Pro-consumer behavior almost always looks like anti-publisher behavior.
If you don't want to give random apps your credit card, don't give it to them. Why do you oppose other people's right to do that, if they need it?
If they’re forced to open up to 3rd party stores, I hope they can do it in a way that prevents Adobe from running 8 background processes to make sure my license is current and there aren’t any font updates to download and to make Reader launch faster by keeping it in memory all the time, or whatever it is they do with their Creative Cloud client stuff.
I will never understand people's desire to be handcuffed by Apple. Give me control over my own device god damn it.
I use macOS instead of Linux for this reason: last time I tried updating the production packages on a Linux box it took me hours to clean up the mess that X11 left behind.
Don’t criticise my walled garden just because you want to experiment with weed salad in your community garden.
Its reasonable to ask for both.
If you give apps the right not to do things like AppleID they’ll take it and the App Store would be a highly inconsistent experience for people who want to do no thinking about how their device works. There ought to be some middle ground but consumers are the ones who will have their boundaries encroached unless an entity ruthlessly minds the border...
For the degree of opening you leave companies will extract that much concession from your users.
I can just hope that the EU is successful in stopping all of Apple's trickeries ranging from 2.5mm headset jacks, ports, OS slow downs, mysterious battery underperformance, app store, the list just goes on.
You want the EU to regulate whether a company wants to put a headphone jack in their devices?
> OS slow downs
iOS has gotten faster over time .
> mysterious battery underperformance
It's common knowledge that this was an honest engineering mistake because as a phone ages, the battery cannot support the max voltage of the processor. Apple now lets you enable full performance with the understanding that your phone might shut down on you when you need it most.
> app store
Which we've determined not to be a monopoly as Apple is a minority player in the mobile device space.
> the list just goes on.
So you've suggested 4 things, 3 of which don't apply and 1 of which (headphone jacks) would be gross governmental overreach.
It seems to me that you just want the company to burn and you want the EU to regulate the hell out of everything in your life.
For example, deciding whether I want to put a headphone jack on my next device is my choice, not the EU's choice, and it would be tyrannical and innovation-stifling to let them have a say over something like that.
It is very reasonable for you to just buy something else if you don't like an Apple device, since Apple is not a monopoly in the mobile space. However, neither you nor the government should have the right to force Apple to develop a product you like. Apple does not exist to satisfy your whims.
However, I’m not really sure that other companies are contextually more honest to consumers in their advertising, or that such standards in communication even exist for the American marketplace. It’s hard to criticize Apple for the details when the bigger story is their great relationship with customers.
I never said so. In any case, I don't need you to tell me what to do.
I vote with my wallet and I don't buy Apple products anymore.
The government does not need to regulate it, the market itself will do it just like it did with Microsoft. On the meantime, I'll let you keep finding excuses for Apple's shady practices.
> So you've suggested 4 things, 3 of which don't apply and 1 of which (headphone jacks) would be gross governmental overreach.
There is precedence for the EU mandating Apple change their hardware practices:
Here's a 5th one:
The second source is Tile complaining about the privacy warnings in iOS 13. It’s laughable. Customers are turning off abusive always-on surveillance thanks to iOS 13 notifications and this is hurting Tile. Working as intended.
The Tile situation is TBD, pending Apple's release of AirTags. Will iOS user location notifications pop up as frequently in Apple's first party Find My app as it does in Tile's app? Stay tuned!
Also, the letter mentions the matter of Apple removing their previous Tile store presence (presumably in favor of AirTags), which is within their power but brings up the matter of Sherlocking. Sure, Sherlocking is legal- but is it ethical? Is it right when Facebook scouts other apps to duplicate it in their app? Is it right when Apple does the same to preexisting apps in its App Store? At the very least, these legal cases- whether you think them prudent or not- bring them before the public for examination and discussion.
Entirely unrelated, and it's 3.5 mm by the way.
Personally I've only encountered them on a pair of headphones where they're a step up from a soldered on cable, but more annoying than a standard jack would be. It's also recessed really far in with a very narrow twist-lock connector, so isn't compatible with any cables except the special one it comes with.
Yes you can avoid the giant mess of 3rd party launchers on Mac, but only by writing off huge swaths of the software market. Want to run Photoshop? You get to have the Creative Cloud client.
The current state of iOS software is that I never have to go into Task Manager and see what junk has inserted itself as a startup item, whether anything will break if I don't want its update/license client running in the background, or worry about whether it really quits when I quit it or tries to stay resident in the system tray.
You can always buy a device that allows you to do those things, after all. It's not like Apple is the only device vendor out there, or even a majority device vendor.
See: a user in China owns the iPhone and wants to run the app.
Apps developer wants a user to run the app.
And only Apple doesn't let it happen, on the device that it doesn't own anymore.
Regarding your argument, "do not buy it", of course I don't buy it! But that doesn't make this position of Apple right, and I'm glad that lawmakers might put an end to this malicious practice.
Returning your argument, if Apple wants to control what users do with the iPhones, perhaps they shouldn't give up their ownership of devices and shouldn't sell them.
Like that time when Epic Games said "We don't want to use the Google Play Store, so if you want to play Fortnite you have to install it from the Fortnite Installer". And then we immediately had this: https://issuetracker.google.com/issues/112630336?pli=1
> This vulnerability allows an app on the device to hijack the Fortnite Installer to instead install a fake APK with any permissions that would normally require user disclosure.
If they could switch to Fortnite Installer on iOS I assume they would. Would it have security holes? Would it do other annoying things that the App Store doesn't let them do?
Repeat those questions for a hypothetical Microsoft iOS Store, Google iOS Store, Amazon iOS Store, Steam iOS Store, Ubisoft iOS Store, EA iOS Store, Pokemon GO Installer, Nintendo iOS Store, iOS Minecraft Launcher, and I'd expect to see more security vulnerabilities and/or hostile behaviors that Apple doesn't allow.
It's a tradeoff. I know the current system isn't perfect, but I worry that forcing Apple to allow other stores to do their own thing will be worse in a variety of ways.
Believe it or not I had an Android phone before and decided I like Apple's system better.
If it were my only computing device and I needed to run a bittorrent client I acknowledge it would be a problem, but like I said elsewhere in the comments, it's a trade-off.
I view the dismissals of "secondary app markets will just be like insecure shoddy secondary Android app stores" to be both pessimistic and lacking in imagination at the potential for new businesses and innovation to be created if Apple just gives up a little bit of its dominating power.
Obligatory glance over at Steam goes here.
Apple’s App Store policies also limit 3rd party software’s ability to fuck up my devices in a myriad of ways.
It would be a much safer solution if Apple's operating system limited 3rd party software's ability to do things it shouldn't. Trying to filter malware at the app store level might improve your odds, but it's not a robust, scalable solution to malware and it never has been.
• Steam (Valve)
• Uplay (Ubisoft)
• Origin (EA)
• Epic (Epic)
• Galaxy (CDProjekt)
• LoL Launcher (Riot)
• Battle.net (Blizzard)
• Twitch (Amazon)
• Minecraft Launcher (Mojang)
Probably others I'm missing.
Can't wait to have a whole home screen dedicated to different app stores because each one has a single exclusive game that I wanted to play
I don't want to download a game and find out that it's secretly spinning up a background spyware process to monitor the screenbuffer and sending the screenshots off to god knows where.
Once again, trying to filter malware at the app store level is not a viable strategy for robust, reliable security, and it never has been.
And also makes apps like Tasker impossible, which from my side of the table is too much.
There should be a button somewhere in iOS called "safety belts off" and I should be able to do anything to a device I bought.
Let's suppose that Apple's store is infallible. Well then the availability of other stores won't matter, will it? Apple will approve everything good and reject everything bad and you'll know that anything not in their store is bad and have no reason to ever look at another store even if they exist.
But suppose they're not infallible. They reject something good when they ought not to. Well now you gain something from the other store, because now you have the option to install it anyway. You don't have to -- you only would if the other store has a sufficient reputation for not distributing bad things -- but you could. Or you could still continue to refuse anything not in Apple's store. It only gives you a choice.
And the existence of the choice creates competitive pressure. It makes it in Apple's interest to do a better job for you, because they don't want customers turning to other stores because they've rejected something they shouldn't have, or because they're charging monopoly rents to developers etc. So they spend more resources to reject only what's bad and not what's good. They charge lower fees, so that more money goes to developers and you get better apps. And then even if you still don't want to use the other stores, their existence makes Apple's store better for you.
But first, we know the App store isn't infallible, but it has an incentive to have more false negatives than positives. It is able to correct past mistakes and does do so.
But as far as competitive pressure, that argument is mute as long as there is no way for the "normal" owner/user of a device to evaluate the market. By the time the bad actor is exposed, it is often too late. The other side is that one only has to look at the Play store to see that there are so many copies of original apps that it is obfuscating them. One cannot find the legitimate app. So until most people are able to be informed and evaluate the apps, it isn't in their favor to want alternative stores.
Also, one has a choice, buy or don't buy the device. Apple does not have a majority of sales in phones, not even close. Also, you can side load any softare you want. It's a service that is paid for , but for free it's 7 days per install.
How do you mean? The Play Store and the App Store both have malware:
But the Play Store is a lot less likely to reject things it shouldn't, it doesn't try to extract a percentage of third party revenue from services like Spotify or Netflix, and there are useful and trustworthy third party stores like F-Droid. It's better.
> And lets take this to the brick and mortar model. 30 ish% of the end user price is not a lot, when many products are at least 100% markup.
Brick and mortar stores have expenses for in-town real estate and sales clerks that Apple doesn't, which is where that margin goes. It's unavoidable for that sales model, but that doesn't mean it's a good thing -- and it's the exact reason why online retailers like Amazon have been kicking their butts by cutting that margin down. And even they still have significant warehousing and shipping expenses for physical products that the digital products Apple distributes don't.
Margins like that are costs to be eliminated where possible, not excuses to impose the same costs where they don't otherwise even exist.
> It is able to correct past mistakes and does do so.
Right, so can you point me to the best BitTorrent app in Apple's store?
> But as far as competitive pressure, that argument is mute as long as there is no way for the "normal" owner/user of a device to evaluate the market.
If this were true then it wouldn't do you any good because then people would have no way to know not to buy an Android phone and enable a shady Russian app store full of malware. Fortunately it isn't (and people doing that is quite uncommon), because we have all the normal mechanisms to determine whether a store is trustworthy -- the reputation of the store operator, third party reviews, opinions from savvy relatives or your company's IT staff etc. And the store itself is still curated by the operator, so you only have to do this for the store operator when enabling one, not every individual app. And you would still have the option to use none but Apple's, if you like.
> The other side is that one only has to look at the Play store to see that there are so many copies of original apps that it is obfuscating them. One cannot find the legitimate app.
So the Play Store doesn't always do a great job. This is a pretty good argument that the level of competition there is pretty weak too -- other stores exist but not many people use them. Still, what stops Apple from doing better than that, competition or not? There is no consumer demand or competitive pressure to approve duplicate garbage apps that nobody actually wants, and Google only does it out of laziness.
> So until most people are able to be informed and evaluate the apps, it isn't in their favor to want alternative stores.
They still wouldn't be evaluating the other apps, only the other stores. It might be reasonable to consider F-Droid (and therefore the apps it distributes) trustworthy but not some store nobody has ever heard of operated by anonymous second world foreign nationals.
> Also, one has a choice, buy or don't buy the device.
That isn't a choice, it's more than one choice, anti-competitively required to be made together. I could want to use iOS on Apple hardware but install an app which is only in the Play Store, and that choice doesn't currently exist.
> Also, you can side load any softare you want. It's a service that is paid for , but for free it's 7 days per install.
This is obviously not a viable alternative or your entire premise would disintegrate because it would be a vector for malware, and then what's the point of excluding other app stores?
Come on, let's be honest this is in the first place in Apple interest, if Apple needs to sell in China then they made sure they handed over Chinese users data to the government, now if they want to sell in EU they would need to also put a bit of effort into it(I have no idea if EU market is smaller but money is money)
Would you still support Apple's position if, say, Apple would roll out update to iOS with new EULA, which would require you to give up your firstborn son for a Satan sacrifice?
Of course, you can refuse, but the device that you supposedly "own" would effectively stop functioning (obsoleted iOS devices lose their usefulness very fast: try doing anything with iPhone 5).
> given that I want to use and pay for a piece of software, I would rather pay through Apple
and you're saying
> if you want to pay through Apple, then don't use and pay for the piece of software
Meanwhile other people may choose to do something else, e.g. because they would rather that more of what they pay go to the developer (where it's plausible that it be used to improve the software) than to Apple (which can't productively use any more money than it already has). And who are you or Apple to get in the way of this transaction between two independent and consenting third parties?
Personally for me, as a developer of applications, I could care less about 30% fee. I find it reasonable. What I DO care about is restrictions on owning the device and users' inability to run any app they need - even if it is not vetted by Apple. In part it is because I happen to live in an authoritarian country which government loves to block apps in the AppStore.
And how would said users receive push notifications for their apps from Signal?
UPD: oh boy, and I forgot to mention that such users would also have to buy Macs - you can't build a 'stupid app' for iOS without XCode, which runs only on Macs that support the latest version of macOS.
The right way, of course, is to allow third party appstores and app sideloading. Just like we have it on macOS - and it doesn't look like someone was made unhappy because he can run Steam and buy Sketch directly from the developer.
Someone besides Apple, of course.
Purchasing an iPhone is an act of collective bargaining by consumers against publishers that otherwise would hoover up their private data. "If you don't like it, you can always live like it's 2004, before smart phones" is not an answer iPhone customers accept.
Were you also against Apple disabling enterprise certificates when Google and Facebook were using it to spy on users - not just their own employees?
What next? Are you going to complain that Apple made it harder for advertisers to track you?
...than on iOS
Just not on iOS, if they need the "wrong" functionality.
Neil Cybart wrote this in a July 6th newsletter: “Billions of people use Android smartphones. However, the press views Android as so inferior to iOS that it’s not a viable alternative for Apple users. That ends up saying more about the competition failing than Apple users suffering from Apple possessing too much power and success.” I had a hard time believing that when I read it, but maybe it’s true.
It's not just the press: switching to Android would have very negative drawbacks to many Apple users, even if you don't consider it to be strictly inferior. It would be like pointing a sports car owner to a minivan and saying that they should buy that when they complain about their manufacturer removing buttons from the dashboard. (More accurately, assume that the only sports car available was from one manufacturer and you had to move over to the minivan or you have to ride a bike everywhere.)
There are only two pocket computers. And they're both beating people up over protection money.
Moreover, computing used to be free like water. These companies locked it down so you have to go through them.
Imagine if you had to pay McDonald's to open your own restaurant.
Imagine if every restaurant in the US had to do so.
Imagine if McDonald's gathered data about your customers.
Imagine if McDonald's saw what worked about your restaurant, copied it, and then hid yours from consumers.
It's not okay. This is one of the worst abuses of the American consumer and small businesses in history.
Edit: I think we're all being downvoted by corporate brigading. Every one of my posts is being downvoted. I made a compelling and respectful argument, and note the lack of rebuttals.
If you're trying to make the argument that maybe we should change the laws to make monopolies illegal, it would be easier to discuss if you define what the guiding principle is. Are you saying companies shouldn't own more than X% of a market? Companies should comply with a set of practices? etc
Here's why it's difficult when you just use anecdotes. Consider your example, restaurants. Restaurants are a local industry with lower barriers to entry so naturally you have thousands to choose from. Online marketplaces tend to be global marketplaces with very high barriers to entry. So comparing restaurants to the App Store is a stretch at best.
A better example might be a national every day low price store like Walmart. So let's try your examples with them.
Imagine if you had to pay Walmart to open your own store INSIDE Walmart ... sounds reasonable.
Imagine if every store that wanted to open a store in Walmart had to do so ... again, reasonable. Starbucks pays to be inside target, Wells Fargo inside Safeway, etc.
Imagine if Walmart gathered data about your customers. They do, and again reasonable.
Imagine if Walmart saw what worked at your store and copied it and hid yours from your consumers. This happens as well. Consider Equate, Walmart's private brand. Or Safeway select. Basically the same thing.
> Arguably, Apple has monopoly power in the market they built so nothing wrong there.
Apple embraced the web and the internet, then extinguished it as a means of getting software to consumers.
> Online marketplaces tend to be global marketplaces with very high barriers to entry.
This is false. The web is a free for all.
A better analogy for iPhone and Android being marketplaces is x86 and ARM being marketplaces. Can you imagine having to pay to run your code and your commerce on CPUs?
Phones should be utilities.
> A better example might be a national every day low price store like Walmart.
I don't know. There's Target, Home Depot, Lowes, Whole Foods, Kroger, REI, Dick's, CVS, Dollar Tree, Dollar General, ...
Why don't Netflix and DHH try to sell their wares there?
Not sure why this is relevant to EU regulation.
> This is false. The web is a free for all.
Somewhat. The web is a free for all and is part of the high barrier to entry for online marketplaces. I probably should qualify that as a serious online marketplace for third parties.
> Can you imagine having to pay to run your code and your commerce on CPUs?
Sure can. It was called the 90's. I remember paying per cpu/per end user licensing fees to run things on my own cpus.
> Phones should be utilities.
As an opinion, I can't really argue this.
> Target, Home Depot, Lowes, Whole Foods, Kroger, REI, Dick's, CVS, Dollar Tree, Dollar General,
These are great examples that continue to make my point.
* almost all have private brands that compete brands they sell
* many allow stores in their stores (which they charge for)
* they collect data on those stores (within their stores)
BTW, my intent is not to convince you. I normally wouldn't have responded at all, but since you seemed genuinely curious why you weren't seeing responses so I thought I would give you my perspective.
There are thousands of powerful smartphones on the market, from many different companies and even countries.
> It's not okay.
I'm okay with it.
You're being deceptive here. Apple App Store and Google Play Store are what we are talking about. There aren't many other avenues that can reach consumers.
> I'm okay with it.
You're okay with me having to pay hard earned money to Apple and Google? Having to work that much harder? To be unable to afford to lean into scaling? Because that's awful.
These companies are anti-entrepreneur.
I'm using your own words - you said 'pocket computers'.
And you can load your own applications onto Android, can't you? So use that!
There are only 2 major OS's.
The central question at hand is the App Store monopoly, and your argument was:
> There are thousands of powerful smartphones on the market, from many different companies and even countries.
But that number willfully misrepresents the current state of the market as it pertains to the current discussion because all but one of those powerful smartphones only operate on one other OS, and by extension, one other App Store regime.
Whether this OS duopoly is acceptable is the whole debate.
Of course I know what it means — the argument is way more nuanced than "hurr durr there are 2 and 2 > 1".
1. The argument isn't that it's a monopoly, it's that it's arguably monopsony. The issue is less that users don't have the choice to buy the phone they want with the OS they want, it's that developers/suppliers are unable to access a huge chunk of the market without being forced to pay 30% of earnings.
2. While it's closer to a "duopsony" than a "monopsony", it gets a little more complicated when you look at the level of each regional market. In the US, Apple's market share is closer to 50%.
Maybe it's not anti-competitive for there to be only 2 app buyers on the market, but maybe it is. That's the debate, and it's by no means clear cut.
Google and Apple are a cartel.
They made the world worse than it was for software distribution. It used to be open in the 90's and 00's.
If you buy an iPhone and get upset that you can't install your own apps, you're unreasonable.
There's a big difference between the two, and the key difference here is ... Property.
But i like your example because its shows the mindset that the iPhone you bought, is in the end the property of Apple, not really yours, and that you are "fine with it".
But you cannot require that Apple do work to build support for third-party app stores. Property rights do not extend to forcing other people to do labour for you.
If your phone doesn't come with support for third-party stores when you buy it then I don't see how it would be your right to have that feature added.
You and I can't, at least not directly. But governments certainly can, if they deem it in the interest of the citizens they serve.
Tyranny defined. “Do what we tell you to do, it’s ‘for our citizens.’” That’s how you get Australia forcing companies to backdoor encryption.
I really think this is a more accurate take than "Apple restricts what you can do to your device therefore you don't really own it." Yes, they restrict what I can do with the device, but yes, I really own it. And bonus: f I decide those restrictions are too much to bear, well, buying a new phone is way easier than buying a new house.
But suppose that they define which cars you need to have to live in that neightborhood? You would start to think that now they are being unreasonable..
The thing is, Apple can change those "ok, now this is unreasonable" things behind your back without you even being aware of it. How can you know that you would want that car that the "owners" of your neighborhood did not allowed that car seller to offer you? (And no, this is not a stretch, remember that your digital life is a whole big dimension of your life, imagine a centralized point of control)
You wont feel as you would if they forced you to a limited set of cars, but there are a lot of damages happening by allowing them to do as they please, and not only about your rights as a owner of the product, because there are developers and other technological, social and political issues happening with those decisions being made like that.
Unfortunately it cant be compared as just a house that you have not full control of it, because in that case it would most "damage" you in the end.
The decisions Apple are making hurting digital and material property rights have broader implications to the society in general.
A more apt analogy is perhaps that you’re a McDonalds franchise owner, and you can’t serve Subway food there.
The problem here is a centralized point of control, that basically controls, or can eventually exercise this control to define in the end how you experience your life in the digital realm.
As the subtraction, or whats left out, will happen before, people wont even notice whats being taken from them.
That's why its hard to compare to anything that happened before, because its unparalleled.
(a) no smartphone exists that is a perfect fit for my ideal requirements
(b) having some smartphone is now almost essential to function normally within society
I would say yes, I absolutely do want the government to intervene. Market competition is obviously not doing the job, and none of us individually is strong enough to force the issue with the suppliers. That is exactly the situation where regulatory intervention is appropriate to protect the little guy from the power of the big guy.
Well I don't know what to say apart from this is incredibly selfish.
You can't find a product suited to your particular esoteric requirements so you want the government to force someone else to perform labour to build the product you want.
Can you see how wacky that sounds when you write it out like that?
I don't think it's selfish to argue that government should protect the little guy from being exploited by the big guy who has much greater power, for each of the numerous little guys affected by a situation. Indeed, that is arguably one of the most important functions of any government.
I would have less of a problem with this if we were discussing some luxury item that people could easily do without. However, the reality is that many organisations -- including government entities at various scales in my country as well as other essential services -- now effectively require the use of certain technologies in order to function as a normal member of society. It is therefore reasonable to ensure that the technologies available are provided on an acceptable basis.
If a supplier doesn't want to play by those rules, they're not forced to perform any labour for me or anyone else here. They're perfectly entitled to simply exit the market instead.
But you can already access these Government services - the apps already work, right? You don't need a third-party-app-store to use them?
So that isn't a reason to change anything.
You want the iPhone to be changed so you can do other things with the iPhone, unrelated to these Government services.
The fundamental point is still that, for practical purposes, many people now have to have a smartphone. There are, for practical purposes, two types of smartphone available. If neither of those meets some reasonable conditions that many people would prefer to have -- for example, retaining control of your own device and data -- then this implies a lack of effective competition in the marketplace. Government regulation is the solution to that problem.
Arguing that people don't have to buy the product isn't helpful. Many people are effectively forced into buying one product or the other.
Arguing that people don't have to buy the Apple product isn't helpful. Buying an Android one instead is worse in other respects.
When you try to give a concrete example I show how that concrete example doesn't make any sense to me.
If the fundamental point doesn't translate to any concrete situations then it's a dud.
> neither of those meets some reasonable conditions that many people would prefer to have -- for example, retaining control of your own device and data
But I don't think these are a reasonable conditions.
And I don't think many people want them - I think the number is probably absolutely tiny.
I think using legislation to force Apple to accomodate the unreasonable and abstract preferences of a tiny number of people from a group that isn't specially protected is morally unjust.
But I won't keep arguing it further as I think we probably just have different morals.
So we can see. That doesn't mean they wouldn't be in the interests of owners of Apple devices, or that Apple shouldn't be prevented from exploiting its dominant position to restrict the market to the detriment of those owners.
I wonder whether you'd be OK with an electricity supplier saying you're only allowed to plug in equipment they have approved and they can change the rules or revoke approvals any time they like. If you don't like it, you can go to the other electricity supplier, who will give you their list of acceptable equipment instead. If you want to use equipment from both lists, don't worry, just buy two houses. And of course no-one makes any equipment that isn't on either list, because there is no possibility you'd ever want to power anything that wasn't approved by at least one electricity supplier.
Or you can buy Car A that goes only to one set of locations, or Car B that goes only to another set. Other locations might be happy to welcome you, but even if they build the roads to reach them, your car will artificially prevent you from driving that way.
Let say Apple is BMW, and when you buy BMW your gas tank has a proprietary connector that will work only on BP gas stations.
You can choose different gas there (different octane number, etc.), but you can't tank at e.g. Statoil.
I admit I probably wouldn't buy such a car myself as I don't see any advantages. I do see advantages to the Apple model - simplicity and cleanliness. If you disagree then you should probably do as I would with the BMW - buy something else instead.
Lets say at some point drivers of GM vehicles buy 60% of the gas sold. Gas stations must agree to use proprietary connectors to service GM cars. Because of GM's market share, the majority of gas stations decide to use GM-only connectors, which then sells more GM cars...
Such a cycle is great for GM but probably not good for consumers if you think competitive markets are pro-consumer. And it affects people who don't even buy GM cars, because it influences what 3rd party business are viable. I think that's a key difference between companies with enormous market share engaging in anti-competitive behavior and companies with minority market share (like BMW) doing it.
As another example, I think it would have been unfortunate if home internet service providers (of which many people have a choice of only one or two, and it's a big hassle to change) became a bottleneck for other types of services such as online streaming (perhaps by charging exorbitant bandwidth costs to competitors). Luckily I think that ship has mostly sailed, and even in the absence of regulation abuses are probably somewhat kept in check by the very real possibility that regulation will happen if things go too far.
I think there's an argument to be made that it would be bad for a duopoly in the mobile OS market (Apple/Google) to lead to a reduced level of competition in app stores, payment processing, and possibly computer software in general (because of the approval process). And even though Apple may not have an absolute majority on market share, the percent of software revenue is probably more important and Apple's share of that is probably quite high.
There's probably reasonable ways to address this too. Maybe by allowing other app stores (that follow the same sandboxing / security rules), which seems to work out fine on platforms like Windows with options like Steam. And maybe they could let Apple continue to require support for a common payment method, but not let them prohibit other payment methods or require that those other payment methods are the same price (when the fees on the other payment methods may be much less than 30%).
I respect that you would prefer other stores, but I would prefer a single store, that's all. I don't think I'm entitled to anything. I bought an iPhone with the expectation of a walled garden, but if that changes then I can re-evaluate my phone choice. BigCorp doesn't own me anything.
Also, a second store would affect me. I will have to make a decision on whether to trust a separate store or not use those apps. I'd prefer not to have to make that choice.
Once I've bought it, it is mine. The entire idea that Apple can do whatever they want on a device that they have already sold is ludicrous.
Use it as a hammer for all Apple care.
It's just that Apple aren't going to spend their time and money developing software to let you do things they aren't interested in. Why should they?
They are spending time and money to prevent that. Or you can create an app store as an app and expect Apple to allow your "app store app" to ship in iPhones?
The features are already there in the OS, they use them themselves. They dont need to do anything more.. but instead they work to cripple or prevent others from using it.
This is in essence the spirit of a monopoly.
Ok you personally dont mind for whatever reasons, but there a lot of other harms to the society and civil rights in general going on here. And that was the reason countries and laws exists.. To prevent people or companies in position of power to abuse their power.
I disagree I don't think the reason why have countries and laws is so that you can force someone else to support your product when they don't want to.
Imagine if windows crippled Netscape by forcing them to use Internet Explorer engine on Windows?
And this is just one thing Apple are doing that is unbelievable they are getting away with it.
Not letting other browsers use their own JS engine (which is what it means to 'forcing them to use Internet Explorer engine on Windows' in your analogy) is because Apple want to disallow write|execute for people's safety.
Perhaps you're right. Maybe it's entirely coincidental that Apple's policy also prevents owners of Apple devices from using a browser with modern features that would allow web apps to effectively compete with the native apps from which Apple gets a huge cut of the revenue because of its monopoly control over the app store.
Or the real reason, is as it was pointed out in the other comment, is to cripple other browser engines that offer a platform that could actually be competitive with AppleKit's turning their control over the App store (and what people are allowed to access according to their own taste) irrelevant?
And if that's the real reason behind it, its clear the end user best interests are not being taken into account, as in not having access to possible better options according to your own tastes, contrary to what a lot of people in the comments here are trying to make we believe its true.
I said you can do whatever you want.
I didn't say you can require other people to do what you want, like build software features for you.
You can, however, if you figure it out.
You largely had a choice of two products. It sounds like one did what you wanted, and one didn't. You bought the one that didn't and now you're unhappy about it. I don't quite understand that.
It’s pretty clear the only path out of this situation is to rethink antitrust laws in a society where companies have evolved to evade them, and to legislate.
What’s wrong with people wanting Apple and Google to follow some rules?
Having a rule that all smartphones should allow sideloading would not be the end of the world for people who like Apple’s app store. Those people would still have the choice to us it.
So what I'm really curious about is why is that? Regardless of the legality beyond it, why did you make a choice you're upset with?
Do you also complain that you can’t put gas in a Tesla even though you should have known that it was designed that way?
Did you watch the hearing the other day? Do you really trust those people to regulate tech?
Two products is not a huge number. It seems likely that neither product was exactly what they want, and this is just a particular thing they don't like about iPhones.
To many people, the fault you find in the product is the added value that differentiates it from competitors.
Most people are “forced” to get internet through their cable company because there often isn’t a choice. How many people have to buy a phone that on average is twice as expensive as the alternative and then complain about it?
How did that whole government intervention thing work out with respect to Microsoft? 20 years later they still have the same dominance in operating systems and productivity apps. No one cares about browser dominance except for Google.
Most people don't by Window's in a store, it's pre-installed on PCs and Microsoft did, in fact, force computer companies to buy Windows licenses for every PC regardless of what OS it came with and they threatened to pull their licensing entirely for any company that didn't abide.
Ironically, this is not what got them into trouble.
What if tomorrow they decide bing is the only search engine available on iOS, or iCloud the only storage solution. Would you still be holding the same argument ?
Not the only store, period.
There is Android store which has 4 times as many users, and at some point Microsoft had a store but people didn't like it either...
If our country decides to make a rule about how smart phones should be created, sold or operated and Apple doesn’t like it, they can go and do business somewhere else.
Streaming services can be on iOS platforms without giving Apple a dime.
If they were so pro-consumer, why do they allow spyware such as Tiktok to exist on their platform at all?
That only affects the developer, not the consumer. What does the consumer care about who gets paid the fees.
I keep seeing the App Store framed as a consumer issue rather than a developer one when it's not. The App Store is no question pro-consumer especially when you consider the fact that the "open" web has essentially devolved into using every available toolkit to track users across the web.
I'm not at all interested in giving Facebook yet another platform where they can run amok with native hardware. I'm not interested in cleaning off Bonzai Buddy off my parents and friends phones.
I care if it means the applications are ~40% more expensive than need be.
Instead Apple had implemented the most stringent, pro-privacy features and polices on any platform bar none.
So if I were you I would not use any app or search engine. Just to be on the safe side.
What I actually do is: minimise the number of apps installed, run a pihole to misroute unwanted traffic, run a VPN tunnel between home and a VPS that I manage myself for location masking and additional egress filtering, install a nonmonetized content blocker for which the source code is available (and run in advanced mode, with assets manually unblocked only by need), and use DuckDuckGo as my search engine.
Neither MixPanel nor GA are in my good books, and if a website requires such spyware to load before it functions, I abandon it.
What's more, I don't allow anything of the sort to be installed on my own services. The only third-party assets permitted are the card-capture fields from our payment gateway.
Tiktok grabs your IMEI number, amongst numerous other things and sends them back to the mother ship.
Not saying that other platforms don't collect data, but Tiktok is known for being a whole other level spyware. If Apple was truly trying to protect consumers, there's no way it would allow it.
Maybe I misunderstand you but the quick search I did on Google says Apple iOS API doesn't allow programmer to fetch IMEI number. Did TikTok find a way to circumvent this and get the IMEI?
There is no ability to get the IMEI on iOS.
Somehow grabbing your IMEI is "whole other level of spyware" than Facebook, who had an app that was analyzing all the traffic sent through your phone.
I would prefer paying for Netflix right from the iPhone. It would be great to have torrent apps (they have legitimate use-cases). I would love to run qemu on my powerful iPad Pro.
Apple does not allow any of that.
You can go to https://netflix.com
You can also buy an Android phone like 85% of the rest of the world.
There are arguments to be made -- and they're made in these comments -- that the App Store is a net benefit for consumers, but it is really, really hard to make the case that users somehow benefit from this.
That's what the anti-monopoly is about. Frequently, apples 'pro consumer behavior' is demonstrably false, both from their hardware to their software. It's about making you artificially pay more for less and creating a culture of privledged users that mistake revocation of freedom as 'design' because they have the money to ignore reality.
Apple deserves any anti-monopoly actions it gets.
 Don't google it. I made it up.
This is a recurring theme here on HN. The fundamental dilemma is whether or not it is a monopoly. The article is arguing that it is.
I don't even know why people are getting hung up on this monopoly thing. You can make a perfectly valid argument against Apple's 30% cut or their overly restrictive App Store policies regardless of whether they have a monopoly or not. Those arguments stand up on their own.
Pro-consumer vs anti-publisher is a false equivalence. This is not a zero-sum game, not at all.
And when developers are forced to support all 5 big ones?
And when any benefit of a reduction in fees is completely lost because of the requirement to support all 5 stores?
If the remedy for Apple picking winners is more stores, then it just means all of the big players will get to pick winners.
There is absolutely nothing whatsoever that is pro consumer about having Google, Amazon, and Facebook be able to run iOS app stores.
It will just raise costs for developers and harm consumers that way.
It will lead to exclusives just as we have in the online streaming world, so consumers are forced to deal with all of them.
That is a big assumption. Who is the forcing agent here you are positing? The whole point of making app stores a multiagent game is to reduce the leverage of one to force things on developers and consumers.
> If the remedy for Apple picking winners is more stores, then it just means all of the big players will get to pick winners.
For this to happen as bad as today a) they all will need to see a benefit in picking winners b) they all will need to pick precisely the same winners.
The whole point of competition is giving power back to the end users (both app consumers and developers) in the form of choice. Any downside you mention is a competitive advantage first and app stores will have to synchronize hard and tight to forgo that to build a cartel against the users and developers (mind you they would also need to build precisely the same products with nothing to differentiate). And at its worst they still wouldn’t be worse than today’s single monopoly.
If this is true, then they will be forced to support any store that has 15% of the market or be worse of than they are today.
Some of the stores will just be bargain basement garbage with nasty policies and perhaps no less than 30% commission, but will have market power because they are owned by Facebook or google.
It will absolutely be worse than today’s monopoly.
If things are made even worse for developers, consumers will not benefit.
It’s true that there will be more ‘choices’ that everyone will be forced to make
But better software won’t be one.
The iPhone has been pretty good for security / privacy as well - I remember an article that made the front page here about how an accidental usage of the phone's GPS was still stopped when not allowed in the user's settings, and still triggered the location use icon in the status bar.
Much like how Standard Oil actually lowered oil prices while it dominated the market -- sometimes, a monopoly is benign or even benevolent towards consumers. Meanwhile Amazon is an example of a more predatory organization, as evidenced by some of Bezos's responses in the recent congressional hearing.
Monopolies like Amazon should be torn down for the consumer. Monopolies like Apple should only be torn down if they are using their market dominance to extinguish competition that would otherwise force them to improve.
They're really not.
No one is talking about taking away your choice of keep using the Apple appstore. It is ok to keep using Apple, if you prefer so. We wan't choices, we don't want to remove your choice.
It seems like you want to remove that choice.
The choice of not choosing? The more you guys explain, the less I understand.
The idea that more choices is always better is just ideology.
It is quite obviously possible to move from a situation in which there is no choice and where there are some problems, to a situation where there are multiple choices and none of them are as good as the be no-choice case.
I do think there are problems with Apple’s store.
I think law may be needed.
I don’t think antitrust law forcing ‘competition’ has any likelihood of solving the problems.
If we think there are rights vendors should have over stores - e.g. the right to describe their product however they like, we should establish that in law for all stores.
If we want to use law to force our cooperations to limit the practices they can use in other countries as a way to put pressure on other political systems, those are called sanctions. I’m fine with those being applied if our government decides to apply them.
Again, nothing to do with anti-trust.
You want Apple to prohibit the apps you use from being allowed to tell you about alternative payment options?
What's more, Apple doesn't prevent those users entering payment card details into websites they reach by other means; this protection is patchy at best. Nor does it prevent apps using psychological tricks to maximise their revenue through the platform itself, e.g. as with many gambling and gaming apps.
So with the best will in the world I can't see that this security angle justifies the anti-competitive behaviour.
I'll also observe that in most card schemes, account holders aren't liable for fraudulent transactions. Although I would concede that many scams aren't technically fraudulent (merely egregious, unfair, and deceptive), and that naive users often don't understand their rights or how to assert them.
Clearly a browser that didn’t let you enter text would have been unacceptable and the iPhone would have failed as a product.
On the other hand, it’s clear that Apple does actually see this as a serious problem, which is why ApplePay for the web exists, and I know quite a few people who feel far safer with websites that use it.
The argument that Apple hasn’t yet made the web safe for their users even though they are working on it, therefore they should abandon the safety have managed to achieved on the store doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.
The web angle is simply demonstrating by contrast that the claim these hardline rules exist for online safety is horse shit. If they were prepared to irrevocably cripple one functional area for safety’s sake, why not another?
The answer is, because that was never the goal.
These rules are simply the protectionist use of market power, and by obliging other vendors to mislead consumers, become an abuse of market power.
I agree that there is a problem with them not allowing different descriptions in different countries, and I agree that they should add this feature to the store.
I wouldn’t have a problem with this being litigated on its own merits. I can see potential legal arguments.
I don’t see what this has to do with antitrust or the rest of the claims, which just seem like a tortured way to introduce an ethical dimension to the argument.
No proposed antitrust remedy has anything to do with challenging authoritarian regimens. If anything the remedies would make the situation worse.
One obvious pathological outcome is that if Apple is forced to create infrastructure to allow multiple stores, every authoritarian state will trivially mandate the installation of a state run store app, with all manner of tracking, privacy abuses, etc., even the ones which had previously had no leverage over Apple.
...that don't compete with Apple's own.
I get it, everyone wants always more. And maybe there is more room. Many just view it from their own point of view.
PayPal comes to mind.
Android has the freedom of other app stores, but in practice very few even bother
As a fahter, the Apple App Store too is the only place I give my children access too. They started with Android phones but after I noticed the apps which are present in the Google Play Store we went on to switch to iOS. Passing on our used devices to our kids.
Google could have done amazing things, abd so could Microsoft. But both took a different parh. I am not a Apple fanboy, I fact I am very critical about them. Yet its simply the best ecosystem for normal consumers.
Do you think most consumers would choose to pay 20~30% more for that convenience if they were informed of that choice? And isn't it anti-consumer to deny them this information?
But so far we only got:
EA, UBISOFT, GOG, STEAM, epic and windows store.
Most markets offer a variety of tradeoffs in price vs. quality. Consumers rarely pick the cheapest product. If Apple's app store is superior, they will have no problem in justifying their 30%.
It seems paternalistic to suggest that consumers are too dumb to make an App Store decision on their own.
We have decades of viruses, malware, ransomware, and toolbars on Windows PCs that prove that the average consumer isn’t that technologically savvy.
I’m not saying Macs are immune in anyway to the same exploits. It’s just that not enough people care to create malware on the Mac to make it that big of a deal.
If you can force thru a change to allow other app stores on an IDevice, and Apple still refuses to follow thru, then you can say you deserve it.
Wanting a thing is not the same as deserving it. Choice does not exist until you have options.
That said, I’m in favor of opening up other App Stores, so Apple can boot the all crapware and focus on a small number of high-quality, trustable apps, which they can market as such. Apple and the developers could charge a premium for being trusted and consumers would be able trust that they are actually receiving the best-in-class apps for their device.
Then, if consumers want to go to some cut-rate App Store and buy crap apps, that’s on them.
That’s a win-win all around.
What would you be willing to give up so that Apple would support your desired outcome more?
People at Apple choose not to spend their time, money, and energy on supporting third-party app stores.
You can choose to do whatever you want. But you can't force people at Apple to choose to do something.
Apple doesn't need to support third party app stores. Apple actively hinders them.
Do you require that McDonald's will sell you a Pepsi, when McDonald's want to sell you Coca-Cola? Do you demand that you should be allowed to set up a Pepsi store inside a McDonalds?
How would they have to write extra code to support this? They already support 3rd party apps. Your analogies are bad.
Granted, they might choose to write some code to manage how these additional stores work, but theres no technical reason I can think of that they would have to.
These apps track your location (both sensor and geoip based) over time, and aggregate and sell that data, along with other user data they glean.
When the App Store was launched, Steve Jobs said they plan to run it at break-even, no profit, and for quite a few years that was exactly what they did. Now they are profiting from the App Store and clearly could continue to run it as they do on a lower percentage, but I don't think 10% is that number. If they could run it on 10%, they wouldn't have operated it without profit for the first quite-a-few years at 30%!
Because of the lack of numbers, I'm not sure how long it was before running at break-even ceased to be a thing, though.
30% of subscriptions on the other hand might not.
Services net sales in 2019 was $46.2B, and the cost of those sales was $16.8B (source 2019 10-K). They dont specifically break out App store vs other services, but as a whole the services section of their business is very, very profitable, according to their accounting. It remains so even if you throw in the entirety of R&D ($16.2B).
> For apps and in-app products offered through Google Play, the service fee is equivalent to 30% of the price. You receive 70% of the payment. The remaining 30% goes to the distribution partner and operating fees.
But it's easy to argue that many of these just derived their rates from what existing similar store fees were. Epic Game Store tried to disrupt this and they're still at it a few years later but for most developers publishing on Steam/GOG nothing changed.
Its not just about being a monopoly in the economical sense, which is bad per-se, but to let a private company to control what you have access or not based on particular moral, political views.
To forbid you to access technology that can compete with what they offer on the basis of "security".
If you do not get it, they control the only app store allowed where they also control what you can or cannot access to. You are implying they are good actors somehow that are doing all this thinking on you, while in reality they will do whatever they can to maximize their profits, and as long as people like you are fine with it, nothing will change.
Your current government might yet be democratic enough as this can not YET represent a threat to your civil rights or the ones you love, but things changes constantly. (Who could have predicted that the 30's Weimar Republic Germany would fall like that?)
Once your government do not respect civil rights anymore the way it should, a private company with this amount of control on your digital life can represent a big threat that unlike in the past, would be pretty hard to get rid of.
What about the concept of digital property?
Should you have choices?
Can a private company bar your choices?
Can a private company own the things that were bought by you and are in a phone that you have pay for?
Imagine if after having bought a vehicle, Wolkswagen could tell you who can you transport: "We dont allow dogs in OUR cars".
Now imagine someone saying: "I like what Wolkswagen do, its for my safety, dogs will damage my car".. "Just buy a Mercedes then!"
Or what if Wolkswagen did also sell vehicle parts, and even if you know there are pieces for your cars that are better or cheap, you wouldnt be able to buy them because the stores would be closed for you.
But then you would say: "But apple dont bar me from buying apps, i have choices.." and its a illusion of choice, because the apps were not even allowed to enter the store in the first place.
So there's a real danger into letting any private company to choose things for you before you are able to choose them.
We should have by now a good legislation about digital rights, digital property, etc, that could regulate this source of thing.
Because as i've witnessed here in the comments, you cannot let people on their own, because they can be emotionally manipulated into want things that will harm them and their rights in the long run.
It should not be just about being good for you at this particular moment, we should always take into account the collective and social implications of our choices.
Yes. Americans fully support their money going towards 2 trillion dollar companies as long as their device works well and they can upgrade to the fastest model every 2-4 years.