During COVID, governments around the world have been making major decisions based on mobility data from Apple and Google which shows trends of where people are visiting and what mode of transit they are using. The real-time mobility data from Apple and Google is far better than anything the government has itself. This is a big wake-up call to the governments that they have been basically supplanted by private companies. I'm sure no president or prime minister likes having to give a press conference where they have to say "According to Apple, we see good compliance with government regulations...."
Yesterday, the UK announced it was abandoning its own COVID contract tracing app and moving to the Apple model because they couldn't figure out how to make iPhones wake up via bluetooth (because that's a private API only available to Apple). A major western government is facing huge public embarrassment in a public health crisis over what comes down to not having permission from Apple to use a specific API in an app. That's the kind of thing that pisses off politicians, regardless of whether or not you think the UK followed the best technical path.
Combine all that with Apple now forcing companies to adopt their sign-in systems and payment methods in order to reach what is now part of the public infrastructure and Apple has created a situation where they've managed to piss off everyone across the political spectrum, from the hard-core free market people to the leftist public good people.
If the majority of the citizens want that, then they can outvote their leaders. If the minority of the citizens want that, they either convince the majority to agree, or they keep quit.
I haven't bought the iPhone for the privacy stance. Apple is a part of PRISM. There is ZERO % chance that their privacy stance is more then a façade. While I try to protect my privacy from other private companies, I do not have that privacy requirement from the government as long as what they're doing is legal and collecting it to the extent permitted by the law. I will instead petition and support senators that would change the law to my liking. But if the majority disagrees, either I stop doing it, or I keep trying to change the law slowly by spreading awareness about why it's wrong.
How far back can you take that? Were they right about slavery, the nazis etc.? Or were they somehow magically wrong then, but are right ever since?
tyranny of the majority is scary to you, neglect by the minority is scary to me. What should happen in a reasonable world is that governments maintain sovereignty and that Apple, in particular on software questions (hardware would be tricky to do), to comply with regional governments.
What's blatantly absurd is that a gadget company even starts to argue with the government of the United Kingdom.
You seem to assume I am arguing for no tracing at all, but am simply saying I doubt the UK's own technology is better in terms of preserving privacy than Apple's, while achieving the same goal.
Laws, at least theoretically, exist so that you're protected in certain situations even if you don't have any actual "might".
I am simply saying that my belief in UK's own, homegrown tech, is less than Apple's/Google's tech, which is saying something as I am no fan of either.
Do you have a source for that?
Or a reason for us to believe an anonymous persona instead of a corporation that could be held liable if their claims were proven to be false?
Not op but I agree with this (within reason) having said that I don’t really think this is a moral export from Apple, more just a desire for control. I don’t think this desire is totally a bad thing (it can enable very good and consistent ux) but there is definitely a line they are walking.
Your statement can be re-interpreted as "whoever has the power not only makes the rules but has complete moral right to do so". That is clearly not correct. I'll just quickly violate Godwins law by pointing out this would mean the Nazis were correct, as they were the leaders elected by their citizens and thereby had the right to decide what was best for their citizens. And this is from the "elected leaders" part of your statement, not even the "different ways of governance" portion. Your statements can also be used to support slavery, etc.
If you believe in any kind of society that is not selective by ethnic or ideological group, there are universal human rights that must be adhered to. If you don't, then obviously your opinion becomes less relevant because we may not be in the same ethnic/ideological group and so one or the other us may not have the right to speak and to discourse in whatever society this is.
We can debate whether privacy is one of them, but knowing where everyone is and following them every moment of the day and being able to locate them down to a meter and follow all of their interactions enables and very strongly supports a lot of what we would call bad behaviour by a government - selected secret police apparatus, suppression of journalism, other cultures, and dissent, ideological control, restriction of movement, slavery, genocide, etc.
Sovereign countries are sovereign of course. But that's a truism that's irrelevant in this discussion. Such countries can ban Apple products if they don't like it. Choose your own values and build your own products.
> "Many eastern cultures do not value privacy as much as you guys do, and it's fine."
Actually it's not fine at all, in my opinion. I understand having different values, but we are talking about privacy and being born in the communism of Eastern Europe, I think privacy should be a basic inalienable human right.
I value companies that don't compromise on such values, as it shows not all of them are morally bankrupt.
And yes, I avoid products from Chinese companies for that reason and I'm always skeptical of US products too. Sorry, but I'll never buy stuff from companies like Huawei, not until I'll see a strong commitment to privacy, especially when the administration of the host country sees human rights as an existential threat and targets activists from other countries.
ECHR Article 8 – Right to respect for private and family life
1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.
2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.
(yes, there is a lot of elasticity in that "except")
Stop buying stuff from Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft because these companies are a part of a surveillance program called PRISM. IF you really value privacy, you wouldn't just abandon Huawei, but you'd do the same for these companies too. Unless you have a double standard of course.
No, I don't use Google or Facebook either. And I've been avoiding Microsoft since the '90-ties.
Even if one NEVER explicitly uses any Google or Facebook service, they would still be feeding their day to them just by visiting completely unrelated websites.
Apple does a lot more good for people than either of them.
And yes, I think that Google is still better compared to Apple as far as the web is concerned. I can freely block their trackers if I want to. Google's interests align with the future of the web. Apple's interests are a complete walled garden. As a consumer, for as long as the web thrives, most people benefit. When a wall garden happens, that is when consumers lose in the longer term.
I would not take the government at its word here. Their entire contact tracing program has been a shambles. They contracted the work out to their friends, put the ex-CEO of one of the countries worst ISP's in charge and wasted months trying to hack together their own soution that was never going to work in the first place. If it was really an Apple issue they could go ahead and release their Android app.
> not having permission from Apple to use a specific API in an app
The privacy question is real. While it is very awkward to have companies making public policy, sometimes it's the more secure outcome. See also the FBI's use of exploits to bypass iPhone security.
This is particularly awkward when "a means to determine who has been where and with whom" coincides with a time of large public demonstrations.
I don't agree with the public humiliation part of your post, don't really see it. It seems like a stretch to connect the Corona apps to this even though most of the world figured out how to slow down Corona without any of these apps.
Whether it's OK for Apple to keep those APIs private, that's a debate we can have, but it's not the same thing as the highway robbery they are doing with app developers.
This will show people the fact that apple is not going to protect them from the government (dispelling bullshit marketing). In turn, it will make people adopt truly open and ownable (?) tech, because for some reason people are way more negative about govt control than about apple control.
So it's a win in my book.
Unfortunately, this seems like a problem where nobody has come up with a good solution. Google allows other app stores on their phones and they allow sideloading, which might seem like the ideal situation. The biggest issue then is that Google still has the monopoly on apps on Android because the size of the Play Store far eclipses every other store. So if Google bans an account or app unfairly, the only realistic option is to appeal and cave in whatever they want you to do. Because being relegated to an app store that nobody uses is essentially a death sentence for that app and its revenue.
How do you fix something like that? The power or the problem doesn't go away because there is choice. I feel like Google has neatly sidestepped the problem from their perspective and thus aren't being scrutinized, despite being in nearly the exact same situation as Apple.
A slightly different example. Internet Explorer essentially dominated the browser space for nearly forever until Chrome. There are any number of reasons, but the most obvious is that Microsoft could leverage their position as the platform owner to promote IE over all alternatives. EU tried to regulate it by forcing them to add a "browser choice" dialog, which didn't work. The only reason why Chrome became so popular was because Google did exactly the same thing as Microsoft. They could leverage their search engine, which by that time already owned 90% of the search engine market, to aggressively promote Chrome at every single opportunity.
There are all these examples of tech companies leveraging an existing platform to edge out competitors in clearly anti-competitive ways, and modern laws simply aren't up to the task of ensuring a fair, competitive market where massive companies like Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon can't abuse their power.
In the same way the government forced Microsoft to de-couple Internet Explorer from Windows.
We know that we can't stay dominant forever,
We know someone will force us to reduce Apple-tax later,
So we have to get as much as we can, for as long as we can.
An open and borderless web market is the kind of thing that just about every nation is rethinking right now.
I don't understand why businesses are entitled to have access to consumers who use Apple. If you don't want to pay to play on their platform, imagine a world where Apple doesn't exist, and position your business accordingly. Nothing is actually forcing you to deal with Apple except your own expectation that being on Apple's platform is valuable. Then why not pay for that privilege?
It seems like your argument is people opted into buying things with those restrictions therefore it's ok but many things have been banned in the past along similar lines.
> I have no problem with restrictions that improve overall experience
I'm sure there are plenty of restrictions that would improve the overall experience for many people of many things that are still banned. Plenty of people would like all of a certain race banned from their apartment complex or town. I guess by your argument if they opt in to that experience because it's better for them it's should be no problem.
Agreed. I, as a consumer, would like this option the best. If a free and open competitor to Apple made better devices and better software, I would jump ship immediately. I lament Apple's increasingly poor decisions, but have no better alternative currently, because competitors just aren't as good at what they do. The answer isn't to strong arm Apple into changing the way they do business on their own platform, the answer is to build better alternatives. (IMHO)
> I'm sure there are plenty of restrictions that would improve the overall experience for many people of many things that are still banned. Plenty of people would like all of a certain race banned from their apartment complex or town. I guess by your argument if they opt in to that experience because it's better for them it's should be no problem.
I know you gave this as an absurd gotcha, but yeah I have no problem with that. For the sake of argument:
- Town A wants to segregate, everyone in A would be happier with racial segregation.
- Country X does not want segregation, the people have spoken and decided that segregation is immoral.
- Town A should be free segregate to their hearts content, just not in Country A.
I don't understand how expecting a computer to just run software became entitlement. Why should anyone need Apple's permission to do anything?
They have the freedom to buy a different brand, as you did. They shouldn't have the "freedom" to dictate what Apple does with the devices they sell.
Allow sideloading and the price should move towards the equilibrium price. Which very well might be 30%, since Google manages this despite allowing sideloading.
The tricky question I would say is the accessibility of the alternative stores.
First there is the default/non-default install thing, we've seen how it worked out for Microsoft.
Then there are all the warnings/toggles about unsafe external apps. This is much more difficult, since it's quite useful for security, but at the same time it makes it much harder for alternative stores/apps.
I think Apple is providing more value than PayPal, but less value than a two-way marketplace.
For me, 30% is extortionate and predatory. 5% is too low for the value they provide. 15% is quite high, but it can be justified given the value adds (advertising, content delivery, reviews, last resort QA, security etc).
As soon as that capability exists, my elderly parent's and elderly in-laws' iPads will quickly fill up with malware and scamware like their desktop computers routinely used to.
And before you argue that you could choose to not open that pandora's box on particular devices. But as soon as enough developers decide that getting around Apple's fees is worth the effort, use of it will become commonplace and potentially unavoidable.
Clear, consistently enforced App Store rules, from a perspective of Apple desiring the best apps possible.
Why not “5% for app-upload capability and a plain store page with nothing else”, up to “30% for lots of nice bells and whistles” or even “50% for regular featuring to potential customers”?
People would not complain about 30% nearly as much if there were any alternative. (And they are right to complain about how little 30% gets them currently.)
So for 150 million people Apple are the Gatekeepers, you have to pay the Troll it's fee or it won't let you past.
And people here are saying if you don't like Apple, don't make apps for iOS? Please try to do a business project in a market where you ignore 50% of the market and let me know how you fair out :)
Jason Freid of BaseCamp gave a good argument:
If you are handling the search, marketing and production of the app by yourself, why do you STILL need to pay the 30% tax? Imagine paying AWS 30% of your revenue just for hosting privileges :)
And don't forget that even IF you try to make the argument for hosting, they are hosting the app on Apple Store because Apple doesn't allow ANOTHER way of downloading an app. This is a really important fact.
Imagine if you used Windows and you couldn't download programs except over Windows Store. Just try to imagine Windows not allowing Steam to distribute over the web...
Gaming the system is never good option.
Yeah, it's his Twitter handle. Do you think people are evangelizing rms just because he refers to himself as that and that people are following his example?
Meanwhile, it's a bit hypocritical for the US Government to accuse private corporations of ‘highway robbery’ when they themselves are committing (or failing to outlaw) literal highway robbery in the form of civil forfeiture.
Indeed it is. So they should address both, not use the current existence of one to excuse the other.
EU did this for roaming charges already.
p.s. haven't installed an app in over a year. i have no interest in mobile apps whatsoever.
There is absolutely no reason to believe that the House gives a shit about interoperability given the DMCA and lack of right to repair laws.
So, back to the highway, you pay a 30% cut to drive on the highway they don't own for them to run a car dealership without allowing anybody else to run one and reviewing cars offered in the dealership with an arbitrary process.
Taking 30% off buying an app, why not. It's insanely expensive but that's their dealership.
Taking 30% off subscriptions makes absolutly no sense.
I'm really happy that someone start to look into it and if they are not happy with it they can always do what they told many other business to do "change their business model"
How is this beneficial for innovation and for consumers?
Everyone who isn't targetting Apple devices that is.
I'd also like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that it is not possible to publish an application on the Apple App Store without paying. Period end.
I also don't see why there's an expectation that Hey has to pay Apple for providing the app. They are trying to bring out an app to allow their customers on Apple devices to be able to use their service. It's not like they're just putting their app there for marketing because the App Store is absolutely horrible at any kind of marketing.
This is a bit like expecting Netflix to pay Comcast, AT&T and every other ISP for the priviledge of using their networks. Netflix's customers are already paying those companies just like how Hey's customers are paying for their Apple devices.
I'd also like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that the same is true for games on the Xbox, PlayStation and nearly every mainstream games console for the past thirty years. Pretty much every games console software title included a healthy cut for Nintendo, Sega, Microsoft, or Sony. And if you didn't have the explicit blessing of these companies, you couldn't publish your games at all. Period end.
Where was your outrage then?
There's a big different between a device used almost entirely or gaming and a device through which almost all personal communication, news, banking, payments, e-money, travel plans, plane and train tickets, medical services, political planning, etc. happen.
A smartphone has pretty much become essential for life. A game console has never been that.
If there are going to be mandated limits, they should apply to all companies which build hardware and charge platform access fees to software developers.
Do these new rules include the Android Play Store? Does it include the Apple TV app store? Does it include the Play Store when purchased on a television running Android? Imagine if Mattel creates a new ultra-low cost video games console; should these rules apply to them? What if their console happens to run Android? What if their games console runs Android and the Play Store? What if apps bought on their game store can also run on a phone?
Ultimately it ends up just warping the market and adding yet more complexity into business—and complexity benefits powerful established players over new entrants.
Is this a proven or unproven assumption?
But I must ask: have you ever seen A Government? That's a serious question. Look at any large Government around the world and look for any complex legislation that involves a relatively new business sector or financial instrument. Much of it is obviously terrible, or will turn out to be terrible, or is occasionally so terrible that it creates ripple effects which trigger financial crisis.
Australia launched a new economy-wide GST in 2000 which did many things, and one of them was a massive transformation of the cereal bar/museli bar/granola bar marketplace—changing recipes and picking new market winners—because Governments are terrible at writing legislation.
There has been plenty of that in the last few years, especially regarding Steam fees. Large game producers complain a bit less because their IP is so valuable they can get deal.
Also, I don't understand why Apple apologists think the console market is a good defense of Apple behavior. Every time someone talks about it, all I can hear is it's high time to make a precedent because the situation is also terrible in this other related market.
Where was the game publishers' outrage? Where was the game developers' outrage?
Gaming console makers and game developers have way better relations than Apple and the people developing for the App Store. And the game console makers' cut isn't just pure greed. Sony took an estimate loss of $240-$300 on every PS3 sold at launch just in order to widen out the install base.
Also, if Sony took a loss on the PS3 to get a wider base isn't that dumping?
> Gaming console makers and game developers have way better relations
Let's set aside the unproven assumptions; so your logic is that if you're a nice platform monopolist, you can charge arbitrary platform access fees. But if you're a bunch of meanies, different laws shall apply to you. I'm sorry, I was under the misapprehension that you were making a serious point.
> Sony took an estimate loss of $240-$300 on every PS3
Now I know you're not being serious. Such behaviours are anti-competitive as it would be exceedingly difficult for a new market entrant to compete with such artificially low console prices. What you're saying is that the US Government should enact laws which favour dumping and loss-leader activity. Ridiculous.
You're not entirely wrong:
> One source explained that although Steam only takes 30%, other fees and deductions mean they are usually collecting closer to 65% on their end, while they say console sales return much closer to the full 70% but are stingier with refunds and the like.
> Another source also stressed that just because a retailer takes 30% doesn’t mean the developer of the game actually gets the other 70%, saying publishers often earn between 30-70% of a sale themselves depending on the deal that has been struck. There are also engine licensing fees to consider (games that use Unreal have its 5% fee waived if they are sold on the Epic Store), taxes, and other costs not factored into what many people assume the actual creator of a game earns. One source said their takeaway from a physical retailer at the end of the day is often between just 10-15%.
You know, maybe this doesn't have to end with Apple. The Google Play store charges a 30% service fee as well. Maybe the entire pricing system of the industry is fucked, and worth further scrutiny. Furthermore, it's been repeatedly brought up in the discourse over the publishing industry's recent lawsuit against Internet Archive that the industry standard for book publishing are contracts where the publishers pocket 75% of book sales, while the author retain the rest. Meanwhile, you hear horror stories out of the music industry where artists are paid a pittance. This can be an endemic problem that's afflicting multiple industries at once. Maybe we can confer our righteous indignation both at Apple, and the rest. And maybe we ought to figure out a better way to help creators, whether app developers, game developers, authors, or musicians, get the pay they're due.
If you're a nice platform monopolist, you're not charging arbitrary, excessive platform access fees. You can have a monopoly on a platform, charge fees and still act in a way that makes those fees seem reasonable.
Sony for example seems to have a pretty positive relationship with its developers. Here's for example something I found related to the PS4 dev kits:
>Although this $2,500 price [for a PlayStation 4 dev kit] is being cited in development circles, the game-makers we spoke to all said that Sony had lent them dev kits for a limited period of one year, for free. As of right now, there are no dev kits being sold. Sony is sending whatever it has available to favored developers. "All the indies I know got them for free," said one developer. "Sony has been amazing about kits and development thus far."
>Another developer said that Sony is focused on loaners, rather than collecting fees. "They are handing them out like candy," he said.
There's also various accounts of Sony providing support for its developers, including launching a $10 million fund for independent developers.
If Sony and the like were every bit as bad as Apple, Google, Steam, etc., I'd imagine we'd hear a lot more negative stories about them. I tried to find stories of Tim Sweeney talking shit about Sony's cut, but couldn't really find any. Only really found things like this:
>“We’ve been working super close with Sony for quite a long time on storage,” he says. “The storage architecture on the PS5 is far ahead of anything you can buy on anything on PC for any amount of money right now. It’s going to help drive future PCs. [The PC market is] going to see this thing ship and say, ‘Oh wow, SSDs are going to need to catch up with this.”
Maybe developers are more forgiving towards platform fees when they feel like they are working together with the charging company rather than against.
>Such behaviours are anti-competitive as it would be exceedingly difficult for a new market entrant to compete with such artificially low console prices.
Sure. But it also works out in game developers' favor. Console makers are cutting the cost of the device to reach a larger install base, which then increases the potential customer base for game publishers and developers.
>What you're saying is that the US Government should enact laws which favour dumping and loss-leader activity.
> you're not charging arbitrary, excessive platform access fees
What's your legally enforceable definition of arbitrary? What's your legally enforceable definition of excessive? How do they apply to Apple and not to (for example) the Steam store?
> Sony for example seems to have a pretty positive relationship
Emphasis on "seems". These relationships involve very aggressive NDAs which would have a chilling effect on developers speaking out. Not to mention most developers will work for very large companies who would frown upon freelancing their opinions about a corporate relationship that is responsible for 50% or 100% of the developer's revenues.
Compare that to the App Store, where a million rando developers have paid their $99 and are complaining because Apple won't publish their malware or torch app.
> There's also various accounts of Sony providing support for its developers
There are (relatively speaking) an extremely tiny number of game developers on these platforms, and a lot of potential upside in landing exclusives, so you can expect such largesse and personal treatment from Sony and Microsoft.
> including launching a $10 million fund
For the video games industry, $10 million is crumbs. No, it's fractions of crumbs. No, it's atoms. I haven't looked into this PR exercise aka "fund" beyond the link you offered, but how much do you want to bet that access to that fund requires a period of console exclusivity in return?
> I'd imagine we'd hear a lot more negative stories
Again, the number of console publishing licenses is relatively tiny.
> But it also works out in game developers' favor.
Does it? Or does it just lock out new entrants in the hardware space? If Sony and Microsoft were unable to sell consoles at a loss, perhaps new market entrants would be able to create new console platforms of similar quality, and compete for developers by offering better financial terms.
I could eventually live with a one-time 30% tax, but taking that much for a recurring payments? Calling it a highway robbery is totally on point.
There is a reason regulators in the world are investigating Apple right now and it's not because they are a model citizen.
I’ll chase them round the moons of Nibea and round Antares Maelstrom and round perdition's flames before I pay $99 for a fucking email address!
* I’m available for podcast interviews to promote my wares for a very reasonable fee. Hating hey.com is optional. No purchase necessary. Other email providers are available.
That's why we have anti-trust laws.
Oh I don't know. The "small developers who can't survive" he's talking to here have multiple hypercars and I don't think they are small or facing survival challenges.
Sure there are smaller developers. But the sense of entitlement is a bit much. Once you've written some software, that does not mean you are entitled to have people pay for your life from here on out.
I mean you have developers who have written software once, do not maintain it, and would charge subscription fees if they could, for software they don't update. There is a spectrum of behaviors, and there is a cost for running a store to corral all those behaviors into some order that average consumers can deal with. And then there are even legal bills to pay, for fighting off people who own hypercars and feel wronged.
There could be some room for the fees to come down now that the App Store is well established. But it's not quite how it's being portrayed… highway robbery? Way too dramatic.