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Google collects 20 times more telemetry from Android devices than Apple from iOS (therecord.media)
816 points by gormandizer 18 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 441 comments



" Modern cars regularly send basic data about vehicle components, their safety status and service schedules to car manufacturers, and mobile phones work in very similar ways." -Google

This is a beautiful quote because it is an example of one industry's bad behavior leading to another industry's bad behavior, upon which the first industry then users the second's similarity to justify themselves. Cars only started doing this because phones made it normal. It's wrong in both cases.

It's similar to when Apple defended it's 30% store cut by claiming it's an "industry standard"... specifically, an industry standard that Apple established.


The 30% cut was considered very good at the time. It was way better than the 50-90% cut that traditional publishers would take.

A sibling comment notes that Steam charged 30% at the time (though some had better deals) but it's worth noting that Steam was not an open platform that anyone could publish on. Much like for consoles, to put a game on Steam you had to have a preexisting relationship with Valve, or try to develop one with no certainty of success. This was also considered a very generous cut because getting on Steam was almost a guarantee of financial success.


"The 30% cut was considered very good at the time."

Let me fix this.

There was a full range of views. Some considered the 30% cut to be good at the time, some didn't consider it much at all, some considered it to be a criminal abuse of market power. I remember commenting myself that microsoft would be crucified for attempting to tax everyone who wanted to write software for windows 30% of revenue. I don't recall anyone suggesting that was a controversial comment.


In the mobile world there were so many intermediaries and costs to publish then that included:

-the mobile carriers cut - up to 70 percent

-the publishers cut (depending on whether you used them). up to 70 percent (carrier fees included).

-some publishers requiring apps to be code signed like Java Verified (a cost that could go up to 50 thousand dollars PER J2ME/JAVA ME app) or Symbian Signed or BREW.

It was a horrific time to build mobile apps.

I am still not defending the 30 percent cut. Just that the cost was seen as trivial then (also the miniscule 99 yearly membership fee that included code signing - Blackberry started at 2500 USD a year).

A simple solution to all this mess is to have rules allowing us to download apps (at our own risk) from outside the app store like you can on Android.


You want to talk about a criminal abuse of market power?

Microsoft used to charge ridiculous fees for things as simple as submitting a patch for an XBox 360 game.

>Double Fine's Tim Schaefer pegged the cost of submitting an Xbox 360 patch at $40,000 in an interview with Hookshot Inc. earlier this year.

"We already owe Microsoft a LOT of money for the privilege of being on their platform," he said. "People often mistakenly believe that we got paid by Microsoft for being exclusive to their platform. Nothing could be further from the truth. WE pay THEM."

https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2012/07/microsoft-comes-under...

People who think a 30% fee is outsized tend to have no idea whatsoever what the costs were previous to that.


I don't know the specifics of Xbox and patches but I do know that in general, at least in the past, shipping a game on Playstation required thousands of hours of testing by Sony employees. They didn't take your word for it that your app worked. They ran it through a battery of manual testing. Examples, does it recover if someone turns off the power in the middle of saving a game. At that point the save game file may be corrupted. The game better at least boot and let the player start a new game and not just crash.

Other examples include checking all the text meets the platforms spec. It's says "DualShock Controller" not "Joypad". It's always Press ○╳□△ and in the correct color for that button, and responds to the region/system setting. For example that X = select in USA, and ○ = select in Japan

The point being that the game console owners don't just trust that your patch didn't break the rules of their technical requirements checklist. Someone actually has to check and it's not a small amount of work. Maybe $40k is too much but $0 is arguably too little

AFAIK, Apple and Google don't do this much. Certainly not to the same extent as Sony/Nintendo/XBox


What does that have to do with submitting a simple bug fix?

How can that possibly cost $40,000 except through an extreme abuse of monopoly power?

A simple 30% cut with no other price gouging additional fees was a huge improvement over the status quo.

That article has a developer literally saying that in the end, their percentage of the profit on the XBox 360 was a negative number.


> How can that possibly cost $40,000 except through an extreme abuse of monopoly power?

Microsoft has to handle patch distribution, patching itself, tech support for patching, complaints and rollbacks and so on for many years after release -- remember, they still provide patches for Xbox 360 games sold in 2005!

If something breaks then I expect the total costs for all that could easily exceed $40k for very popular titles. Just imagine how many installs of FIFA '06 - '19 (the versions available for Xbox 360) there is! This is obviously not the case with an indie platformer purchased by a few thousand players, though, so for smaller businesses $40k would hurt badly, while it's probably a very good bargain for EA and the likes.

Considering the recent backlash regarding Cyberpunk 2077 on Xbox One/PS4 (not to mention Mass Effect: Andromeda a few years ago), I'd say rigorous testing is warranted. I doubt CP2077 would even have been released for those platforms if they had been properly tested in the first place (not that it would have been an option to not release the game -- It's been pre-orderable for over a year, and the Xbox live store was full of ads for it for many months before the release).

The same logic applies to patches -- if a patch were to actually break a game then it needs to be handled and that isn't necessarily cheap.


>Microsoft has to handle patch distribution, patching itself, tech support for patching, complaints and rollbacks and so on for many years after release -- remember, they still provide patches for Xbox 360 games sold in 2005!

Apple bears all the same costs for iOS and it all comes out of that same 30% fee. For free apps, they eat all those costs.

Hell, Apple provides free in-person customer support as well as support by phone.


Undoubtedly a better deal for many, but that doesn't mean the actual costs for a patch for a popular app can't amount to $40k or more.


> I doubt CP2077 would even have been released for those platforms if they had been properly tested in the first place

They were, Sony and Microsoft just believed CDPR when they lied about fixing it before release [1]

[1] https://screenrant.com/cyberpunk-2077-developer-cdpr-admits-...


That just means it wasn't properly tested and that CDPR just said it was. :)

My point is that such debacles are going to be costly, not just for the developer, but for the platform owner as well.


It was properly tested by the platform owners, and it was determined to be in an un-releasable state.

The mistake of the platform owners was to believe CDPR when they said they will have fixed all the found problems by release time.


Fair enough. Not trying to make this a debate about CP2077 - I'm just pointing out that game bugs can have massive consequences for the platform owner and not just the game developer/publisher and that handling such consequences can be expensive. In other words, the originally mentioned $40k per patch might seem excessive, but can definitely be justified in cases where popular games break due to bugs. Imagine if CP2077 had been rendered unusable by a patch instead!


I'm pretty sure CP2077 was denied several times by Microsoft because there were so many problems.


From the platform providers POV it's not "a simple bug fix". It's "schedule hundreds of hours of testing on this new binary blob the developer sent us".

> That article has a developer literally saying that in the end, their percentage of the profit on the XBox 360 was a negative number

Then maybe they shouldn't have shipped buggy software. Go back a few years and they'd have shipped a CD/DVD/ROM and no patching available.


I don't get it, why make a exclusive game and pay Microsoft for it...a vulcan would say illogical...it's not like MS has any Hardware, that no one else has.


The costs of making a game work on multiple platforms might exceed the expected revenue from the additional platforms, especially for a smaller organisation.


Well then publish it just on steam/gog. I don't see any plus having your Game just on Xbox rather than the PC, sells are probably the same no?


> $40,000

There are probably a few developers who’d love to pay just 40k to Apple.

Given that review costs are fixed, what is the cost of distribution?


The cost of vetting your app and it's updates are included in the 30%, not an additional $40,000 fee on top of it.

Note the developer saying that with all the additional costs, they ended up in the hole instead of making a profit.


Let me fix this.

Microsoft did worse, they did charge more than 30% to everyone that published software for the xbox.

People with skin in the game, game publishers, game developers, mobile app developers for nokia, blackberry, samsung, motorola, etc, considered Apple taking "only" 30% to be an excellent deal at the time. It was so good in fact, almost all other store splits collapsed shortly thereafter to the same 30% to compete with Apple.

Others complained, sure. I too complain Ferrari charges way too much for customizing the color of the thread of the interior lining on their cars, I don't know why they don't seem bothered.


Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe Steam and Xbox Live Arcade (small games akin to mobile today, not mainstream games) were both 30% before the iPhone existed.

Apple, however, transformed the phone industry by bringing that same model to mobile that had already existed in PC/console game storefronts.


You don't think there was a range of views. And anyone who disagreed with your view had no skin in the game and so can be ignored. I disagree with that.


I know there was a range of views. I'm pointing out not all opinions have the same weight.


Oh, there were a range of opinions. It's just that some of them were wrong.


Feel free to support the claim that your opinion is supported by everyone that matters with some evidence for that.

There were a range of valid opinions held by intelligent people who had "skin in the game" seems to me to be an utterly uncontroversial statement. Your unsupported list is also only one segment of one particular kind of stakeholder in that market. I think this has probably now gone past being useful to anyone if you agree I wish you the best. Otherwise enjoy the last word...


I have worked in mobile since 2004. How anyone felt about it is irrelevant.

The fact is that 30% was far less than the carriers and Qualcomm were taking with their stores.


Hoping someone will chime in and share ringtone royalty rates back when they were selling by the millions. I’d bet labels got under 50% and artists got basically nothing.


the iPhone is a PDA. There's 20 years of PDAs before iPhone. There was no price to put an app on my 1998 Windows CE PDA, nor my Sony Clie, nor my Dell Axim. Just install the software same as PC. The software vendors had the option to sell direct, go through a distributor, a publisher, various stores, etc..


Phones were an entirely different world.

For instance, Verizon was sued for disabling the ability of phones on their network to transfer photos using Bluetooth, because they wanted to charge you money for a simple file transfer.

https://www.eweek.com/mobile/verizon-wireless-users-sue-over...


Hah, I had a Verizon flip phone around that time. If I wanted to change the home screen background on my phone, I couldn't do it via BT without Verizon adding a charge to my monthly bill.

I ended up using that phone to take a picture of the background I wanted. Verizon didn't charge for setting wallpapers using pictures taken with the phone!

I switched to a Windows Mobile 6.1 phone (Samsung Blackjack) and it was so liberating. Sync music via USB! Set custom ringtones using your own MP3s and not whatever the Ringtone store was selling for $2.99.


I think there's a lot of truth to this take. Pre-iPhone phones were a completely different category of phone. They ran limited, special-purpose operating systems. Smartphones of today are pocket computers that just happen to be able to make phone calls.

And yes, they connect to a wireless carrier's network. But I can also connect my laptop to a wireless carrier's network by buying a USB dongle and a SIM card. I'm certainly not expecting anyone to pay 30% of their revenue to sell me an app on my laptop.

Also consider the iPod Touch. It is much closer to being a PDA than a phone, despite the fact that it's essentially an iPhone without a cellular modem.


>Pre-iPhone phones were a completely different category of phone. They ran limited, special-purpose operating systems.

That doesn't resemble anything like my memory of the time. I had multiple general purpose windows mobile phones before iPhones existed. It wasn't limited and it could install apps. Neither Microsoft not the carrier took 30%.


Microsoft also never managed to build a system that was secure enough to do e.g. banking on. I just noticed how I can do everything from my iPhone just using my fingerprint and don't even feel unsafe about it. I love that there are different approaches like you mentioned and hope that they continue to exist and are not overruled by a central authority as you suggest.


Microsoft didn't really have a comparable App Store at the time, not to mention, Apple hadn't really made a comparable App Store for the Mac yet either. The iPhone app model was more analogous to the business model of gaming consoles (and Steam), except with lower barrier to entry.

Today, I'm sure you could still publish independently of Steam... but you'd be at a disadvantage.


This is such a nonsense justification.

You want to sell software you wrote to run on an iphone. You have zero choice. Apple tax your revenue.

You want to sell software you wrote to run on a pc. Steam is not your only choice. I am not defending steam or valve here, I've never sold anything using their stuff, nor am I suggesting anything other than that their market power over pc compared to apple's store over the iphone is not remotely comparable.

It actually works against you to suggest apple's iphone software store and steam are comparable at all because it's so incredibly bogus.

You want to make the case that steam suck too but with loads less market power. Go right ahead. We're listening. You don't need absolute and total market power to be abusive of it. Apple will immediately attempt redefine the market to include android or people spending money on coca cola instead of apple product to suggest that customers have real choice so there is no market power abuse here.


The situation on Android shows us that consumers like consolidation and they like walled gardens and simple choices. These things benefit them. Plenty of Android phones come with 2 or 3 app stores. One for the carrier, one for the vendor and Google Play Store. There plenty are others as well, but the market has spoken. Even Epic had to fold and move to Play Store. Maybe Google played dirty, but I think it's perfectly clear users benefit from consolidation. They like the simplicity of having everything in one store and when they change devices they just set up their Play Store account and there everything is. That's a massive advantage to them. Fragmentation is a nightmare.

Developers have come to the same conclusion, it's to their benefit for the customers to all be on one store with one set of policies and features so that's where the majority of the apps go.

So what are you going to do, force Apple to become a fragmented Android copy with multiple stores and side loading that a tiny fraction of techies actually use? Those people already have that on Android if they want it. Honestly you'd just screw over Apple and a few other people over a principle hardly anybody actually cares about or benefits from. It certainly wouldn't make any significant commercial difference. We ran that experiment and the results are in.

The idea that users would all be side loading apps and developers would be making far more money having their apps spread across 5+ different stores that would compete down to lower prices is delusional. If that were the case, why has this not happened on Windows or MacOS where side loading is actually the default yet Steam, GOG, etc still charge 30%? It's crystal clear that's just the split the market has converged on through a competitive process. After all Steam has competed from day one with a default split of nothing for direct downloads from the software publisher but has thrived charging 30%. If that's not direct market validation I don't know what is.


Are people buying software through steam because they like the consolidated experience? Or because they trust it more than an exe from a random website? Or because steam already has their credit card info stored? Or because it's the only place to obtain certain games?

It's some combination of these things (and some others I haven't considered), and the value all of this added up, minus steam's downsides, is apparently worth an extra 30% if this cost is sufficiently hidden from the consumer.

Would people still pay a 30% fee if the store were forced to actually show the fee, and there were alternatives? I'm not so sure.

You're right that there's some value there, but it's probably closer to 3% than 30%.


There are alternatives, you can sell the software directly from your own website. Publishers have decided that the reach the store gives them is worth the 30%.


Fragmentation and walled gardens are a false dichotomy. Steam is actually a great example of this, there are many other stores (Humble Bundle, Fanatical, GMG, whatever) that sell you Steam keys so you can keep your game library in one comfortable place.


Yes Steam are still perfectly comfortable staying at 30% as I said it's clearly a market driven level.


Steam keys sold off steam do not give valve a cut.


I wonder what a user is worth to Steam?

They didn’t have to acquire the user themselves and now they have more eyeballs on their service. How many of these users buy a few things later and make waiving the fee worth it?

Steams not doing this out of the goodness of their hearts.


nobody claimed otherwise, only that its trivial to sidestep the 30% fee, even if you wish to remain distributed by steam.


Right, they believe their store value is enough for them to compete with 0%.


Valve is definitely getting some kind of money out of the deal.


They are not

"Steam keys are meant to be a convenient tool for game developers to sell their game on other stores and at retail. Steam keys are free and can be activated by customers on Steam to grant a license to a product."

https://partner.steamgames.com/doc/features/keys


I didn’t mean to say they are getting a direct cut as sibling commenters indicated, but Valve definitely is getting at least some kind of money indirectly out of them offering this.

I'm a developer who uses Steamworks. Keys are free for us to generate and sell at will. Valve reserve the right to say no, but from what I can tell, their only policy is to not take the piss (selling millions of keys), and not to charge more to customers who buy directly from Steam.


> The idea that users would all be side loading apps and developers would be making far more money having their apps spread across 5+ different stores that would compete down to lower prices is delusional. If that were the case, why has this not happened on Windows or MacOS where side loading is actually the default yet Steam, GOG, etc still charge 30%?

That has happened. The majority of my 20,000 Steam games were acquired from outside of Steam.


You are in a teeny tiny minority. I made it clear I'm talking about the mass market. These arguments are made under the false presence (or delusion) that they are in the interests of the broad base of users who would get lower prices. They would not, we can see that clearly from the Android and PC games markets.

These arguments are being made by a tiny minority for the benefit of a small community of techies who already have platforms available to them that work they way you want and take advantage of it, like you do. It's like coupon clippers insisting on a law that all products sold must some with discount coupons.


> You are in a teeny tiny minority

Minority? Probably. Tiny? Absolutely not.

Here [0] is a breakdown of 70 popular Steam games by the source of purchase for their reviewers as of a year ago. About 28% of all Steam purchases happen outside of Steam itself, with Valve getting a 0% cut. Note that for many games a majority of reviewers did not purchase it on Steam itself.

0: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/u/0/d/1ICv-UE4i651yMkpD...


Reviewers are a tiny minority of users and there's no reason to suspect they are typical.


Do you have better data sources that you're not sharing or are you just making things up and asserting it as fact?


For you. You don’t speak for the rest of the market though, and Steam comfortable holds its lead for good reason.


> You don’t speak for the rest of the market though

Do you?

> Steam comfortable holds its lead for good reason

Yes. One of those good reasons is that it allows people to purchase Steam games without buying them on Steam, thus avoiding having to subsidise Valve's 30% cut.

There's an absolutely gigantic ecosystem around buying Steam games from first-party (developer) and third-party (marketplace/bundle) sellers. I don't think you realise that it's a perfect example against the point you're making. There's enough competition from the ability to "side-load" games into Steam that it's very common to get some of the greatest games ever made for under a dollar, when their MSRP is up to two orders of magnitude higher.


Side note but what does one do with 20,000 games? Do you actually play this many?

Genuine curiosity, not trying to troll or anything.


I've 100% completed about 2500 of them, so I don't have a great completion rate but it's not like they're just there for show. I've probably played around 6000 total.

A very large number of them I would not have bought individually, but they came in a bundle with other games I wanted.


Maybe not a great completion rate respective to the amount of games you've got but probably (surely?) with respect to other gamers! If someone asked you to pick your favourite three...?


> If someone asked you to pick your favourite three...?

HyperRogue, Hollow Knight, and LOGistICAL.


Thanks!


I think the point is that Steam manages to do just fine while charging 30%, on a platform where developers could easily choose to self-publish. For small developers, that 30% is worth it because the value Steam brings to them is worth more than the revenue it takes. The only ones choosing to go elsewhere are massive publishers that can market their own storefronts, and indie devs taking large up front payments from Epic to leave Steam.

I can see both sides of the argument here. It sucks having no choice as a developer, and feeling forced pay Apple a tax just to get paid for your work. It's especially egregious with subscriptions, where Apple doesn't even do any of the content delivery. However, as a user, I think it would also suck if a huge player like Facebook or Google decided to open up their own iOS App Stores, and developers started flocking to them as a means to escape Apples increasingly strict app privacy rules.


It’s weird to compare Steam’s market power over PCs to Apple’s market power over the iPhone. The obvious difference is that the iPhone is a product created by and sold exclusively by Apple. Why would we expect Steam to have comparable market power over the entire PC industry? A much better comparison would be Apple’s market power over smartphones, which is probably comparable to Steam’s market power (as a video game store) over PCs!


Are you implying that you feel entitled to sell software on Apple's tightly controlled consumer devices?


I am stating, very clearly, that Apple have massive market power that they are abusing. This is known in economics circles as "market failure" and across the spectrum from Keynsians to Neo-classical economists is seen as a compelling case for regulation.

Why are you implying I am saying something different to what I /said/.


I don't know much about "Neo-classical economist" circles, but you seemed to be saying something about comparisons to Valve's Steam product. Beyond that, it only seemed like you might be implying the entitlement to sell software on Apple's devices. You certainly didn't /said/ that "Apple have massive market power that they are abusing".

I thought my question was pretty straight forward, and it seems like your answer is full of deflection and vitriol. Fair enough- we're on an internet message board after all.

But I sure wish you'd draw the line somewhere. Do you feel entitled to sell software on Apple's platform or not? Do you feel equally entitled to sell software on my cable box? my car's dashboard? my thermostat?


They are entitled to sell software on Apple customer's devices.


Why shouldn't he? When did we decide to let Nintendo, pardon me, Apple, dictate our digital lives?

- - - - -

https://www.filfre.net/2016/04/generation-nintendo/

> In a landmark ruling against Tengen in March of 1991, Judge Fern Smith stated that Nintendo had the right to “exclude others” from the NES if they so chose, thus providing the legal soil on which many more walled gardens would be tilled in the years to come.

- - - - -

The simple fact that Apple feels they have to enforce this proves they're afraid. If they <<knew>> that their model is absolutely superior, they'd just let people choose.

But if they do that, they'll lose tens of billions of dollars in revenue. So it's not about "security" or whatever, it's just about money.

This is the same company that nickels and dimes every Lightning cable maker to the tune of several billions of dollars, when USB C has been around for many years.

The same company that removed the headphone jack for bogus reasons just to create a market for wireless headphones, worth several billion dollars.

I could go on and on and on about their anti-competitive and anti-consumer practices.


I can't help but feel like having it this way is breaking one of the huge reasons that made computers so absurdly exciting and enticing in the past.

The fact that there was this wide open field, where, sure, maybe you paid Microsoft for the OS, but then the rest was up to you. Trade shareware CDs, install stuff from the internet, type in code from a book or whatever, it felt like an infinite open field of possibilities.

I guess it's normal that the exciting frontier shifts around, but I really can't believe that it's somehow a good thing in this case.


You can still do all those things on a computer.

And now it’s so easy to put up a web app that I’d argue barriers are much, much lower than when you had to figure out how to get your physical software distributed.

The goals of “keep grandpa from getting his life savings stolen by malicious software” and “allow a power user to do whatever they want” can literally never be solved by the same device. If there’s any way to disable protections then the scammers will get grandpa to do it. And the market for grandpas is much larger than the market for tinkerers.


This is false.

Windows used to be a sieve. The infection rates and general abuse Windows received went down by orders of magnitude once they added UAC and the default malware scanner/antivirus.

And they didn't need to lock down everything, completely.

The rest is an easy money grab from the OS vendors who obviously don't want to remain "dumb pipes".


Before Windows Vista there was no real file permissions.

Linux file permisdions are still kinda rubbish. Move a file from system A to system B and it's oner is no longer Rob, its now Bob because they have the same Id!


Wait till you figure out there can even be 2 people named Rob.


And the market for grandpas is much larger than the market for tinkerers.

This kind of thing has become a meme. It's basically irrelevant. If the market of tinkerers was big enough 20 years ago, it's more than big enough now, and the GPU shortage kind of proves that. It's also an all-or-nothing fallacy -- nobody can protect all financial victims, and restricting the tech device market is probably one of the least effective ways to try. There are much better chokepoints for combatting both malware and fraud than the sanitized amusement park experience.


The market for tinkerers is huge. Which is why there is a huge selection of computing products out there that cater almost exclusively to this market. The question is, why should Apple be forced to cater to them as well?

It would be understandable if Apple owned most of the computer/smartphone market, but they don't. iPhones make up less than 20% of smartphones out in the wild. Nobody who wants to avoid Apple is put in a situation where they are at a disadvantage, unlike a telephone user in the 1970's trying to avoid Bell.


> If the market of tinkerers was big enough 20 years ago, it's more than big enough now

It isn't, because the momentum is with big vendors, and big vendors look at economies of scale. Doesn't matter if "tinkerer's market" is 10x as big as it was 20 years ago, when "grandpa's market" is now 100x bigger than that, an every marginal unit of effort is better spent on that than on catering to power users.

> and the GPU shortage kind of proves that.

It doesn't prove the tinkerer's market grew, it's a result of being able to use GPUs to turn electricity directly into money. It's not tinkerers who buy them, it's the business-savvy people. Tinkerers' role is to handle setup.

> It's also an all-or-nothing fallacy -- nobody can protect all financial victims, and restricting the tech device market is probably one of the least effective ways to try.

It's not a fallacy, and it is effective. That's why everyone is doing it. That's why, for example, smartphones are locked down tight and the ecosystem shuns attempts at unlocking them. The pressure is everywhere. Even if the phone vendor lets you root it, your banking app will try to detect it and refuse to run.

> There are much better chokepoints for combatting both malware and fraud than the sanitized amusement park experience.

Can you name some? Because as much as I hate the "sanitized amusement park experience" trend, I honestly can't think of an alternative approach that would work. Past a certain point, security and usability are mutually exclusive - the features needed to protect you from someone impersonating you, or to protect you from getting tricked into self-pwning, are directly restricting what you can do on your own device.


> You can still do all those things on a computer.

Have you tried to distribute software on macOS out of the App Store recently?


Did you try to distribute software out of the App Store 25 years ago?


> I can't help but feel like having it this way is breaking one of the huge reasons that made computers so absurdly exciting and enticing in the past.

We live in a bubble, so it was exciting for us.

The iPhone was exciting for everyone, for the whole world, and in no small part because normal people finally felt confident enough to try all that sweet sweet software that became available thanks to people like you who don't need a safety net to tinker with stuff.


People were still doing iPhone stuff before the iPhone. You had blackberry and palm offering email, internet, games, and mms to the masses and the devices were quite popular for those who could afford them.

The iPhone only became a device for the masses, truly, when carriers started subsidizing the older models for zero down, around the iPhone 4g era. This has continued today where Verizon currently offers the iPhone SE for "$0/mo" like some cheap flip phone of old. Before that, the iPhone was exclusively rich persons phone, and probably still would have been in the U.S. at least (like it is in the rest of the world) had it not been for carrier subsidies and cheaper mobile internet plans (or maybe just the normalization of spending so much on a mobile plan every month). The iPhone didn't even get third party apps until years after launch, and when it did, the most popular of that sweet sweet software during those early days were mostly dumb stuff like apps that make gunshot sounds, or flash game clones. The real gems during that era was software written by the jailbreak community, and a lot of that added functionality was cloned by apple in later OS versions.


quite popular for those who could afford them

Lots of revisionist history here.

Until the iPhone 3G, vast majority of people I knew here in Sydney had Nokias. Getting data was also expensive.

Apple changed all of that here. Affordable plans with data to make a smart phones useful. Then they were everywhere. So it wasn’t a “rich persons” phone here in Australia. Maybe a middle class phone. They also got software updates for years, letting you keep the device longer. Once Android got their act together, I remember all the Android users churning through phones at least once a year because they were so bad.

The iPhone was first launched in Jan 2007. The App Store launched July 2008. So it wasn’t “years” before third party apps either. Most of the useful ones were for public transport, messaging, GPS, maybe a few games.

Don’t let their questionable acts now, cloud your memory of what they did. Apple nailed it with the iPhone. They were the under dog back then and took down all the big players to bring smart phones and digital software purchases to the masses.


> "The iPhone was exciting for everyone, for the whole world"

You live in a buble, most of the world can't afford to spend $1000 on a phone.


The "iPhone revolution", the trend the iPhone started. The majority of the world's population owns an iPhone style smartphone with access to an App Store style software store.


It’s a 15% cut for developers who makes less than $1 million and for most other developers after year 1 on the App Store.


This only happened recently after they've had lawsuits and antitrust suits and Congressional interest.


It depends of course on how you published.

When I was authoring software (over two decades ago) and a company acted as publisher they took 85% of gross.

For author/publisher relationships at that time, this was pretty typical (book authors/publishers being the closest analog).

Needless to say there was, in addition to the cost of creating and shipping floppies, advertising that the publisher had to cover.

Apple's 30% cut seemed fair to me when the App Store arrived.

I'm not sure if I would try to ship an iOS app these days though. Not because of Apple's cut but because of the race to the bottom that was unleashed shortly after the App Store gold rush: where now you don't appear to even be able to sell a $0.99 app.


You are probably right about the cut the publisher took, but the margins are still higher for Apple as they have very low costs of marketing, distribution etc. In fact I think Apple charges way more if you consider the margins.

The other problem is of course that no one else can really enter this space. It's now only Apple and Google. It will be very hard for anyone else to enter. There were many more publishers and the competition and differentiation was higher.


Bullshit - we were building and publishing mobile apps in the early 2000’s and the top rate was 15%.


The 30% cut was considered very good at the time.

No, it wasn't. I'm not going to dig up links, but one could pop a web site storefront and Fastspring for payment processing (as one example of a company I used) for less than 10% (Fastspring would take something like 6-7%, IIRC). Discovery has always sucked on Apple's store, so no value-add there. In fact, I'd argue that the only value-add one gets out of Apple's store is access to their closed garden.

And "50-90%"? Is that in reference to putting software in physical boxes and on CompUSA shelves? Because no mobile publisher charged 90% before Apple's store came along.


IIRC 50% (60%) was the rate for the app distributor I used for selling my PalmOS app. It was digital download, too.

For the Apple case: access to the walled garden is the majority of the benefit. But still, setting up payments, customer service, chargebacks, fees, etc., is nice to have taken care of. 30% nice? Who knows. But more than just the raw payment processor overhead, surely.

AFAIK physical boxes are way above 50%.


There were a couple of stores that were more expensive.

But there's 2 reasons the comparisons aren't valid:

1) The revolution Apple brought to mobile phones was making them personal computers. So the relevant comparison really should be with personal computers and I doubt any of them had stores that took as much of a cut.

2) More relevant, the vast majority of such app stores which charged 40-50% were optional marketplaces. A customer didn't need to go through them to install an app on their phone (I believe Palm was like this. I'm pretty sure the likes of WinMo allowed many different ways to install apps). So if a marketplace was charging 40-70% it was entirely for the fact that they were bringing a customer to you. If you were able to acquire a customer by yourself, you didn't need to pay anyone any cut.

The big problem with Apple's 30% cut has always been that they charge you that amount just for having a user, even if you did all the work to get that user to use and pay for your app. Outside of the maybe 3% credit card fees, Apple provides 0 value.

One may argue (as many Apple folks do) that they charge for the frameworks, etc., but that argument is absolutely backwards. Apple creates the frameworks and APIs because they need the apps, not because the apps need them. If Apple was to get rid of its 3rd party APIs and frameworks, so there were no 3rd party apps, it's not the app developers who would suffer because all those users would migrate to Android. It's the iDevices and Apple that would basically disappear.

In fact, App developers would be thrilled because now they only need to support 1 Operating system.


1) That’s extremely revisionist thinking, the original iPhone didn’t allow any third party apps.

The iPhone was never sold as a computer it was very much just a better UI on a traditional cellphone.

2) Again no, most cellphones at the time where extremely locked down flip phones. Hell, selling ringtones used to be a thing because of how locked down phones where back in the day. Look up what kind of a cut musicians got of that fad.


My phone can’t run an IDE or compile code, can’t run solid works, can’t be shared with multiple people, can’t render CGI, can’t mine BTC, and can’t run office, etc.

If this is a personal computer, solely because it runs a browser, then the goalposts have shifted dramatically.


It can run Microsoft Office. You can program in a Python IDE and run code (Pythonista). You can create CGI on an iPhone.

Most of the limitations you mention like compiling are completely arbitrary and added by Apple. The devices are powerful enough and it's easy enough to do everything on a $300 Android phone.


I really don’t care much about Androids, I haven’t used/been educated about them in 6 years and don’t plan to.

That said, a general purpose personal computer is defined by its advertising not its hardware. My iPhone was never advertised to be able to run any arbitrary binary. The fact it can JIT some version of Python, or run a watered down variant of a program I want does not change what I purchased.

In fact my iPhone was advertised as a multi-purpose, specific device, “arbitrarily limited” to my satisfaction, with a walled garden for my personal protection. This is the device I very intentionally purchased and recommended to family and friends!

Forcing it to be ruined for billions of customers because a few hundred thousand developers are less happy is not only ok with me, I paid for that privilege, thank you.

If “developers” (which I am one of) wanted more open access computing devices, they should have self regulated and ensured viruses, scams, malware, bloat ware, etc were not so common as to drive away every user!

Now it’s time to switch jobs, or be successful with a 30% (which hopefully in the future is 3% - I’m happy for you and anyone to push for a reduction in this value). Now is not the time to complain that Apple is anti-competitive and should be forced to ruin a billion customers experiences, given its users are actively inviting Apple to their defense.


"-There's an app for that."

That in my opinion is Apple advertising the iPhone as a do anything software device, a personal computer. Considering the only thing holding back the iPhone from doing everything like running GCC, Blender, etc. is a locked bootloader keeping people from easily hacking Linux or Android on there doesn't IMO make it not a personal computer. Whether you are happy with the walled garden approach or not doesn't make it not a personal computer either. But it's frankly ridiculous IMO to state that an iPhone is not a personal computer because Apple's ad copy doesn't say so and not on what it does.


Firstly, you mean general purpose computing device. Personal computer just means a single person uses it. By the current definition my electric tooth brush is a personal computer.

Secondly can you please define general purpose computing device such that it doesn’t include my toaster, pressure/slow cooker, or oven?

> "-There's an app for that."

My definition for general purpose computing device is, when there needs to be an app for that, and if the app doesn’t exist, I (or anyone) can’t do it without Apple’s permission. Which is what Apple marketed me.

> a locked bootloader keeping people from easily hacking Linux or Android on there

I am actually for an unlocked boot loader on iDevices (with a voided warranty and no expectations for driver support).

I’m also for pushing Apple to reduce its fees from 30% or 15% or whatever to even lower. As long as it continues to be profitable for them to hold a high security/privacy bar and ideally raise it even higher.

I’m just very much not a fan of opening up iOS to sideloading. And I’m not a fan of reducing Apple’s control over developers on iOS.


You used personal computer above. I'm not typing out "general purpose computing device" every time. I think most rational people don't consider their oven to be a personal computer even if it has computer controlled parts.

> Secondly can you please define general purpose computing device such that it doesn’t include my toaster, pressure/slow cooker, or oven?

Sure. I'll use my toaster oven as an example, a Panasonic NB-G110P. I'm assuming no hardware hacking obviously.

My toaster oven doesn't have any built in way to store or add storage for a users program. No support for a cassette drive or even a paper tape reader. It doesn't have any sort of way for the user to run "programs" or instructions in memory outside the predefined functions from the manufacturer like "Waffle mode" that are probably burned into ROM and immutable to the user. While it DOES unusually have TWO 8 segment LCD displays for output there is no way for the user to output results or perhaps inspect memory addresses for anything beyond seeing the time remaining in "Waffle mode" or the like.

An iPhone by contrast has storage for user programs, ways to load and run instructions not included or designed by the manufacturer but a third party, ways to output the results of those programs and allow users to interact with them in some ways.

You also don't need Apple's permission to create a program of your liking for iOS but you do need Apple's permission to distribute it in a fashion that's reasonable for the non-technically inclined.

Apple's lock on software is in my opinion just as gross as Apple's or John Deere's lock on hardware. It's the manufacturer imposing constraints on what I can do with my device for mainly their benefit. There's a small security benefit to this approach but in my view what Apple is getting out of the arrangement is far too much weighted in their favour.

You're right bootloaders should be unlocked. But if they're not going to provide drivers then they have to provide documentation that would allow drivers to be written by those that can and care to. Keep iOS locked if they want but give a reasonable way out.


> It doesn't have any sort of way for the user to run "programs" or instructions in memory outside the predefined functions

You’re intentionally picking a dumb toaster. I could also intentionally pick a dumb phone. What about the toasters that run Linux? or use a Raspberry Pi internally?

> ways to load and run instructions not included or designed by the manufacturer but a third party

As far as I know an iOS device can’t load non-Apple or non-Apple-approved code from a third party. Not even by me without explicit approval from Apple (which I need to pay them for the privilege).

How is the current situation meaningfully different from Apple hiring consultants, code reviewing the consultants code and adding that as optional iOS code (with the consultants retaining rights to the code)? Or including a random open source library into iOS as a downloadable, optional part of the OS (with the open source contributors retaining rights to the code)?

And to state again: as a customer I paid for this device wanting these limitations.


Show me a single toaster that runs Linux. Or uses a Raspberry Pi. I did not pick a "dumb" toaster. Don't be ridiculous. Most toasters don't even have a LCD display or features like Waffle or Pizza modes. It's on the smarter scale of toaster.

I am a third party. I can load a non-Apple approved app onto an iOS device for free. Even ignoring jailbreaking by using Xcode. The app will only work for 7 days before I have to resign it but it doesn't need to be submitted or approved by Apple or follow their store guidelines at all. Altstore basically wraps that process up into a little bow to make it easier. Don't even need your own Mac.

I could also use Pythonista to write a working Apple I emulator. Is the iPhone still not general purpose PC?


Dude, do at least the most basic research. It took me one Amazon search for smart toaster to find a touch screen, programable, toaster.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086H69SJ2/

I’d like to see the Apple 1 emulator please. I’d like to know which of iOS’ permissions you hit first.


That is so far outside the realm of normal toaster.

You don't need any permission's because it's possible to build entirely within the sandbox of Pythonista!


This is the future (5 - 10 years) for every one of the devices we all use.

I’d rather they all prioritize security, rather than extensibility.

Reading more about Pythonista, it’s seems unlikely that you could build a stateful Apple 1 emulator. But even so it looks cool. Arguably a little too permissive for my liking on iOS. I hope Apple closes all of those Inter-App communication channels. That seems like a security risk waiting to happen.


Your phone likely has an order of magnitude more computational power than the machines that were used to code and build some of the programs you mentioned.

The fact that iOS/Android prevents you from installing gcc does not mean it is unable to do so.

You could use a bluetooth mouse and keyboard and output HDMI over the usb/lightning port and have a super portable dev machine if the OS was so inclined.


Hardware doesn’t make a device multi-purpose, the advertising does!

(See more in my response to your sibling comment)


I remember considering 1-2% to be fair, for the payment processing. Publishers were an old-fashioned thing and not even considered for the comparison.


> The 30% cut was considered very good at the time. It was way better than the 50-90% cut that traditional publishers would take.

Why didn't Steve Jobs go with web distribution of first class web apps or allow Flash on his platform? If they truly wanted to be remarkable, this would have been the future.

The answer is control.

Apple is a cutthroat business just like any other, and their "privacy first" veneer is just a wolf in sheep's clothing. They're playing it up as an attack against Google and Facebook, meanwhile they still phone home about the apps you're running and can shut them off remotely.

Microsoft never taxed software on their platform. Jobs had to invent that business model. It flourished like wildflowers thanks to him.


'First class web apps' was precisely how you were supposed to create apps for the first iPhone; the SDK was thrown together over the next year only after the huge demand for writing native apps. The iPhone pushed a bunch of device access web APIs originally explicitly for this reason.


> Why didn't Steve Jobs go with web distribution of first class web apps

That was exactly his intent when he announced the iPhone, and he got absolutely obliterated by the internet for it.


*exactly what he claimed was his intent. There's no way Steve Jobs cared so little about quality he thought web apps were preferable.


Not allowing Flash on the iPhone is probably the best thing Apple ever did


Destroying an open, low barrier to entry animation and application platform that was used by teenagers to develop and share interactive content?

Destroying a way to deliver native-like, cross-platform applications without an app store was good?

Jobs did it for control. He didn't want interop between Android and iPhone, and he didn't want any web browser with enough flexibility to do anything sophisticated.


Flash was a dumpster fire of bad performance and security vulnerabilities. It was also a wholly proprietary platform that did great harm to the openness of the web during it's reign. It was only marginally less problematic than ActiveX.


Android had Flash. It stank, and the blame for its stinkiness lies entirely on Adobe.


Better than the neck brace we wear around our throats today.


Better than 100% open web standards? What do you think Flash got replaced by that warrants being called a "neck brace"?


Flash was absolutely garbage on mobile at the time.

Signed, a heavy Windows Mobile user.


This may be pedantic, but Steam was collecting its 30% long before the App Store opened. Thought maybe that was inspired by Apple's cut of music revenues in the iTunes Store.


I could walk into Best Buy and buy the game I want off the shelf. I have no such option if I want to buy an iOS app from a store or the developers themselves.

Steam also don't engage in anti-competitive behavior and prevent billions of people from using alternative game distribution methods like Apple does.

What we need is real competition in the mobile app distribution market to determine whether or not that 30% is actually fair, efficient and competitive. As it stands, there is no competition in mobile app distribution.


That's simply not true, Android outsells iOS, it has multiple App Stores and allows sideloading. Plenty of phones come with 2 or 3 different app stores from the network, vendor and Google. The fact is consumers like app stores, they like consolidation because it makes it simpler for them and a lot of them like the benefits they get from a walled garden. Developers like consolidation too, which is why they have converged on the Play Store en masse on Android. These things benefit them, and the vast, vast majority appreciate those benefits more than they appreciate the benefits of managing multiple competing stores and side loading downloaded APKs.

You can't magic those preferences away. Even if you forced iOS to become an Android clone with multiple app stores and sideloading you can't force people to like those things. You'd just be giving an extra option to a very small subset of techies who have Android now to do that on already anyway. The market has spoken and it likes nice simple well managed choices because that's what the people want.

Why is it that Apple have to make the solution a small subset of people want. Why is that their problem to solve?

Maybe these stores converged on 30% because it's a nice round number and a roughly 1:2 split makes intuitive sense. Consoles, music stores, Steam, mobile app stores, they've all circled around about that number for a very long time. Some have tried around 20/80 to grab market share but it never worked, Nintendo tried 35/65 for a while before going to 30/70. In the end it's natural that competitive forces will tend to a convergence.


> That's simply not true, Android outsells iOS, it has multiple App Stores and allows sideloading.

It's very true. Google acts in an anticompetitive manner to prevent competition in the mobile app distribution market, as well.

Google prevents mobile app distribution competitors from competing with the Play Store on feature parity because user installable 3rd party mobile app stores cannot implement automatic upgrades, background installation of apps, or batch installs of apps like the Play Store can.

Also, iOS has 60% of the market in the US[1], which is the highest in the world. Apple's App Store is responsible for 100% more app store revenue than the Play Store[2].

> Maybe these stores converged on 30% because it's a nice round number and a roughly 1:2 split makes intuitive sense

Instead of guessing, we should let real competition in the mobile app distribution market increase efficiency and drive costs down to their true values instead of letting a cartel decide what they are.

[2] https://www.businessofapps.com/data/app-revenues/

[1] https://deviceatlas.com/blog/android-v-ios-market-share


> Why is it that Apple have to make the solution a small subset of people want. Why is that their problem to solve?

Because otherwise they are a populist company.

Imagine a company making clothes in sizes S..XL, but not XXL. Don't you think a company owes it to society to also offer the XXL size?

Instead of thinking "what is better for us?", a company should think "what is better for our customers?"


On the other hand, steam will not stop collecting data about you if you ask.

GOG has much better policies.

For example, GOG sells some games that try to phone home. Many of these were games/franchises that did business with GOG, then were bought.

Take a look at the reviews for Kerbal Space Program, or Stellaris for some of the shenanigans that happened after a game was released.

But because their stance is no-drm and you can play all their games offline, you can block them and the game will still run.

There is no such stance with steam.


> I could walk into Best Buy and buy the game I want off the shelf. I have no such option if I want to buy an iOS app from a store or the developers themselves.

What percentage of that transaction do you think Best Buy would take?


Doesn't really matter to me when I can just go to another store, or on eBay or Facebook and buy it second-hand, or buy it directly from the developer.


>I could walk into Best Buy and buy the game I want off the shelf.

If you try doing it for any PC games released over the past decade, you are more likely than not gonna have a disk with some installable files and a Steam code in the box. Without that Steam code, there is no way for you to play the game.

At this point, there isn't any difference between buying directly from Steam, as opposed to "walking into Best Buy and buying the game you want off the shelf".


Steam does not take a cut from steam keys sold off steam.

https://partner.steamgames.com/doc/features/keys


Even if what you say is indeed the case (which is very possible), it still leaves a major question on the table.

What's the point if you (as a customer) end up paying the same price at the end of the day anyway, and you still have to use Steam DRM? The only difference in your case is that the cut is going to Best Buy instead of Steam.


You pay 30% for all the hosting and listing and payment processing. But then you aren't required to use Steam to distribute your game — you could as well set up your own website. There's nothing preventing you. There's no predatory code signing on desktop OSes.

On the other hand, you can't sideload apps onto iOS devices. You HAVE to go through Apple. You either publish on the app store, or you don't have an iOS app. That's different. That's very different. That's antitrust-can't-happen-sooner different.


You aren't required to use the Apple store to distribute your product. You can sell to Android users and desktop/laptop users.

> "That's different. That's very different

Is it? Why is it? You can't sell software to run on Kindle Paperwhite even though it's a full computer inside. What's the specific difference between that and iOS, other than "Apple's ecosystem and customers are desirable, so I want to use it" and "I don't want to pay for it"?


> You aren't required to use the Apple store to distribute your product. You can sell to Android users and desktop/laptop users.

You aren't making much sense. You won't have any semblance of adoption if you don't have presence on iOS. Except maybe in India where iOS market share is tiny.

> You can't sell software to run on Kindle Paperwhite even though it's a full computer inside.

It's an appliance. It's marketed as a device to serve one purpose — read books. Amazon isn't making apps for it either, as far as the user is concerned, there's no notion of application software on these things.

By the way, washing machines and microwaves also have a full computer in them — there's CPU, RAM, and ROM. Yes, tiny and underpowered. Probably not quite powerful enough to run Doom. Computers nonetheless, technically.

Yet no one raises any objections about not being able to run arbitrary code on them. Precisely because of the marketing and expectations.

> What's the specific difference between that and iOS

iPhones and iPads are marketed as general-purpose computing devices. They are not appliances by any stretch of imagination. Yet they are crippled because Apple has knowingly and deliberately put in a limitation so they only run code that was signed by Apple. This limits their general-purposefulness. This forces developers who don't want or need the hosting and listing still go through the app store.


Apple devices aren't crippled by it, they're improved by it. By curation and restriction. Users don't buy Apple gear to pay the lowest possible price for software, or to sideload software, users buy Apple to get something that works. The whole point is that Apple is selling an Apple experience, not an overwhelming flood of "fix it yourself" freeware. Users who want that can get it elsewhere, they shouldn't be forced to suffer it on iOS as well. Taking the restrictions away isn't an improvement. They aren't mandatory restrictions until using iOS is mandatory, and it isn't.

This is like a restaurant demanding smart shoes for customers, and you complaining that it's anti-competitively hurting your sneaker business and the restaurant should be forced to change. Customers going there are going there knowing the dress code applies to them and others, forcibly blocking that removes part of their reason for going there at all.

> "You aren't making much sense. You won't have any semblance of adoption if you don't have presence on iOS."

That is the sense, you aren't required to have any semblance of adoption. Apple is successful by building a curated, restricted, "exclusive" (by perception if not fact) experience. You want access to the customers and their money, without upholding the reasons the customers are using that platform.

> "Yet no one raises any objections about not being able to run arbitrary code on them. Precisely because of the marketing and expectations."

Now you aren't making sense. Apple never marketed or set expectations that you could sideload apps on iPhone or iOS, did they?

> "By the way, washing machines and microwaves also have a full computer in them — there's CPU, RAM, and ROM. Yes, tiny and underpowered. Probably not quite powerful enough to run Doom. Computers nonetheless, technically."

So you're going after Bosch for anti-competitively not allowing you to sell software that runs on their washing machines, and not allowing owners to sideload? Because this is all about anti-competitive, you said? No obviously you aren't doing that, which calls into question your claimed reasons. You can easily list your app on Apple's store and compete, what it's about is you want more money. Which is fine in its own way, until you try to get some legal mandate for Apple to force me to worse platform so you can avoid paying Apple money for using Apple's platform and reputation.


>"You want access to their customers"

Last time i checked, corporations were not allowed to own people, has that changed?

>"So you're going after Bosch for anti-competitively not allowing you to sell software that runs on their washing machines, and not allowing owners to sideload?"

You are not helping your case by making these daft comparisons.


Perhaps referring to people who buy and use X's products and services as "X's customers" is unfamiliar to you, but it's in very common usage, and conveys no element of ownership:

https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=%22apple%27s%20custome...

> "You are not helping your case by making these daft comparisons."

The person I was originally replying to is the one who brought up washing machines as having general purpose computers inside them. It's not my comparison, it's me using their comparison to make a point. The point being, that because Alice bought a device that contains a microchip, doesn't entitle you to be allowed to sell software that runs on that microchip, and worsen her experience to do that. Like if Alice chooses to live in a gated community and pays someone to filter her mail, it would be obviously unreasonable to say "I object to gates, I should be allowed to post my fliers through her mailbox for free", as if that's your decision to make, not hers.


What if Alice lives in a gated community because it has a pool and would like to receive mail that hasn’t been pre-screened?


Why would Alice buy into a gated community she doesn't want to live in, when she can buy an Android community and side-load a pool app and run her own mailserver? Android phones exist, they have app stores - multiple options - Alice could have chosen one, and not only chose something else, but likely spent more money on it as well. What kind of techno-patronising is it to pretend like Alice was too dumb to know what she was choosing, has "been robbed", and needs someone else to step in and change what she bought to "make it better for her" by making it more like the thing she could have bought and voluntarily didn't buy?

More to the point, why should Catarina be forbidden from offering a gated community with a pool and a mail filter service, because Eve wants to send mail outside the filter system?

Is the claim here that if you started a smartphone company with your own AppStore and sideloading, Apple would act anticompetitively and shut you down? (What would they do?) Or is the claim that it's unfair Apple offers a product other people want, which you don't want?


Then we’re talking about different Alice’s. Your Alice can side load on Android.


That argument would be fine if we had plenty of mobile OS providers, except we have only two and it's a duopoly with very clear market issues.

If you don't like Bosch, there's hundreds of other manufacturer, if you don't like a restaurant, there's hundreds of other ones you can pick, if you don't like Android and iOS, well, you're screwed.

That's the market analogy, secondly, those monopolies are essential in today's computing world and currently power a great part of the tech industry, easy to see some issues there.


> The whole point is that Apple is selling an Apple experience, not an overwhelming flood of "fix it yourself" freeware. Users who want that can get it elsewhere, they shouldn't be forced to suffer it on iOS as well.

> That argument would be fine if we had plenty of mobile OS providers

So your problem is Apple solved the customer problem so well with “an Apple experience” that all other phone OSes were abandoned.

And as a result Apple should be forced to ruin that experience beloved by their customers, so that the relatively small number of software developers make a little more money?

As an Apple customer, I’m glad your software is being gated from me. I don’t trust your judgement.


> So your problem is Apple solved the customer problem so well with “an Apple experience” that all other phone OSes were abandoned.

I don't really care how and why those two companies got their monopoly, that's beside the point.

> And as a result Apple should be forced to ruin that experience beloved by their customers, so that the relatively small number of software developers make a little more money?

There's hundreds of thousands of developers on mobile platforms and juste two single companies on the other side with blatant anti-trust issues, that's an easy argument here.

> As an Apple customer, I’m glad your software is being gated from me. I don’t trust your judgement.

I really don't care if you use my software or not either. I'm currently forced to use one of those two mobile platform for my daily use and both choices are terrible in their own way due to anti-trust issues. You have absolutely zero power over Apple which owns your device anyway so I'm not sure why you would say that, it's not like your opinion would matter to them.


> I don't really care how and why those two companies got their monopoly, that's beside the point.

How do you expect to beat Apple or even an argument on the internet, let alone with Congress, if you’re not even willing to learn from your (so called) competitors?


Which competitors? They aren't any. I expect anti-trust laws to be applied, as simple as that.


What anti-trust measures made Blackberry give up and switch to Android? Was it Apple's doing that Microsoft bought Nokia and Nokia imploded with Symbian and Maemo and inability to compete with iOS? Was it Apple's doing that Microsoft went from Windows CE to Windows Mobile to Windows Phone 7 to Windows Phone 8, each incompatible with the previous, and they couldn't attract developers because they couldn't keep a stable API and didn't embrace the web? Was it Apple's doing that all the featurephone providers from Motorola to Sony, and all the PDA providers like Psion and Palm and Dell, and all the computer companies like IBM and Intel, all completely failed to release a credible competitor device?

Apple have 27% of the mobile OS market.

Simple as what? What do you expect, what do you want, anti-trust laws being applied to do? Magically conjour up a competitor from nowhere? Or just smash iOS in resentment for its success so you can have avoid having to suffer Android?


> What anti-trust measures made Blackberry give up and switch to Android? Was it Apple's doing that Microsoft bought Nokia and Nokia imploded with Symbian and Maemo and inability to compete with iOS? [...] ?

The history of the mobile OS market is beside the point, I'm only stating facts about the current landscape.

> Apple have 27% of the mobile OS market.

And they are in a duopoly with Google with absolutly zero competition. If you want a proof of that, the only time their tariff ever changed was because of Epic Game's threat... of an antitrust lawsuit, you can't even make this stuff up.

> Simple as what? What do you expect, what do you want, anti-trust laws being applied to do? Magically conjour up a competitor from nowhere? Or just smash iOS in resentment for its success so you can have avoid having to suffer Android?

Yes exactly, smash both iOS and Android into multiple independent companies so that this broken market blocking the tech industry can function again.


> "And they are in a duopoly with Google with absolutly zero competition." "The history of the mobile OS market is beside the point"

It's not besides the point, it's important whether there's no competition because Apple crushed them unfairly in an anti-trust kind of way, or because all other competitors are completely and utterly incompetent. That there is a competing OS with many manufacturers customising and selling it and they collectively have the dominant market share by ~2x over Apple says that Apple is not a monopoly. "Duopoly with no competition, except the dozens of companies which outsell them by 2:1" is nonsensical.

> "if you don't like Android and iOS, well, you're screwed" "Yes exactly, smash both iOS and Android into multiple independent companies"

But I do like iOS. And I don't want you smashing iOS because you don't like it. Part of why it's good is because it's made by one integrated company. You already have Android from multiple independent companies - you can have it without Google services, where it's basically functionless, you can have it with Samsung UX or you can try Huaweii's build. Are you saying they're all bad (yes), that they all can't compete to make things better, but if the same happens to iOS that will somehow make it good? Of course it won't, it will make it just as bad in the same ways for the same reasons.

What's wrong with the Pinephone or Librem5 or all the other non-Apple non-Google phones? Why are you "screwed"? They can't compete because making a cutting edge device is hard and expensive.

> "because of Epic Game's threat... of an antitrust lawsuit, you can't even make this stuff up."

I'll check what Wikipedia has on that... "When Epic first released its Android client, it offered it as a sideloaded package rather than as a Google Play store app, as they did not want Google to take any revenue from the microtransactions in the game.[6] However, this resulted in a number of security concerns and numerous unscrupulous clones attempting to pass themselves off as the real Fortnite game in the Google Play store"

Yes, this sounds exactly what I expect, not techno-freedom-utopia but unregulated scamland, and why I'm objecting so hard in this thread. Followed by "Sweeney said that they undertook the actions as "we're fighting for the freedom of people who bought smartphones to install apps from sources of their choosing, the freedom for creators of apps to distribute them as they choose, and the freedom of both groups to do business directly."

That sounds awesome, imagine the freedom to install apps from sources of your choosing, like sideloading ... hang on "and by April 2020, Epic discontinued the sideloaded version and placed the game on the Google Play store". Oh I guess he didn't really believe his own story at all, and wanted to benefit from Google's better reptuation and filtering on the Play store, while arguing that it shouldn't exist?


> It's not besides the point, it's important whether there's no competition because Apple crushed them unfairly in an anti-trust kind of way, or because all other competitors are completely and utterly incompetent.

There's network effects on mobile platforms, you could not make a new one even if you had 500 billion you could spend on it. The existing actors just prevent you to create a new one.

> But I do like iOS. And I don't want you smashing iOS because you don't like it

I don't like monopolies, I couldn't care less about the iOS interface. There's blatant market issues in the tech industry that need to be solved.

> What's wrong with the Pinephone or Librem5 or all the other non-Apple non-Google phones? Why are you "screwed"? They can't compete because making a cutting edge device is hard and expensive.

They have negligible market size and thus do not have an influence on the the mobile app market, that's not even an argument.

> Yes, this sounds exactly what I expect, not techno-freedom-utopia but unregulated scamland

You're missing the point completely, in a market with competition, you are supposed to act and react according to the competition, the only change Apple ever did was because of a real threat of antitrust lawsuit... That's basically admission.

> That sounds awesome, imagine the freedom to install apps from sources of your choosing, like sideloading ... hang on "and by April 2020, Epic discontinued the sideloaded version and placed the game on the Google Play store". Oh I guess he didn't really believe his own story at all, and wanted to benefit from Google's better reptuation and filtering on the Play store, while arguing that it shouldn't exist?

No, that just tells you that even the most popular game in the world could not make it outside the play store. That tells you that Google's claim that "you can sideload anyways" are just complete BS and that's hard proof that the restrictions they've put in place to make that option not suitable are working.

Additionally Google has prevented manufacturers to pre-install the Epic Store by using threats.


> "There's network effects on mobile platforms, you could not make a new one even if you had 500 billion you could spend on it. The existing actors just prevent you to create a new one."

First it's network effects, then it's the existing actors preventing you. Make your mind up.

> "I don't like monopolies, I couldn't care less about the iOS interface."

Then use a Pinephone. That nobody else you know uses it, and nobody develops for it isn't Apple's fault. Apple's 30% appstore cut isn't bringing people from Pinephone to iOS, if anything it should be pushing the other way. I know they have negligible market size - the point is Apple iOS has big market size by being good and your plan to respond to this is to make it bad from sour grapes.

> "You're missing the point completely, in a market with competition, you are supposed to act and react according to the competition, the only change Apple ever did was because of a real threat of antitrust lawsuit... That's basically admission."

Fortnite was not competing with Apple though? Epic gave people a way to buy Fortnite on Steam, and then a way to install Fortnite free on Android, and people didn't want that. So Epic came after Apple and blamed them, irrelevantly, and the judge was leaning to Apple's side.

> "No, that just tells you that even the most popular game in the world could not make it outside the play store."

That just tells you that app stores are doing something people really really really want.

> "That tells you that Google's claim that "you can sideload anyways" are just complete BS"

Except you can sideload anyways, as evidenced by the fact that you can. What it tells you is that /people don't want to/.


> First it's network effects, then it's the existing actors preventing you. Make your mind up.

That's two sides of the same coin.

> Then use a Pinephone. That nobody else you know uses it, and nobody develops for it isn't Apple's fault. Apple's 30% appstore cut isn't bringing people from Pinephone to iOS, if anything it should be pushing the other way. I know they have negligible market size - the point is Apple iOS has big market size by being good and your plan to respond to this is to make it bad from sour grapes.

I'm talking about the mobile app market, maybe one day the Pinephone will have enough market share to be considered a competitor, right now it does not so you can't count it.

> Fortnite was not competing with Apple though? Epic gave people a way to buy Fortnite on Steam, and then a way to install Fortnite free on Android, and people didn't want that. So Epic came after Apple and blamed them, irrelevantly, and the judge was leaning to Apple's side.

Fortnite suffered from the duopoly and the app market failure.

> Except you can sideload anyways, as evidenced by the fact that you can. What it tells you is that /people don't want to/.

No, it tells you that the restrictions Google put in place so that users don't sideload (the developer menu being hard to access, scary warnings and the difficulty of update your app) are enough to keep out even the most popular game in the world to use that option.


I’ll just say this one last time. You keep making the argument “for the benefit of developers”. If you want to win me and people like me, Apple’s customers, you need to start making arguments “for the benefit of customers”.

You want Apple to change? Change the hearts and minds of the people who like Apple’s products and pay Apple.

Statements like “the history of the mobile phone market doesn’t matter” or “I don’t care if the iOS interface is any good” or (paraphrased) “I don’t care why customers choose Apple” will just cause you to alienate the people you need on your side.

For your own sake, please find a better argument rather than repeating yourself.


I don't bring those arguments because they are irrelevant and outside the topic, there's no clause "unless people like them" in anti trust laws, and there's never going to be one.

> For your own sake, please find a better argument rather than repeating yourself.

The arguments are there and can't be refuted, every single market analysis (even superficial) shows antitrust issues and you haven't been able to refute a single point yourself either.

I can keep adding even more and more evidence if you want. Here's another one:

There's been some group preparation for an antitrust lawsuit and in order to do that, those groups have been gathering testimony of people affected by those unfair practices. Developers were so afraid of retaliation by Apple and Google by speaking out what they experience that they had to accept anonymous testimonials. That's as bad as that.


> "The arguments are there and can't be refuted"

I've refuted many of your arguments in this thread. For example, when you claimed that "nobody speaks out against apple", "there are no other mobile OS vendors", "the tech industry can't function with the appstore", "you have no choices", "there are no options if you want to sideload apps". All of them demonstrably (and fairly obviously) incorrect.

That you don't like the alternatives is not the same as them not existing. That they aren't popular is not the same as them not existing. That iOS is "restricted and popular" are not coincidences, nor unfair.


> Apple have 27% of the mobile OS market.

iOS has 60% of the market in the US[1].

[1] https://deviceatlas.com/blog/android-v-ios-market-share


> "I don't really care how and why those two companies got their monopoly, that's beside the point."

It isn't; over the past decade the tech world has shifted more and more towards telemetry, advertising, and low quality user experience. Popular sites like Instagram, Reddit, Facebook, YouTube have added more and more adverts and less and less social connection, become more centralized (Microsoft buying LinkedIn and GitHub, Facebook buying WhatsApp and Instagram), Windows has added more advertisements and telemetry, and iOS has held out as a comparatively stable, predictable, clean, low-ad, low-telemetry, user focused platform through all of this.

> "blatant anti-trust issues"

Allowing my proverbial elderly mother to buy a device which cannot, in any way, be the subject of a scam like this:

https://old.reddit.com/r/personalfinance/comments/mfy1sw/my_...

by having someone talk her through disabling the sideload protection and installing a malware, is not "anti-trust", it's "pro-trust". And yes I do understand that I'm swapping the meaning of "trust" here between your use and mine, and that's deliberate. Look at the comments in that thread:

"Sounds dumb, but my 79 year old dad fell for it completely. Something like $100 and they got him to install remote control software while they ran a virus scan. Of course that was just what was on the screen, who knows what they were really doing."

"My parents were scammed in a very similar way out of $50,000 about a month ago."

"This happened to a relative of mine, but for $80K. Though the thieves claimed they were working with the Shanghai police. The thieves were brazen enough to get her to not only transfer everything she had in her bank account, but to also cash in her 401K"

"I know somebody who fell for something similar about two years ago. Also out about $20k"

"My SO was inches away from walking through the finale of the scam, I caught it before we lost money"

The argument "nobody should be able to buy a system which has some protections in the design, because I want {geek code} on every device" just isn't good enough. And neither is the tech-world answer "they're dumb and deserve it". Buy an iPad and someone can maybe be conned into setting up a bank transfer, but not into side-loading a crypto coin ransomware, it's one level of defense in depth.

> "I'm currently forced to use one of those two mobile platform for my daily use"

And your solution is to drag iOS down to the level of Android or Windows? Who is forcing you? Why can't you use a dumbphone? Is this a "forced because I don't want to change jobs" thing?

> "and both choices are terrible in their own way due to anti-trust issues. You have absolutely zero power over Apple which owns your device anyway so I'm not sure why you would say that"

Apple owns your device is a lie, you bought it, you own it. Take it apart, take the LCD out and plug it into something else, see if Apple comes at you for breaking "their" device. They won't, because they don't own it. Turning "they didn't build it so I can run Linux on it" is not the same thing as them owning it, any more than Bosch not building a washing machine to let you run Linux on the controller does not imply Bosch own your washing machine in perpetuity.


All your talk about scams is just completely outside the topic, you can totally scam people of their bank account on iPhone right now (as you even realized in your message) and it's done daily, you just ask them to create gift cards or wire money for the "taxman".

By the way, in terms of security, the iPhone isn't even the most secure platform right now, you still have tons of private apis, privacy issues and ways to snoop data back, that's exactly why companies ask you to install their app instead of directly going to their website because on the web they can't do any of that...

> And your solution is to drag iOS down to the level of Android or Windows? Who is forcing you? Why can't you use a dumbphone? Is this a "forced because I don't want to change jobs" thing?

Because even banks and government apps are locked down to these two monopolies, that's enough proof as it is.

> Apple owns your device is a lie, you bought it, you own it. Take it apart, take the LCD out and plug it into something else, see if Apple comes at you for breaking "their" device. They won't, because they don't own it. Turning "they didn't build it so I can run Linux on it" is not the same thing as them owning it, any more than Bosch not building a washing machine to let you run Linux on the controller does not imply Bosch own your washing machine in perpetuity.

You don't own your device because Apple can decide to remove everything from it remotely, can decide that you can no longer can switch it on if they wanted to and actively prevents you to see what it does, that's why you don't own it. You should treat Apple's device as Apple's property that could vanish at any point.


> By the way, in terms of security, the iPhone isn't even the most secure platform right now, you still have tons of private apis, privacy issues and ways to snoop data back, that's exactly why companies ask you to install their app instead of directly going to their website because on the web they can't do any of that...

Don't forget the fact that iOS exploits are cheaper than Android exploits because iOS exploits are so plentiful[1][2].

[1] https://www.theregister.com/2020/05/14/zerodium_ios_flaws/

[2] http://zerodium.com/program.html


Imagine if it was a terrible platform, and there was a bigger, cheaper, more sideloadable competitor you could easily use instead. Why would you spend so much time trying to get the courts to force Apple to let you into the ecosystem without following their rules? Why wouldn't you simply use the platform that already does all the things you say you want?


You're asking why I think Apple should follow the law?

Apple should follow the law because healthy, robust markets would benefit hundreds of millions of consumers in the US.

Also, they should follow the law because it's the law. They have no problem using the law against their competitors, and even complementary businesses like repair shops, so they should follow it, too.


> "All your talk about scams is just completely outside the topic"

Only if you completely ignore all the things I've been writing. The appstore has restrictions. Those are useful. They are a layer of defense in depth, user protection.

> "By the way, in terms of security, the iPhone isn't even the most secure platform right now, you still have tons of private apis, privacy issues and ways to snoop data back, that's exactly why companies ask you to install their app instead of directly going to their website because on the web they can't do any of that..."

Then Apple should close those gaps. "It has flaws" is not a reason to turn it into a wide-open free-for-all, that would be worse, not better.

> "You don't own your device because Apple can decide to remove everything from it remotely"

That's like saying you don't own a TV because the TV station can stop broadcasting and then the device is useless. You can throw it in the trash without telling anyone, and nobody will care. You can sell it. You can smash it with a hammer. You own it. What the software and online service licenses are, is a different matter. That you can see a processor inside it and wish it could run Linux and wish Apple had built it differently, is irrelevant to whether you own it.


> Only if you completely ignore all the things I've been writing. The appstore has restrictions. Those are useful. They are a layer of defense in depth, user protection.

That's outside of the point of antitrust issues we were talking about but I personally think they're not as effective as the marketing claims.

> Then Apple should close those gaps. "It has flaws" is not a reason to turn it into a wide-open free-for-all, that would be worse, not better.

The most technically secure platform is currently the web (yes, far above iOS sandboxing), there's no relation between openness and security.

> That's like saying you don't own a TV because the TV station can stop broadcasting and then the device is useless. You can throw it in the trash without telling anyone, and nobody will care

Except the TV station doesn't manufacture the TV, and the TV manufacturer does not control TV stations... It's like every single example you pick reinforce the fact that there's anti trust issues.


> "Except the TV station doesn't manufacture the TV, and the TV manufacturer does not control TV stations."

Sky, the satellite TV company, made Sky boxes and satellite receivers, which tuned into the Sky service, and sold Sky TV channels.

> "The most technically secure platform is currently the web (yes, far above iOS sandboxing), there's no relation between openness and security."

Security is improved enormously by shrinking attack surface area and closing off entire areas of attack. Not being able to be talked into sideloading a program is obviously more secure than being able to be. "Technically secure" is a different matter, and not relevant to the point I was making - which is that restrictions have benefits, and restrictions are part of the reason iOS is great and all the competitors are terrible, competitors that you variously claim are part of a dominant duopoly and also don't exist.

> "It's like every single example you pick reinforce the fact that there's anti trust issues

It's like every single comment you make ignores the fact that you aren't forced into iOS, that you have alternatives, and pretend you don't.


> The whole point is that Apple is selling an Apple experience

Once you bought a thing, you own it. That's it. It's cool to have a curated app store for those developers who want it. It's uncool for Apple to retain control of devices after they've been sold.

> This is like a restaurant demanding smart shoes for customers

You can't make this comparison. You don't get to choose what kind of mobile device other people use. You do get to choose which restaurant you visit.

> Apple is successful by building a curated, restricted, "exclusive" (by perception if not fact) experience.

Apple is successful by building great hardware and mostly good UX. Macs have had no app store for most of their history, and even though presently do have restrictions by default, there's a manual override to allow running unsigned or self-signed code.

> You want access to the customers and their money, without upholding the reasons the customers are using that platform.

I'm having issue with there being a gatekeeper AT ALL. I don't give a crap about "their customers" and "their money". I just want to make an app and distribute it straight to my users. That's it. Apple forcibly inserting itself in between me and my users doesn't do any good to either side. Especially if it's a free app and I'm doing my own marketing. It's simply a rent-seeking prude intermediary that creates more problems than it solves.

People buy smartphones because you need one to function in the modern society. They choose either Google or Apple. Neither of these corporations deserves all the credit they feel entitled to.

> Apple never marketed or set expectations that you could sideload apps on iPhone or iOS, did they?

Apple set expectations that you can do pretty much anything on an iOS device.

> You can easily list your app on Apple's store and compete, what it's about is you want more money.

I don't give a crap about money. I despise intellectual property and proprietary software. I'll never sell a byte.

I'm simply sick and tired of how relentlessly Apple wants to eradicate sex and piracy form the internet, for example. Even if you have a free app, Apple literally dictates you how you should change your ToS to be approved on the app store. Is that acceptable? I don't think so. No one should have this kind of power. If the web was invented today, a web browser would be rejected from the app store for allowing the user to view any content without restrictions.

Meanwhile they approve all sorts of scam apps, like a bunch of wallpapers with a $20/week subscription on it. Because they take a 30% cut on those. This is hypocrisy.


> I just want to make an app and distribute it straight to my users. That's it. Apple forcibly inserting itself in between me and my users doesn't do any good to either side.

As an iPhone user, I invited (even pay) Apple to gate me from abusive software. Don’t blame Apple, blame me, and charge more for it if you need (this is how I pay Apple for the service).


> "I don't give a crap about money. I despise intellectual property and proprietary software. I'll never sell a byte."

> "People buy smartphones because you need one to function in the modern society. They choose either Google or Apple. Neither of these corporations deserves all the credit they feel entitled to."

And you can sideload on Android, and they chose not-Android. and you could do so on Blackberry, and WindowsPhone, and Maemo and Symbian, and they all failed for not offering what people want. The only remaining good experience left is Apple, and you want to take that away as well. We know what that world looks like. It's not paradise of free choice, it's this: https://i.imgur.com/Ko5QcQl.jpg

And by "this", that's what an Android phone looks like. If you want to live in that world as a personal choice, you can easily not install the toolbars. But if there is an ecosystem you can buy into which avoids that, that should be an option. You want people who chose a limited experience to have the limits removed - but they chosing the limited experience in the first place, who are you to say that shouldn't be allowed?

> "Apple is successful by building great hardware and mostly good UX. Macs have had no app store for most of their history, and even though presently do have restrictions by default, there's a manual override to allow running unsigned or self-signed code."

Agreed, so people who want unsigned or self-signed code can buy macs, right? Choice. Nobody is forced to buy an iOS device, nobody is surprised when they can't side-load a program, because that has been the same for 10+ years and 10+ major iPhone versions, it's never been an expectation.

> "I'm having issue with there being a gatekeeper AT ALL."

I'm having issue with the idea that people willingly buying into an optional gatekeeper is some problem you think will be improved by forbidding people from having that option. The good it does is removing floods of junk from iOS users attention. It's like saying "My email isn't spam" and ignoring that spam is a huge problem and people willingly subscribe to gatekeepers at massive effort and cost industry-wide to try and protect themselves. So are robocalls, and dredmorbius suggests they might bring down the phone networks entirely[1] in the coming few years from a complete inability and unwillingness to defend itself. "Pay to send me an email or call me" would stop it in its tracks. Buying into a gatekeeper environment is another. "I should be able to bypass your spam filter because my emails aren't spam"?

[1] https://mastodon.cloud/@dredmorbius/102357651020681668


You aren't making sense, again.

> And you can sideload on Android, and they chose not-Android.

How many people actually know anything about what it takes to publish to the app store? Developers literally aren't allowed to tell them. If you write the very sensible "this content is not available on this device due to Apple App Store policies", you app will be rejected. Almost no one says bad things about Apple because of the fear that they might be denied presence on iOS. This is a very large power imbalance, and this absolutely needs to be dealt with. I'm so looking forward to those antitrust cases.

> and you could do so on Blackberry, and WindowsPhone, and Maemo and Symbian, and they all failed for not offering what people want.

"I wish my phone didn't allow me to install on it what I want" said no one ever. They failed for other reasons.

It's okay to have an app store as a default way of installing apps. What's not okay is making it THE ONLY way of installing apps, thus robbing people of choice.

> Agreed, so people who want unsigned or self-signed code can buy macs, right? Choice. Nobody is forced to buy an iOS device

Computers and phones aren't the same thing, you can't compare them like that. I use a Mac precisely because it's great experience AND it allows me to run whatever the hell I tell it to. I use Android for the same reason.

> It's like saying "My email isn't spam" and ignoring that spam is a huge problem and people willingly subscribe to gatekeepers at massive effort and cost industry-wide to try and protect themselves.

Calling things "spam" or "not spam" is users' own choice. You as an email user always have the last word in whether something is spam. You don't have this as an iOS user. If Apple says something isn't good for you, this decision is final. You just aren't getting that app no matter how much you want it.

By the way, if Google says something isn't good for you, the developer can still distribute an apk from their website. Yes, it won't be as prominent, and it won't have a listing page, but the users would still have the option to install it if they want it.


> ""I wish my phone didn't allow me to install on it what I want" said no one ever. They failed for other reasons."

I said that. Implicitly, when I said "I want to use iOS and I'm willing to accept the tradeoffs that come with that". I have plenty of devices I can install random software on. including previous Android tablet and phone, I don't need or want yet another ARM/Linux device, what I need and want is a trustworthy phone that works well, and Apple appears to be the closest thing to that, by a long long way.

> "Computers and phones aren't the same thing, you can't compare them like that. I use a Mac precisely because it's great experience AND it allows me to run whatever the hell I tell it to. I use Android for the same reason."

One moment you're "robbed of choice", the next moment you're explaining how you chose a thing which does what you want. While still denying and ignoring that other people might want and choose something different. The same way I don't want my dishwasher to run an IRC client, I would prefer one that cannot do so, as it's simpler and less complex and has less to go wrong and has smaller security boundaries, I want a smartphone that I can trust. Should I want a device I can "install whatever" on, there are tons and tons and tons and tons of Android devices to choose from along with many non-Android devices such as Debian Cosmo Communicator, Linux running Pinephones, Librems, small Linux and Windows tablets, and all kinds of other things approximately nobody uses because they don't work very well.

> "You don't have this as an iOS user. If Apple says something isn't good for you, this decision is final. You just aren't getting that app no matter how much you want it."

I'm OK with this. This is a choice. The same way I'm OK with the government saying I cannot have an asbestos roof. I can have that app if I want it, by using a device where the app runs. If I want it enough, I can go where it is.

> "Almost no one says bad things about Apple because of the fear that they might be denied presence on iOS."

Citation needed; the tech internet is full of criticisms about Apple, like this thread and their appstore cut, or Airpod batteries that wear out too quickly, or Airpod sound quality, or dongle-gate, or lack of ports on laptops, or macOS phoning home to launch binaries, or worsening UX on macOS, or ever-increasing price of flagship phones, or lack of an iPhone SE (until recently), or "so brave" headphone socket, or no 3rd-party repairs and Luis Rossman's outspoken rants on that. It absolutely isn't the case that "nobody says bad things about Apple".

> "This is a very large power imbalance, and this absolutely needs to be dealt with."

It is a large power imbalance. It does not need to be dealt with. The day the Apple AppStore looks like the old Cydia app store will be a terrible day. The app store is already full of junk clones, I would rather it very very much more strictly curated, honestly.

It's like the comment I've linked elsewhere recently about the early days of search engines, narrowing down "all web pages" to "1 million results" does absolutely nothing useful for me. Providing me with "choice" of 100 apps to do a thing is way more than I can usefully vet for basic functionality, let alone signups, hidden fees, telemetry, dark patterns, reliability. "Nobody goes there anymore, it's too crowded" used to be a joke, now it's a description of Amazon - by adding more and more third party sellers and more "choice" at the low end, it's far harder to find anything and the experience of shopping for "a thing to do X" has got significantly worse.

> "Calling things "spam" or "not spam" is users' own choice. You as an email user always have the last word in whether something is spam. You don't have this as an iOS user."

For the severalth time, you /don't have to be an iOS user/. iOS makes up less than one third of the smartphone market. If I outsource my spam filtering to a paid service, it's because I choose to give up that option to save time and effort.


> Yet no one raises any objections about not being able to run arbitrary code on them.

I would certainly love to be able to do this.


There is no difference.

Just like I can't run third party, unapproved apps on a Tesla, SNES, Gameboy, Samsung TV etc. Or even every website that has a marketplace and supports plugins e.g. Shopify.


Your argument rests on the strange assumption that people who are against IOS restricting apps on the iPhone would for some reason support Amazon's restrictions on Kindle apps.


I can also easily load PDFs and other formats to a Kindle even if I didn’t go through the Amazon store.


And you can load content and view websites on your iPhone as well.

We are talking about apps.


And you can easily load PDFs and music onto an iPhone/iPad without going through the Apple store or iTunes store. So they're even and that's good enough for Kindle therefore it's good enough for iOS, right?

Oh wait, on top, iOS has an app store so you can do more, so that's a win for iOS? And the app store can have free apps on it where Apple take no money, but still review and curate for some minimum standards of quality, which is nice.


> but still review and curate for some minimum standards of quality

It would've been fine if they only reviewed apps for "quality". Unfortunately, they also review the services that apps connect to, and the policies of these services.


My "argument"[1] rests on the idea that they don't care about restrictions on Kindle apps because there's no valuable market of buyers on the other side, and so it's not about "anti-competitive" as claimed.

The famous and expensive London shop Harrods has a reputation for a wealthy customer base, and it's like saying it's unfair that you have to convince Harrods to stock your products and then they take a cut of all sales for doing so, and that you should be able to sell to their specific wealthy customer base and use their trusted environment for doing so, using the reputation they've developed, without them getting anything in return, and their shop should be an open street market.

[1] in which I ask why it's different, which was no argument at all.


You can side load apps onto your iOS devices.

You just need to publish on the store in order to sell to other users.


No you can't. Literally the only situation when you don't have to sign your app with an Apple-issued certificate is when the device is jailbroken and has signature enforcement disabled.

You're probably referring to one of these things:

- You can install any app on your own device. This requires an Apple ID (but no $99 membership) and a certificate that Xcode automatically gets from Apple. The certificate is valid for 7 days, after which the app no longer launches. The bundle ID of the app also has to be globally unique.

- There's "enterprise" distribution that requires a developer ID and a certificate. Subject to terms of use. Apple can revoke it at any time. Sometimes Apple turns a blind eye to the misuse of this, but, again, it can and does revoke these certificates remotely disabling any apps signed with them.


You can temporarily install your apps on your own device. They expire after 7 days, and you can't have more than 10 such apps installed simultaneously.


And just to be complete, there is little preventing other people from creating their own Steam (many do) or not using Steam at all (developers can publish their apps directly to users). This is not the case with the App store.


Older app stores and especially physical retail collected a lot more than 30%.


Steam charges that amount because it brought a customer to you.

If I did my own marketing to gamers and they downloaded the game from my website I would have to pay 0% to any intermediary.


I suspect that statement was to placate people with "your car does it too", but mine certainly doesn't --- it doesn't even require a computer to run --- and the statement had the exact opposite effect, namely to revalidate the reason I don't drive a "modern car".

That said, I do have an Android, but it is rooted and spends most of its time off. As I type this message, it is on the other side of the room.


Out of curiosity, how old is your car?


Close to 50 years.


> It's similar to when Apple defended it's 30% store cut by claiming it's an "industry standard"... specifically, an industry standard that Apple established.

Apple established a standard for the Apple app store. There was a lot of complaint about "Apple Tax" and Apple merely pointed out that it wasn't a "Apple Tax". Sure, Apple started it but others which are not even connected to the Apple ecosystem simply followed. They could have not decided to but they did (Re:Table 1) [0]. Microsoft, Samsung, Google and Amazon all have the same 30% tax. Heck, even commission rates for Xbox, Playstation, Nintendo have the same rate (Re : Table 2). I am sure Apple is not forcing them to have those rates.

Somehow, this conversation turns into an "Apple" vs rest conversation. There's no conversation had upon the charges on a digital distribution store. I'd say - let's have that conversation and come up with a number. Currently, the number is decided in a "free market". I would be open to come up to an alternate number. Most arguments against the 30% is that it is too high. Well, every penny that goes out from the developer's pocket is too high. The cost of an iPhone might be too high. Something, being too high is not an argument to not have that rate.

[0] https://www.analysisgroup.com/globalassets/insights/publishi...


this is a classic example of how companies collude without direct communication. it's a type of game theoretic outcome that's actually taught in business school - how to read your competitor's intentions from public information (like pricing intentions) and legally act and counter-communicate publicly your own intentions to not compete (in many cases by not lowering price).

this can practically only happen in oligarchic markets (those controlled by a few large players) who can safely assume a smaller competitor won't undercut them. unfortunately, most major markets in the US are oligarchic, if not downright monopolized (e.g., cellular service).


This is a great comment. It drives me crazy how often people take concepts that apply to an idealized free market and apply them to an area that's controlled by a small number of entrenched behemoths. Very little of the tech industry these days operates like an Econ 101 free marketplace.


> this is a classic example of how companies collude without direct communication.

In that case, let's have that conversation as a society and as a government. "Are companies listed in Table 1 and 2 in collusion as defined by current law?".

In most of the Apple 30% conversations, the conversations seem to be about an instance (Apple) instead of an object (Digital Store Tax, Collusion etc). Lets set the frame and be clear about the conversation we want to have regardless of the business we talk. We can use Apple, Microsoft et al as examples to make the point. We shouldn't replace them with the overarching discussion.


as i understand it, by not communicating directly, companies avoid the most damning potential evidence that they are colluding. it's theoretically possible to still determine that their behavior is collusive, but quite difficult in practice.

i personally think anti-trust/anti-monopoly regulations should be tightened by an order of magnitude or so. any market that exhibits such extended, obviously inflated profit margins needs to be sliced up more finely. any market participant with more than ~10% market share should be scrutinized closely. piercing the corporate veil should be the norm with any anticompetitive infraction (as well as embezzlement, insider trading, and other such executive crimes).

in short, make markets fair (not just 'free').

and in turn, that should allocate capital more efficiently throughout the economy, rather than letting it accumulate inefficiently in fewer and fewer hands.


"Fair" and "free" are almost opposite values in regards to markets, what you want is not "free", you want regulation. Fairness means you got to oppress a party in favor of another party.


a fair market is one that is devoid of coercive influence by any market participant, almost diametrically opposed to oppressiveness. whereas in a "free" market, oppression is the expected steady-state, because it inherently invites manipulation to produce advantage, as with any game (in the academic sense) without rules. try playing basketball without rules and see what happens.


It seems you are making up words. "Fair market" doesn't even seem to be a thing - not surprised really.


You are hitting the nail on the head. Most times, people are looking for utopian solutions. In a large market where people have different incentives, non-dominating solutions do not exist. There are options and implications. We get to choose from what we have (with implications) not some ideal situation we have dreamt in our mind. Currently, everyone wants to have their cake, eat it and the cherry on the top. Later even complain about the cherry not being sweet.


This is "mah free market" perspective where 'freedom' is the law of the jungle.

They somehow think that this brand of 'freedom' without regulation will not decent into rule of the strongest and basically tyrany, just like it has every time in history.

They have not heard about standard oil market manipulation, railway monopolies, the Phoebus Cartel and others

They do not understand that regulation is what stands in the way of other people taking your freedoms.


> in short, make markets fair (not just 'free').

I'm all for it. What's your concrete proposal to change in the current law for digital store distribution "tax"?


you don't necessarily need new laws, just executive will to allocate earnest resources (diverted from, say, useless programs like the tsa or military boondoggle projects) put toward robustly promoting competitive markets.

for instance, make platforms like apple allow other app stores equal footing on their platform. then they would have to compete on price and features to get the best apps to be on their app store rather than resting on their laurels of being the only viable option. apple already has lots of advantages, so they don't need monopoly power on top of that to be able to compete effectively.


Yea you can force them to have multiple markets on the phone but that doesn’t mean that they won’t be colluding again. Apple and Google can have their stores on both iOS and Android and still keep 30%.

Also this would mean that you are killing off a feature to the end user (me in this case) where I actually like the walled garden as I don’t need to check and verify apps I download.

I understand where you are coming from but if I bought an iOS device (for my parents) I want them to not have a way to install other apps. For me that’s a feature. I don’t want there to be a way to enable anything that allows them to side load or use a different store. This is me as a consumer.

As a developer I see it like this: my (potential) customers decided to use Apple for a reason. I have to respect their decision. If that means I make 30% less than I can try and convince them to use Android and side load but I should respect their choice. Would I like the 30% off for myself - sure.

I think a big part of the discussion misses the reason ppl have chosen iOS and the arguments come from only one side.

If we can get to a position that makes sure that you keep you current state (gatekeeper + trust in iOS App Store + can’t get scammed with malware apps) but allows the option to distribute outside of that would be ideal but I’m too stupid to think of it :D

I just don’t want to kill off a feature I paid a huge amount of money (iOS devices for every close family member) to have and I feel that should be respected. :)


you'd still have the apple ios store so you wouldn't lose any of that walled garden if you prefer it.


Yea but if you have another store you kinda lose it. Anyone could get tricked to install/sideload an app or enable the other stores.

So in fact you’re be losing the walled experience


i wouldn't count out network effects so quickly, which apple has in spades, to keep people, especially non-technical folks, on their app store as a default (and usually only) option. that's incidentally how google became the default (and often only) search engine without having any substantive lock-in early on.


Sure I agree with that completely. But firstly that wouldn’t solve the issue for developers as then the arguments will just shift that other app stores should come preinatalled and later will shift it again (developers will never be happy with any percentage but also the review process does cost money, in app transactions infra as well), and secondly it increases the attack surface for scams (just watching on YouTube how old ppl get scammed makes me a bit uneasy that my parents are getting close to that age). Thirdly I think Google search is a very good example. Do you remember back in the day all those installers that had toolbars and would change your default search engine? I just don’t want us to open the door to anything remotely like that.

Honestly I think if maybe allow sideloading is an a setting available only for the iCloud family organiser to enable that mitigate most of my use cases.


along those lines, instead of being preinstalled, choosing app stores could be part of the setup process. so if you only wanted the apple app store, you’d just set it up that way. adding another app store would necessarily present more friction than that.


> There's no conversation had upon the charges on a digital distribution store. I'd say - let's have that conversation and come up with a number. Currently, the number is decided in a "free market".

There is no competition in the mobile app distribution market. Apple and Google have a duopoly on mobile app distribution, and they behave like a cartel when it comes to price fixing.

For over a decade now, consumers and developers could have benefited from real competition in the mobile app distribution market. Real competition between companies means that consumers can benefit from increased efficiencies and reductions in cost when it comes to distributing mobile apps.

Instead, Apple and Google have kept a stranglehold on the mobile app distribution market, and it took over a decade and the threat of regulation before Apple chose to lower costs to developers somewhat.

How can anyone know what prices are "industry standard" or "too high" when it comes to mobile app distribution if there is no real competition in that market, just a cartel consisting of two trillion dollar companies controlling mobile app distribution for nearly 13 years?


I agree - there's no competition. What's your solution to change in the law that will create competition?


At minimum if you operate an app store on your own platform that takes a cut the platform should allow alternative 3rd party stores to be used. Android/Windows/web/MacOS are already there on that software front. iOS/Consoles/SmartTVs and many others are not. It's probably why you hear about the Apple App Store 30% but not the Play/Microsoft Store 30% - those aren't the only options to distribute an app on those platforms. Users are definitely steered and incentivized to use them but not forced.

That in itself isn't a fix all, for example the Amazon app store for Android based devices still takes a 30% cut at the moment, but it opens the floodgates to stores like this that could start to create natural competition. And even if not at least you have the choice to try not to do that, look at Fortnite. Not for the court case but because they took a 0% cut on Android by distributing the app via their own store when they got kicked off due to that battle. Obviously not an option for everyone but you can still load the app on Android devices and Epic Games Store actually only takes a 12% cut as it's trying to compete. Even if none of this ends up mattering - at least one can load what they want on their devices.

.

At the more extreme end there is always antitrust action like the oft cited idea of splitting the likes of Apple or so on into "Apple Hardware" and "Apple Software" which would definitely blow away some anti-competition tendencies (How many use ios+safari+apple-hardware because that's what they would pick vs that's the only option to get any of the above? Probably less than 100%...) but at the same time are probably a bit extreme when we have tried tamer things like the above before.


> At minimum if you operate an app store on your own platform that takes a cut the platform should allow alternative 3rd party stores to be used.

So basically, Microsoft Windows should have an Apple app store and Android should have an Apple app store?


Not quite, just that they should _allow_ such app stores if the app store so wanted to go on the platform.

Microsoft Windows and Android already allow this today which I think is why you hear about Apple's App store so much - it does not allow this. E.g. on Windows you can install iTunes and listen to Apple Music without Apple having to use Microsoft's app store or pay a cut of the subscription to Microsoft. The same is true on Android, Apple does not need to go through Google Play - it's possible to load the APK without it. That being said Apple Music still has the option of listing in the native stores (which it is in both the Microsoft Store and Google Play) it's just not _forced_ to be the only way to get the app _forcing_ the 30% cut to be paid.

As a result you do see competition to the Microsoft Store on Windows and you do see competition to the Play store on Android. Each is still an option though but it's not without competition. On the Apple App store your option is "30% app store cut or get the fuck out, this user owns an iPhone so you can't sell to them direct now".

But there is no reason to force any particular stores to be available on a particular platform, simply making sure stores are allowed has seemed to enabled competition in every place that has tried it so far.


As an Apple customer, I will lose value from my purchase if iOS was required to have additional (non-Apple controlled) AppStores. This change cannot be made retroactively to my previous purchases.

The law (if it ever exists) should only apply to new iPhones and Apple should let users decide what they want.

Unlocking extra AppStores would likely also be more expensive than a locked in iPhone because of Apple’s ROI from the controlled AppStore. I don’t want to subsidize other people using a non-Apple controlled store when I know I wouldn’t.


I'm not sure what value you're supposed to be losing if different app sources were allowed? And yes the proposal was the option for a user to be able to use other app stores not that users had to use other app stores.

As far as the subsidization again I'm not sure I follow, you're paying the subsidization today and the option to continue paying subsidization isn't what's changing.


I have an android phone and there is one clear difference: I can go elsewhere to get apps other than the official channel. For Microsoft I can go as far as installing a whole different OS on the device. You can do neither with iPhones. Sure, you can buy a different phone but it isn't as simple as that


It even polluted into other markets, like Wolt.com taking a 30% (!!) cut of food delivered using their platform. On top of the actual delivery charges.

I remember thinking that Just-Eat.com were criminals for taking 10%.

Hungry.dk takes 1-2%.


You're comparing apples and oranges.

You're most likely not being fair with what services these platforms provide, or how they structure their fees.

Wolt and other companies like UberEats or Postmates are food discovery, delivery and PoS platforms (and more). They don't operate on any single commission model.

(Ofc one could argue this pricing complexity is intentional so that comparing is more difficult)


> It's similar to when Apple defended it's 30% store cut by claiming it's an "industry standard"... specifically, an industry standard that Apple established.

I thought Apple chose that figure as game developers were already used to it from consoles and Steam.


It goes back much further than that—the mobile phone 'app' market was a lot worse (50%? And not a fun developer process) and was pretty poorly saturated by Java-based games and lightweight apps.

It all depends on what software / 'app' stores we're comparing to.


I honestly don't mind information about crashes being sent as long as it is very sanitized and easy to disable- similar to how Fedora reports issues.

They send only a list of functions on the stack without any of the arguments or data.

Example: https://retrace.fedoraproject.org/faf/problems/bthash/?bth=3...

Where Google goes too far is sending everything in the name of security or better yet to "serve" the user.


IMEI and serial number make sense, I think too: Apple’s activation lock is a big reason why I bought an iPhone and as far as I can tell, it requires interaction with the server on every boot to work.


I disagree on IMEI. It never changes and is unique.


I disagree that telemetry is inherently bad. As product engineers, telemetry is often our only visibility into whether or not a system is functioning healthily. How else can you detect difficult-to-spot bugs in production?


> our only visibility into whether or not a system is functioning healthily.

Your problem here is viewing the end user's setup as part of your system.

It's the user's private system -- why should you have any visibility into how it is functioning?


They said a system, not their system.

Car computers report telemetry to mechanics, and given that digitization allows for economies of scale, this isn't that different.


> Car computers report telemetry to mechanics

Yes -- and they shouldn't.


Yes, they should. It assists with repairs, increases safety, leads to recalls, and in cars with GPS units, even reports road emergencies and saves lives.

You can feel uncomfortable that this is happening, which is an entirely okay opinion to have, but when it comes to forcing that opinions on others, please don't.

Imagine if we were debating the qualities of buttons because the Amish were uncomfortable using them.


Sure but Amish have the right to choose to use the button or not. You should have the option to opt-out.

Or at least have that option until society says “well given how many life’s are save we need to collect this data from everyone”. But you’d get a say in that conversation as well.


You can opt out, the exact same way.

Don't buy a car that uses telemetry, just like you don't buy clothes that uses buttons.


As a software engineer I disagree. You are saying that you want to collect my personal information so you can fix your bugs. I don't see it being a valuable trade. I'll just find someone who can fix their bugs without tracking me.


>You are saying that you want to collect my personal information so you can fix your bugs.

How do you define personal information? Let's use Chrome as an example. Recording what website I visit is clearly personal information. What about recording how many tabs I have open, how much RAM each tab is using, and when each tab was last viewed? Is that personal information to you? I personally don't value keeping that private and it is probably a valuable piece of information that could help the developers improve what has been one of the biggest user complaints about Chrome since almost its release.

I think that is generally OP's point. Each piece of data exists on a spectrum in value for both the user and the developer. Data should be kept private when it has value to the user. There is little harm in sharing the data with the developer when the user would deem it low value and the developer would deem it high value.


It's pretty easy to understand what information is technically static and could be used to track you. Number of tabs: low possible range and pretty variable, even for tab hoarders, so it's low entropy information. Amount of RAM used in each open tab: that should be statistically significant and I'm pretty sure could be used to identify people if there are enough tabs open for a long enough period. When each tab was viewed: every (not-)clicked tab is a bit of information, you don't need much to narrow down a person. Interesting reading on de-anonymizing people on seemingly anonymized data: https://www.wired.com/2007/12/why-anonymous-data-sometimes-i...


Telemetry isn't okay simply because it can't be used to track someone. The number of tabs I have open isn't identifiable information, but it's still my private information, and should not leave my computer without my advance consent. Using my computer hardware to transmit my usage activity (even my unidentifiable usage activity) without my consent is a dick move.

My usage data is mine, as is my hardware and network connection.


You are going beyond my example by saying this information can be used to track you. This is the only information collected in my example. It is not associate with any other information so there is no value in trying to deanonymize it.

Perhaps it is better if I approach the question from a different angle. What is the downside of someone having this specific information about you? Can you think of a single negative repercussion from someone knowing how many tabs you have open? That is the fundamental point here.

The idea that all information related to a user should inherently be private just seems like a needless draconian standard and one that didn't exist in the pre-digital age. The privacy value of each piece of information can vary wildly. Some of it deserves protecting. Some of it doesn't.


Personal information is a bit nebulous. Do we consider the list of function calls in a stack trace "personal information"?


If I sent the stack trace to you, no. Otherwise, yes. It's my stack trace after all.

(Perhaps "private" not "personal" is a better term here, but stack traces can expose personal information too, if they include details about function arguments.)


For me, the point is really about control.

These companies know people don’t actively want to be surveilled which is why they sneak this shit in instead of being upfront about it.

If it was so great for consumers it would be an opt in not an opt out hidden behind a series of dark patterns.

Even Apple switches Siri back on after every OS upgrade.


+1 to this. As long as proper privacy concerns are addressed and the data gathering is imperceptible to the product experience, telemetry signals are immensely valuable for improving the product in a variety of ways.


Many users care more about their privacy than your product.


Certainly true, but it doesn't counter the original claim: Anonymized telemetry collection with proper privacy considerations can have a net positive impact on the product.


I would agree to the telemetry if all code was FLOSS and everyone could see what exactly was being transferred.


So why does $product need to send telemetry data via google? Why can highly complex software that runs most of the worlds internet infrastructure (linux) work without telemetry? Why is telemetry not opt-in or relies on reports in situation where a bug causes an issue like firefox crash reports? I'd rather have privacy and buggy software then bug free software in exchange for no privacy at all


>So why does $product need to send telemetry data via google?

Because Google is responsible for most of the software on said product. Who would be receiving that telemetry data if it wasn't Google?

>Why can highly complex software that runs most of the worlds internet infrastructure (linux) work without telemetry?

First, this is a false premise because it ignores the potential that telemetry could help improve this software but most Linux distros have decided against it for other reasons. Secondly, it ignores that some distros do in fact include telemetry.

>Why is telemetry not opt-in

It probably should be when it comes to something that has potential to invade privacy, but we have to be realistic that practically no one will actively turn on telemetry if it is initially set to off. That drastically decreases the value of the collected data and it basically turns into nothing more than something customer service can tell someone to turn on while trying to troubleshoot a specific issue.

>or relies on reports in situation where a bug causes an issue like firefox crash reports?

Telemetry isn't just about bugs. It is also about guiding future development, knowing what features are used, knowing the workflow for users, etc. It can provide value beyond crash reports.

>I'd rather have privacy and buggy software then bug free software in exchange for no privacy at all

This is completely fair. I would generally agree with you and bet that most HN readers would too. However this is not a binary choice. Not all telemetry is inherently bad. Not all loss of privacy is inherently damaging. This is a complicated issue that will involve compromises and anyone sticking to a complete extreme of it being all bad or all good isn't going to offer anything productive to this conversation.


> Because Google is responsible for most of the software on said product. Who would be receiving that telemetry data if it wasn't Google?

Depends, on Android maybe. On my Android Device, not really i don't use google software with the exception of the core android system without gplay services. On iOS, the HTML Based Web, or Desktop Systems, I see no need for google to exist. If you need telemetry, run your own damn telemtry server instead of feeding the FAANG Privacy nightmare even more.

> First, this is a false premise because it ignores the potential that telemetry could help improve this software but most Linux distros have decided against it for other reasons. Secondly, it ignores that some distros do in fact include telemetry.

Distros may, Linux itself does not. The fact that the majority of Linux Distros work just fine without telemetry shows that large scale software developement and deployment work just fine without invading peoples privacy needlessly.

> It probably should be when it comes to something that has potential to invade privacy, but we have to be realistic that practically no one will actively turn on telemetry if it is initially set to off.

so, if given the fair and free choice everyone will chose against telemetry? And that doesn't make you ask yourself "are we the baddies?".

> That drastically decreases the value of the collected data and it basically turns into nothing more than something customer service can tell someone to turn on while trying to troubleshoot a specific issue.

So, wheres the problem here? Sounds EXACTLY how a good telemetry system should work. If the bugs don't bother the users there's no need to invade their privacy to fix them, if they do bother them, telemetry can be a tool to help them. There's no need to generate "valuable data" except to invade peoples privacy.

> Telemetry isn't just about bugs. It is also about guiding future development, knowing what features are used, knowing the workflow for users, etc. It can provide value beyond crash reports.

Why is it any of your effing buisness what my workflow is like? If i need a feature i request it. This shit is only accepted because the majority of users lack a meaningful understanding of the depth of invasion by app and web developers into their privacy.


>Depends, on Android maybe. On my Android Device, not really i don't use google software with the exception of the core android system without gplay services. On iOS, the HTML Based Web, or Desktop Systems, I see no need for google to exist. If you need telemetry, run your own damn telemtry server instead of feeding the FAANG Privacy nightmare even more.

The article is specifically about the mobile OSes and the default apps and services. I'm not sure why your general complaint about third parties using FAANG tracking is relevant here, but I have no argument against it.

>Distros may, Linux itself does not. The fact that the majority of Linux Distros work just fine without telemetry shows that large scale software developement and deployment work just fine without invading peoples privacy needlessly.

You are doing the same thing again. You are assuming a level of "work just fine" without having a comparison for what it would look like with telemetry. Ignoring the privacy issues for a second, can you say definitively that Linux would see no technical improvements from developers having access to telemetry data?

>so, if given the fair and free choice everyone will chose against telemetry? And that doesn't make you ask yourself "are we the baddies?".

Because the benefits of telemetry are widespread while the downsides are localized. The incentive for an individual user to participate is low and isn't well understood so they will default to off. Expand that to everyone and you end up with the tragedy of the commons.[1] It has nothing to do with skulls on a cap, it is basic individualized economic incentives playing out that lead to less than ideal results for the whole.

>So, wheres the problem here? Sounds EXACTLY how a good telemetry system should work. If the bugs don't bother the users there's no need to invade their privacy to fix them, if they do bother them, telemetry can be a tool to help them. There's no need to generate "valuable data" except to invade peoples privacy.

>Why is it any of your effing buisness what my workflow is like? If i need a feature i request it. This shit is only accepted because the majority of users lack a meaningful understanding of the depth of invasion by app and web developers into their privacy.

Once again you are returning to bugs. This is about more than just bugs. Very few pieces of software are published and then abandoned beyond bug fixes. Today most software needs to constantly evolve and add new features. Maybe you are the type who will request those features from a developer in official channels, but that isn't common.

Also most users will simply decline when presented with the option to submit a bug report. They just don't see the a strong enough or immediate enough connection between a bug report and the bug being fixed. I would bet any developer who has spent time informally talking to their users would have heard some complaints about their software that were never previously voiced through official channels. That is just the nature of things. A developer will get more valuable data if they don't leave the sending of this information up to the whims of the user in the moment when a bug report screen might appear in front of them.

[1] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragedy_of_the_commons


Your arguments all ultimately focus on the value telemetry generates for the company, not for the user. These two should theoretically coincide, but in practice, they don't. Telemetry may be a fine thing in the abstract, but it's mostly used in a very hostile manner.

People would be more comfortable with telemetry if they could trust it's being used only to fix bugs and improve workflows. The reality is far from that, though. Telemetry's main use in end-user software is to provide data to direct various aspects of development that ultimately boil down to: how can we extract more money from our users? That's part of the reason we get dumbified apps full of questionable design decisions and user-hostile anti-features. Instead of asking people what software they want, "data-driven" companies are just setting up a control system around their users, with changes in the software being meant to influence behavior towards better monetization.

Until that gets fixed, I'm going to keep preemptively blocking any and all telemetry. I'm also very happy that GDPR forced companies to surface a lot of hidden surveillance, and that I can just dismiss all these notifications knowing I'm legally opted out by default. To the extent I am in fact opted in - i.e. companies literally breaking the law - I yearn for the day DPAs in member states get serious about issuing fines. Until then, the next time I spot telemetry enabled by default, so help me God I'm filing a GDPR complaint.


> You are doing the same thing again. You are assuming a level of "work just fine" without having a comparison for what it would look like with telemetry. Ignoring the privacy issues for a second, can you say definitively that Linux would see no technical improvements from developers having access to telemetry data?

"works just fine" in this case means "is the backbone of the global internet infrastructure". Could it potentially be better with telemetry? Maybe. Could it potentially be better if linus torvalds personally surveils all interactions with any technology i have, no matter how private? Likely. Could it be become better if i stick a probe up my butt to measure frustration when using any product? Sure. What an asinine argument, of course telemetry can make software better in some cases but the global invasion of privacy of literally every computer user is not a worthwhile trade off for some bugfixes and giving POs some rough idea of user interaction to ignore anyway.

> Because the benefits of telemetry are widespread while the downsides are localized. The incentive for an individual user to participate is low and isn't well understood so they will default to off. Expand that to everyone and you end up with the tragedy of the commons.[1] It has nothing to do with skulls on a cap, it is basic individualized economic incentives playing out that lead to less than ideal results for the whole.

the downsides are my privacy and the privacy of millions of user who frankly do not understand the implications of it is invaded for some fringe benefit to the developer. It's not a tragedy of the commons situation but abusive behavior from developers targeting users that don't know any better. Thought Experiment: If every person on the planet would magically gain a deep understanding of how telemetry works, what would the vast majority chose to do? Get it out of their live as much as possible. Would you give someone detailed data where you take your car, at what speed, at what time, with the added benefit of governments gaining access to that data so that you use 5% less wiper fluid?

> Once again you are returning to bugs. This is about more than just bugs. Very few pieces of software are published and then abandoned beyond bug fixes. Today most software needs to constantly evolve and add new features. Maybe you are the type who will request those features from a developer in official channels, but that isn't common.

This has nothing to do with bugs. I don't need google or mozilla to know how i use my webbrowser. It's none of their fucking buisness in any way shape or form. If it crashes enough i will either complain or use a different product. If they want to know what improvements they should make or how they should evolve their product they can ask me. openly, freely and with consent. If 99.999% of users do not care to answer, then that's fine. Just because you can invade my privacy to improve your product or evolve it doesn't mean you should or should be allowed to do so. In fact it should be fucking illegal without explicit, well informed consent.

> Also most users will simply decline when presented with the option to submit a bug report. They just don't see the a strong enough or immediate enough connection between a bug report and the bug being fixed. I would bet any developer who has spent time informally talking to their users would have heard some complaints about their software that were never previously voiced through official channels. That is just the nature of things. A developer will get more valuable data if they don't leave the sending of this information up to the whims of the user in the moment when a bug report screen might appear in front of them.

This is just insane. If a User doesn't care enough about a bug or a crash to fill out a bug report or voice their opinion on it why do think you can just invade their privacy instead? Just because almost everyone can't be bothered to answer surveys on the phone should survey designers just decide to go and analyse everyones trash instead without asking? It's valuable data after all and most people don't answer surveys. Why don't we just go ahead and track everyones movement while we are at it. I'm sure we can improve traffic flow with that valuable data. Just because most People wouldn't like that doesn't mean we cant just invade their privacy because we think we know better.

God, i hope the EU gets their shit together with the GDPR someday and fines devs and companys like that out of existence.


This argument does not hold because you can compare Google to Apple (in this case and based on the article) and say that if this was the case, then Apple which gathers less data would have inferior (more bugs, slow feature development, etc.) than Google. I see the competition, which is Apple in this case, doing relatively fair without (presumably) gathering as much data, therefore I absolutely don’t buy this claim.


Funny enough you are saying my argument doesn't hold but your reasoning actually falls perfectly in line with my comment.

The argument isn't that all telemetry is good or that we should accept any level of it.

The argument is that all telemetry is not inherently bad.

As the article states, Apple does telemetry too. If you are ok with Apple and not Google, you are agreeing with me that this is a nuanced issue and the specific level of telemetry needs to be debated. If you are taking the stance that all telemetry is bad. You need to find another company to champion besides Apple.


I agree with you that not all telemetry is bad and as a software engineer I understand the value of it. What I am trying to say is this kind of argument has been used by the likes of Google, Apple, Facebook, etc. as an excuse to collect an excessive amount of data (even sometimes illegally) and that’s the reason I pushed back against it. As you correctly mentioned, this is a complex issue. For example, there is no way for most users to differentiate between what could be useful and what is unnecessary violation, what privacy breach is severe and what is not. Until we have a practical solution to these problems, I won’t trust those companies to play ethical and only use my data in good harmless ways. As for Google, it’s worth keeping in mind that we are talking about a company that intentionally misleads users in occasions to collect their data.


> I'd rather have privacy and buggy software then bug free software in exchange for no privacy at all

Unfortunately, nobody offers bug free software in exchange for no privacy. It’s still buggy.


We’re increasing the risk exposure for every user for our own trivial convenience. It is inherently bad, just like other forms of widespread surveillance that is often motivated by some seemingly good cause, like catching terrorists.


Telemetry is inherently bad if it's not done with the informed, opt-in consent of the end user whose data it's (mis)appropriating, oftentimes silently.

There's no issue with opt-in telemetry, where the user says "yes, it's okay to track me".

Invisible, silent, always-on telemetry is actually just spyware that's been mislabeled.

Ultimately it's not the telemetry that's at issue: it's the unethical and selfish behavior of the software/device manufacturer.

No sane or reasonable person thinks that an EULA is informed consent.


Once upon a time fixing bugs in production didn't happen because the product got all the bugs out before production. If it had bugs in production, the product failed.


You used the phrase "once upon a time", a common opening for fairy tales, which seems apropos for describing a magical land where products achieved a 100% bug detection rate before release. I suppose this might have been true 50 years ago, at the dawn of the electronic calculator, but that is now an age of legend...


I've often wondered about this commonly repeated belief that software of ~30 years ago was less buggy than software today, because it doesn't really line up with my memories. There's definitely part of it that comes from a standard "back in my day", rose-tinted glasses sort of thing.

But I actually think a lot of it comes from the fact that modern software can be easily patched, whereas older software couldn't. It is easy to believe that software today is buggier because of just how many patches we get for it. But back in the day, any bugs that existed in the product were not as visible, because we weren't getting weekly updates where the patch notes say "Bug fixes."

How many massive vulnerabilities existed in major products of the day, and continued to persist unnoticed by all of us because of the relative impossibility of patching them out?

On top of that, modern software is simply more complex -- often times an order of magnitude more complex. (Whether this increased complexity is always needed/appropriate is a separate question.) I'm not sure what metric you would use to be able to do a "bugs per complexity unit" sort of comparison between then and now, something that attempts to control for increased complexity, but my intuition is that it would be pretty flat.


When that was true, several decades ago, products generally had upwards of 2 years of design/architecture/engineering effort and definitions prior to another 3-5 years of development.

It still (sometimes) happens for medical, aerospace and other transportation software that interfaces with hardware where safety is a concern.


The more concerning thing about the car data is that the manafacturers resell it to third parties and those third parties have the right to resell it again. It's a mess.

As a comparison, I don't know if much of Google's data ever leaves Google.


i'm getting the impression that iot providers have far, far lower privacy standards vs dedicated tech providers. This to me indicates that they don't take the internet capability of their kettles/cars seriously enough. It's just a gimmick. This is not a constructive way to advance iot.


Every data broker out there says a prayer every night that we (as a society) continue to focus our attention on Google (an absolute saint by comparison) and ignore what phone companies, cable companies, browser extensions, gaming apps, smart tvs, etc. etc. do with our data.


> This to me indicates that they don't take the internet capability of their kettles/cars seriously enough. It's just a gimmick.

Of course it is, and of course they don't. There are exactly two reasons why stuff like cars or kettles get connected to the Internet:

1) A value-add gimmick to justify a price hike on what's pretty much a commodity product;

2) A way to lock you into paying (with money or data) for a cloud service, using a physical appliance as an anchor.

Actual utility of an Internet-connected appliance doesn't even enter the picture.


>cars regularly send basic data

My car doesn't and I absolutely would never buy one that does even if that meant walking/taking the bus.


Which makes it weird that we accept this bullshit from our phones, considering that you have your phone with you whether you're driving or walking or taking the bus.


I think it's because you have to pay money to access the cell network; You need an identety to clear billing with. Until we have enough spectrum for WiFi to have longer ranges you will never be able to use a portable device with internet access like cell phones have without being tracked. The extra data exfiltrated from our devices is often only a little more precise than what the carriers in many places are already selling.


I don't accept it on my phone either.

My Oneplus runs Lineage, and I explicitly omitted Google services.

I had previously run the MicroG rewrap of Lineage, but the maintainer dropped maintenance for six months, so I found ways to do without the GMS emulation.


Alas, your cell carrier can and probably is still tracking everywhere you go, as well as who you call / text / calls you / texts you, and sniffing your packets unless you VPN


I also use microG on my phone.


I read Steven Levy's book "Hackers" recently. One interesting insight was that developers for Sierra On-line and other early publishers had deals for the developer to get a 30% royalty on the games they wrote, with Sierra collecting 70% as the publisher. Over time, as there was some market saturation in the early 80s, this number decreased.


> cars regularly send basic data

I'm still terrified by the fact that some cars now apparently have network interfaces for some reason.


Got a courtesy call from BMW the other day to let me know my brake fluid needed changing and would I like an appointment made at my nearest garage?

I get that there are privacy concerns, but also that's pretty cool. It also has GPS and will automatically alert BNW if air bags are deployed. Has saved lives.


> Got a courtesy call from BMW the other day to let me know my brake fluid needed changing and would I like an appointment made at my nearest garage?

That's only marginally better than it popping up an alert on the dashboard, which many modern cars most probably do anyway, but imo it feels like something of a privacy invasion.

> It also has GPS and will automatically alert BNW if air bags are deployed. Has saved lives.

Aren't there systems that automatically call an emergency number and send GPS coordinates when they detect a crash? I think I read somewhere that some countries are even going to mandate them on new cars.

(Disclaimer: I'm not much into cars. I do have a driving license, but I don't own a car and don't drive very often.)


Ideally some of that data can be aggregated and acted upon locally to the car computer, so that once an arbitrary car manufacturer closes shop, you can still retain the value provided by that telemetry.

Sending it off to their servers and having them manually call you up is nice, but I'd hate for that to suddenly go away because of some business that is outside of your control as a consumer.


We can save a lot of lives if we monitor everyone/everything. I'm sure there was very little early death in the Matrix universe.


Except there was a lot of death, hence the line about rejecting uptopia. Also robots used human brains as batteries (or processors, in the original script) which is not quiet the same.


It is like I tell my kids, "pointing to bad behavior does not justify your bad behavior"

Cities frequently do this when they want to raise fees or taxes, 'Hey look at City B and City C, our fees are still lower even with this unneeded and uncalled for increase'


>Cars only started doing this because phones made it normal. It's wrong in both cases.

I don't know that this is true, planes have been doing it for quite some time now, although obviously they existing in a totally different bracket of price and complexity.


although obviously they existing in a totally different bracket of price and complexity.

There's a whole world of difference between a plane operating commercial service in a highly-regulated industry and one's own car. At least there is an expectation of personal privacy - and some semblance of freedom - with the latter.


Apple didn’t establish the 30% cut. They kited the idea from console makers and other walled garden industries that came before them.

This doesn’t make it more defensible, but they didn’t create it.


It’s way worse. Google is the pioneer in that type of analytics.

Apple took the existing model and automated it. They didn’t invent it, it’s been around since RCA/Victor. Retail takes bigger cuts (Walmart used to get 60% from AV vendors). Enterprise software resellers and distributors take a similar share to Apple, and do other shenanigans as a financing mechanism. When you hear about “shipments” that’s what that means.


OT, but since you mentioned it, does anyone happen to know what the most recent model years without any kind of cellular radio might be?

In a similar vein, can the radios be physically removed from any newer cars without the car complaining about it?


Depends on the package you opt for, but I'd guess up to 2011 for cars without onstar


Wow, that's disheartening. Was hoping to hear at least 2014, heh.


Telemetry allows people to make better decisions. It's not a bad practice. Information deserves to be free.


Let's not forget that "better" is from the viewpoint of a giant corporation whose primary reason for existence is to suck as much profit out of you as it can...


Often the benefit is mutual. A better product is good for both the business and the users.


I wonder if they figured out the perfect "benign phrases" using a/b testing.


It's called the "tu quoque" logical fallacy


Such an important point.

And, as with most things, there’s an XKCD for that: https://xkcd.com/978/


I seriously don’t mean this in an offensive way. But isn’t bringing Apple now into this, “Whataboutism” in disguise?


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