from f-droid.org, then revoking the permission from my browser.
This might be a useful distinction but it isn't for the law. There's no particular requirement that "general purpose computers" behave in a certain way.
None of those are general use computing platforms. The only real analog to iOS is Android, where you can install anything you want.
Don't pretend like Apple is blameless.
Microsoft lost the browser wars because of the technical and legal restrictions to uninstall internet explorer and install other applications.
How is this not a similar restriction where I cannot install whatever application I want?
Perhaps because of the Microsoft case and its incredibly high profile, there is an extremely widespread misconception that the scope of antitrust law is limited to monopolies as Microsoft had in the 1990s. This is false.
If you're not familiar with the difference between the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 and the Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914, the former is the one that deals with monopolies. The latter, however, deals with a variety of anticompetitive practices that do not require a monopoly, such as predatory pricing.
Being one of the world's few trillion-dollar companies, Apple has wagered, successfully thus far, that no one will challenge its practices in court. Perhaps if Basecamp can rally Spotify and Netflix together, that will change.
Monopoly laws are country specific. It doesn't matter if Apple doesn't have a monopoly in the world. It only matter that they have one in a specific country and that that country decides to enforce.
Android has the majority share of the market in the US and has for a long time.
51.8% as of September 2019, to Apple's 47.4%, according to:
And 46% for Apple as of the first quarter of 2020, according to:
The statcounter.com site you linked to is a notoriously mediocre resource if you're looking for data that is accurate and representative of a market.
The reason Apple gets a pass is more or less a loophole in the law. They have no manufacturing partners, no oems, nothing. They maintain 100% control over their hardware and software.
If Apple did have third party phone vendors, the way they manage iOS would absolutely earn them some fines. But they can't be 'anticompetitive' if they create such a walled garden that they don't even compete with anyone.
The same argument could be made for many things that used to be considered standard. Remember when lead in gasoline was standard? Remember when radium in paint was standard? Remember when arsenic in food was standard?
Those are very specialized devices, unlike a "pocket computer" which is what smartphones are.
Do you find this trend acceptable and desirable
The reality is though apple wants to hide their extortion of their customers, if every in-app purchase had a 30% apple tax applied to it the customers would be very upset with apple
Similarly, unlike the Play Store; I can feel confident downloading virtually anything from the App Store. Sure, there has been some crap ware, and apps basically designed to exploit money from you via IAP, but I have never hit or seen actual malware like I have on Android.
So, I find this desirable, yes. I am lucky enough to have a developer license for iOS and can literally install whatever I want. I use the Provenance emulator to emulate Sega games virtually every day. I could never get that from the App Store. Yes, I had to pay a $99USD privilege for that. I’m okay with that. It costs wayyyy more to get a license and devkit to develop on a console.
I would never want my actual primary mobile phone to ever be vulnerable to malware I could easily download, I will more than happily pay for the privilege, and I am statistically not alone when I see it as a feature, not a bug.
It did to me and many others, which is why I do not own any consoles and only Play PC games
>>Similarly, unlike the Play Store; I can feel confident downloading virtually anything from the App Store.
Good for you, that is not the argument. I have no problems with them running a curated store, I have no problems with them shipping the device with only that store.
I do have a problem with them prohibiting any and all competing stores, or prohibiting people that bought the device from doing what they want to it
See you can have your nice little safe space and never escapes from the Safety of Apples Guided Cage, just do not force that on the rest of us.
Apple's polices should be (and hopefully soon the courts will agree they are) anti-trust violation
Just like no one forced you to buy a console for gaming, no one is forcing you to buy an iPhone for mobile computing.
I am absolutely a supporter of extending this consumer protections types of laws to the consumer electronics world (some already apply as many parts of the warrany law apply to all products not just cars)
I find it extremely ironic that many people here advocate for government intervention in all manner of things but never when it comes to Apples Anti-consumer practices... no no no.. dont touch apple
//for the record I have never and will never own an apple product, I am consumer advocate.
But then I remember that I live in the real world where piracy exists and companies aren't charities.
A monopoly over a platform people depend on for almost every aspect of their life is alarming. A monopoly over PlayStation games isn’t nearly as troubling as a monopoly over iOS apps.
Using a general purpose CPU and general purpose OS does not make the whole device “general purpose.” You’re playing word games here.
>Tesla, Xbox, Playstation, Nintendo, Samsung TV, Sony Camera.
are not general purpose computers.
So what causes that difference in classification?
As I said, it's not a technical difference - those products all have fully general-purpose hardware and software inside them - so the difference must be something else.
>The iPhone is a general purpose computing device unlike any of the examples you’ve given.
>A monopoly over a platform people depend on for almost every aspect of their life is alarming. A monopoly over PlayStation games isn’t nearly as troubling as a monopoly over iOS apps.
If I understand you right, you're saying it's fine for Playstations etc to be restricted in what software they can run, because they're not general purpose devices, but because the iPhone is a general purpose device, it should be allowed to run any software its users want.
But that doesn't make any sense. Why isn't a Playstation a general purpose computer? It certainly could browse the web or run all the same software as an iPhone. Why am I not able to do that? Well, because it's restricted in what software it can run!
That's the point I was obliquely trying to make.
> Tesla, Xbox, Playstation, Nintendo, Samsung TV, Sony Camera
They're not all intended to be used for personal computing. Are you going to replace your smartphone with any of these devices?
> If I understand you right, you're saying it's fine for Playstations etc to be restricted in what software they can run
I'm not "fine" with it, and I wish Sony hasn't done that. However, restrictions on a gaming console doesn't warrant the same level of attention as it does for a smartphone.
edit: seems what I read in the Apple forums was wrong
Source: I used to work at the Genius Bar, with a stint in APAC AppleCare Retail Service Operations, and have confirmed this very question on one occasion with superiors in the US AppleCare operations team (= the people who come up with all standard operating procedures observed by the Genius teams around the world).
That said, what is true (and may be misrepresented both by overzealous employees (one reason I went to some lengths to confirm it) and/or misunderstood by customers) is:
- Apple Retail may (and often will) ask customers to restore their phone to a non-jailbroken state on their own (as opposed to doing it in store, for them) if they came to the Genius Bar for issues that have a potential root cause in software, and refuse service until the phone is reverted to a non-jailbroken state.
- as with any intentional physical damage to the device, in the event that a software modification resulted in damage to the device that cannot be undone by restoring to stock iOS, Apple may choose to either charge you out of warranty repair/replacement pricing OR even refuse service. I am not aware of any jailbreak tweaks that would cause irrevertible damage, but I never dug deep into all the possible tweaks, have not jailbroken a device in years and am generally out of touch with the iOS ecosystem these days.
Caveat: I switched jobs 3.5 years ago, so this stance may have changed. I consider it unlikely given my experience, but I am happy to hear evidence to the contrary :-)
> Provisions that tie warranty coverage to the use of particular products or services harm both consumers who pay more for them as well as the small businesses who offer competing products and services
I know this and I simply don't care as an end user. All I want in a phone is something that I never have to fiddle with or configure, and it will just work. I've been happy with the 4s, 6, and X I've had over the years. Very minimal complaints, since nothing is ever perfect.
For $99 per year you can install whatever you want on your iPhone. Cydia Impactor makes it extremely easy to do, and even provides workarounds for not paying the $99 if you don’t mind doing a little more work.
This is also used as the basis for a thriving black market in hacked apps unfortunately (but not exactly surprising).
Does it not get automatically removed after 7 days?
Sure it might benefit you and me, but Apple is designing their devices for normal people. Normal people don't care and likely benefit from the quality control of everything going through the curated App Store.
I agree that this kind of behavior sucks for you and me but we are a tiny niche audience. It's unreasonable to expect our needs to be catered to over the majority.
You might be right in other cases, but in the context of TFA Apple's curation is not being beneficial to anyone but Apple.
[Yes USD 1k+ civilized country count taxes]
I realize this was a rhetorical gesture, but it really highlights the power of leverage and how few can wield it against the Apples of the world.
That is how Netflix and Spotify get a monopolistic advantage over their competitors too.
If Apple dropped the exception, the expected value of winning a lawsuit is P * X, so as long as P * X << Y, it's unlikely they'll be sued.
For companies like Microsoft, Netflix, Spotify, and others, the amount they would lose in revenue to Apple's tax is likely much more than the cost of mounting a formidable legal challenge to Apple's practices. Apple would like to protect those practices, so its in their best interest to carve out exceptions - no matter how absurd - to companies that are large enough and could make a claim of anticompetitive practices. Apple's tax applies to me, but not for thee (richest companies in the world).
Also what the hell is the United States government doing? Are they blind? Cmon' if someone important is reading this, you know its time to punish Apple for this. This should be unacceptable behavior and needs to be investigated. Spotify, Hey, Netflix and other smaller companies need to band up and take Apple to court over this.
Apple is now a fat old rent seeker fart. This is a large indication that their shares are now overvalued.
So... Netflix is now a business app and not a consumer app..? Whaaaaaat?
Apple also doesn't charge for Uber, Ticketek, Deliveroo, Grubhub etc.
But that doesn't really explain what is going on here, since the same should apply to Hey.
The email client is just a interface for the server product just like Netflix, Uber or any of the others
It's akin to saying all cars are the same because they have 4 wheels and an engine.
Uber, Deliveroo, and Grubhub are not delivering virtual goods.
What about Microsoft Outlook then? Microsoft charges for Exchange and Outlook is interface to Exchange to consume AND create content.
Any way, I look at this, its inconsistent applied rules by Apple.
For example, I have a Fastmail account that I pay $50/year for, and that needs to be paid via Fastmail's website.
I also have the Fastmail email app on my iPhone that I don't need to pay anything for, and that I can use to sign in to my Fastmail account.
I'm a big fan of Fastmail, and don't expect to use Hey, but it seems an almost identical use case and an identical market.
It looks like MS just swallows the extra cost given that Microsoft 365 Family costs the same $9.99 from the iOS app and directly from the website.
Kind of like paying cash instead of card at a restaurant.
Edit: Interesting replies. But selling physical goods is an exception to the Apple tax. Maybe they can sell you a magic coin for $1 and ship it to you and that magic coin also coincidentally authorizes you to use the app...
I expect that's not allowed either. Look at Audible. There is nothing that tells you that you have to sign into the website to buy books, because Apple won't allow it, and Apple will take a 30% cut if Audible does it in-app. They rely entirely on users having prior knowledge that (a) you can buy books at all, and (b) the app is just a player, and the store is on the website.
"Apps and their metadata may not include buttons, external links, or other calls to action that direct customers to purchasing mechanisms other than in-app purchase."
You install HEY, sign up for a free trial, and the first email you receive is an ad to sign up on their site for a discount.
If you sign up with the app, it’s 30% more.
Edit: Oops, my recollection is almost 10 years out of date.
Now, if only Apple would acknowledge this developer treatment next week, at their Worldwide Developer Conference. But I'm not holding my breath.
I DO mind that Apple is forcing companies to give them a 30% revenue cut even when the companies fully comply with all their rules. The line about "consumer" vs "business" apps is obvious horseshit, otherwise they best be kicking out all those other consumer apps like Amazon, Netflix, Spotify, etc
Is it the natural course of things that every public company will eventually turn the screws on its customers to keep showing quarterly growth? If so, it is but natural to expect that they will be replaced by better competitors.
Google sure seems to offer a lot of privacy options to disable tracking. What is missing that you want?
With Apple I’m more comfortable letting them have my data, just because they have a better record with privacy, at least.
Edit: clarification of Apple’s monopolising
No one can create a new App Store on iOS devices.
If you are referring to the App Store itself well no hardware device I can even think of, apart from a computer, allows competing stores.
Benefit of the doubt: Apple provides a great deal of value for app creators in the form of documentation, development software, a distribution network, payment provider, etc... all of which costs money.
their documentation is some of the worst out there. android on the other hand has some of the better documentation. that said i prefer apple products but as a dev their docs are woefully bad. basically just a dump of the class header comments and not enough conceptual documents coupled with some information is mentioned in the wwdc videos and basically nowhere else. The richest company on the planet could use to hire some technical writers.
I still consider it quite extortionate however considering app devs are adding to the ecosystem and potentially driving sales.
which merchant accounts are charging that? last i saw it was typically a transaction fee of ~35¢ and around a 2-3% fee on the rest.
For games (as it is a domain I know): Steam, Playstation Network, XBox all charge 30%.