I think however it is obvious that something has seriously pathologically gone wrong in the mobile software market and these two companies are behind it.
I also don't think that appeals to "is that legal" are all that satisfying -- (Apple's free speech lets them silence whoever they wish, of course) -- but does that seem right to you?
For problems like these I tend to start at the end and work backwards. What would we want an ideal ecosystem to look like? And working backwards, what policies, laws, and cultural rules were made in order to get there? What products were built, and/or sold, in order to build that outcome?
Then we do those things.
I watch these conversations again and again devolve into whether these companies are monopolies, but I think that discussion is beside the point. Is it right?. Why do I only have 2 choices? Why do I get to choose only between Global Hoover or Comical Evil? And why if I choose one of them, do I give up all choices that follow?
Solving problems like these relies on establishing a common ground about what we want to see, and agreeing that what we see isn't that. So -- what do we see wrong now, and what would we fix?
There’s an extremely high barrier to entry and people don’t have time to learn different operating systems.
(Yet Roku and more do.)
The barrier is caused by a lack of available software (something html5 has largely solved outside of games/Snapchat/apples anti competitive behavior with chat etc.)
I don't think this is unique to mobile either - pretty much everyone uses Windows or Mac because those OS's support the software that they want to use (although with everything moving to the web this is going away to some degree). The main difference with mobile is that the expectation (or requirement, with Apple) is that you will install software through the app store rather than just downloading it from the internet like on desktop.
Complexity of phones since 2007 has skyrocketed. Can a small team create a phone OS and the ecosystem users have grown accustomed to today?
And before you say a desktop DE is unusable on a handheld I’d urge you to actually try it. I’ve owned multiple handhelds running GNU/Linux with either the DE I used on my laptop (fvwm at the time) or lxde and they’re more comfortable than mobile GUIs. (I’m particular: there are far fewer mobile dialogs and touch controls popping over eachother right before you tap them.)
But on phones, I prefer a great screen, good camera and everything else the mainstream offers. I have a proper camera and good laptops with display and everything but nothing beats the convenience of a good phone for someone who is a nomad(well before covid-19).
If linux handhelds work for you, power to you. But I have never found any in the last five years at least that I wanted to use as a daily driver. Would be interested in recommendations though.
I've always used the rule of thumb that if the best thing someone can say about their behavior or decisions is that they aren't illegal, that person is probably the arsehole in the situation.
No, its business was cannibalized by open source - OS by Linux, browser by Mozilla, native software by web applications, shrinking server installations, outflow of developers. And now they are good.
Apple closed this route with proprietary hardware and walled garden.
Was duopoly any different on desktop?
- Apple OS X, Microsoft Windows, custom Windows builds, Linux, BSD, etc
- Apple iOS, Google Android, custom Android builds, postmarketOS, Ubuntu Touch, etc
You can't run Apple OS on generic desktop. Hardware support varies if it is not Windows - good on Linux, worse on BSD, but Plan 9? Haiku OS?
Software support is number 1 reason people stick to Windows. Linux and BSD has essentials covered - editors, browser, office. No modern browser on Plan 9, some run it on remote host, some live without it.
Microsoft (at its height) pushing OEMs, proprietary API, changing storage formats. Apple pushing proprietary hardware, API, closing ecosystem. If you play by their rules you support their decisions.
The only thing that matters is voting with your feet. There is alternative today - PinePhone and Librem 5 has open source drivers (support as long as you wish) , LineageOS, F-Droid, postmarketOS, Ubuntu Touch. It is not as polished but you can't have both (at least yet).
It's time to stop lying: Google will absolutely abandon every single rule in the book to ensure they get 30% of Fortnite purchases. It's too lucrative, and Google is too greedy.
This has nothing to do with safety or security. It has nothing to do with playing fair and following their terms. It's about the money.
But yes, let's stop pretending that Google is an altruistic, benevolent and freedom-loving company. It's not.
*To be fair, Google provides various conveniences and services in exchange for your data, so it doesn't get it completely for free. But there are three general categories of people on this: 1) People who like those conveniences and services and have little idea or thoughts about what pays for it. 2) People who understand this exchange, and make it willingly, eyes open. 3) People who understand this exchange, don't like it, and avoid as many aspects of it as they can.
I'll be honest: With every purchase at every web site, every account created, every app installed that asks for this little permission or another, I begin to feel more & more that it doesn't really matter, and fall further into #2.
Furthermore, Epic helped highlight a very important point about Android and iOS: They're not actually competitors. For an OEM building a phone, Android is the only option, it has a complete monopoly on mobile OSes with respect to the market of OEMs who might choose it.
I can choose from 4 different supermarkets within walking distance, and an additional 3 if you count online supermarkets that deliver to my area. That is not the case when it comes to choosing a mobile OS/app store.
Having more than one to choose from is still an option.
And I also know a few that still use and buy feature phones with their OEM only apps, with "by invitation only SDKs".
Which makes the choice bigger than two actually, when one looks at the actual market distribution, something that a judge will care about.
Apple has maybe 25% of the market. I say "maybe", because that percentage is decreasing every day. Especially globally. The reality of the situation is that Google is killing Apple in terms of marketshare. And Apple is eating Google in terms of profit. It's a situation that is a bit unprecedented.
unless a company has a special deal with google, then it's either google or alternatives but not both.
i think the only reason there could be a special deal is that google made some concessions when trying to convince a manufacturer to use android. but that would be an older deal.
Everyone else has really no choice, and Google gives them the my way or the highway approach.
other alternative systems have more freedom than samsung because they are not bound by a license from google.
> they have their alternative OS
This is Tizen, and it doesn't support Android apps at all. It's a completely different operating system, so not entirely clear why Sumsung would want Android apps on it.
It would be impossible to launch a new platform without compatibility for existing apps. There's no way to gain enough developer mindshare to become a serious alternative otherwise.
Jolla had Android app compatibility from the launch in addition to the platform native apps, as they knew that's the only option really.
If you look at the linage of it (Intel Meego) and the time frame they started it (2011) the strategy of HTML5 support for apps kind of made sense.
Allegedly they are adding .NET support to it?
It is still around and actively developed. I believe it's had some success on watches.
on watches and appliances or tvs the android apps don't matter much so android support is less critical there.
tizen needs to support android because the tizen app market doesn't offer everything needed. some important apps are only on android. (namely chat apps for example. without those a phones usefulness is very limited) i had a tizen phone years ago. technically it was very nice, but not even having access to f-droid was a problem.
maybe samsung doesn't care, but as a consumer i do care.
technically it was possible to pack android apps into a wrapper to make them run on tizen. but it had to be done separately. a third-party service could do that, leaving samsung free from violating their android license.
Yes. Samsung and LG have both.
I might be wrong, but this is my take on this. Google has an agreement with OEM not to install any app store. What google objected was not default app of Fortnite. However, it was a Fornite's game store kind of.
Still Google does not object the user to install anything on their phone, though that is getting a bit difficult with Android 11.
TLDR; this article SEEMS to talk about Epic Games App Store, rather than Fortnite.
So yes, Google put a kibosh on an OEM pre-installing a competing store, not just the game.
For example,you are not forbidden from developing for
some random Linux distro
They did not build their trust and ecosystem for free,so you should'nt have access to them for free
30% is not unreasonable,costs can be managed,since you are selling a digital product
When did I become Google's property to trade and bargain with? Because it sounds like i didnt buy the phone, Google bought me.
I think the OS is still kicking around and technically not dead yet, but it's really hard to believe that it would be able to break into the OEM side of things at this point. If Microsoft couldn't buy their way in to it I don't see much hope for a group that wouldn't be paying massive amounts of money to handset manufacturers and carriers to support the development & deployment. Though I'd be happy if it were simply possible to flash it onto most Android handsets with full hardware compatibility.
Here it is running phosh: https://youtu.be/mjaJJ6o-mbM
It's pretty close to being a usable GNOME Linux phone
> For example,you are not forbidden from developing for some random Linux distro
> They did not build their trust and ecosystem for free,so you should'nt have access to them for free
> 30% is not unreasonable,costs can be managed,since you are selling a digital product
If only Microsoft had been smart enough to demand a 30% cut of Netscape sales instead of going through all that trouble to create IE.
And Google inserts itself into the relationship between the business partner for that other ecosystem and bullies them into cancelling the deal.
Off course it's important to keep in mind that as of right now, we have only Epic's highly self-interested interpretation of events, and the truth may be far different. It seems LG for example had a pre-existing contract with Google to not do the sort of thing it was about to do with Epic.
Had the suit came earlier, we would not have been blessed with the decade of security vulnerabilities that plagued the desktop because Internet Explorer was tightly integrated with Windows, and perhaps Netscape would still be around, along with Be Inc.
It was also about the the productivity software market and the lack of interoperability
And browser bundling.
And the lack of interoperability with MS’s network stack.
MS had to make minor concessions on all four fronts.
The biggest irony to Microsoft’s anti-competitive OEM practices is that they were unnecessary. The network effects of software compatibility proved sufficient to maintain their dominance.
And their temporarily successful attempts to dominate the browser market failed to turn the open standards web platform into the Windows platform’s greatest competitor.
Before that point it was common for software to be ported to all the major platforms, so I don't think that caused their dominance, it just helped reinforce it.
By 2000 there were only two major platforms for desktop operating systems - Macs and Windows.
It's hard to say for sure what would have happened without the antitrust case, but from where I sit, the government accomplished exactly what they set out to do, and just about everyone has benefited as a result.
A) Facebook becoming a dominant social network? 10 years later?
B) Apple’s resurgence with first the iPod - it’s not like MS didn’t try repeatedly to compete (Plays4Sure, Zune) and then the iPhone? Again nothing that the government did stopped MS from losing its early lead in smart phones.
3. Google from becoming the most popular search engine.
4. Amazon from becoming dominant?
As far as the landscape being more diverse, Microsoft and Apple still have about the same split in PC operating systems, Google and Apple have about the same split in mobile operating systems as MS/Apple. And now instead of IE being dominant and Netscape being an also ran, now Chrome is just as dominant and Firefox is an also ran - funded mostly by Google.
Meet the new boss...
Even worse, the current administration is more concerned about “bias against conservatives” than consumer rights.
Google - came to dominance on top of most people using IE. The consent decree did not stop MS from entering the search engine business and there was no indication that the federal government would have stopped them from buying Yahoo if Yahoo had accepted their offer v
Apple emerged from going almost bankrupt by selling music players. MS tried repeatedly to get in the music player business - partially by leveraging Windows Media Player and failed. MS was also early in the smart phone market and failed - not because of government intervention.
Amazon - how did anything that the government do against MS help Amazon?
Facebook - Facebook became popular almost a decade later when no one was worried about MS.
What exactly do you think the government consent decree did that helped any of those companies?
Or perhaps you're one of the lucky few who haven't been woken at 4am to an urgent notification:
"YOUR PHONE HAS TOO MANY MEMES. WOULD YOU LIKE TO DELETE MEMES?"
Prohibitions on bloatware, my arse!
- Chrome: privacy related, not necessarily garbage, but if the OS were Chinese we'd effortlessly call Chrome's behaviours spyware. I use Firefox
- Photos: random single-touch dialogs offering to enable sync. This is upsell and another opt-in data grab. Also the source of the aforementioned ITS 4AM WAKE UP AND HAVE A DELETE MEME PARTY notification. I use f-spot but I'm not a huge fan of it
- Messages: can't remember. Probably another notification thrown up without warning. I use Pulse now
- Maps: where to even begin? The app has about one UI element left that actually relates to navigation and the rest is some disguised Google Shopping link. I use the paid version of OsmAnd where possible
- Gmail/Accounts: phone book data-grab. I use Outlook
- Gboard: still using this. Still very aware its forwarding my keystrokes to the mothership for "contextual prediction" or whatever you call it. If Gboard were published by TikTok rather than Google we'd have sent some folk to the electric chair over it already
- Play Services: mandatory back channel to the mothership with root access on your phone. Can wake it up, force install something that listens to you, or update itself to force you to click on WHO adverts^W^W^W^W participate in informational and beneficial COVID-19 contact tracing, so much more
Probably forgotten quite a bit. Mandatory Games app IIRC? That would have been disabled on the first day
Turns out it was Files not Photos
You can't disable it without breaking other things. You can't disable the shortcuts that open it without unnecessarily regressing the rest of the UI. It's bound to "swipe up from a corner" which is an action you accidentally perform on a semi-regular basis. It's utterly and completely useless (to me).
Doesn't stop it from being bloatware...
> Certain "System" apps (particularly those pre-loaded by carriers) that cannot be uninstalled can now be disabled. This hides the application and prevents it from launching, but the application is not removed from storage.
What I just found out I can do above is change the "Assistant" default app from being "Google Assistant" to being none - which stops the stupid swipe in the wrong way and it grabs focus and the bottom half of the screen "feature".
Edit: And to be clear this doesn't remove all the places Assitant pops up, just the most annoying one. It still has prominent placement in the "system" settings for instance.
I believe that what happened was was after looking for any way to disable just assistant (e.g. under the "Assistant" system settings option) and not finding any I have up an tried to disable it at the app level. At the app level I saw (and still see) only a option to disable all of Google.
It probably did not occur to me at the time to check the default app settings.
> via one of two settings
I only found the default apps way, what is the other?
You can also disable Google app to stop it from running. You'll lose the other services it provides though.
There's plenty of bloatware on phones these days, especially with the rate Google kills apps, but I can't honestly consider the Assistant integration with a Pixel phone to be one.
Also it doesn't seem bound like that on my phone.
Iirc it is enabled when you set System->Gestures->system navigation set to gesture navigation? I recommend setting that for the superior ui it provides.
I am even ok shipping them by default and giving an option to uninstall. Any app which I cant uninstall is Bloatware.
I miss that phone so much.
That sounds like a good thing. Duo is still pretty much the only E2E encrypted video call app that also works on the web.
1 - https://twitter.com/DanielMicay/status/1264528965127024644
I believe I can even set some numbers to ring through silent, haven't tried it though.
Sleep is precious.
Now of we we're taking about carriers we'd have a different conversation but as someone who's seen a lot of the mobile industry OnePlus is pretty decent on the bloatware in my book.
Also, HN is also mostly American where carrier bloatware is the norm on Android, something I never saw in Europe.
Their recent Nord phone shipped with the full and uninstallable Facebook services suite (1). In a forum post(2) they claim it was done to improve battery life and performance. Reading about this Fortnite launcher deal makes me doubt the honesty of that claim even more.
A few months ago they also started pushing strange and invasive system apps to my OnePlus 6T like "OnePlus Zen Mode", "OnePlus Game Space", their own custom File Manager which - in India - even sent data to a Tencent server for some strange file cleanup functionality that could not be disabled (3)(4)!
I love my OnePlus 6T but writing this out made me realise how distrustful and wary I've become of this company that has access to a huge part of my life through my phone.
I'm now seriously considering replacing this device way early in its lifecycle. No idea what brand to turn to next though.
Edit: Added link 4.
(Yes, I see that the carrier and the #1 Android phone seller are involved in one case and not the other, so the Samsung bloat is the more interesting case. If OnePlus were to write its own bloat-ware or acquire/merge-with Epic, would they be allowed to pre-install?)
> 3a: to reduce drastically especially in number
> cholera decimated the population
> Kamieniecki's return comes at a crucial time for a pitching staff that has been decimated by injuries. — Jason Diamos
> b: to cause great destruction or harm to
> firebombs decimated the city
> an industry decimated by recession
the usage is hyperbolic; it is not nonsensical.
Decimate means quite specifically to remove or destroy a _portion_ of something, rather than simply to destroy something, even in most modern usage.
Approaching F-Droid probably isn't very desirable when the point of the store is to not profit from software.
We'd be nowhere near where we are today if PCs couldn't run Linux, and earlier PCs couldn't run whatever you wanted from a floppy.
The fact that consumers are lazy and stores are easy shouldn't prevent decisions beneficial to everyone.
Smartphones and PDAs existed for couple decades now, I’ve got a first PDA in 2000 or so. For many years before iPhone they were very niche products
I’m not sure we had the explosion in popularity (followed by technical improvements of both hardware and software) had it not be the financial incentive from paid content, initially music, apps followed a year later. Hardware design, software development, and marketing are all very expensive, someone had to pay for them or the smartphones would stay being niche products for geeks and corporations.
If what you wrote in the comment would become a law, this would remove motivation to do investments like that.
Would be especially bad for game consoles. The hardware is often sold below the costs in the start of each lifecycle, then technical progress catches up bringing costs down, and vendors are getting their profits. Stores help as well. The strategy ain’t gonna work if the app.store is not linked to the hardware, as soon as the HW costs are down other people would offer compatible hardware for less money. Hardware compatibility within generation is another hard problem to solve.
About Linux, when Torvalds made it, PCs were expensive tools for business and engineers. If you’re a businessperson or engineer, you have access to comparable tools with smartphone hardware. Search the web for “qualcomm snapdragon single board computer” and you’ll find many. There’re even affordable options now, I have 2 single-board computers on my desk next to a bunch of other hardware, both were under $100.
IPhone sales are profitable as they are, and always were.
Of course not having iOS walled would lower their profits, but that's the whole point, as this profit comes from a detriment for everyone else. Android allows sideloading, yet making those phones is still reasonably profitable.
PCs were expensive tools way before Linux, and it would stay that way if not for IBM were able to protect their walled garden.
The numbers don’t add up.
Apple sold 6 million of iPhone 1 in 2007-2008 season before app.store launch. Assuming the average price was $550 that generated $3.3B turnover.
According to rumors spread by Bloomberg and other sources, Apple spent $2.6B on R&D of iPhone 1 from the moment the initial research began. Not a good business at all, this means Apple paid most of manufacturing and marketing out of their pocket.
After the app.store, apple was able to sell 100 million of iPhone 4 over 2010-2011 season. That’s more than order of magnitude difference. That increase in volume is what allowed Apple recuperate initial R&D costs, earn good profits, and increase their spending on R&D of new products by more than an order of magnitude since 2007.
I’m not sure people would have bought 100 million of iPhones 4 if you could run same apps on equally performing hardware that’s twice cheaper.
Apple doesn't rely on the royalty revenue to make iPhones profitable (and shouldn't be allowed to).
Without that lock, Apple wouldn’t be able to sell $500 worth of hardware for $1500, in huge quantities: https://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/how-much-does-it-cost-t...
Do you think that the ability to use other stores would make iphones less valuable for their users?
Many cross-platform apps work better on iOS, due to lack of fragmentation.
> Do you think that the ability to use other stores would make iphones less valuable for their users?
Initially, I answered to this: “Hardware/OS vendors should not be allowed to include app stores out of the box, much less prevent sideloading.”
Now on your new question, yes, I think this may actually happen, here’s how.
If such cross-platform third-party store would be allowed, and would gain traction, many developers gonna stop writing native iOS apps for 2 reasons: development/porting is expensive, and Apple taking their cut from sales.
Apple’s app store has rather strict policies about software quality in general, malware, user’s personal data choices, even battery use (years ago I’ve developed for iOS on my day job). Apple won’t be able to enforce equivalent policies for other stores. For one they can’t technically do that. Even if they could, they are not going to get paid for moderating apps on other stores. Currently, they collect their cut from sales, and collect money from developers for developer program membership. These 2 sources of income pay for these reviews.
Therefore, quality of apps available on iOS is going to decline. Along with security: it’s very hard to design a secure system where users are allowed to run arbitrary native code, the only somewhat reliable way is hardware-assisted hypervisor. Being able to enforce policies by reviewing and rejecting apps helps a lot with that, among other things these policies forbid usage of private APIs or running downloaded code.
But there's still other devices like Fitbits that I'm not so sure about.
Which is why PC games outnumber console games by a huge factor. Walled gardens are everyone's liability.
the definition of open: "mkdir android ; cd android ; repo init -u git://android.git.kernel.org/platform/manifest.git ; repo sync ; make"
EDIT: In fact it was around the time Android was changing a little bit away from its open source roots that Rubin was sidelined out of the Android division and into robotics, shortly after which he quit.
“Google's iron grip on Android: controlling open source by any means necessary”
Regardless, my point stands: At the time that Android was undergoing this shift, Rubin was moving away from Android. Without specific evidence of his seal of approval on a more closed-source Android, painting him as a hypocrite amounts to malign assumption. Without evidence to the contrary, giving a benefit of the doubt doesn't seem unreasonable.
So my point stands: As of Andy Rubin's departure, Android was very much an open OS.
Are you also as lenient about iOS? Since the core of it is open source? WebKit?
The EU doesn’t agree with you. They ruled against Google for its practices. Google wouldn’t let a manufacturer both sell a phone using an Android fork that didn’t used Google Play Services and sell a phone that did.
The EU's issue with Google has nothing to do with whether or not Android is an open system: Their issue with Google is that Google was trying to stifle competition. In fact the precise issue there arose because Android can be forked. The fact that Google tries to stomp on competition doesn't change that. It's no different than when Microsoft did similar things to stop OEM's from offering desktop Linux: It didn't make Linux less open.
And you know very well that iOS isn't in a similar position to Android in this respect. You can't fork iOS, never could, certainly not the way you could with Android earlier on, and not even like you can now. Parts of iOS derive from open source, but it was never an open source OS. Also it's strange to bring up WebKit, which has been successfully forked a number of times.
Would you be okay if Apple threatened companies that forked WebKit on other devices that they were forbidden to list their apps on iOS?