For all Apple's faults, they've actually put a huge amount of effort to making payment processing seamless for the user, while also making it extremely transparent. I get regular notifications if I have a subscription trial about to expire, and it's super easy to manage ALL subscriptions through a single UI, and cancel them with a single click. This would not be possible through third-party systems, which I can guarantee would put huge effort into tricking users rather than making it easier for them. And yet again, Apple would receive the blame for allowing these Apps.
All that said I also don't agree with Apple taking a huge 30% cut, especially for subscription services that directly complete with them such as Netflix. Though obviously there are costs to run this ecosystem, so Apple also can't just charge nothing. I see both sides of this argument, and I don't see a middle ground that can please all sides. There needs to be a reasonable compromise somewhere in the middle.
I mean, in this case, the consumer is literally saving 20% for the same purchase. Seems good to me.
> There needs to be a reasonable compromise somewhere in the middle.
Why isn't "let other stores sell software for iOS, and the market will set the rent those stores can extract from software developers" the reasonable compromise?
People who want the ease and security of Apple and are willing to pay their extra fees can do so. Those who don't don't have to.
It has to be this way because otherwise you can force someone to use your 3rd party processor by making the Apple price 100x or something. If your payment processor is better than Apple you can pocket the 30%.
Because why people are so quick to defend Apple out of a fear that if this crap is allowed then it will become the only option and users will wind up with less control and choice.
The problem right now is that it’s exclusively Apple, with a hefty tax, which is akin to a supermarket only accepting their own credit cards and no other payment options and adding a big premium to all products in the process.
Apple will have to settle for the “real” price though, if they add a steep premium to all transactions they shouldn’t require the other payment options to price match that.
In this case, you have to let your kid take your credit card and input it into any sketchy gaming company's web form. What happens from there?
Yes, some IAP scams get by review and end up making the news. But the difference between that happening and a free-for-all of credit card numbers for scam games is massive.
> some IAP scams get by review
I find it hard to believe a company like Epic would lower prices in response. They want that 30% for themselves. Their claims of corporate altruism here are clearly overstated.
That said, this might be true for indie developers that would like to charge less to increase their user base, so I think Apple should probably lower fees to 10-15%. I think that's far more reasonable.
> Why isn't "let other stores sell software for iOS, and the market will set the rent those stores can extract from software developers" the reasonable compromise?
> People who want the ease and security of Apple and are willing to pay their extra fees can do so. Those who don't don't have to.
I agree with the premise that competition can lower prices, which is very pro-consumer. That said, I don't think a degraded UX, and potentially huge privacy disaster would be great for consumers. Cost isn't the only factor. In a third-party App scenario, Apple wouldn't be in a position to prevent privacy violations. The amount of data siphoned from this third-party store is likely to be game changing. Facebook could ask users to use their own store so they can track everything you do, and majority of users won't understand that difference. Not to mention countries like China would then likely demand all citizens use the app store full of spyware.
Once again it comes down to security vs. usability debate that I think will always be at the heart of these issues.
But they did: https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/pkyvvk/fortnite-developer...
If some developer can "get away" with not lowering their prices in response to reduced costs, it means they could have "gotten away" with charging a higher price in the first place. So why aren't they charging a higher price now? Probably because they can't actually "get away" with it, i.e. they would lose more volume to make the increase in price unprofitable.
Most consumer software has tons of competition, almost nothing is so unique that consumers wouldn't respond to relative price changes.
But agreed that it also could represent an increased privacy risk. I guess that could be the trade off though: if you want stronger privacy guarantees, you pay through Apple's system (and pay more); otherwise you use the cheaper, third-party option. But also agreed that issues around the third-party options would tarnish Apple's reputation, regardless of the fact that people would have a choice.
They have +20M devs paying $100 per year.
Do you have a source for that?
Though assuming that is true, there's an argument to be made that some consumers are willing to pay a premium for privacy. Though 30% is probably too high of a premium for most.
Also, Epic mentioned that Apple causes customer service issues because Apple is inserted into the payment process and Epic can't directly deal with the customer's payment issue.
So pricing is not the ONLY reason for allowing competition.
But they did lower their prices in response already
I think Apple would have a lot more goodwill if they reduced their take. It's unlikelybanyone would sue over 10-15%.
What Epic is asking for is an injunction. They may well get a temporary injunction quickly, compelling Apple to put their app back in Apple's store. Then the case gets litigated on the merits, but starting from a de facto win for Epic.
The standard required for a temporary injunction is low:
"To justify a temporary injunction it is not necessary that the plaintiff's right to a final decision, after a trial, be absolutely certain, wholly without doubt; if the other elements are present (i.e., the balance of hardships tips decidedly toward plaintiff), it will ordinarily be enough that the plaintiff has raised questions going to the merits so serious, substantial, difficult and doubtful, as to make them a fair ground for litigation and thus for more deliberate investigation."
Litigation on temporary injunctions is relatively fast. This part will be decided in weeks, not years.
Epic might only win a rollback to the last uncontroverted state, though. That is, apparently, before Epic's payment system went live on Apple platforms.
If Apple had allowed third party payments for a while, then removed the app, Epic would be in a stronger position to insist that their own payment system remain live.
IIUIC the app itself wasn't updated, only the webview for payments was updated on the server side.
> But for Apple’s illegal restraints, Epic would provide a competing
app store on iOS devices, which would allow iOS users to download apps in an innovative, curated store and would provide users the choice to use Epic’s or another third-party’s in-app payment processing tool."
Part 16, in the Intro.
Due to high friction caused by android treating third party stores (and the apps instalkled through them) differently to the google play store - which will most definitely be an upcoming complaint...
I really don't want to troubleshoot my parents iPhones after they install arbitrary code from the Alternative App Store #12 after clicking on a banner ad run by an anonymous chinese entity. Holy shit.
Apple's US market share is ~46%, so technically not a majority.
EDIT: no longer true as of July 2020
Or, you should tell your parents to not have a phone, then you will never be on the hook for tech support at all if that is really your concern.
And I love the implied ageism and xenophobia in your post too.
1) Amazon has been running there own app store successfully and that has worked out well enough for them that they continue to do so and a lot of Kindle Fire owners seem to enjoy that experience.
2) Few companies are Amazon though and the ability to operate 3rd party software outside of the purview of Google's own store is severely hamstrung for most others. This has also been called out by Epic Games previously.
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.
So even Google may eventually face legal issues regarding their anti-competitive app store practices. If big tech is forced to legitimately compete with other app stores, then continuing to charge a 30% fee will become untenable.
- Blizzard games are exclusive to their store since forever
- EA's Origin has exclusives since they exist (or at least since 2011, not sure if that's from the beginning)
- Valve's games are Steam exclusives
Epic has time-exclusives, offering a very good deal to game makers, and is a quite good way to compete with Steam. If you're not happy with their store, just wait a year and you may buy the games you want on other platforms if the developers decide to do so.
What Epic is doing, and the main reason they are being critisized, is approaching smaller developers and bribing them to not sell on other stores even if, in many cases, they had already promised their customers to sell on their stores. That is a wholly different level of scumbaggery.
I personally see it as very good on the long term, that’s how you compete with a monopoly like Steam. That means more cash invested in making games, more options for developers, more options for users.
They charge $10 for 1000 credits when purchasing via Apple.
They charge $7 for 1000 credits when paying Epic directly.
They aren't making more money with the change. Although there's nothing stopping them from increasing the price in the future.
Well, that's interesting.
> But for Apple’s illegal restraints, Epic would provide a competing app store on iOS devices, which would allow iOS users to download apps in an innovative, curated store and would provide users the choice to use Epic’s or another third-party’s in-app payment processing tool
So, Epic doesn't want money, they want the ability to allow users to install an Epic App Store. They must assume there's a lot more money to be made by operating a competing store.
Epic wants your choice to be Apple store for non-games, and Epic store for games. Period.
Fortnite was a stroke of luck, the wise thing to do is not to invest that money back into the franchise, which may soon be tossed aside by the audience, nor would it be wise to undertake a massive new project.
Valve figured out a long time ago that it's much better business to just sit back and let other people make games while you rake in the cash with zero risk. Epic is in a unique position to maybe pull that off as well.
They anticipated Apple's action would be to ban them, and they prepared a lawsuit and PR campaign in anticipation.
More than that, a ruling against Apple here would have huge implications for any company running an app store on their device. Smart TV manufacturers, companies like Roku, Automobile manufacturers, etc... If you can be considered a monopolist because you control your platform then there will be a LOT of monopolies out there.
I'm not expecting Epic to get any real traction on this suit. The best they can hope for is Apple working out some system where they'll reduce their cut in certain circumstances, but given how unlikely this case is to go anywhere I don't think Apple is feeling any pressure.
You can get Android apps from many locations other than the Google Play Store.
It’s more than just the Google Play Store.
But I agree that this suit probably isn't going anywhere, at least not to the extent that some commenters here are hoping. This will likely end with a slap on the wrist and/or some very small concessions to Epic.
Google Play Services are also not necessarily available without going through the play store, so you lose access to a lot of functionality that people often consider part of the system (like Chromecast).
I am both of the above and F-Droid works just fine for me. Feel free to let me know how it doesn't in your opinion work for me if you really want to talk for others.
Is it close to the tens of billions Apple Pay’s iOS developers each year?
I think probably the solution to that would be for Google to allow developers to list alternative app stores on the Play Store. Maybe that should require a strong review process that involves actual humans getting to know each other, and extra fees to cover it, I don't know. But a company large enough to have a need for their own app store should have the resources for that. That might leave out groups like F-Droid, though, so hopefully there'd be a way to get them in there too.
I think there's a fairly trivial distinction to be drawn between a general purpose computing device and a utility like a fridge or a car. (something like, is the system aided by software to operate, vs is the system a platform for executing user-software)
For something like a game console it might actually be an interesting edge case but it doesn't seem difficult to draw an approximate line.
... What's the difference between my Roku TV & my iPhone? My Roku can clearly do some general purpose computing. So is it trivially a general purpose computing device or trivially not a general purpose computing device? Let's follow your workflow.
>is the system aided by software to operate, vs is the system a platform for executing user-software
Hm, I think my Roku is a TV, and so someone would expect to be able to use it without additional software. Indeed, it has about 8 ports on the side I can plug game consoles & cable boxes into. Therefore the system is aided by software to operate. Therefore it is trivially not a general purpose computing device.
Now, what about my iPhone? My iPhone has phone in the name. One would expect to be able to make a phone call without additional software. That is indeed the case. Looks like my phone is trivially not a general purpose computing device.
If I had to guess a sizeable number of people doesn't even do calls any more.
Additionally, your argument doesn't really hold water - my Roku TV's value is also almost entirely in end-user applications it runs, like Netflix & other streaming services. My point is that I really don't think distinguishing these two in a legal sense is going to be so easy as posters in this thread are claiming.
2. Anyone can install any 3rd party app on an Android device, there's even a open app store "F-Droid" for open apps that anyone can use.
3. You can still run an app store. You just have to allow other ways to install apps. That way your store would be used only if it's better than the other ways to install apps.
wish granted Apple let’s you use your own payment processing! But you still have to sign a contract with them to turn over 30% revenue of all sales made on their devices.
Remember how Apple was happy to say they "earned 120% (sic) profit of all mobile" just a year ago?
Samsung, second place, is 23%
It is as if Apple started a town and a bunch of people moved in establishing a new market. The only way to deliver goods to this market is via the railway Apple established. The catch, you pay Apple 30% of the revenue generated for access to this market via the railway. If you try to establish a highway system, build an airport, perform airdrops, or some other means of delivering goods and services to this market, you are no longer allowed to use the train. IMO, Apple should be able to refuse transport of anything they wish for any reason they wish.
If this was a real scenario, what was allowed in this market would be controlled by the people who make up that market. There would be some governance and laws established for fair trade practices. I would think it is up to the people to establish these alternate delivery methods, in this case, jailbreaking their iphones and installing whatever they wanted.
I hope the government considers the harshest punishment of all: splitting up Apple into hardware and software+services entities.
This is absurd that Apple has built a fiefdom on America's most popular generic computer device. It's a threat to freedom! We can only compute what the overlords allow and can tax? What a crock!
The fact that Apple thinks they can extort more protection money from developers than the government does in taxes is an affront. But the freedom aspect should have everyone out with their pitchforks.
This after Apple created an environment where its users, many of whom have lots of disposable income for buying goods and services, expect apps to be $0.99 and come with free updates for life. Meanwhile Apple's own products are luxury priced. And they still take 30%.
US Government, please force Apple to open up iPhone to any software we want to install. It's a generic computer. It's how we communicate, do banking, do basic shopping, dating, business ... everything. Apple can't be the gatekeepers of 21st century life. It's incredibly damaging to our ability to innovate and succeed as small business owners and entrepreneurs.
Apple, you are the tyrant king. Long have we suffered under your rule. We won't stand for it any longer and we demand our freedom.
Antitrust law is about much more than just monopoly. Apple doesn't have one, nor do they need one to be prosecuted for anticompetitive behavior and abuse of market position. If you're not familiar with the difference between the Sherman Act and the Clayton Act, this is a good primer: https://www.britannica.com/event/Clayton-Antitrust-Act
Apple is about to get bitten hard, not for being a monopoly, but for anticompetitive business practices.
You need to have some significant market power (yes, vague) such that your elasticity of demand is steep and elasticity of supply of competitors is steep.
The law is (purposefully?) vague, as the key arguments come down to:
1) Market definition
2) Definition and analysis of price impacts on demand
3) Ease of entry into the market by competitors
Textbook example: Bing promoting Microsoft products when it was created (2009?) is not as problematic (read: won't get scrutinized by the US government) as Google promoting G Suite products.
That is not a requirement for antitrust law. That is just some silly threshold the Justice Department set for itself so that it wouldn't have to do its job.
Until the [EDIT: Clinton] administration, businesses were successfully charged with antitrust violations even though in many cases they were minor market participants on the basis of their actions resulting in anti-competitive effects. (Usually as a result of price-fixing agreements between smaller participants.) After the Microsoft case, the DOJ decided to bring "economic analysis" into the mix to "improve" their antitrust practice, and it resulted in the DOJ not pursuing any meaningful antitrust cases at all, on the grounds that basically everything was kosher if you looked at it from a sufficiently macroeconomic perspective. (This also overlapped with the Dubya administration, and there was strong political pressure not to go after American companies.)
Interestingly enough, Apple was the last major antitrust case that the DOJ successfully pursued. (That case involved Apple arranging a price-fixing arrangement for ebooks.)
- Games are platform specific, games developed for Xbox cannot substitute for games designed for Nintendo.
- Users face substantial switching costs when switching platforms. They have to buy a new console and then replace all their games.
- Each company controls the distribution of games on their respective platform.
When you look at video games are they three separate markets of "games for Xbox", "games for Playstation", and "games for Nintendo"? Or are they three separate competitors competing in the global market of "video games" despite the above constraints?
I think Epic is going to have a difficult time convincing a court with this argument.
Game studios and console manufacturers have historically negotiated on relatively equal footing. It's as important to console makers that game studios make games as it is for game studios to have access. So studios are courted and get a relatively fair shake. Apple/Google don't care if you don't make an app for their system. They're not giving any discounts or incentives to app makers.
Console makers also are in a more competitive market. There were usually three makers plus near competitors like PC, web, and arcade gaming. Plus, not owning a console was an option.
On the other hand Apple/Google barely compete with each other. Pretty much everyone is going to buy a smart phone and they're the two options. They're a cushy duopoly with no incentive to rock the boat.
From your own link:
>the Clayton Act defined as illegal certain business practices that are conducive to the formation of monopolies or that result from them.
Apple doesn’t have a monopoly so the latter does not apply. Are you legitimately suggesting that Apple’s behavior is conducive toward the creation of a monopoly?? I would really like to hear some legal arguments that support this position. Apple’s market is shrinking, not growing. It will be a supremely tough court battle to prove that Apple’s behavior will lead to market consolidation in Apple’s favor.
It's so tightly controlled that it's literally impossible for there to be any competitor iPhone app stores that consumers could move to.
And not only that, but Apple is also stopping the implementation of browser features (WebPush, Service Workers, etc) that would appear to allow browser apps to compete with those downloaded from the App Store .
If you don’t like Apple, do you have alternative options? Yes. Unequivocally, yes.
If there is a monopoly in the smartphone market, it’s Google.
Due to historical naming conventions, the modified legislation is still referred to by its original name.
Section III is the missing piece of the legal puzzle for me. I have in the past been convinced that the presence of Android is sufficient to prevent a lawsuit like this from succeeding against Apple. But now I'm not so sure.
III. Competition in the Sale of Mobile Devices Cannot Discipline Apple’s Conduct
in the iOS App Distribution or iOS In-App Payment Processing Markets.
156. Competition in the sale of mobile devices cannot constrain Apple’s
anti-competitive conduct described in Parts I and II.
157. First, Apple’s power in the relevant markets described above is not
disciplined by competition in the sale of mobile devices because Apple mobile device
customers face significant switching costs and customer lock-in to Apple’s iOS
How many news articles have we seen about the power of iMessage to keep people in the Apple ecosystem? It's gonna be hard for Apple to argue that they don't try to engender consumer lock in given their plain reluctance to interoperate and all the news articles talking about how strong this effect is.
I think Epic has a chance here. Certainly it's a gamble I'd love to see them win. IANAL.
And thank God for that! I don't want websites in Safari to have the APIs available to a native app!
Nope, not at all. You want 3rd party app stores because:
1) you don't believe Apple's walled garden is worth a 30% cut
2) you dislike Apple's lack of transparency in their app review procedures
3) you're unable to sideload an app onto your "customer's" devices
One or more of those are why you "need" third party app stores. And, I think you've got a valid argument for any of them. But none of those have anything to do with what APIs are available to websites in Safari.
If Apple is forced to allow third-party stores, it should also be forced to allow third-party push notifications.
Apple does not allow non-Apple apps...
There are a multitude of cases where Apple apps have different rules, access to different APIs than you or I.
The "correctness" of this (morally/ethically/legally) is a separate debate I'm not entering into, but there is a distinction.
Especially ones like push notifications which in many cases are harmful to consumers.
Every push notification goes through Apple servers only.
They’d have to build a feature into iOS to allow it to maintain persistent connections to other notification services.
The larger issue though is that Apple will probably break those apps frequently as private API has no guarantees.
"The WebRTC APIs have not yet been exposed to iOS browsers using WKWebView . In practice, this means that your web-based WebRTC application will only work in Safari on iOS, and not in any other browser the user may have installed (Chrome, for example), nor in an 'in-app' version of Safari.Sep 7, 2018"
Im sure there are more examples.
ummm Safari stops you given it is a terrible browser, and is non-compatible with many modern features
You have bazillion types of generic computers to choose from. People pay huge overhead to apple exactly because apple makes choices for them - regarding what settings are reasonable to have, what software they want you to use etc.
Personally I don't understand monopoly arguments. If we are talking about some ISP, something like Nestle or even social network/apps, I can somewhat understand it. But here? Users are people who bought Apple hardware to use it based on rules set up by Apple.
I'm not much fan of Apple, I sincerely want to understand the monopoly argument. It seems to me as if people would want to split BMW because .. I don't know we want to be able to install our own custom AC. Because maintenance of the stock one is too expensive.
That’s exactly why I use Apple products. I don’t have time to mess around with third party stores and risk security issues when I need an app that doesn’t want to be on the App Store. I’m ok with paying 30% more as a consumer for the simplicity and peace of mind.
This isn’t the consumers getting angry - it’s developers. That’s why this comment and other dissenting opinions always get downvoted on HN. Not saying devs don’t matter, but there is another side to this that people here don’t want to consider.
That's great. You should have that choice. But it should be a choice. The issue is that Apple block apps that tell users that there's a non-Apple tax alternative. They should not be able to do that. Removing apps that inform the customer about alternatives to in-app purchases is clearly anti-competitive. The screen that offers the alternative would have absolutely no impact on you or your choice. It would have a huge impact on people who are less able to afford the higher Apple in-app-tax-burdened price.
The choice is Android - the platform used by some 80 percent of software users. I don't see the argument for regulatory actions, when consumers can (and do) easily choose to use other mobile platforms, if they don't like the terms of the iOS App Store.
If consumers want to be in the walled garden, great, they should be free to make that decision. If they don't want the walled garden, then great, they're free to pick other platforms. I don't see why the government should force this option upon consumers.
This situation isn't like Microsoft Windows in the 90s, where consumers effectively had no choice but to use Windows.
As a developer, if you want to survive and make money from your application, you need to be on iOS, as Android is worthless in this regard.
And so, Apple gets 30% of your in app purchase revenue, while providing little value other than being a payment processor, for which the normal charge is less than 2.5%.
Why should it be Apple's problem that Google can't monetize their dominant market share?
Apple values my blood sweat and tears at $0.99/user/lifetime - 30% Apple tax - government taxes.
I don't mean to compare it to a sweat shop, because I live in the first world and have opportunities, but this is a demeaning shakedown and devaluation of my pride, product, and work.
1. Shifted where generic computing happens
2. Downplayed the web as the end-all, be-all of application delivery. (It could have been amazing with WASM and sandboxing back in the 00's!)
3. Prevents generic apps from gaining distribution outside of Apple's control and tax
They took advantage of open source, the web, and the Internet. Then they shit on it and offered up the App Store protection racket as salvation.
It's only one of several themes where the giants of today crush the little guy. Computing is less free today than it was a decade ago.
Before Apple I had reach and distribution. Now I have less than 50% of that. And I don't have liberty and control over my own narrative anymore.
While I oppose Apple's mandatory walled garden, this isn't their fault. The low price point is a signal that the mobile app market is oversaturated and that you should consider looking elsewhere for revenue.
It seems like they charge the same 30% for roughly the same product — a locked platform to run applications where they take a cut of everything including micro-transactions?
Saying that, console games are more often than not the size of a Blu-ray disc, with triple-A games exceeding 40-60Gb in size, sometimes larger. Some popular games come on multiple discs. An order of magnitude larger than the less than 100Mb size of most iOS and Android apps, which are downloadable over a mobile connection. The hosting, bandwidth, CDN, and sales costs for the digital versions of those games and their patches can't be cheap, and are often subject to flash traffic surges, particularly when million of players decide to download them (and their updates) the second they're released. This is to say nothing of the myriad of hosted services that are provided that are unique to consoles.
I don't know what business deals are in place, nor can I make a statement on the perceived value that the publishers who publish on consoles place on what's provided, however its worth noting that even before Fortnite was removed from the app stores, the target of Epic's complaint did not include Playstation, Xbox, or Nintendo.
There is definitely more of a "community" aspect around gaming, wherein everyone wants to get the midnight release or download the DLC the moment it is ready -- I can see how that creates technical differences in terms of the value console platforms may deliver to a developer.
I would be unkind, though, if I didn't say there does seem to be a rough equivalence. The value provided might be different, but we can clearly see the lines get more blurry with hybrid devices like the Nintendo Switch.
I would assume Epic is targeting Google and Apple because they have much higher gross margins on services (I think 60-70%, which is pretty normal for SaaS, vs around 30% for something like Xbox Live), plus the additional scrutiny mobile phones are under in general. Probably makes the case much easier. The cut does seem pretty hefty when considering most of that money is just going straight into profit margin. Irrespective, I wouldn't be surprised if decisions in the mobile realm find there way as precedent in other, similar cases.
Speaking personally, and as as a lifelong gamer, I place great value in being able to play my games decades from now. I own collections of discs and cartridges, new and old, which I still enjoy from time to time and look forward to being able to share with my kids one day. I do worry that when the various digital storefronts phase out (as many have done), the hard disks which the DRM'd digital copies live on will eventually die, and the games will disappear forever.
It is somewhat comforting to me that the major consoles still have alternative avenues of publishing and distribution - that of the veritable disc and cartridge, which at least in my mind, helps alleviate many of the anti-competitive concerns. That developers can choose between consoles, publishers, retailers, etc, and that consumers can choose to resell, trade, or give away their games, like good old fashioned property - something which is becoming rarer and rarer these days.
This ecosystem (particularly the physical one) provides a level of competition that doesn't exist on phones, and so, at least in my mind, (and along with the differences I mention in my other post), presents a major difference between the business models.
Would you consider providing a large number of paying customers "of little value?"
1. A $100 annual developer subscription. It could be argued that this goes towards SDK development, developer tooling, and App Store publishing systems.
2. The 30% fee when selling your app. Similarly, it could be argued that this fee covers application hosting and distribution, as well as advertising, and I guess as a "general fee" for selling your app through the App Store.
3. 30% on all in-app purchases. Given that Apple has no part to play in this (the application was already advertised and distributed, no additional hosting fees as developers are responsible for implementing/unlocking whatever happens once the purchase goes through, etc), what does this cover other than payment processing, which is normally charged at 2.5%~?
If you can’t make money on Android, how will you make money on iOS when the “monopoly” is broken?
There was an alternative then though - MacOS. And a lot of people defended Microsoft on the basis that they couldn't possibly have a monopoly because you could always buy an Apple computer instead, just as you're arguing that people can switch to Android now. It was a bullshit argument back then too. No one should have to accept that Apple intentionally hides useful information (like alternative ways to buy things in apps) by blocking apps from the app store in the name of their own profit.
That may be how you've decided to interpret it, but, no, that's not my argument.
>There was an alternative then though - MacOS. And a lot of people defended Microsoft on the basis that they couldn't possibly have a monopoly because you could always buy an Apple computer instead, just as you're arguing that people can switch to Android now
Macintosh computers were only accessible for consumers that were willing to spend an astronomical amount of money on computers. Unless you were loaded with cash, the typical consumer had no choice but to buy from Microsoft if they wanted a PC. That is not the case with smartphones. I'm sure you can go find a very capable Android phone for $50, if you wish. Ultimately nobody has been in a position where they've been forced to purchase an iOS device in order to access a smartphone
Also pleas don’t make this about “poor people” the devs might make less money but the consumer pays the same price other than for the devices themselves which while well worth the money since they are per year cheaper than android devices that lose support faster than the next model comes out are still luxury items.
The screen that offers an alternative which I assume is the same “allow apps to be loaded form untrusted sources” as android has, would definitely have an impact on me as it would undermine the security model of the device I’m using.
That's the entire problem. If a shopping mall was charging every store 30% of their revenue (not profit, revenue!), it would be very quickly going broke and empty. Yet Apple (and to a lesser degree Google, Facebook and a few others) is getting away with this - exactly because unlike the shopping mall, the developers don't have a choice. It is either play by Apple rules - or be excluded from a very sizeable part of the mobile market.
When Microsoft was playing dirty and abusing its market dominance to put a squeeze on companies trying to ship other than Microsoft's software, they got hammered in court pretty bad. The anti-monopoly/abuse of dominant market position laws are there for a reason, even if you, as a consumer, don't see it (yet).
If the same were true for Apple, they would reduce the 30% fee to reverse the trend. The fact that the app ecosystem continues to be rich is a signal that either:
1) most developers are ok with this price to access Apple's "marketplace" of users, and/or
2) developers are irrational - you could always instead focus on Google's platform, which has more users.
Revenue or profits is not a good indicator of market share at all, as then parent's BMW argument comes into play: just because you want BMW over Honda, because the owners of the former have more disposable income, does not make BMW a monopoly.
>When Microsoft was playing dirty and abusing its market dominance...
Microsoft's market dominance at the time is MULTIPLES higher than what Apple owns of the mobile OS market.
> The fact that the app ecosystem continues to be rich is a signal that either
How do you know it couldn't be vastly better? I know I would be extremely hesitant to develop an iPhone app given Apple's behavior, and would bet many others feel the same.
I doubt this is a popular opinion, but I'd rather use an iPhone right now with no third-party apps than an Android phone. I do use a few third-party apps on my iPhone, and I would miss them, but it wouldn't be enough to switch to Android.
> If a shopping mall was charging every store 30% of their revenue (not profit, revenue!), it would be very quickly going broke and empty. Yet Apple (and to a lesser degree Google, Facebook and a few others) is getting away with this - exactly because unlike the shopping mall, the developers don't have a choice. It is either play by Apple rules - or be excluded from a very sizeable part of the mobile market.
Would your opinion change if this shopping mall was one of many shopping areas in a large region, but its customers were vastly more likely to spend money, while the other shopping areas attracted mostly customers who walked around but didn't purchase much? Isn't that the analogy with Android, which is a very obvious alternative for both smartphone customers and developers? The only rebuttal I'm seeing is from developers complaining that Android users don't like to spend money on apps.
And we are getting to this point. The amount of BS an app developer on the Apple platform has to jump through to do anything is beyond ridiculous (yes, I did try to develop for iDevices professionally) - and that is before even this stuff with the 30% transaction cuts.
The time when those $10-$20/apiece apps could actually pay your salary is long past unless you happen to be the one of the very few that has hit a jackpot with an extremely popular app. But Apple keeps piling up new requirements, restrictions and overhead on developers, jacking up various fees - and if you don't like it, they just ban you outright.
At some point people decide they had enough and cut their loses. There are better and easier ways to make money than with iPhone app development.
In software sold on an app store, gross margin (before the app store's cut) is a lot closer to revenue than for physical goods sold in a physical store. There are no distribution costs or costs of goods borne by the vendor.
The app cost has to cover the development and maintenance costs, marketing, any overhead and expenses (like bills, electricity, those expensive Apple computers), etc.
That's the majority of your costs, not some imaginary distribution costs that you don't have because you aren't shipping a physical box. Oh and taxes too, which come out of the revenue too. And if I remember right, you are taxed on the value of the sold goods, before the 30% Apple cut (so you pay tax from that too, even though you never see the money).
My phone is the center of my life, and I genuinely appreciate that Apple does the work of vetting applications so I don't have to.
Epic gave the customer a choice. If the evidence doesn't show that the majority of customers still chose the $9.99 option, that's certainly bolstering their claim that Apple's decision to remove the ability to do so is harmful to consumers, not (just) developers.
No-one gains value out of rent-seeking middlemen but rent-seeking middlemen.
Note: I am not saying the Apple Store doesn't not add value in terms of payment processing, exposure, bandwidth, and so on. But I will argue strongly that you'll have a hard time showing that this added value is _worth_ that thirty percent cut. I also highly doubt that should it be three percent (as indeed it is on the MAS!), this lawsuit, these arguments, would not be being had.
This is going to be a very interesting case.
1/0.7 = 1.43
You're not paying 30% more, you're paying 43% more. Maybe you're fine with paying even more than that, but lets keep the math clear.
A few years ago it didn't matter so much. Apple's deal had its foibles, but recently they've gone full evil and I am seriously looking at my next device being Android and getting my entire family off Apple.
The problem is that will bring with it months of "did I lose something?" and having to keep both phones around. I have resisted for a long time, it is not an easy process.
Apple would prefer that you don't, and tries as hard as it possibly can to make this impossible.
All applications should be universal as the same for game services like xbox live, psn and so.
What? This certainly doesn’t cripple the devices, and I’m the one who purchased products I knew would only work with Apple. That’s consumer choice.
It would be nice if you had that option, wouldn't it?
Apple has blocked stores from doing so in the past, demanding that the iOS price be the same as outside iOS, effectively taking 30% of developers revenue when bought through the app store.
For things like games where you're buying "5 more rings" or a "hat for your virtual pet" ok fine -- but for something where you're offering a subscription service to physical therapists where their subscription buys them things in the real world, this is completely unreasonable.
We were forced to "include" this functionality in the app or Apple threatened to remove it, so we did and just made it impossible to find.
Of course a developer could just raise prices elsewhere to make the cost equal to that on iOS if they raised the price to include Apple's 30% cut, but the problem would remain.
But by extension that means any bad guy can run any unsigned code on it as well.
Look at the prevalence of Android malware to iOS. The latter basically doesn't exist outside of well funded nation states.
Anecdote yes, but the fact it happened in my house and more than once opened my eyes significantly to the problem.
My grandparents have no chance if my girlfriend gets got.
You and I live in a microcosm, most people on this site have a very finely tuned bullshit filter. Don’t assume everyone does, even the young.
A platform that filters will remove things, unless your speaking from the pulpit of “the algorithm”.
Great analogy actually. Ladders are dangerous, yes - but we don’t make them necessary to daily life and they’re certainly not something most people interact with
The fact that Apple does not have this attitude is why their products are better for customers than alternatives that do have this attitude. A customer isn't any happier with a malware-ridden device if it got that way because they were tricked into clicking a fake software update button.
> PCs have always been like this and no one bats an eye.
Yes, lots of people bat eyes. As a very on-the-nose examples, lots of people buy Macs, for instance, because of their reputation for having less malware (that might be outdated now, but was certainly true for a large portion of the last 20 years). Malware has been a major problem for customers on PCs and Android phones for a long time. The fact that the problem has existed for a long time doesn't mean it's not a big problem.
Macs allow you to install software from anywhere. Which is bad and Apple should disallow it, right?
Is Apple's app store vetting or API restrictions perfect? No, of course not. But it is a million times better than any other platform.
A well designed permissions system means what code runs is up to the user.
The reason you might not know about Xerxes, SMSreg, Cerberus, LokiBot, BlackRock, FunkyBot, UpDroid, etc. is because another Android malware family isn't newsworthy.
Those who want an unrestricted device could enable sideloading (which would permit non-apple-notarized apps to be installed), and permit non-expiring developer self-signed apps. Then the free market could go ahead and develop "stores" and alternative ecosystems.
There is no "locked down attitude" with macOS, macOS is as open as ever. You can easily turn off all the malware protection if you want to do that. Many devs do.
The argument here isn't about you running any code you want. The argument is about access to the App Store and forcing Apple to allow anyone to distribute anything. That's something I don't want. I want Apple to distribute high quality apps that I can generally trust not to be riddled with malware, unlike their competitors. Apple has built a high value App Store, and devs want to change that to suit their wishes, and in so doing would turn it into the thing it has managed to keep away from since its beginning.
Also, building complex applications is far from non-trivial; it's typical for me to spend a few hours fiddling with dependencies to get some complicated code running.
As for MacOS, yes on the software side things are still open, but on the hardware side things are closing up (for example, mandatory unbreakable encryption which can make data recovery impossible; I don't have a big problem with that however). Plus I've got no idea how long that will lasts since Apple does whatever it wants.
They could share an installer that downloads and copies their binaries. Not too different from what many game publishers do on PC.
I'm not sure whether the main barrier to people doing this is the $99/year fee, or the friction associated with setting up a developer account, or the perceived (and real) risk of getting malware if customers made a habit of doing this.
But an iPhone in the US already costs $1000 over say 5 years, plus several hundred per year in carrier costs. I could entertain an argument that an extra $99/year to have an effectively unlocked device is not exorbitant or anticompetitive. If you think it is...would you still think so at $49? Or $9? The revenue Apple get from that must be insignificant compared to the app store.
But you can run anything you can build.
Building a good Xcode project is as simple as pushing the “open in Xcode” button on github and pushing build. Obviously not all projects are that nice.
Firstly, the term 'monopoly' is frequently used in the meaning of 'monopoly power' not as pure monopoly. Competition laws take effect long before full monopoly. Market failures can start appear even with 20% market share in some markets.
Secondly, I suspect that you implicitly have some narrow definition of market in mind. In competition law, defining a relevant market is essential and nontrivial. You seem to think about smartphones as "the market". iOS app distribution can be also considered a market.
Personal opinion: multiplayer game like Fortnight benefits from network effect. People are playing across devices and platforms. You could argue that Android and iPhone platforms are complement products in App Markets instead of substitutes. Restrictions in one may harm sales in the other. All game developers must sell to both platforms to be on the market. iOS App store relies on this effect. There is no choice.
You can do that actually. There are laws in places specifically that allow you to do that, because BMW would otherwise stop you.
The car industry is a perfect example. They had to put laws in place to allow you to change parts of your car, while still maintaining safety and integrity.
It's that car manufacturers had to be stopped from claiming "you voided the warranty on your brakes by installing your own radio" (entirely egregious, I agree, but separate).
I like the Android approach. "Unknown sources" are not allowed by default but you can enable them. Doesn't mean you have to enable them and I'd be ok with a bright red bar at the top of the screen all the time that you can't disable if you have unknown sources enabled.
SPEC2006 is industrial standard, and other 3rd party benchmark tested.
I've seen that exact reason (or some variation of it) echoed by many consumers who prefer Apple products. Are you suggesting that these people do not exist, or are lying?
Strongly disagree. I have 4 MBPs. I can install whatever I want on them, thankfully. I write my own code and execute it on them.
My iPhone? I don't want them telling me what I can do with it. I want the good hardware and OS compatibility with my MBPs. I also want to install whatever I want because I'm an adult and developer in a free economy.
You just can't tell them how to curate the App Store.
I've never really thought about this before, but it seems like it's probably possible. Again, this doesn't help Epic -- they don't want to run apps on your phone, they want to monetize mass user phones, not give code to devs who are willing to put in the effort to install something through Xcode.
Desktops? Definitely not. Laptops? No. Tablets and Phones? Haha, no (Edit: Actually yes, if one only considers the US).
This is certainly something US courts would care about.
In fact US Justice Department states quite clearly that it isn't a monopoly if it's 50% or less. This isn't a light switch where you instantly change from "not a monopoly" to "monopoly" based on a temporary gain in market share.
I didn't say that 58% immediately means monopoly: it doesn't necessarily mean it's a monopoly, but it can mean it. I was correcting the OP who claimed that "Apple isn't even close to a majority in any markets!" In fact, Apple is a majority — and a sizable one — in the market US courts care most about: the US market.
It's probably a monopoly for a variety of reasons, including its majority market power — which as you point out is typically one of the necessary (but not sufficient) markers of monopoly — as other commenters have pointed out; e.g. its exclusionary conduct such as banning XCloud, Fortnite, etc.
Android is a much larger ecosystem than just Google.
Still, 60% is hardly a monopoly either.
60% is not exclusive or even de-facto exclusive. The only thing Apple has a monopoly on is Apple products.
Are you confusing the words mono and majority?
I also, by the way, didn't use the word "monopoly" (although I think Apple is one with iOS): I used the word "majority." So I'm not sure where your comment claiming that I confused "mono" and "majority" is even coming from.
Well, they think it gives them quality. Instead they kinda get fleeced and pushed into a threadmill of planned obsolescence, e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2_SZ4tfLns
Also, Apple doesn’t have to provide software support to 6 year old phones when nobody else does
So, how many Apple products Apple said could not be repaired have you repaired?
There is nothing to "buy into", it's all in the open. There is something to be in denial about however, and you just offer an ad-hominem right out of the gate, plus the statement that phones failing when they cease to be "supported" is fine and normal; but somehow not planned, even predictable obsolescence.
It's a shift from owning things that either break or last, to a constant churn, enforced by software where the hardware can't be made bad enough. Apple is hardly alone in this, but Apple is in it, for sure.
A) Non-repairability is not planned obsolescence. At Apple’s scale, they can’t repair every breakage with the quality people expect, so they opt to replace.
B) You’re making huge accusations, but it’s seriously unsubstantiated. I will say that I agree that products should last longer, but that’s a technical challenge not a financial decision.
You already acknowledged that 6 year old phones are obsolete.
And you also claimed claimed that "only someone who didn't work on Apple products" could possibly "buy into" [that's also a huge accusation, one you don't even bother to back up] the idea that Apple is a treadmill of increasingly crappy things. That is demonstrably wrong, yet also not worthy of you even acknowledging it.
> that’s a technical challenge not a financial decision
Proof for that? Nevermind, you just ignore your glaring errors, and demand more proof, as if you watched those videos fully, while dropping laughable claims like that casually.
Apple delivers products that are supported FAR far longer than android.
Yes, they charge everyone a premium for this.
One reason people don't mind their kids / grandparents etc using apple is precisely because apple takes care of things.
Let's be 100% clear here - once apple allows random apps to bill you in random ways the endless scams will be here in days.
Seriously - even for subscriptions most providers you find out thing renewed after the fact when you get your statement, then have to remember to fight the auto-renew. Apple (at least for me) sends me out an email IN ADVANCE telling me what will renew.
Next, cancelling autorenews often requires phone calls. Ie, you can only cancel 90 days in advance, but have to cancel by renewal date and while you can sign up online you can't cancel online.
Apple, in the same email they send me, tells me how to cancel.
I hope folks pushing scam apps get bitten HARD for their crappy behavior.
And the idea of apple as monopoly (22% market share in phones, even less in computers) seems a total stretch.
However, because of all these policies, they might have a monpoply on very long term supported high quality devices that behave how you expect.
They even cracked down on the scam battery replacements on resale (ie, folks would put cheapo third party batteries in that made it look like battery life was good that would die in months). Again lots of complaints from HN folks, but for average users this helped them avoid the scammers.
I feel like folks don't have a feel for that the history of anti-trust action has been used for.
In many cases you have clear to very clear anti-competitive behavior. Move in next door, sell at a big loss, drive out competition, then restore pricing. So you take and establish market power through predetory behavior.
What's challenging about the case with apple is that they have always run their own app store, and the success of that store has attracted both users and developers. They have had the same terms for a very long time.
The normal anti-competitive type behavior would be to do no fee for developers if they signed exclusive agreements, then after you had 80% of market you'd switch terms and no one could fight it.
Google did this with things like maps, super cheap for developers, no one else could compete, then it was 4x the price (I forget now) and we had to wait a bit for others to catchup so we had alternatives. My cable company did this (we had a wireless provider show up, prices dropped overnight to keep them out, then when they left some areas that were harder to serve cable co raised right back up.)
There is an alternative in the market here too, a well funded one. Google has an app store. Samsung has an app store. Carriers preload apps that cannot be removed to "help" their customers. Some companies build in basically backdoors to android so they can load all sorts of apps after the fact (mostly advertising).
Apple does not allow any of that - they are FAMOUS for wanting control. They don't allow the carriers to preload bloatware and never have allowed it. They don't allow them to do their own auto-updating apps or app stores. They support their phones for incredibly long periods compared to much of their competition (some android phones SHIP with software 2 years old and literally never get an update).
When you buy and apple you are guaranteed not to get this stuff - and some people like that. Does this make it illegal? It a long way from a standard anti-trust case. They've never had anyone else competing with them to take share. They were also the first with the glass face smartphone so this was their market, their actual market share in segment has been going DOWN not up a long time despite the laughter of their competitors when they introduced the iphone.
So, is there a commercial reason for them to behave this way - sure.
I'm curious - why post slams on HN rather than discussing the topic? Just don't reply.
Are they an illegal monopoly in the US? Well, that's trickier. There are several reasons for and against. There are lots of phone brands, hundreds worldwide depending on how you count, and Apple are the are the largest phone and tablet brand with almost 50% of the US market.
Only Samsung is even close when it comes to phones, but afaik they have nowhere near the same profit margins.
Whether they are monopolistic or not, both Apple and Google has shown clear monopolistic behavior regarding their respective app stores, with Apple seemingly the more egregious.
So "Don't worry the state will handle it" is not re-assuring AT ALL.
2. If you don't want to pay their fees, don't use their platform.
3. If enough content providers don't use their platform, consumers we shift to a different one. I think one of the advantages that Sony has had over MSFT in the video game console space has been their exclusive content.
4. Taxes have literally nothing to do with this. The App Store has made life much easier for countless app creators. Are the fees exorbitant? Sure. Is the market capable of correcting this behavior across a reasonable timeline, also yes. I was planning to switch TV devices after Apple's tiff with Spotify. It was resolved because Apple knows that if they don't support the content providers other platforms do, they will lose market share.
To be honest, I'm not 100% where I stand with these considering that ISP's haven't been prosecuted for, what seem, clearly more egregious anti-trust violations. These types of cases should come up first, in my opinion, but we are where we are.
It’s not clear that there is a real or straightforward anti-trust case to be made against many of these companies (especially Amazon). For some reason the HN echo chamber is convinced that there is an obvious and bulletproof anti-trust case against every big tech company, and that the delay in enforcing it strictly comes down to corruption or some inherent flaw in the justice system.
Don't worry sir, the legal system is (mostly) asynchronous! You could do both.
Apple's market power seems to fit this legal definition quite well: https://definitions.uslegal.com/m/monopoly/
Monopoly is a control or advantage obtained by one entity over the commercial market in a specific area. Monopolization is an offense under federal anti trust law. The two elements of monopolization are (1) the power to fix prices and exclude competitors within the relevant market. (2) the willful acquisition or maintenance of that power as distinguished from growth or development as a consequence of a superior product, business acumen or historical accident.
Does Apple have monopoly power over the "iOS apps" market? Yes. Do they exclude competitors from that market? Abso-fuckin-lutely.
But it seems to me like the understanding has always been that people do have a choice. If they don't like Apple's control over the iOS App Store, they can buy an Android. Apple, after all, does not have a majority share of the smartphone market.
Under that understanding, the market is smartphones, and apps are just a feature of the smartphone.
I've spent orders of magnitude more money on my console and the games I bought for it than I've ever spent on any app store. Where is all the outrage over Microsoft or Sony or Nintendo's oh so hideous monopolistic practices?
In all seriousness though, I can go to other stores to buy things. In this case, you must go to the Apple Store, you can't buy iOS apps anywhere else. (at least officially)
So, no, a developer cannot distribute a game for Xbox without Microsoft's approval.
This is also largely irrelevant to the question of whether the market of "games for Xbox" is a separate market from "games for Nintendo" or whether they're actually both competitors in the "video game" market.
I should be able to buy an app at competitive prices wherever. If Apple gets a royalty from that, that’s fine too.
EDIT: Or do you think you should be able to buy iOS apps in brick-and-mortar stores?
Depends on how you define the market. The courts will have to decide whether the iOS app distribution market and the iOS in-app payments market is a relevant market. If so then Apple clearly has a monopoly in those markets.
>2. If you don't want to pay their fees, don't use their platform. 3. If enough content providers don't use their platform, consumers we shift to a different one.
The question that will have to be answered is whether that is an economically viable option for a sufficient number of content providers. If not then consumers are being harmed by Apple's anti-competitive behaviour.
Since they have a legal monopoly in some sense, it's not completely unreasonable to revisit how actions potentially prohibited by antitrust laws shold interact with legal monopolies. Especially when it comes to devices where changing device mandates you also change almost all apps (Which the legal monopoly profited of.) To sometimes significant cost, and inconvenience.
It's not entirely obvious that simply because Apple isn't the only seller of smart phones, that they can't be involved in anti-competetive behavio, and/or monopolistic behavior.By using their app store to extract considerable revenue by an questionably high transaction cost. It could be obvious because of precedent, but nevertheless, unless that judgement was made in resent years, and with the soaring costs of migrating your digital life, it's only as obvious as you make it to be if you narrow the scope of monopoly for physical to that where a single worldwide monopoly is the only business there is.
One can be safe to say that in penning the dictionary definition of monopoly, the author was probably not considering entire markets that would fit in a pocket, and where the good purchased in the market can only be used on the pocket device, and impossible to extract from the market to use in another setting!
Neither did likely the lawmakers.
The European definition doesn't require you to even have the majority of a market - just the ability to materially affect consumer pricing. Proving that in court will be fairly trivial I think.
(Note this documentation from thd EU, which states a company "probably" needs 40% share - https://ec.europa.eu/competition/antitrust/procedures_102_en...)
Or instead of that, companies can use the law to prosecute apple for anti-competitive behavior. Anti-competitive behavior is illegal and should be prosecuted.
Google services have recently made it very hard to distribute APKs through means other than their store though. Gmail blocks APK attachments for example.
Modern version of Andriod are less and less Free.
With every new version they move features and service out of AOSP and into Google "Play" Services.
Most of what people think about when they think of an "Android" phone is not the base OS anymore, it is Play Services
I think they are doing this for 2 reasons, one I believe they are wanting to drop both their Java Dependency and their Linux Dependency at some point
- That case was heard by the federal circuit, and if I recall the rules regarding that curious circuit correctly (no guarantees) anything unrelated to patents is not binding precedent on any court.
- That case just decided that it wasn't copyright misuse to do something vaguely like this, not that it didn't violate any of the various anti-trust acts. While the reason for the case is similar the law being argued looks to be entirely different.
- That case wasn't decided based on legal principles, but because Atari lied and cheated "Atari's copyright misuse defense was precluded by the doctrine of unclean hands, as Atari had lied to the Copyright Office to obtain an unauthorized copy of the 10NES."
(I only know what the wikipedia article says about the case)
You get to choose in a competitive market which device you want to buy.
This attempt to try to force Apple to change how they do business is eliminating a key differentiator and therefore removing the ability for a consumer to choose this approach.
I am of an opinion that every consumer should have such a box available on their devices, should they wish to use it. It shouldn't be possible to trade this ability away with a software licence. And not giving people that choice in the first place is what I meant by saying "customers are treated as children" - because children don't get to chose, adults do.
Obviously, if I could take my app licenses with me, there would be an argument that I had a choice. Being that I can't, there's just an illusion of choice.
The app store launched in July 2008, and the G1 came out in September that same year. Two months doesn't seem like a big opportunity to buy apps 'long before Android existed'.
I'd also appreciate if you laid off the personal attacks, thank you.
>>You are demanding Apple turn the iPhone into the same insecure crapware that is Android.
Uhm, no, Android is full of crapware because Google does not vet apps the same way Apple does, not because you can side load APKs.
Have you ever peeked inside one of those apps?
Maybe your parents need to be protected from their own poor decisionmaking, but is that true for everyone?
If we are being candid, many software developers helped crowned the Tyrant king.
The majority of developers focused on building for iOS and treated Android as a second class citizen.
Developers set the prices and in a race to the bottom, many developers set the price to $0.99. I remember the apps that had reasonable prices were often criticized by consumers because other developers set their prices so low.
30% take was there from the start of the app store before Apple become the most profitable smartphone maker. Developers should never have agreed to the take in the early days, but short term thinking prevailed.
If the vast majority of developers from the start refused to build for the iPhone until Apple had favorable terms or gave customers the option to allow third-party installs things would be different. Perhaps developers should work together to solve the problem they help create? Are developers want Apple to change would are they willing to coordinate a response? A coordinated response could mean the top 50 developers building mobile web apps & writing a letter to Apple that they are removing their apps from the Apps store and alerting their customers as well.
The idea is not so far fetched, see: https://deadline.com/2019/07/cbs-blackout-directv-u-verse-at...
Will a web app have all the features of the iOS app? of course not, but if Apple wins the legal case, this seems like the only real option to get Apple to change. Because most of Apple costumers are not bothered by Apple developers policy.
When IBM unbundled their software from their hardware in response to DoJ antitrust inquiries, it created the modern software industry.
Smartphone applications aren't the same - but for a couple bits here, and a cryptographic signature there, any software could run on an iPhone.
Who is this "we"? It definitely doesn't include me, as I do not own an iPhone and never will. If _you_ own one on the other hand...I presume you knew about Apple's practices and Apple's lock on their devices before you bought one. Why did you buy one?
Your reminder that iOS has 24.82% market share on mobile. That is not anything like a "monopoly" in any meaningful sense of the word. https://gs.statcounter.com/os-market-share/mobile/worldwide
Customers aren't in a position to "just switch platforms" because they don't like what Apple or Amazon are doing.
This shouldn't be seen in the light of "is what they are doing so bad that they need to be stopped"? It should be seen as "would consumers be better off if someone intervened?".
You're going to be disappointed, if the android ecosystem is anything to go by. Of the OEMs that bother to unlock their bootloaders, only a fraction release kernel sources. Nearly all SoCs require custom kernels (which contain the requisite drivers) to run. Not having them means you're dead in the water as far as a usable system (working wifi, graphics, sound, modem, sensors, camera) is concerned. The only reason why OEMs even bother releasing kernel sources is because they're legally obligated to by GPL. Good luck getting that to happen with apple. You're almost always better off getting something like the pinephone or librem, rather than buying an iphone and hoping that the community can salvage something out of it.
Due to bootloader exploits, people were able to get alternate OSes running on iphones. As expected, the hardware support is flakey at best. https://web.archive.org/web/20110714042818/http://www.idroid...
And i buy many Apps priced way above 99 cents.
I will say that 30% is a bit excessive, for most apps nowadays. Back in 2008 til about 2012-2014(ish) it made sense. Storage, bandwidth, and credit card processing were extremely expense. A million downloads would bankrupt small companies, especially free apps. Not only that when there were less apps in the app store, it did make marketing cheaper. That advantage is no longer the case with the oversaturation of apps. At the end of the day, Apple can do what they want to do as can developers(not provide their apps); which means that it is not anti-competitive/anti-trust. Also, iOS is such a small percentage of the market, and user's/developers have a choice to go to android.
I can’t tell if the level of hyperbole in your comment is sarcastic or not, so apologies if whoosh.
This is just a battle between the billionaires, nothing to be gained by the rest of us.
I don’t know why people get in a tizzy about it, you knew the rules going in and they haven’t changed.
App devs can choose to participate in Apple's store and pay fee or not or both. 3p allows users to load any apps at their own risk. Put a permissions popup explaining the danger. Maybe it would open up more jailbreaking. Don't allow drive by downloads, users would have to download the 3rd party stores from the app store. Probably only the most determined / technical users would load a 3p store thus protecting the majority
Also the Supreme Court ruled that code is speech. Apple being the gatekeeper to code in an iOS device is equivalent to censorship. yes I know some people define censorship as only by the government but would you ok if you could only browse internet sites approved by Apple? Only watch videos approved by Apple? Only read books approved by Apple? Only listen to music approved by Apple?
Software is no different. It's another form of media just like books, video, music, and as such you should be just as upset that you can't run whatever you want whether it's game portals, streamed games, porn apps, dev apps, whatever.
You REALLY don't get how shortsighted that is?
If the Constitution were written today it would very likely use less strict language. Free Speech cannot be protected by law if the people themselves don't value it.
It's like asking Mao why he isn't giving the Taiwanese land for free inside the PRC
Unless you are claiming by having the best device, the device you want, that makes it an unfair advantage because you don't want to make a different choice.
Now the solution if I was in charge of Apple is simple, you want a software unlocked phone then have at it, it cost double and all privacy options are absent.
Nothing is preventing Epic from doing in-app purchases in the game, they just don't like the margin they can achieve. And nothing is stopping them from doing the same micro transactions via their website or another interface.
All market places have limitations placed on them by the operators. If developers don't like them they should withhold their software from the platform.
I personally don't like the limitations (I disagree vehemently with a 30% cut), but that doesn't necessarily mean it's the government's job to step in. I think a lot of people are conflating "I disagree with this" and "it should literally be illegal".
A monopoly in what? In making their own products?
The only monopoly apple have is over their own customers i.e. switching away from apple isn't cheap
Replacing hardware is the expensive part. But again, if you want to change technology vendors, there's always a cost.
The only 'expense' is the few hours to relearn a few keystrokes.
Yes, that might be an oversimplification, but it's really not that expeisve or difficult to move from one platform to antother.
As always, monopoly depends on how you define your market. If the market as iOS apps then Apple is clearly a monopoly.
For an obvious alternative, compare the history of malware - - or even just programs with spyware sidecars - getting in Linux distributions to the same history of malware in the Apple app store.
Drew, you know better than to comment like that.
And as an iOS developer, I get a lot of benefits from the App Store that makes their 30% more than reasonable.
Giving customers choice and encouraging competition is a good thing.
I don't want to prematurely insinuate that you or other's solutions would all have such characteristics but as a consumer I don't care how developers get paid and I enjoy the benefits of Apple's integrated UX around iOS payments and subscriptions.
But I am also a developer and enjoy benefits of open-ness and choice in my work as well so I struggle with my opinions on this issue.
But ok, you might want to cancel before you get the reminder email. Settings -> Your Name/Avatar -> Subscriptions -> Pick the app -> Big red "Cancel Subscription" button.
But ok, ok, you might not know that they're under your avatar which is fair, it's not entirely intuitive. Settings -> Search -> "sub" -> Subscriptions is the first result -> Pick the app -> Big red "Cancel Subscription" button.
But ok, ok, ok, you don't have your iOS device to hand. macOS Settings -> Apple ID -> Subscriptions: Manage... -> Edit the subscription (this is broken on the Big Sur beta, mind.)
If you don't have your iOS device(s) to hand, nor do you have a Mac handy, then I concede it's going to be a bit faff - https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT211011
You mean like Apple's solution?
Perhaps you don’t have free versions of your apps, but Apple also pays to distribute unlimited free apps for no charge. And Apple spends roughly 50% of what you pay it on providing all these services, you can’t do them cheaper and you can’t do the most important on your own.
If I didn’t have to pay rent I could hire more developers, but my landlord isn’t holding me back, they are enabling me to close more business. You want lose sales on a worse App Store, I pray we don’t get waist you want.
If Apple wants to compete on offering a better, more seamless experience, there's nothing stopping them from doing so. I don't think anyone is arguing that Apple shouldn't offer payment processing altogether. A 30% cut and anti-competitive stance towards other payment methods don't feel like competing to provide the best experience to me though.
You don't know what you're getting from Apple for 30%. Which is fine. This is Apple's gross mistake that you and others are not aware of the benefits they get.
I cannot assume that a single person is not proficient in tax regulations in 155 countries around the world?
> Again, Stripe and others offer all of this for a much smaller fee.
I don't know who "others" are, but Stripe definitely doesn't offer that. https://support.stripe.com/questions/charging-sales-tax-gst-...
If you're using Stripe, you need to make sure you charge the correct tax, and it's your own responsibility to report it correctly in the countries that require it.
There are services on top of Stripe that can do that for additional fee (e.g. quaderno.io), but then again, it is worrying that you're not aware of your tax obligations taking worldwide payments via Stripe and also that you're not aware of what Apple provides you for 30%.
Not knowing either is fine, but I'd say both are Stripe's and Apple's faults that you are not aware of this.
You are completely clueless if you think payment processing is even a tiny fraction of what the App Store provides.
Opening up to other app stores would be a disaster for developers. Less secure, more scam are and malware, more confusing, lower consumer confidence, Balkanized app search, higher dev costs to support more stores, and for what? 20% fees at best?
Apples margins are publicly documented, no one could run a profitable app store for less than 20%.
How can you say that if apple didn't allow the competition to exist? We cannot see if someone can innovate enough to cut that margin maybe even far more than what apple made you think is the "minimum to be profitable" because apple does not allow that
Isn't this exactly the startup playing field? When there is a market standard of which some pseudo monopolist says "well no one can do better than this" and then a innovative competitor joins in and distrupts?
How come Google Play doesn’t cut their fees?
Maybe they will even just "compete orthogonally" instead of just trying to work around the parameters you talk about. I don't know... maybe a store without IAPs will be born where games cost more but you get the full game and you know the author is not gonna try to gamify-casino you. Maybe someone will make a store which allows me to buy an app both for android and iOS in a single purchase at a lower price than buying both separately.
Maybe whatever, I don't know, but I for sure want to know what I could get.
Google Play is proof that lower fees isn’t going to benefit devs. No third party store has been able to use lower fees to take any significant market share.
If that was entirely off the 30% App store cut, they clearly would not need anywhere near the 30% to cover their costs (net sales are >3x cost of sales). But, lumped together with other services its hard to say anything specific about App store.
Just having a healthy app ecosystem is probably worth more than the actual money you're pulling in from the apps themselves.
I think they charge whatever they can get away with and meaningful competition will drive it down dramatically.
"We simply can't give you a raise, we don't have the budget."
I think if there was competition, their prices would drop dramatically, and that would show you how much it actually costs them.
Epic themselves charge 12% IIRC for their store.
You might say, if Fortnite were given away, Walmart wouldn't stock it, because it would just take shelf space. Perhaps that's true, but who says that Apple needs to give (virtual) shelf space to free apps?
They could hide away apps that don't bring them money. In fact, that's effectively what they're doing anyway: Unless you have tons of downloads or you get featured, you are invisible on the App Store.
They are hiding away Fortnight, because it’s demanding a free ride on a pay product.
Apple owns the building that allows apps to set up shop and sell their services. As part of that deal they get a cut of every sale.
Sure, many other app stores provide extra value in their systems for in-app purchases and a developer might see fit to use that system since it reduces friction, but usually it is voluntary. Obviously, not every app even does in-app purchases.
This argument that Apple's rules around in-app purchases are necessary to pay for the ongoing maintenance of their platform is completely bizarre to me. That money is completely separate. What if Fortnite didn't have in-app purchases? It would cost Apple exactly the same amount of money to distribute it and to provide development tools (which, by the way, every developer pays $100 a year for up front anyway). Yet Apple wouldn't be making those juicy margins from in-app purchases. Would Apple be in the right to demand Epic add in-app purchases? Would you be making the same argument?
Anyway, if that's the argument Apple is going to use, they're fucked.
% charge for payments through apple pay
$ per million downloads/updates for hosting
or provide the ability to sideload or use third party app stores
That way app developers can choose whether Apples store is worth their overhead.
Are you telling me that millions of apps are just not using the store "correctly", that Apple would feature them if only they had "looked it up?"
I'm supposed to explain to you why your apps, of which I know nothing, keep selling?
For one, it might have something to do with the fact that you have been on the App Store for a decade and that your apps do actually show up in recommendations. Not every App gets that.
Secondly, whatever your Apps do, they might be referenced on aggregators. When I look for an App to solve a problem, I google it. Inevitably, I'll end up on some site comparing apps for that purpose. The App Store doesn't do anything for me here.
You need to understand that you're the exception and that your experience doesn't generalize.