Legally, if you take a position in federal court on X (i.e., that it's okay to ban external transactions by apps using your app store), and you are found to be doing not-X in an analogous situation (i.e., setting up external transactions to avoid fees in your competitors' app store), the court can rule against you in the original case...and then sanction you and your lawyers for wasting the court's time proclaiming X...and then legally bar you from asserting X in those proceedings, or related proceedings.
Courts are generally okay with some form of alternative arguments, (i.e., I didn't do Y, but if I did Y it was legal for me to do so), but they absolutely will not accept contradictory arguments by the same party (It's okay for me to do Z but I won't allow others to do Z in the same situation).
The law does not require that Google and Apple run their online stores the same way, or that Apple interact with Google's store the same way they choose to run their own store.
In fact it's arguable that a free marketplace encourages and depends on different companies taking different approaches to meet customer demands.
That's correct. But the law does require them to run the stores in a way that does not violate antitrust laws. Apple is violating antitrust laws by forcing companies to use Apple Pay as a condition of using the App Store (i.e., leveraging dominant/monopolistic market position in one market in a non-competitive manner over another market). Apple cannot then do the same thing it prohibits in its own app store in the Google Play Store, which has similar rules, because both of these actions have the effect of taking legal positions.
In fact it's arguable that a free marketplace encourages and depends on different companies taking different approaches to meet customer demands.
Which Apple does not permit. It's literally Apple's way, plus a 30% cut for doing nothing, or you're not even allowed to play. And that's exactly what antitrust laws were intended to prevent.
The reason why everyone has to narrowly define the market to "Apple has monopoly power in the iOS market" is because they don't actually have monopoly power in smartphones and are mad about that fact. Defining markets are a major part of antitrust cases and just because a prosecutor or regulator is willing to do it doesn't mean it will actually work in court.
This has been generally illegal in the US since 1975: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/15/2302 (section c)
No, not really. In the EU for example, a unauthorized change to one part can legally never void the warranty to an unrelated part.
Here's IMHO a better analogy: Apple is running a mall, while also operating a chain store operating in said mall. Apple Mall allows competitors to Apple Chain Store to rent stores in the mall.
However, it turns out that for some reason, there are "Beware of Leopard" signs near the competitor stores. Also, the public area near them is never cleaned or maintained, except for signs promising cheaper products at the Apple Chain Store (and the leopard signs of course).
Would that be legal? Apple Mall is hardly a monopoly. Despite losing the location, the other stores could move. None of the agreements specifically bans this.
For some reason though, I don't think that would fly - the other stores have a reasonable expectation that after paying rent Apple won't sabotage them. Just like companies paying for the Developer License and Apple Store tax have a reasonable expectation Apple won't unduly hinder them for its own products.
This happens all the time. Integration of the radio and climate control system/navigation system. Custom wiring for the speaker system and accessory systems. Dashboard cavities which are a non-standard size.
Ultimately, being a marketmaker comes with responsibilities. If Apple wants to close iPhones and support only Apple software they could do that. But as long as Apple operates an App Store and does not allow other methods of install, this comes with the legal obligation to play fair.
Don't know where you live, but that is not true in the U. S. "It is generally accepted as" against Federal law.
Companies can say things they know aren’t true, misleading customers. They even often can make it hard for customers who know their rights to exercise those rights.
I think it would be an improvement if such actions were punished harsher and more often.
You have two system to choose from, Apple and Google.
Given that, "iOS App Store" does start feeling like a market that should be regulated as its own entity.
No you're not. The definition of dominance in the EU is primarily that you're in a position to materially affect market pricing, which I think is actually pretty easy to demonstrate in Apple's case.
Overwhelming market share isn't required, and there are several cases that have found companies to be "dominant" where they had less than 50% market share in the EU.
(As a good demonstration of this Google's own competition law settlement on Android apps pre-installation in the EU. Google do not approach anything like having a monopoly market share in the EU either, but they still settled because they were going to lose.)
Is it? App Store prices have been a race to the bottom for years, yet it's clearly in Apple’s interests to keep the prices high, both to keep their revenue from the service as high as possible and to stimulate the app economy. If they had control over the market pricing, why did the race to the bottom happen and why haven't Apple stopped it?
If the argument is that they don't care about the revenue and they actually prefer the prices as low as possible to add value to their hardware devices, then why are Apple charging 30% and not 0%?
They still may be attached to marketing and partnership opportunities I believe, though - you might not be featured in the store if you charge iOS users more than android or web users, just like they will probably not advertise a new movie or album if Amazon is allowed to sell it for a lower price.
I am not a lawyer, but that sure smells like the potential for monopolistic control.
If I want a copy of the King James Bible and 7-11 chooses not to sell that, I have to leave 7-11 and go find another store that does. Yes, that's a barrier I have to go through to get my Bible. Should the government make it 7-11's responsibility to solve that for me?
As a possibly better analogy... Let's say I run a Flea market and also direct sell some items to customers. I charge independent retailers a fee for setting up a booth in my market space and don't excise that same fee from my own booths. Then I go to open a booth in a local mall to help sell some of my directly vendored items and raise an exception all the way to city hall that the mall attempting to charge me for running a booth in their property is impeding the free flow of commerce and hurting the local economy - while I continue to charge booths in my market space for operating.
Except Apple has never made that argument to anyone. They simply added a way to pay for their subscription directly in their app rather than in the Play Store; Something Google allows.
If 7-11 doesn't sell a bible and I want to buy a bible, I go to another store that sells bibles and buy one there. It's not like my house will refuse to allow me to bring a non-7-11 product inside.
If the iOS App Store doesn't sell a particular app, then I have no alternative (aside from "buying a different house", which IMO is unreasonable), because Apple doesn't let non-App-Store apps onto iOS devices.
For an annotated bible application, you would have the option of a web-based application, which has certain trade-offs.
It's not nothing. Maybe not worth 30% but it is worth something. They run the store, buy the servers and pay for the bandwidth. Pay the engineers to develop and manage the infrastructure. Run the app certification process. Maintain the security of the platform. etc.
If they can't charge their 30% cut, they will need a different business plan. Possibly charging app developers directly for access to the app store. They are not going to just give up their 30% and do nothing.
Subscriptions should be priced more like a credit card transaction fee. They could have marginal brackets that increase slightly at scales, to account for bigger apps possibly causing more backed development work.
I'm not saying Apple isn't breaking the law, I just really wish there were more suggestions on solutions on what they should do instead. So for that, I appreciate you helping me to see it in a more nuanced way.
Apple currently has $192.8 billion cash on hand. If Apple took a smaller cut, they would simply have a few less billion dollars in the bank. Many, many individual developers and small business would have a little more money in their bank accounts. The small businesses are more likely to be actively put this money back into the economy then the idle billions in Apple's bank accounts.
This is already the case. $100/year USD to get the privilege of being on the App Store.
Actually, getting on the App Store is not even guaranteed after you pay the fee, since you still need to pass their review process.
If you want to sell your game on the Humble Store on the other hand, well then they take a 25% cut. That’s the value in being able to deliver a customer.
Apple’s fixed 30% cut is effectively saying: our brand is more important than yours in delivering customers to your App. The imprinteur of being in our App Store and bringing you a customer is worth 30% of your income. Your ability to deliver your own customers is irrelevant; we’re taking 30% either way. Unsurprisingly this sticks in the craw of some companies.
The fact that Apple’s systems make it almost impossible to effectively communicate with your own customer is an even bigger problem for a customer-focused company who’s income & branding depend on a close relationship with their customers: those companies are completely stuffed by the Apple App model & are the reason the App Store has not lead to the explosion of innovation some of us expected - it’s just not possible for a company to sustain themselves outside a very narrow set of income generation patterns.
My costs for direct distribution on Mac are ~8% and are absolutely dominated by payment processing - and that’s only because I choose to use a merchant of record instead of Stripe to save on VAT accounting costs. The rest of distribution costs are peanuts.
I agree that running a payments platform is not nothing. The issue is that there is zero competition in the space of iOS payments (very convenient for Apple that they get to make the rules and also benefit from them). That harms consumers because sellers will often charge more to account for Apple's 30% cut (and if Apple bans charging more on only their platform, the seller has to raise prices for everyone, which hurts their non-iOS user base). An alternative payments processor might charge 20% or 10% or even less. Healthy competition in that space would benefit consumers, while forcing Apple to charge a fee more in line with the actual cost of what they provide.
(There are certainly downsides; Apple has done a lot of work to ensure the security and privacy of their payments solution, and other processors may not do as good a job. And without restrictions, it's the seller who decides what processors to support, not the buyer, so the buyer doesn't get to -- for example -- choose to pay a little more to keep their information in Apple's care.)
Perhaps a good compromise would be for Apple to require that apps support Apple's in-app payment system, but allow other payment methods in addition, and also allow sellers to charge more to users who use Apple's system. If customers don't value whatever Apple is providing for the extra fee, Apple will be incentivized to charge less.
> Possibly charging app developers directly for access to the app store.
They already do this, via the yearly developer fee.
If Apple allowed the market to set the price, we would know what this activity is worth. They don't, that's the issue.
Err, Apple does charge to develop for their platform.
I wouldn't say Apple or Google do nothing. Their Argument is we provide the infrastructure and developer tools so we're going to take a slice off all your sells to keep this stuff up and running. Even the Amazon App Store takes a 30% cut.
For example, providing private APIs to Apple Music would straight fall under the Microsoft precedent, same for not allowing other apps as default programs. Apple Music would have to use the same store review policies, and Apple may have to separate divisions so AM pays the same store tax (but internally).
I think basically everyone who works on anti-trust issues would agree that this has indeed been the case. Not just with Apple, but with anti-trust law in general.
I think you're mixing up Apple Pay with in-app purchases. Apple Pay is for real-world purchases. In-app purchases are for digital goods or services. If we're talking about music streaming, we're talking about in-app purchases, not Apple Pay. Apple don't force you to use Apple Pay for anything, in fact they won't let you use Apple Pay in this situation.
I'm not a lawyer, but I'd be surprised if this defense was particularly robust anyway. It seems you'd just have to argue that there's some slight difference in the situations and that's why I'm doing something that guy shouldn't do. But either way, you're not taking away the correct message from his example.
Can you point me to the specific law they are violating? From my understanding antitrust laws really aren't that clear and it depends on the situation and their control of a market. For example, you need to prove that they have a monopoly that hurts consumers. They may have a monopoly on iPhones but not mobile phones in general. My point is you are saying they have specifically broken the law, but I think that has yet to proven and is certainly not cut and dry until it's in court.
This is a very common thing that is brought up in anti-trust law cases. That is what he is referring. It is regarding anti-trust law.
An Apple ID has nothing to do with Apple Pay. Apple Pay is a separate service you can turn on if you want to, or, not.
The crazy ideas people have about Apple & anti-trust mostly have to do with pretty much everyone not really understanding Apple service offerings.
Just to be clear, afaik there has not been a ruling so far that asserts this, so all you can say is that in your opinion they are in breach of anti trust, but they have not actually been found to be guilty of that yet.
No, it's not. They do not require the use of Apple Pay. It's baked into the infrastructure of the product. No one is forced to use it.
Random HN users can’t declare that anti trust laws are being violated and make it a fact. If Apple is violating the law, so is every console maker.
Let's look at a situation where Google is seeking to protect it's own cut of the action.
>“After 18 months of operating Fortnite on Android outside of the Google Play Store, we’ve come to a basic realization,” reads Epic’s statement. “Google puts software downloadable outside of Google Play at a disadvantage, through technical and business measures such as scary, repetitive security pop-ups for downloaded and updated software, restrictive manufacturer and carrier agreements and dealings, Google public relations characterizing third party software sources as malware, and new efforts such as Google Play Protect to outright block software obtained outside the Google Play store.”
This behavior is much more troubling from an antitrust perspective than "Apple is being a hypocrite".
Google literally spent most of a decade preaching that the "freedom" their platform afforded to sideload software was a major competitive advantage, and then attacked a developer who was making use of that freedom to make a large profit without giving Google a cut.
Also, with Fortnite specifically, they proved the worries right immediately: https://www.forbes.com/sites/ryanwhitwam/2018/08/25/epic-gam...
Unfortunately, the $99 annual fee per developer account nullifies any possible mass-market sideloading possibilities. (Imagine what could happen if sideloading apps from source was free just highly impractical, and HEY turned their rage into a free Apple developer account management & sideloading SaaS offering.)
That's actually what the court cases are for, and I'm not sure they've actually completed? It feels like you're asserting how you feel it should work out when it hasn't completed yet.
Yikes, no. It absolutely does! The equal protection clause of the fourteenth amendment is probably the most cited and least controversial of the Big Important spots in the constitution.
It is not possible for a law or court decision to find differently for different plaintiffs or defendants under the same circumstances. Period. Full stop. This is like con law 101.
For a court to square this they'd have to cite exactly the reasoning that makes it OK in one case but not the other, in a way that is much more involved than "just because", as you seem to think.
There's your different circumstances.
> It is not possible for a law or court decision to find differently for different plaintiffs or defendants under the same circumstances
Let X be "It is okay for me to ban my customers from using discounts."
Let not X be "It is okay for me to use discounts offered by another restaurant."
This doesn't feel like a particularly contradictory situation.
Maybe the issue is that we skipped a few too many steps, because there isn't anything particularly illegal about Apple only letting apps doing certain things (like not bypassing their store) onto their store. The issue is that this is occurring in a larger situation where there are concerns about being a monopoly. I wonder if we build out exactly why what Apple is doing might be wrong (basically the argument they are having to defend against by claiming X is okay) we can see it isn't an issue. But at face value it feels to be taking a very broad view of what constitutes hypocritical behavior to the point it renders the notion useless.
The contradiction is in trying to support the rules with one hand while resorting to the same bypassing tactics they decry when they're in the position of a business on someone else's platform.
To me, that sounds like a compelling argument in a hypothetical anti-trust suit against Apple where a plaintiff is claiming that Apple's requirement to use Apple's in-app payment system for all payments in iOS apps is anti-competitive behavior.
Apple explicitly allows apps like Spotify and Netflix to use external payment processors on iOS via their developer guidelines.
They just don't ban the alternative practice.
Apples’s defense of its in-app payments rule is that having a single payment system owned by the platform used by every app on that platform provides the best experience for users. According to them, Apple isn't being greedy but rather they are ensuring their users have the best experience on their platform.
But if a single payment system for a platform is such a great user experience, why does Apple not offer that superior experience to their Apple Music customers on Android?
Of course, one could argue that Google's refusal to require apps on their platform to use their in-app purchase system means that superior user experience of a uniform payment system is out of reach regardless of what Apple does with their own apps on Android, so maybe it's not a contradiction after all.
Let X be "That other marketplace banning me from offering discounts is a violation of antitrust law".
Let not X be "Me banning vendors in my marketplace from offering discounts is permitted by antitrust law".
You get to pick one and only one position of those - but in most cases there's no conflict; you can ban some practice in your marketplace (and assert that this ban is permitted by law) while at the time doing the same thing yourself in other marketplaces which haven't banned it - as long as you're not legally challenging their right to ban that practice as well, if they should choose so.
Let not X be "It is okay for me to use discounts at another restaurant that bans discounts."
Let X be "It is okay for me (Costco owner) to require customers use CostCo credit cards only"
Let not X be "It is okay for me to use my non-Safeway credit card at Safeway"
Apple Music is in the same position as say Spotify on Google's platform as a third party media service. Is the implication that they should operate differently or be held to a different standard than Spotify?
I don't believe Apple has argued that collecting alternate payments in-app would be an undesirable for third party developers on the App Store - just that they don't wish to support it (for multiple reasons).
This also comes from Apple and Google having different starting points in their mobile platform - Apple already had a huge account and micropayment billing base for the iPhone by basing the App Store on the iTunes Store.
Currently this is the case. Apple Music is held to a different set of rules and standards than Spotify.
When Apple Music wants to collect their customer's money from within the Apple Music app, they can do this practically for free - they don't need to forfit 30% of their revenue of that sale to another party.
When Spotify wants to collect their customer's money from within the Spotify app, they cannot without having to forfit 30% of their revenue.
Apple Music gets to play by different rules and is not held to the same standard as everyone alse on the App Store.
It’s hypocritical that they get to benefit from the more* level playing field in the Play Store yet force others on their platform to a restrictive policy, but it doesn’t seem contradictory. They are following the Play Store policy and are asking developers in the App Store to follow their policy.
The real question is whether or not their policy is legal.
Apple's Apple Music app is using a tactic on the Google App Store, while Apple's iOS App Store is blocking certain third parties from doing the same.
The implication isn't "Apple Music should be barred" but rather "If Apple is working around the 30% cut in other companies' walled gardens, maybe they shouldn't be blocking apps that try to do the same to Apple's 30% cut in Apple's iOS store"
This is showing up today because of Hey's rejection (https://twitter.com/dhh/status/1272968382329942017 more context)
The seller of Apple Music on the google play store is Apple Inc https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.apple.andr...
The developer of the iOS app store is also Apple Inc: https://www.apple.com/ios/app-store/ (check the copyright at the bottom)
More generally, the thing known as "common law": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_law Note that "common law" does not mean "law that is common", at least not on an international scale; it is a specific legal system. As the Wikipedia article says, there are several others.
A super super high-level summary is that common law systems take more account of intent and precedent, whereas civil law systems tend to interpret the law exactly as written. A common law judge is more able to look at a litigant and take into account any sort of hypocrisy of their positions whereas I think a civil law judge in this situation would be more likely to simply take the case as is without such external considerations. But, let me again emphasize, that's a super-high level summary.
The link to judicial estoppel is helpful, but seems much less broad than the gamblor956's claim. Judicial estoppel involves a party presenting contradictory arguments in separate court cases, not just hypocritical behavior by the party. (gamblor956: "if you take a position in federal court on X... and you are found to be doing not-X in an analogous situation...").
> Courts have held, for example, that the timing of the inconsistent statements is not necessarily determinative. Therefore, both statements need not have been made during the course of the same pending lawsuit. Nor is it absolutely necessary for both statements to have been made in court proceedings. For example, prior statements made to local, state, and federal agencies, or to insurance companies, if sufficiently inconsistent with a later position being taken before a court, can give rise to a judicial estoppel.
From everything I've read, just behaving hypocritically is not enough.
You can't be claiming that Apple takes the legal position that external payment handling is illegal in all app stores?
Apple circumvents Google pay, and Google 30% cut in Android app store.
Apple thus admits by own action that Apple's enforcement of apple pay and 30% cut is fine for anyone to circumvent, because they do the equivalent thing themselves.
And they should not be allowed to kick anyone out of the ios app store for circumventing Apple pay?
Apologies if I misunderstood your question, but that was my takeaway from this thread?
I'm not certain if the app store model has been tested in court? As in - can you actually, legally build a walled garden?
Further edit: I was also showing this is a principle in common law. It seems to be pretty rare for a case to be resolved with an explicit resolution that cites the basic principle, and for every principle you can find any number of places where it seems to be violated. Instead, these general principles are just ambiently in the air at all times, so to speak. I wouldn't expect the court to explicitly rule "case dismissed because of judicial estoppel"; I would expect it is something that factors in to the general environment of the trial, rarely in the foreground but constantly in the background. You are going in with a weaker position arguing that entity X shouldn't be doing Y if you are yourself doing Y in a manner that a reasonable person would find comparable.
Obligatory disclaimer for everyone else: IANYL. Mostly, because armchair lawyering on the internet is the worst.
That said – sure, estoppel is absolutely an important part of the judicial/common law canon. It's also often a last ditch effort when multiple other theories of the case fall through. In fact, before estoppel was mentioned, I thought OP was going for unclean hands, which might be truly the last hail Mary, and absent much more, estoppel is equally far down that list.
Not sure which is worse: Dunning-Kruger here or if OP is actually in a position where (s)he should know better. All the Wikipedia and common law cites make me thing maybe a foreign attorney best case scenario.
tl;dr: Extremely broad but rarely used as such legal principle is cited as reason Apple is legally DOOMED! From that misleading jumping off point, OP gleefully takes the giant leap to asserting that an otherwise novel and highly disputed antitrust case involving the App Store et al. is open and shut when it very much isn't.
Apple is clearly being hypocritical by trying to do to Google what they try to stop other companies from doing to them. But that is a basic sort of hypocrisy common to markets--e.g. I want to get paid a lot for my work but I don't want to pay someone else a lot to do work for me.
If you look at any contractual relationship--which is what app stores are--you can be sure that each party is trying to get the most and give the least. That's not judicial estoppel.
A hypocritical position would be having users do initial sign-up (including creation of an Apple ID with billing information) in-app on Android.
That can be used against them in an antitrust proceeding...in US courts. I don't know how the EU handles judicial estoppel since AFAIK it's only a feature of the UK-originated common law system.
Apple's more likely to argue "Google's TOS lets us do X, our TOS doesn't" or something along those lines.
Google banning Federalist from its ad network for having racist comments on its articles.
Google having plenty of racist comments on its own youtube, but still running ads on those videos.
There are specific rules that apply to the different types of estoppel, and they would not be met where Apple is dealing with app developers pursuant to the App Store dev agreement in one case and dealing with Google under the Google Play TOS in the other case.
It might be relevant if Apple claimed that Google is acting as a monopolist by engaging in XYZ behavior, but Apple’s lawyers are smart enough not to make such an argument.
> Developers offering products within a game downloaded on Google Play or providing access to game content must use Google Play In-app Billing as the method of payment.
Developers offering products within another category of app downloaded on Google Play must use Google Play In-app Billing as the method of payment, except for the following cases:
> Payment is solely for physical products
> Payment is for digital content that may be consumed outside of the app itself (e.g. songs that can be played on other music players).
That second note is critical here and the example quite literally describes the exact situation here as an exemption.
My biggest issue in the iOS vs Android debate is that apple is behaving monopolistically and Google isn't. Using the respective app stores give publishers an inherent audience to distribute/sell content through. I don't think it's unreasonable for Apple/Google to try to profit off of the audience they've built. Where I have an issue is that if you don't want to sell on the Play Store, you don't have to. You can install APKs from anywhere and there are even alternative app stores that are completely within Google's ToS. With Apple, you have to sell on the app store or not at all (I know Enterprise apps exist, but it's not the same).
I think Apple gets away with this because they're not selling digital content, they're selling a service/subscription.
One thing that drives me up a wall about Apple is that you cannot purchase a Kindle book in-app on an iOS device. So if you're in the kindle app and want to buy a book you need to actually go and check out on a web browser (true for both the Amazon app and the Kindle app). On Android, you can do whatever you want.
I'm pretty sure that Apple is going to lose this one. We need an open, fair ecosystem for publishing apps.
Fortnite was the most ambitious attempt to distribute outside of Google Play. Here's what Epic had to say:
> After 18 months of operating Fortnite on Android outside of the Google Play Store, we’ve come to a basic realization: Google puts software downloadable outside of Google Play at a disadvantage, through technical and business measures such as scary, repetitive security pop-ups for downloaded and updated software, restrictive manufacturer and carrier agreements and dealings, Google public relations characterizing third-party software sources as malware, and new efforts such as Google Play Protect to outright block software obtained outside the Google Play store.
And Epic gave up and put it on the Play Store.
I also understand why Google is doing this. (1) the obvious money making reasons and (2) legitimate security concerns. Remember the days of accidentally undertaking a zillion browser tool bars? I feel like making it painful to install from 3rd parties help combat that.
I do think there can be a better solution though. Like some sort of signing process by Google to make you a trusted app that can be revoked in the future if they find you to be malware or whatever. This is kind of sounding like an app store though :)
Whether you prevent ex-app-store distribution through fiat or through engineering, the result is the same. So I don't think the distinction is important.
People want this to be a legal issue but it's just a market issue. If people don't like these policies they shouldn't buy Apple products or release apps on Apple devices.
While I heavily agree with the rest of your reply whole-heartedly, this specific part isn't entirely correct.
You are correct that Apple (when it comes to smartphones) is a minority player worldwide, but it isn't the case in the US, where it sits at a comfortable 58% smartphone market share , thus making it a majority player.
I'm highly skeptical that iOS is greater than 50% of the US market based on the endless web analytics I've looked at through my career (and that >50% goes back a number of years in their stats).
This is wrong. Monopolistic behavior is anti-competitive behavior that doesn't require having a market monopoly.
Think of it as a pattern of behavior that moves you towards having a monopoly.
okay, sure. but it's only illegal when you have a monopoly.
E.U. does not require a dominant market share to fine companies for monopolistic behavior.
>In many jurisdictions, such as the United States, there are laws restricting monopolies. Being the sole or dominant player in a market is often not illegal in itself. However, certain categories of monopolistic behavior can be considered abusive in a free market, and such activities will often attract the monopoly label and legal sanctions to go with it.
While it is correlated, monopolistic behavior is not always from a monopoly. Suppliers in free markets can still exhibit monopolistic behavior without being a monopoly.
A ruling on this might be tricky, though. It would have to argue that “iOS apps” are a separate market, that this is detrimental to consumers, and would have to phrase things in a way that there’s no collateral damage.
For example (possibly a very bad one; I’m not an expert in any law), theaters and music festivals typically sell their own tickets, passing on part of their revenues to performers. If, as is often the case, their show is unique, that might be called a ‘monopoly’ somewhat similar to what Apple does (sell iOS apps, passing on part of the revenues). They would have to find an argument as to why one thing is allowed while the other isn’t, and it can’t be “because we feel it’s different” or “because we don’t like Apple”.
Apple puts severe restrictions on developers, that they should develop on macs, that they should use Apple's IAP features, that they should provide 'sign in with apple' (although last one may be reasonable). They even tried to prevent cross platform application frameworks some years ago, by mandating that apps should be written in C/C++/ObjC.
And the dishonest marketing is well known.
Apple promoted swift, fine. But, since they couldn't implement GC in swift because Cocoa interop, some apple people (or maybe fanboys, apple's negative cost marketing strategy is its cult) attempted to make it look like ARC is competitive advantage against Android.
Apple is a patent troll. They sued samsung for some trivial things. They trademarked the word 'app store'. They patent trivial programming language features like optional chaining.
Apple is much more harmful than Google. HN defends web technologies and apple apparently because many here are invested in it (although often they are at odds). But please don't support a patent troll like apple.
In any case, as other users mentioned, if Apple music really lets ANY developer create an application that may reproduce the purchased content, then it may look fine.
I believe their intention is that once you download an asset (e.g. song/video/movie), it's a tangible, portable copy that's yours to do freely as you will regardless of device.
You wouldn't be able to play music downloaded via Apple Music directly on just any generic music player (like a car stereo or a CD player) due to DRM and other various restrictions, so I don't believe that this would be exempt from that condition.
The same goes for Netflix. Google does not try to take a cut of Netflix revenue even though you can only watch Netflix shows and movies through the Netflix first party application. You can, however, watch Netflix on many different devices.
They could be clearer that those words are significant, but in practice this is what the policy is.
Which is what you'd expect because the whole point of mandating that form of payments is to take the 30% cut (for digital goods meant to be used primarily on Android devices within apps downloaded from the Android app store).
That may be a very large portion of the point, but it's not the whole point. For example, if you pay for additional functionality in an app using Google Play In-app Billing, then you can unlock that functionality again on any phone as long as you're signed in to the same Android account. If you paid externally, you can't do that.
Note that this directly lowers revenue from the 30% cut of in-app purchases, by removing some people's need to repurchase content they bought in the past but lost access to.
Are you guys really fine with living in a world where one/two companies own everything you consume? This sounds like an antithesis to the hacker culture I would associate at least HN crowd with.
People don’t understand the power of consumer friendly digital experience
Google worked hard to set all of this up. Apple should pay Google for using the Google global platform.
Especially if you opt to not use any of said platform services.
App distribution != online services. They are two distinct markets.
You also have to understand when you buy into apple's philosophy the experience you sign up for is seamless where you don't need to worry about who controls what, that requires you to sacrifice choice ,
- I cannot choose to change my RAM or hard disk or other h/w to vendor of my choice on a MacBook,
- I cannot choose my own Desktop Environment or Kernel I boot in MacOS.
- I cannot choose how sign-in or payment is handled in Apple.
Payment handling allows them to provide the same experience to all apps for refunds or other problems etc. Is it worth the sacrifice ? depends on what you value the most.
Many people do not want or need these choices, Apple is designing products for those people, If you value your choices as I do, you should not be using Apple in the first place. I don't blame Apple for setting stringent rules to give that experience to people who are willing to pay for it.
But I don't see how that applies here. There's too many random carve outs for me to take this as being in good faith. If you can trust 37Signals to handle their own logins and payments for one app but not another, you're making stuff up.
From Apple's perceptive allowing one vendor and not another is going to difficult, next vendor may not be as trustworthy as 37Signals, it is considerably easier to say no other system than theirs. They have never traditionally encouraged ecosystems unless they have been forced to.
I am not saying it is right, but it is consistent with their product philosophy.
Same reason they absorb features from apps into the OS itself, it sucks for the developer, but it benefits the user. For example having the flash light as OS feature than an app is considerably safer, better experience.
The "why are people surprised" line is a huge red flag for me that a person is not arguing in good faith. Accusing people of being "surprised" as an implication of naivete seems to be a very common tool of redirection when people are defending something perceived by others to be immoral or otherwise harmful. I'm not sure why such a particular angle became so common, since it seems so obvious to me that what they are calling "surprise" is indignation/anger. It seems to be exaggerated from the general notion that the stronger a reaction is, the newer it is, but obviously that's faulty. I may hear the same story of wealthy and powerful people behaving badly every day, but it doesn't make the behavior any more acceptable with each occurrence, and so my anger does not subside, no matter how un-surprised I am.
well, i'd usually be just as surprised as the parent that people on this site are still getting surprised by it, and i sure as hell am not defending the company doing this.
all publicly traded companies should be considered amoral by default. if they take moral action, then they dont do it because of morality. they do it either because they wish to portrait themselves as moral for publicity or they have another way to profit off of it. the thing which would surprise me is that people still dont expect that.
in this particular case i'm not surprised though. hn readers are extremely positive of apple, no matter what apple does.
Just cause it's happened a 1000 times doesn't mean people are numb.
The protests out there are evidence of this.
Yes, some people know some cops in some places are gonna be huge dickheads, but it doesn't assuage our feelings, when a bad experience happens.
Nobody should get used to having to experience a shitty situation through no fault of their own.
I don’t go to a car dealership and ask what the maximum price they’re willing to charge me for it.
This is almost good, but doesn't take into account the fact that everything is equally like this. The sociology professor who constantly tweets about racial hatred makes their job more prominent. The president who tweets about the Chinese virus engages their base.
It's not just some businesses, because that behaviour of businesses is driven by the fact they're run by people. It's just how some people behave.
No law in the United States of America compels businesses and their leaderships to maximise profit for shareholders.
Apple Music on Android requires its own payment details to avoid Google Play's 30% cut. Apple has accused Match, Epic, and Spotify of wanting a 'free ride' while taking one themselves.
1. The magnitude of the 30% charge, and the level of justification this has.
2. The ability for Apple to itself be a provider/competitor to those on the marketplace, such that they are not paying this 30% fee (and can immediately be 30% cheaper).
3. Whether Apple should be allowed to run a marketplace that operates on a whim, unwritten and ever-changing rules, informal policies, and no significant judicial remedies - if Government tried to retrospectively change the rules on you, you can sue them, and win. Apple can decide to eject you from its platform at its whim, and you are forced to accept this to use the platform.
This is a problem that crosses brands-- we need to push for better treatment of creators and developers alike to make this stop.
Building an app that follows the published rules and then finding out that the rules that matter are actually wildly different, digging through twitter threads and blog posts to try to figure out what's allowed- frankly those are the wastes of developer time that bother me more.
It is perfectly reasonable to ask why they facilitated immoral actions.
There is a code of ethics all computing professionals should use to consider their actions.
Are you seriously proposing to give the presenter for the Core Audio session grief over this? IMO, that's just being a jackass "because purity". Or something; I'm at a loss to truly categorize such behavior.
If Apple won't answer questions about the platform through the proper channels, might as well go through the wrong channels. We're not going to get less of an answer.
Should you be held accountable for everything any company you ever worked at has done or will do?
As a user I still think Apple is the least evil. As a developer I still prefer their platforms.
Your recent comment history is full of negging on Apple and I think this is one of those neg-waves that magically appear just before every WWDC, every year, like clockwork. Only 3.5 days to go, and I couldn't be more excited!
You cannot install an app on an iOS device, except from their store. Apple won't let you install an alternative store. Therefore their app store is a monopoly store, and should be regulated as such. (Is the argument being levelled against them.)
This is the problem.
There's the obvious problem around apps and protocols. If you've been using them for a long time, your apps, their connectivity to each other, personal data etc is likely to be locked into Apple services & devices, or Google services & devices, in a way that is difficult or even impossible to move over (I know people with data they can only access now if they buy a license to apps they can no longer run).
More subtly, for example there was a recent article about how people in some places experience a social penalty if they aren't using iOS, because the difference is visible to others in terms of protocols used for instant messaging.
In my view, the great difficulty of switching and the penalties of switching mean that both Apple and Android ecosystems are, more or less, separate marketplaces, and each one has a strongly dominant player that should be subject to anti-trust measures.
Basically if you build a platform ecosystem, expressly design to lock-in users especially in ways that hugely affect their lives, that comes with responsibilities you don't have in a free and competitive marketplace where your users can switch with low friction.
Why isn't "the world" the smartphone market where there are plenty of options?
For a more meatspace example let's say you own a car with full self-driving capabilities. Now, the manufacturer of that car also runs a chain of grocery stores. It would be problematic if the car refused to drive too a different store. "If you've already to decided to buy a Walmart car then Walmart is the only store that you can go to."
At a certain point in debates like this everyone ends up over-examining analogies to a point where it isn't useful. To be a useful parallel you'd need a world where you can only buy two types of car and each one only lets you go to one type of shopping mall, or something like that. My point is, that isn't how either the real world works or how smartphone app stores work, so it's a debate over nothing.
There are two options, and one of them is provided free of charge by the world's largest advertising company.
The state of the smartphone OS market is so wildly different from the general-merchandise retail market as to render any comparisons meaningless.
So you can compare this to if you could only buy things at two different stores, each store has a hefty membership fee, and you were effectively locked into your decision for at least a year at a time.
"the definition of world is too narrow" is a pretty weak argument.
Such as Coca-cola (who even has to stock their own inventory), and those shops and restaurants that are at the front of every superstore location.
It's not like people have to choose whether to exclusively shop at Walmart or Target, like they do with phones. Reasonable people don't own both an iPhone and an Android.
Imagine that you buy a DVD player at Best Buy. That's cool. Best Buy decides the markup, where it puts it, how much it puts in promoting it, etc. That's also cool. You are OK with giving the with 30 % of your DVD player sales. After all, shelf space, promotion, etc. isn't free.
Now, imagine Best Buy hears that you sell DVDs by mail. People are already buying your DVDs and you are shipping it to their door, so you don't feel that it's worth your time and effort to "sell" them through Best Buy.
Best Buy is not happy with this. They say that for ANY DVD for the DVD player in their store, NEED to offered in their store AND you need to pay the same fee for which you get placement, promotion, etc.
You don't want to sell your "Mail in DVDs" in Best Buys, you don't want or need them promoting your DVD, they will never touch, manage, offer support, etc. for these "Mail in DVDs", but you HAVE to sell them in Best Buy because if you don't, then they will just stop selling your DVD player.
In short, they are in the business of selling DVD players, but want a cut of all "Mail in DVDs" because your customers bought the DVD player through them.
This is what Apple wants to do for any app that offers digital content / experiences that might not want to use their services. How is that OK?
The questions are, do we want phones to be like video game consoles with a walled-garden marketplace, or like general purpose computers where the manufacturer does not exert control over the entire software economy. There are arguments for both, but I think the former stifles innovation.
Meanwhile Apple wants you to buy their $1000 phones AND wants you to pay an extra 30% for all software and digital services.