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Dozens of U.S. states say Apple stifles competition, back Epic (reuters.com)
342 points by keleftheriou 8 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 307 comments

Also read Florian Mueller’s excellent analysis here: http://www.fosspatents.com/2022/01/35-us-states-and-microsof...

> Epic's appeal is very much alive. Apple will use its market power and money to get support from all sorts of "friends of the court" as well, possibly even ridiculous astroturfing organizations. But it won't be able to counterbalance the support Epic received from 35 states, Microsoft, the EFF, and America's most cited and most authoritative antitrust law professor. It will probably be easy to see for the Ninth Circuit that those who support Epic do so because it's the right and necessary thing to do, while those who will support Apple are just going to have reasons to do Apple a favor.

Update: The U.S. federal government has now filed a brief as well:

> The United States enforces the federal antitrust laws and has a strong interest in their correct interpretation. The United States files this brief, pursuant to Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 29(a)(2), to address errors in the district court’s analysis of the Sherman Act, which, if uncorrected, could significantly harm antitrust enforcement. The United States takes no position on the merits of the parties’ claims.

Further analysis on the government’s brief specifically: http://www.fosspatents.com/2022/01/biden-administration-back...

Florian Mueller's name rang a bell, then I remembered that it was discovered that he was a paid shill for Oracle a while back[1]. I wonder how much Epic is paying?

[1] https://www.theverge.com/2012/8/17/3250148/oracle-tells-cour...

It seems you're insinuating this person is a shill for Epic. May I ask what point you're trying to make about OP's quote?

Last time people were accusing him of being an Apple shill, because he correctly analyzed the ruling as pro-Apple when the tech press and commenters were thinking Apple had a huge defeat. Shill accusations make more sense when backed up by actual argument and reasoning. Instead they're used when those things are lacking.

This line from the quote is doing some heavy lifting:

> It will probably be easy to see for the Ninth Circuit that those who support Epic do so because it's the right and necessary thing to do, while those who will support Apple are just going to have reasons to do Apple a favor.

It's the kind of thing I would definitely write if I were being paid to paint Epic as a humble yet valiant defender of the consumer.

Any analysis he makes is suspect, from then and indefinitely into the future.

You've got about 20,000 karma on this site, if we find one analysis of yours that's wrong does that give us the right to dismiss everything else you say?

Huh? It's not about right or wrong analysis, it's about improperly disclosed payment.

Florian Mueller was the only figure in tech journalism who correctly interpreted the major ruling in the case to be pro-Apple.

And we didn't even know the identity of the person(s) behind Groklaw, much less if they were funded by a company, but that's totally fine because of the bias right?

> And we didn't even know the identity of the person(s) behind Groklaw

This is a really strange and trivially disproven claim[1].

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pamela_Jones

Is this a joke? She wouldn't even confirm that it's her real name or not.

I don't see why she'd want to do that when she had SCO personally harassing her and reporters doxxing her and her mother[1].

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groklaw#Media_controversy

So we don't know her identity? Which was my point above.Glad we agree.

That's why I found the "astroturfing" mention interesting. Epic's side of this arrangement has been marketing and astroturfing extensively. The entire launch of the piece was a marketing blitz.

Don't you compare the shit Oracle tried to do with Google with the evil of Apple and the relatively social/industry good that the Epic lawsuit will do.

Perhaps provide a counter argument, rather than a hollow dictate, eg. why that comparison isn’t valid.

> while those who will support Apple are just going to have reasons to do Apple a favor.

Snapchat. I am willing to bet they will issues a statement, PR or whatever it may be just as they have been doing for the past 6 years. The whole PR and marketing operation from Apple is getting quite boring / tiring. Same old tricks, same people, same moves, same tactics, same PR.

It works for those who dont follow Apple closely, and just reading them off some mainstream media. But follow them long and detail enough you should notice the same pattern. They have learned nothing from Katie Cotton, the Master of PR. If they had done better, even if I disagree with them I could have at least given them credit for doing a good job spinning it.

> It will probably be easy to see for the Ninth Circuit that those who support Epic do so because it's the right and necessary thing to do, while those who will support Apple are just going to have reasons to do Apple a favor.

Call me cynical but I have my suspicions about this claim.

To be sure, "support" here refers to amici curiae.

Elsewhere in the article they write

> Those filings [by amici curiae] are not just a "nice to have." This kind of support is mission-critical, as I explained a few days ago.

And here is the blog post going deeper about what they are claiming. http://www.fosspatents.com/2022/01/can-superstar-lawyer-tom-...

I don't really care about Epic (because they are far from being a dream company you are likely to sympathize today - they hardly care about anybody's rights actually, just about their own revenue) but once I have an iPad/iPhone I want alternative browser engines, terminals, emulators/VMs and being able to write and run an app of my own without having to even inform (let alone pay) Apple about this. I also believe 30% is too much for an app developer to pay the device manufacturer anyway.

a) If you are willing to pay Apple for the developer program then you are free to run whatever applications you like on your phone. It's how many of us are running terminals, emulators etc.

b) Apple charges 15% for developers earning less than $1m a year.

What do they charge developers that make more than $1m revenue again? 30%? Oh and it's $1m revenue, not earnings. Big difference.

Nice to know. Thank you.

I don't understand how even as low as 15% of all the apps revenue can be less than $1m a year though and, if it is, why would Apple even bother collecting it.

I think you misinterpreted this:

> Apple charges 15% for developers earning less than $1m a year.

As this:

> Apple charges 15% for developers, earning less than $1m a year.

When it actually means this:

> Apple charges 15% to developers who earn less than $1m a year (and still charge 30% to developers who earn more than that).

Yes, thank you.

It would of never been lowered to 15% without Epic starting this whole thing

Apple controls 50+% of modern American consumer computing. They tax it heavily. They scrutinize every program that wants to run on it, adding undue and unfair process, stress, and burden. They don't allow browsers other than artificially limited Safari. No runtimes. No auto updates outside of their control.

Recent changes to tracking and ads sent billion dollar ripples through the industry, forcing Facebook to seek a new business model. Even if you hate ads, the scale of this force is a sure sign of a monopoly. And of course Apple is free to monopolize and take advantage of this data for their own purpose and profit.

Apple never lets you form a business relationship with your customer. You'll have to use sign in with Apple, throwaway emails, Apple payments, subscriptions, etc. Customers are on loan, a grace from Apple, and you can be cut off anytime. Solid footing for any startup.

Apple loves to clone app ideas, remove APIs, etc. There are countless stories of small app devs going out of business thanks to the platform they built upon.

Apple is now becoming a payments company. Soon they'll own physical space and both sides of the relationship there too.

They're also a movie studio, potential automaker, and gaming company.

Companies shouldn't be able to get this big and control every aspect, every interface. Not of 50+% of American digital activity. The Internet is not Apple, and yet for many people, it is.

I'm scared of Apple. They can do my business in on a whim. Yours too.

We should ask for better regulation to support smaller business and innovation. We shouldn't have to run our ideas by Apple. We shouldn't have to pay them for providing no service or service we didn't ask for.

> They don't allow browsers other than artificially limited Safari.

This one alone strikes me as the worst offender.

And to think, back in the 90s, people found it objectionable that Microsoft bundled Internet Explorer with Windows. Apple's behavior now would be like if in addition to bundling, Microsoft also completely blocked the installation of any competing browsers.

The tech crowd was up in arms about Microsoft doing this in the 90s yet today Apple is acting even worse yet many self proclaim tech enthusiasts rush to their defense. Were the Microsoft defenders in the 90s this loud or has the tech community deteriorated?

Most of the tech community that I remember hated what MS was doing. Somehow Apple has created fanboys in a way MS never managed to (thankfully).

I kinda disliked the default bundling, but I have always been a power user so it never affected me. It’s like tech users that complain when a device/OS defaults to Google Search rather than Duck Duck Go. So long as I have the power to change it from the default, I simply don’t spend that much effort caring about the “tyranny of the default”.

And requiring that apps use the Safari Mobile browser engine doesn’t seem anticompetitive to me. I simply see the browser engine as yet another smartphone API that every smartphone OS requires that developers use (like a file system or a network API).

Modern browsers are a rats nest of complexity. I can’t go a day without HN-type people complaining about the resources that Electron apps suck up - full native browsers embedded into iOS apps would not be much different.

If it's merely "yet another smartphone API" then why is bundling your own prohibited? This has nothing to do with (warranted) complaints about the state of browser complexity and resource usage. It's anticompetitive because you literally aren't permitted to compete with them.

An example, hopefully valid but I didn't double check. Android provides a file system API but presumably I can do FUSE-type stuff in an app without it getting banned from the Play store, right? Maybe "mount" an iso image and let the user browse around in it?

“It's anticompetitive because you literally aren't permitted to compete with them.”

That’s not what anti-competitive legislation says. You are making a cute argument using a slogan term and ignoring the definitions within the statutes.

The internals of a browser aren’t significant when it comes to product differentiation. They are significant when it comes to user-impacting features like battery life, security of data on the device outside of your app, and reasonable app sizes. These are the arguments I have seen that defend AAPL and their walled garden.

Anti-competition legislation is prosecuted based on whether prices for the end user are impacted, not whether there is freedom for a developer to rewrite some internal API that Apple already supplied.

There are much better arguments for anti-competitive behavior against Apple than the proprietary browser engine.

What about not having any form of programming language, interpreter what not on your phone? Or the heavy censoring of available apps, that one might very well not agree with?

For programming language/interpreter that's not true.

Lately I've been doing a lot of "self-hacking" on iOS and I'm quite satisfied with it. There are Python environments, some JS ones. Of course, they're not 100% desktop-like, but limitations aren't that different from various embedded systems. Those can be integrated into widgets/watch faces, on-demand and remote triggered scripts. There's also possibility to write webapps that run in full-screen form (good for calculators, small snippets, there's some iOS API to be used but I didn't bother that deeply to check). Some stuff can be ran completely, there's rich automation library and plenty more.

Could you give some examples? There is nothing for Java or Haskell, other than perhaps the almost killed iSH, but that is also a giant hack trying to balance on a thin wire. Apple didn’t take it down only because the huge backlash, which is not the case for smaller apps, unfortunately.

Most likely for Java and Haskell you won't be able to find anything. I personally used Pyto and Pythonista 3 for Python (there's also Juno for local and remote development if you're into Jupyter notebooks). I also use Drafts, which is editor, but uses JS for scripting and I and few my peers use it for automation and whatnot. I also seen Scriptable in use but I haven't used it myself.

As for other things - I'm Shortcut user and there are few extension to it like Pushcut or Toolbox Pro which extend it. I have shortcuts that manage my devices at home, when I'm there or when I leave, plus stuff I automated some with NFC stickers & Watch. Usually I start with it, when I want to get something automated. Shortcuts + servers provides a lot of automation (especially since I can get the data for widgets or make an action through it).

As for the other (especially compiled) languages I'm not sure if it's possible even possible without more advanced tools (and as far as I remember jailbreak voids warranty, but is confirmed to be legal). One can, however, create iOS applications without being part of developer program (this requires re-signing every week or two, which is inconvenience, but still something that can be automated) and for those 99$/year you don't have to re-sign every period. AppStore presence is not obligatory so one can make use of all sensors and data iOS applications have and even more (as AppStore rules don't oblige to your own personal apps) - and even share it to a small group of friends assuming they trust you, as they'd have to manually accept your dev certificate - something you can quite easily do with family or friends. It works for me but YMMV.

In general I'd say that for power user Apple's ecosystem isn't that restricted as people make it. On MacOS you get widely supported AppleScript that I personally despise due to syntax (and it seems like Apple dropped the idea of supporting JXA lately), on iOS there's reasonable x-callback/Shortcuts automation framework and quite a lot of commercial tools.

I thought embedding compilers and the like wasn't permitted on iOS? I've seen reports of apps being pulled due to embedding lua, among other things.

Afaik, JIT compilation is disallowed other than for Safari’s javascript engine. This is why x86 interprets instructions for example, which is more of a gray category.

Some people are not concerned with being handcuffed, if the chains are polished, shiny, and look good.

And allow me to never have to spend time removing malware from my parents’ devices, or worry about someone stealing their credentials.

This statement is false. The availability of third party appstores does not in any way affect the security of your parents devices. Just instruct them not to install other appstores.

And yes, time and again, fans of handcuffs are proving that they are willing to trade other people's freedoms for their own convenience.

Perhaps, all I know is there is currently only one product offering / ecosystem that frees up my time from doing tech support for my parents.

My dad had a OnePlus phone from 2016 to 2018 or so and it was a mess. I don’t know what he clicks on, but he does not have those problems on iOS.

Think of it as a church. You being a zealous Jehovah's witness shouldnt stop others from praying in other churches, not does it break your relationship with your JW cell.

One plus phone was a mess because the product is mess. It wouldn't get any better if users weren't allowed using any other apps. For example, my wife's parents use Ubuntu desktop for many years, with next to zero maintenance. Ubuntu does have an ability to install other apps but through its software repository, but it is made in such a way that an unskilled user just can't break the system. A simple switch buried in the settings enabling third party repositories would be enough.

Now they're only vulnerable to phishing and social engineering attacks!

> Were the Microsoft defenders in the 90s this loud

No, definitely not. Then again, very few people used computing technology in the 1990s and had no idea what Microsoft was up to, or cared. A computer was used sparingly. Today, you use one every waking minute in your pocket. So things change.

A computer was used sparingly.

This is not true. Even in the mid-90s most things were computer based. Offices were full of them. A lot of people had them in their homes. Business software built in VB was a massive industry. I was getting paid to make websites in 1998, and they were immensely popular. People had LAN parties where they took their PCs to other peoples houses to play Doom on a network.

No doubt people use computers more now, but don't underestimate how much we sat in front of Windows 95.

“The tech crowd” is not a monolith. The two issues are not exactly the same.

Nothing fruitful came of the MS IE bundling antitrust lawsuit. The browser still came bundled with the OS and was the default.

OS X doesn’t have any App Store limitations and doesn’t restrict browsers to only use the safari engine, only iOS does that. But iOS is not a general purpose computing device. It is a very flexible embedded device. I want Apple to remain hands-off on restricting what I can install on my laptop and desktop, but I see the security and privacy value in having my smartphone apps being sandboxed.

I have always been heavily critical of MS and far less of Apple. People are tribal. I do see lots of value in Apple’s safeguarding of smartphones and the authentication + payments spaces, even if it comes at the expense of competition on their embedded platform.

I'm pretty sure the iPhone could run a full general purpose os if you wanted to. It could certainly run something at the level of the 90s full OS that Microsoft's control was criticised for.

Really anything with a browser is a general purpose computing device.

Majority of the world has mobile phones now, so Mobiles are the general computing devices now. Its the PCs and macs which have become specialized devices.

The population of users that have a thing doesn’t change the category of the thing.

It is a proprietary device that runs a proprietary OS. The FCC doesn’t allow the average citizen to reprogram devices with cell phone modems. It is an embedded device with lots of capabilities.

>yet today Apple is acting even worse

Microsoft slaughtered companies that dared to compete with it in the bad old days, as noted in the findings of fact from the antitrust lawsuit.

>Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson issued his findings of fact on November 5, 1999, which stated that Microsoft's dominance of the x86-based personal computer operating systems market constituted a monopoly, and that Microsoft had taken actions to crush threats to that monopoly, including Apple, Java, Netscape, Lotus Software, RealNetworks, Linux, and others.


There was also the contractual matter of forcing OEMs to pay for a Windows license on computers they shipped that didn't have Windows on them.

In the EU antitrust case, Microsoft was forced to open up the their client server protocols (too late to save Novell) but we did get a SAMBA implementation that works out of it.

The tech community just changed, that is all. A community can't grow this much without changing a lot, the old voices are probably still there but the group is too small and gets drowned out by the rest.

Well the difference is Microsoft had a monopoly with no great products. As Steve Jobs would say "Yes but It Sucks." I cant even record a single moment where I look at Microsoft's product, software, or services and thought wow this is pretty great. Mediocre is probably the best word to describe Microsoft.

Despite my objection to Apple in the recent post Steve Jobs era, they still make some of the best product in each category. Their attention to detail, while fallen from their peak, is still in a league of their own.

It is a rather sad state of things.

apple is making the app developers wealthier, whereas micrisoft was pitting them out if business.

not as much momey as they could be making, but much more than without apple

Even now Microsoft seems to periodically switch people's default browsers to Edge on Windows. No clue how they get away with it.

Apple doesn’t force me to hide my email, it is my choice to click hide vs not. Apple is just enabling the consumer choice — a choice that a lot of consumers do take (As you noted).

There are good parts about the way Apple operates, they execute well and in a consumer-friendly manner — that’s honestly pretty rare and one reason to like Apple.

Could you elaborate on the consumer friendly part? I'm not an Apple user so I don't know the specifics, but it seems to an outsider that many of the practices that the original commenter suggested were monopolistic are not at all consumer friendly.

When singing up for something that is after an email address, the prompt for an email address that Apple populates the box with is the list of addresses for the contact and the option to create an email address that is only used for that service and forwards to your own email.


In a world where email address lists get sold, using the random address generated by Apple means that if that provider sells the list, you can disable the random address without exposing your real underlying address.

The original commenter is not painting an accurate picture. For instance:

> Apple never lets you form a business relationship with your customer. You'll have to use sign in with Apple, throwaway emails, Apple payments, subscriptions, etc.

Sign In with Apple offers the user a choice whether to expose their email address to the application or whether to use a forwarding address.

Why? Well if you do what I do and register a different email address per application, you’ll quickly find that some applications either sell your data to spammers or get compromised and give it to the spammers for free. There’s nothing like registering for My Fitness Pal to track your progress and getting spam for Chinese casinos delivered to the email address you gave them and nobody else. And once they have your real email address, there’s no undoing that.

If Apple gives a forwarding address to those applications instead, when that email address starts to receive spam, the alias can be shut off to stop the spam to you, and even to everybody else who had their privacy compromised if it’s a widespread breach.

This is good for consumers, bad for spammers. If your users are given a choice between giving you their real email address and giving you a forwarding one, and they choose to keep their email address out of your hands, that’s not Apple being mean to developers, that’s your user’s privacy preference. Respect it.

Also, you don’t have to offer Sign In with Apple at all unless you also offer other social logins, like Facebook Login. Basically, if you’re going to centralise authentication with one of the giants, you have to offer Apple’s privacy-friendly option as well.

Apple payments? Nope, you don’t have to use them. Anything physical, you can use whatever you like. Many things digital, you can take payment outside the application using any system you like but have to use Apple within the application. Would it be better for developers if you could use whatever you like within the application? Sure! Is it the same thing as an unqualified “You must use Apple payments”? Not at all.

Subscriptions? Nope. Don’t have to use them at all under any circumstances. There’s loads of applications that are entirely free or have a one-time fee. You aren’t forced to use subscriptions at all.

Apple gives consumers choices that agree with Apple’s business model and takes away choices that don’t - just like any other company. Consumer friendliness is ultimately a function of overlapping interests.

But the anti-trust debate is not about that. It’s about whether or not the opportunities for companies to compete on finding overlapping interests with consumers are unduly restricted, which would indirectly be consumer hostile.

I’m not saying that Apple always acts altruistically, it is a business after all. I am pointing out that if you are relying on the original comment in this thread to understand the situation, you are going to be misled.

I don't see anything consumer friendly in not being able to install Signal on an iPhone in China, or an app with opposition voting suggestions in Russia.

The only alternative is that iPhones wouldn’t be available in those countries, and so you still wouldn’t be able to install those apps.

That's not the only alternative. If iOS allowed sideloading or third-party app stores, banned apps would be available to iOS users in those countries. Since Apple is not directly offering those apps, iPhones would also remain available in those countries, just as Android device makers aren't banned for retaining Android's sideloading capabilities.

Or the app could just be offered as a web app.

That would be a fine option if it were fully supported by Safari. This excludes all web apps that require push notifications (including a hypothetical web app for Signal in China) until Safari implements the Push API on iOS. Safari would also need a web telephony API to answer calls for feature parity with the native Signal app.

This is oversimplified to the point of being wrong.

Consumer electronics is massive versus general purpose computing devices. Apple is big in the latter, but a much smaller market share of the former.

What you claim is a tax is (or was) the same rate as Google Play Store and Steam.

Scrutiny isn’t a terrible thing considering how weak app security is on some platforms. Also worth considering that OS X is a general purpose computing device (which doesn’t require the App Store), whereas iOS is an embedded device.

The “ask this app develop not to track me” seems to benefit and empower the user. In what antitrust framework would Facebook’s interest be defended? The US antitrust frameworks would have to be contorted severely to treat Facebook as the victim of antitrust behavior in this scenario.

The “Apple never lets you form a business relationship with your customer” is the best point you made. I’m not familiar with how the Apple contract leverages that off-app. Yet it is still the user’s option to use Login with Apple or ApplePay from outside of an iOS app.

Steam doesn’t control your hardware though, you are entirely free to go to the game maker’s website and do business directly with them. Play store is very much in the same leage, but there is at least side loading.

And come on, iOS is not an embedded device, this joke of a defense has to die. These are very expensive general purpose handheld computers with processors having insane performance, not your smart fridge.

For all practical purposes, one who bought such a device should have control over what gets installed on it. Sideloading should be mandated by law. They could be free to put it behind any warning/setting so that your granny won’t install some scammy program, but it should be a right.

> and Steam

I don't need to use Steam to play games on PC or OS X. I can get them from anywhere else.

Heck, Steam allowed me to activate my Humble Bundle keys on steam for free allowing games to be enabled on their platform when they are bypassed as the sourcing medium.

There is no way Steam can be compared to a monopolist like Apple. .

> whereas iOS is an embedded device.

In your opinion. For lots of people that is their main computing device and that is how they access a lot of services. iOS on iPad Pro is frequently advertised at replacing even laptop like use cases.

Even for people using laptops, it is hardly an "embedded" device as such, the same editing docs, crafting emails, editing photos is done on it as a complementary device.

> The “ask this app develop not to track me” seems to benefit and empower the user.

Yes, it does and it is good for the user to have control. But here is the deal, Apple has their own ad platform, in fact if memory serves me right, they used to have their Ads SDK in form of iAds as well which didn't do well so they scaled it back. The rules will help Apple the most in expanding their ad presence as personalised ads was where they struggled.

I like Steam as well, but Steam has behaved in an Apple-like fashion by removing/banning games by coming up with rules regarding content out of thin air and retroactively applying them. I don't think that's a behavior that will change any time soon.




I wasn't aware about this and as someone who doesn't like censorship, I don't like Steam doing this.

But the good thing is that even if Steam doesn't distribute them, these devs can distribute it through other stores or on their own, that is simply not an option on iOS.

> iOS is an embedded device.

Embedded in what? Is it part of a car? That word means exaclty what it sounds like, this game of 'personal dictionary' is preposterous.

"An embedded system is a computer system ... within a larger mechanical or electronic system."

"general purpose computing device (which doesn’t require the App Store), whereas iOS is an embedded device."

wait what? are you a lawyer or trying to sound like one?

"The ask this app develop not to track me seems to benefit and empower the user"

ofcourse, if you phrase it like that but if you phrase it as "ad personalization" it'll feel different

Apple forced every online service to add "Sign in with Apple" if they have "Sign in with X" or GTFO the App store and every developer complied very quickly. That's some serious power

Apple has been getting away with serious anti competitive practices in the name of better user experience and arguably they do a good job with the user experience part. but in the US they hold an absolute majority share and shouldn't be allowed to maintain all their existing practices of locking out everyone else because they are the ones who control the iPhone OS.

Your customers don't want a business relationship with you because they don't like or trust you anyways. It's worse for the customer to have a business relationship with your app. Good for you sure, you can trick them into signing up for a subscription using dark patterns that they can't cancel without showing up in person in the middle of nowhere Wyoming. Your customers don't want that though

> I'm scared of Apple. They can do my business in on a whim. Yours too.

They can't. My business is manufacturing for wholesale, nothing whatsoever to do with computers.

These kinds of over-generalizations and FUD only serve to reduce your credibility.

It is beneficial to all participants of a forum if everybody payed attention to context in which something is said. You aren't doing that here.

> Earth is round...

No it's not, it's an oblate spheroid!

These kinds of over-generalisations and FUD only serve to reduce your credibility. Now I can't take your warning about climate change seriously!

Huh, and I thought people on this forum were smart and would not stand for obvious FUD.

Personally I’d never choose to use rhetoric like this. (“My life is in danger because of X, and so is YOURS!”/“They are coming for you and yours next!”) - that’s the kind of thing leads to the worst of humanity. Good for you if you like that (and who wouldn’t, when you have a personal hatred of X, right?), but some people have to stand against it.

> that’s the kind of thing leads to the worst of humanity

I think most people are perfectly capable of processing this statement correctly, it's up their with 'videogames cause crime and violence'.

On the contrary, these kind of extremely obvious knowledge bits destroy your credibility.

I think it was implied they meant tech businesses, seeing as this is Hacker News

"Soon they'll own physical space and both sides of the relationship there too."

The iTrashBin will get a software update to DNA scan your garbage and report to the police if it sees something suspicious.

Apple's 30% revenue cut is absurd rent seeking behavior. Good on these states. Let's keep it going and continue to dismantle similar systems at other companies.

Apple can continue to mandate Apple payment options are as an option in every app, but let's watch as that 30% drops to nothingness once they face real competition.

And Microsoft charges 30% of the sale price of any game sold on Xbox plus for physical products another 20% for the right to master it to disc plus. Why isn't EGS complaining about this?

Xboxes have always been sold at a loss and then Microsoft makes back its money via games.


The Switch was always sold at a profit relative to its hardware component and manufacturing costs, yet Nintendo charges 30% platform fees just like Apple (and Microsoft.) PS4 and PS5 (disc model) are currently sold at a profit, and Sony continues to charge the same platform fees.

Nintendo (like Apple) needs to recoup R&D and software development costs, and their business model is based on charging platform fees.

It's completely unsurprising that Apple's gaming handheld uses a similar walled garden/platform fee business model similar to Nintendo's.

[sadly can't fix typo; I wish HN would extend its editing window from a few hours to a week or so.]

One thing at a time

Apple charges 15% for all developers earning less than $1m per year.

And I think you're confused because Apple will still receive their commission irrespective of which payment provider a developer chooses to use.

> Apple charges 15%...

* Announced as a change by Apple in November 2020, after this lawsuit was filed in August 2020.

> Apple charges 15% for all developers earning less than $1m per year.

Still absurd rent seeking behavior without real competition

> And I think you're confused because Apple will still receive their commission irrespective of which payment provider a developer chooses to use.

Keep pushing then

They will try to keep as much of their revenue as possible. Doesn't mean they will get it.

LOL, you're replying with this stupid comment on every comment without realizing that the 15% came AFTER the lawsuits so Apple could save face.

They do this in every thread. Apple apologism is the most insufferable and ugliest side of "Hacker" News.

better late than never. surprised CA didn't join the 'club'. App Store and Play Store have no competitions and they have been milking the developers for too long. it's time to put a stop to it. either force them to allow third party app stores or provide third party payment options.

Play store have competition, btw: https://www.amazon.com/gp/mas/get-appstore/android.

And the big argument against Apple is that you can't have the same for iPhones.

> Play store have competition, btw: https://www.amazon.com/gp/mas/get-appstore/android.

Oh the illusion of choice. Nobody* is sideloading an appstore on their phone to have access to a new catalogue of apps.

What is beyond comprehension to me is why Apple doesn't take notice on google playbook and put the option to sideload apps/stores behind 20 menus deep and 5 warning screens. It would applacate a lot of people, keep nerds happy and 0.001% would do this.

* Outside technically inclined folks.

> Nobody* is sideloading an appstore

On Android, it's not much more difficult than installing any other app (with a couple additional prompts to accept).

Between the Amazon app store (pre-installed on Amazon Fire devices), the Samsung Galaxy store (preinstalled with Samsung phones), the alternative Chinese app store(s) (used by basically the entirety of China), F-Droid (used by the technically inclined folks you mentioned), and raw apks downloaded straight from the internet, a substantial percentage of Android phones have at least one non-Google-Play app installed.

The important part is that distributing an app to a Android phone without Google's blessing is at least _possible_, and this gives them a bit of an out for charging whatever they want on their app store. You don't like their fee, fine - you're free to try to distribute your app via another store. For most people paying the Google fee is worth it, that's their choice.

None of this is true on phones made by Apple. You either pay Apple, or they'll do everything in their power to ensure your app can't run on any phone that was made by them, despite the fact that _they no longer own the phone_. It shouldn't be a huge surprise that they're finally catching some flack in the courts for this.

Would love to have something like f-droid for iOS. Number of "technically inclined" people is actually in the millions. If you add up all the consumers of all third-party app stores in the Android ecosystem it would be easily >200 million. It is not some vanishing minority.

So yes, I do hope the US govt forces Apple to un-clench a bit.

> Number of "technically inclined" people is actually in the millions. If you add up all the consumers of all third-party app stores in the Android ecosystem it would be easily >200 million.

You’re probably right, but how many of these >200 millions are users that installed said third party store after going through the speed bumps that google put there. And how many of these are people that their phone came with said third party store? For instance fire tv, fire tablet, Chinese phones etc?

Even though I’m being heavily downvoted I still think that 0.001% would actually install third party stores as apple is the sole provider of iOS (no one else could bundle their store with iOS devices).

If you have statics that shows that most of these >200 millions (didn’t check) are users that went though the phone settings, activated developer settings, downloaded apk from amazon and installed on their phones I would be happy to be proved wrong.


> Would love to have something like f-droid for iOS.

> So yes, I do hope the US govt forces Apple to un-clench a bit.

We’re not in disagreement here.

That would indeed be all it would take to make most people happy. Unfortunately, Apple seems unwilling to budge on this unless they're forced by the state.

Apple Store and Play Store are both headquartered in CA and provide a lot of state tax funds. CA doesn't want to bite the hand that feeds it.

It doesn't harm Google's Play store profits so why would it harm Apple? Plus any sales on any store owes California taxes when someone in California actually made the purchase. So again this all falls flat on it's face.

It's baffling that on HN of all places I see people actively making this argument that you should NOT be able to install whatever the hell you want on your personal pocket computer that just happens to have an Apple logo on it. It doesn't make you more secure. It just doesn't. A locked down operating system quite literally makes you LESS secure because there's fewer people poking holes.

They JUST a few days ago patched a critical zero day. https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/apple/apple-silently-f...

The ubiquity of Apple devices makes them a gigantic target for hackers.

As a developer I own both devices but the iPhone I have is quite literally a really really nice toy. All the apps I use are free. It's literally a social networking box with an excellent camera.

Meanwhile my Android does the exact same thing but I install and use open source apps on it to read manga that are simply not available on iOS.

"It's baffling that on HN of all places I see people actively making this argument that you should NOT be able to install whatever the hell you want on your personal pocket computer"

The community famous for 'mah free market' does not believe in your right to control your private property, its a paradox. Up there with 'freedom of speech' people burning books.

> They JUST a few days ago patched a critical zero day.

That neither supports nor refutes your point.


Almost all useful software gets patched frequently, from closed source things like Duolingo (and wow, do I wish I could edit that app’s code to get rid of the animations and the news tab and a few other things), to entirely permissive open-source projects like most of any Linux distro.

Better would be a comparison of the black market cost of zero-days. It’s been a while since I heard news about them (and I have not only no inclination but also don’t even know where to go to find ground-truth info), but a while ago that was Apple 0-days being cheaper than Android ones, i.e. implying they were more common.

If that’s still true, that would support your point.


One of these is about the apps, the other is about the OS itself, the only overlap is the OS refusing to let you install arbitrary apps.

Except you can install arbitrary apps on iOS in much the same way you can install them on Linux: get the source code and compile yourself, just (unlike e.g. Steam on Linux) there are no convenient pre-compiled app stores besides Apple’s.

> Except you can install arbitrary apps on iOS in much the same way you can install them on Linux: get the source code and compile yourself

Sort of. You can do this, but only for three apps at a time. And you have to be tethered to a PC that does the compiling. And you have to validate your credentials with Apple online for them to let you sign the app (which is required for running it on your phone). And the app will refuse to open after seven days have passed.

The three app limit is lifted and seven day killswitch changed to a 365 day one if you pay Apple $100 annually. Even then the other restrictions remain, so you can't, for instance, have your apps auto-update.

Compare to Android, where you can download an f-droid.apk, hit a switch or two in your settings, and get untethered app installs with semi-automatic updates. Unfortunately Android restricts fully automatic updates to preinstalled stores.

> Unfortunately Android restricts fully automatic updates to preinstalled stores.

Android 12 has improved this a bit by allowing automatic updates from user-installed third-party app stores in some situations:


Imagine an F-Droid for iOS, with or without automatic updates. Not having to pay the $99 fee per year to keep apps in the App Store would encourage many developers to publish free and open source apps, expanding the selection of ad-free apps for iOS users. Not being beholden to App Store rules means that useful apps like NewPipe, apps banned by certain governments, and apps with GPL licensing conflicts would finally be made available to iOS users again.

> Except you can install arbitrary apps on iOS

If you have a Mac, and you renew the license every 7 days.. I would hardly put it in the “can install” category.

> but a while ago that was Apple 0-days being cheaper than Android ones, i.e. implying they were more common.

It's certainly true of the white-hat market:


As a citizen and consumer I agree with your perspective, but as a developer I'm starting to wonder where the public/private line is being drawn in everyone's mind.

The whole "does twitter owe someone a platform" conversation is fascinating.

> The whole "does twitter owe someone a platform" conversation is fascinating.

It seems to reduce to bickering about the perception of a fuzzy line. My back yard is not a public space. A government owned city park is a public space. What if that park was owned by a private corporation but left open to the public? What if all the parks in the city were owned by the same private corporation? Clearly there's more to "public vs private" than just ownership but where exactly should we draw the line?

I find it tiring as opposed to fascinating. It distracts from the real issue. Why such reliance on centralized walled garden communication infrastructure? At the core, how is Twitter functionally different from sending emails to a public listserv in the 90s? How is following an account different from polling an RSS feed?

Sometimes it really seems like we're moving backwards, all the while loudly arguing over the precise direction to cede ground in. Has anyone perhaps considered going forward instead?

To me it's a consumer rights issue. Apple shouldn't have any say what I can and can't install on my device. It would be like if Tesla made you sign an EULA for your car that prevented you from putting on your own tires and instead you were required to use Tesla ones. In the car market "for your safety" is an even stronger argument and yet everyone can see straight through that argument. Freedom has been under assault in computing now for the last 20 years and for some reason there's a loud contingent of nerds cheering it on. It really is baffling to me. The absolute best and exciting time for me for iOS was when people jailbroke their phones and used Cydia. Now it's just a bland corporate sell out of an operating system.

"In the car market "for your safety" is an even stronger argument and yet everyone can see straight through that argument. Freedom has been under assault in computing now for the last 20 years"

Our computer companies have stopped selling parts for repair because 'safety' but any housewife can buy breaks or engine block and offer a commercial repair service without any training or certification

As the district court pointed out, if a consumer doesn't agree with Apple's business model, they're free to buy a competing product.

If the majority of the populace uses these devices as the primary means of communication with the internet and everything it essentially becomes a public platform.

Quite sure that the App Store revenue are attributed to their Irish holding company.

So Apple is not paying US taxes on that specific revenue stream.

You're not required to use play store to distribute an android app — android supports installing apps without any app stores. On iOS however, you're required to go through the app store.

I’m OK with third-party payment options but the last thing in the world I want is a bunch of competing app stores, all with different apps, that I then have to install, subscribe to, and manage.

but you don't have to install or manage any of them. You can continue to use apple's store. you may just lose access to some apps that don't want to share revenue with apple.

CA has always been light on big tech imo. A particularly egregious case was Gavin Newsom staying completely neutral on prop 22, while tons of out-of-state democrats were quite outspoken against the proposition. Even Biden and Harris came out against it.

California is entirely funded by big tech. Of course they aren’t going to oppose them.

Up until very recently California got more taxes from Southern California than Northern (and that may still be the case). Hollywood is still an important industry in California, even moreso now that some of the biggest tech companies in the state are entertainment companies.

Given Epic's premeditated nature of the initial contract break, and subsequent media campaign, I wouldn't rule out this is just the second wave of Epic's persuasion war.

Apple just seems to be an odd foe for the U.S. to fight in this area. I'll get the tin foil.

> Apple just seems to be an odd foe for the U.S. to fight in this area.

Apple? The largest company in the world? A company 7x larger than walmart? Why would it at all be odd to accuse them on antitrust grounds.

Apple is power (money) and influence for the US, and there is increasing geopolitical tension. It's pretty easy to see this as shooting yourself in the foot.

I am increasingly astounded at the creativity with which people find reasons to NOT hold power to account. This is a good one: because to hold a US business to account is to weaken the US. And the situation is so "tense" right now, how can we afford it? Is there anyone who actually believes this argument, and if they do, do they understand it implies that one should never hold a US firm to account, since there is always geopolitical tension? (The other one is the so-called "prosperity gospel" - basically, the rich and powerful could only possibly get that way if they were good and Godly people. Wealth and power become evidence for goodness! Incredible!)

seems basically a restatement of the whole what's good for GM is good for America misquote https://blogs.loc.gov/inside_adams/2016/04/when-a-quote-is-n... which is anyway from a different time when all of a company's production was centered in the country they headquartered at.

The thing about transnational corporations like Apple is that due to their size they are, to some extent, independent of the diktats of any one state like the US. While the usual power relationship between the state and a corporation is, roughly speaking, obey the law or we will dissolve you and lock up your executives, that relationship is less clear when it comes to a company such as Apple. This is due to two reasons. First its' transnational nature means it is not wholly reliant on remaining on the good side of a single state for its continued existence and income, and secondly the state itself comes to rely on the transnational corporation to provide employment, resources and expertise by way of its products, and tax revenues because of its' outsize nature. The result of this is that states find it difficult to wield corporations as tools in geopolitical conflicts and, at the margins, find themselves being wielded. There is thus a tension between the state's need to protect transnationals and promote their interests, and its' need to protect itself (and secondarily its citizen consumers) from their depredations. Actions such as this can be seen within this context. It is partly about protecting citizen consumers from the predatory behaviour of transnational corporations, but it is also about protecting the state and its ability to act independent of the interests of corporations. Finally the state itself is a consumer and has interests as such.

I keep losing track of if they're supposed to be so powerful they answer to no one, or so cowed that they're going to get me extradited to China and sent to jail for life for looking at Winnie the Pooh cartoons.

Neither. Both. They exist in a state of constant negotiation with their hosts, driven by the corporate equivalent of a survival instinct.

I wonder how they compare to the power of the British East India Company at various points in the latter’s history?

Can't think of any army they've fielded, nor any monopoly the government has explicitly granted them, so the analogy has its limits.

Apples and oranges can, despite the aphorism, be compared.

> Apple is power (money) and influence for the US, and there is increasing geopolitical tension.

They're an international company. Apple has already demonstrated a willingness to bow to pressure from China and censor apps etc. China is where their manufacturing and supply chain is, and the consumer market in China is nearly as big as it is in the US.

So it seems more of a liability than a benefit in a geopolitical conflict.

Any country, including the US, would do well to not swallow up the propaganda of the big tech PR departments, using foreign nations as an excuse to prop up national oligarchs.

What's best for any country is creating a healthy ecosystem that is long term competitive. We already went through 20 years of shitty cars because of Japan scares in the 80s, wasn't that enough?

I wasn’t alive in the 80s, what are you referring too?

in the late 70s/early 80s fueled by the oil crisis initially, the American car industry went into pretty steep decline and together with political fears of a rapidly growing Japan the US started to cap the imports of Japanese cars (also motorcycles and punitive measures on other industries) given that they were fuel efficient and appealed to consumers. The American auto industry became more profitable short term but generally up until the late 90s continued to stagnate or decline in particular in quality and efficiency.

American cars had a bad rep internationally (and domestically) probably until the mid 2000s when the industry started to become more competitive again.

Today Tesla is probably one example of an American carmaker that is innovative and I doubt you'll see them demand protectionist measures. International competition remains one of the best drivers for better products.

> Today Tesla is probably one example of an American carmaker that is innovative and I doubt you'll see them demand protectionist measures

For certain values of "American carmaker". It already manufactures more cars in Shanghai than in Fremont, it is controlled by a South African who is certainly not beholden to US interests, and whenever convenient can do a tax inversion to move abroad easily...

Playing favorites will look odd in a supposedly free market.

This argument has a some seriously fascist-y flavour, 'oh no we can't hold people on powerr to account for commiting crime, the time is not right"

What is there gonna be no geoopolitical tension, in 20 years? Untill then theybcan get away with murder?

> Given Epic's premeditated nature of the initial contract break

That's how a lawsuit would have to work, the courts don't typically like ruling on hypotheticals between two private entities.

Indeed, there has to be per the "case or controversy" clause of the constitution. For a plaintiff to meet standing, there must be an "injury in fact".

Epic must violate Apple's terms of use in order to be injured by the application of them, in order for Epic to have standing to allege those terms are an abuse of monopoly power.

That is incorrect, the 30% that Epic was paying Apple was sufficient to establish standing, they did not need to break the contract on top of that. The judge said so herself during the trial.

Fun related fact. Cases where a law is violated specifically to seek a precedent on appeal is sometimes called a test case. Tons of famous civil rights litigation were test cases where one or both of the parties purposefully sought an unfavorable verdict in order to appeal. Plessy v. Ferguson, the Scopes Trial, and Brown vs. Board of Education were all test cases.

IIRC the legal community used to kind of dislike these, and I think there might have been a penalty for doing it. But obviously that’s no more

Right. Typically you have to show that you were harmed.

They should add a simple new heuristic to determine an abusive monopoly. If a company is imposing a volume surcharge instead of a volume discount to its biggest customers, it means there exists an abusive monopoly and regulatory intervention is needed.

There is absolutely no reason in a well functioning market for this to occur.

I was about to disagree with you, with the counter point that electric rates for industry and consumers is often inverse to volume.

Then I realized electric distribution is a canonical example of natural monopolies....

So instead you've convinced me inverse pricing is at least a good heuristic.

This is a surprisingly salient point and I'm surprised it hasn't occurred to me until now. When market forces are operating backwards this is a giant flashing neon sign that healthy dynamics are long gone.

After reading the brief I think it's important to point out that even if the appeals court fully agreed with the arguments made by the states, that does not automatically mean Epic would win their case.

This is because the arguments made in this brief are fairly limited in scope to specific procedural details for how antitrust analysis should be conducted in cases like these, and in essence can be summarized as: "the district court needs to go back and analyze this in more detail".

To elaborate further, the two arguments made are:

> 1. The district court erred in holding that Section 1 of the Sherman Act does not apply to “unilateral contracts.”

A section 1 claim requires the plaintiff to prove (1) the existence of an agreement and (2) that the agreement was an unreasonable restraint of trade. The district court ruled that Epic had not satisfied (1) because the agreement was a "unilateral contract". The states disagree. Even if they are right, Epic still faces the uphill burden of moving to the next step and actually proving (2).

> 2. The district court’s rule-of-reason analysis failed to balance the overall competitive effects of Apple’s restraints.

Under the rule of reason the district court applied a "three-part burden-shifting" test to the question of whether Apple's contractual restraints of trade were unreasonable. First, the burden was on Epic to prove that the restraints had an anti-competitive effect. The court agreed. Second, the burden shifted to Apple to prove there was a pro-competitive justification for the restraints. The court agreed. Third, the burden shifted back to Epic to prove that those pro-competitive justifications could have been achieved through less restrictive means. Here, the court did not agree with Epic and thus the three-part test failed.

The states argue that, after having failed that test, the district court needs to take the additional step of analyzing the anti-competitive effects vs the pro-competitive justifications to determine whether the net result is pro or anti-competitive. In other words, they are asking for the appeals court to remand the case back to the district court for further analysis. Again, there is no guarantee that this analysis would come out in Epic's favor.

Of course, all this is predicated on the appeals court agreeing with the arguments made in the brief. They may very well disagree, in which case this whole argument is moot. Overall I believe Epic is still fighting a huge uphill battle here and the current antitrust laws (not to mention the current makeup of the Supreme Court) are not likely to be on their side.

How is Apple still getting away with banning competing browsers on iOS? They should have been blasted by anti-trust for it a long time ago.

Preface: I don’t know how sandboxing works on iOS beyond broad concepts, and there’s going to be implementation details I’m unaware of. As a result, please read this as curious speculation, rather than anything approximating an authoritative statement.

My understanding is that WebKit is the only rendering engine permitted on iOS as a security precaution, ostensibly taking Apple at face value and in good faith.

Numerous zero-days on iOS have targeted WebKit in the past, and to a large extent this makes sense to me. Browsers have become one of the most common malware vectors in the modern era, which isn’t surprising given their entire purpose is to access and execute/render external code.

Given that fact, and the significant attack surface area that opens up, Apple’s stance, in my nebulous interpretation, is that having any other rendering engine permitted to run in iOS presents an unmanageable number of potential vectors for more widespread malware on the platform. (Arguments about their resources aside, we know adding engineers to a problem space doesn’t scale in linear fashion towards solving those problems.)

Apple’s vocal focus on privacy and safety constitutes a significant aspect of their product marketing, and it makes sense they’d want to walk-the-walk, so to speak, to ensure their product lives up to the claims they make.

Now, given that Apple already have trouble keeping up with WebKit vulnerabilities, it’s believable that they’re being entirely genuine* in arguing against the addition of additional browser engines that they’d need to keep up with, on the grounds that doing so presents a real risk to their product’s core value proposition, and by extension, their users.

*However, it’s also important not to over-ascribe anthropomorphic traits to a corporation, and it’s completely valid to argue that Apple benefit heavily from this narrative. Indeed, both can be true.

"We have a difficulty keeping Safari secure, so we shouldn't let anyone else build a browser since it might be even less secure" does not seem like a convincing argument. It is the opposite: people whose incentives are to make good browsers would clearly make a better job of this than the company that has been working to cripple the web for a decade.

The ability to load and execute code from random places is dangerous.

From today:

>A fake two-factor-authentication app that has been downloaded some 10,000 times from Google Play surreptitiously installed a known banking-fraud trojan that scoured infected phones for financial data and other personal information, security firm Pradeo said.


I don't believe it to be in good faith given Apple's anti-competitive behavior all over. Not convinced in the least. Especially when it "accidentally" gives them a huge leverage over the adoption of Web technologies according to how they want it.

Either way, intent shouldn't matter here. What matters more is their actual damage to competition which is apparent.

> My understanding is that WebKit is the only rendering engine permitted on iOS as a security precaution, ostensibly taking Apple at face value and in good faith.

Look at mac. Do we have a problem with firefox on mac? Both mac and iOS share the same OS kernel. Using security as an excuse is laughable.

I once read on twitter from a mozilla dev saying they were even willing to build a browser engine without JIT just to satisfy the security requirement. But eventually they went with webkit to build Firefox for iOS.

> Do we have a problem with firefox on mac?

Uh, yes? There's 18 here (just for January 2022, mind) of which only 4 don't affect the Mac version.


December 2021 has 13, only 1 doesn't affect the Mac.


etc. etc.

A similar look at Safari vs Chrome on Mac would reveal that Safari is much less secure than Chrome; given that many iOS exploits rely on WebKit, the average iPhone user is strictly less secure because of Apple's ban on fair browser engine competition.

Safari: https://www.cvedetails.com/product/2935/Apple-Safari.html?ve... Chrome: https://www.cvedetails.com/product/15031/Google-Chrome.html?...

2019: Safari: 166, Chrome: 312 2020: Safari: 76, Chrome: 228 2021: Safari: 33, Chrome: 309

> Safari is much less secure than Chrome

Not by CVE metrics? Which metric are we talking about here?

By your standard, then every non trivial app should be banned on mac, including safari.

> Apple’s vocal focus on privacy and safety constitutes a significant aspect of their product marketing, and it makes sense they’d want to walk-the-walk, so to speak, to ensure their product lives up to the claims they make.

The solution for anyone who wants this is to not use any browser other than Apple's. It's no excuse for not giving the customer a choice. They can still choose the existing thing if they want it; just don't install anyone else's browser.

I suspect an argument could made that, through either existing mindshare or further marketing, unwitting consumers would ultimately install alternative browsers (in significant enough numbers), and with that, open themselves up to these security concerns. I’m not making a claim either way, however, to be clear.

For the most part, Apple bans third party apps from downloading and executing code from random places on iOS.

It's hard to write a web browser that doesn't download and execute JavaScript code from random places.

There has been a bit of wiggle room added on that in recent years. Pythonista offers the ability to write and execute your own Python code, they just don't make it easy to import and run code from random places.

Yeah, and that's a clear violation of competition law. MS didn't get away with it in the past. So how come Apple does?

What do you imagine that Microsoft got in trouble for?

>Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson issued his findings of fact on November 5, 1999, which stated that Microsoft's dominance of the x86-based personal computer operating systems market constituted a monopoly, and that Microsoft had taken actions to crush threats to that monopoly, including Apple, Java, Netscape, Lotus Software, RealNetworks, Linux, and others.


For browsers quite explicitly.

Yes, Netscape was one of the companies Microsoft set out to crush, but it was hardly the only one.

> Yeah, and that's a clear violation of competition law

Can you clarify your legal background and/or expertise on competition law and the technical specifics that you believe makes this definitive statement hold true.

I see Brave, Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Opera on their App Store. Are they just shells for Safari or something? Does Firefox on iOS use webkit instead of gecko?

I am surprised in 2022 this basic information still have to be repeated in every single thread on Apple's browser / App Store discussion. On HN.

Last time we had someone arguing with a dozens of comment saying he is using a third party browser on his iPhone. Before we finally got to the point and realise he didn't know every iOS browser is based on the same webkit.

The fact that these browsers exist is very pertinent to the original comment, though. The anti-trust case against Microsoft with IE may have gone very differently if it had been about rendering engines on Windows.

This also completely ignores the distinction that it's the App Store which doesn't allow third party rendering engines and not iOS itself (you could create a free developer account and build and run a version of Chrome using Blink if you'd like). So this comes back to the larger question of whether Apple should be allowed to so heavily restrict the installation of software to its own distribution mechanisms.

> Does Firefox on iOS use webkit instead of gecko?

They all do. Also only Safari can have extensions. Every other browser is blocked from doing so. Every time I bring this up, I’m told it’s okay because Apple has only 50% market share. I don’t understand why your market share matters when it comes to anti-competitive practices.

Only Safari can have extensions, only Safari can have iOS Content Blockers, only Safari supports Screen Time limits on websites and iOS parental controls, and only Safari is allowed to launch apps (so when you open a Twitter link in Safari, it launches the Twitter app without even asking; but open it in iOS Chrome, it doesn't do anything, and they can't even offer a "Open in Twitter app" button). I'm sure there's a bunch more restrictions that only iOS browser developers would know about. It's ridiculous and means many people who use Chrome as their main desktop browser still use Safari on iOS.

> Only Safari can have extensions, only Safari can have iOS Content Blockers, only Safari supports Screen Time limits on websites and iOS parental controls, and only Safari is allowed to launch apps

I don't think any of these are strictly limited to Safari. As far as I can tell, every feature you mention could be implemented by the third-party browsers.

> Only Safari can have extensions

The Orion browser [1] supports extensions, although I suppose the App Store rules could prove to be a problem with executing arbitrary code as it hasn't run through the full review process yet.

> only Safari can have iOS Content Blockers

Brave blocks content and ads.

> only Safari supports Screen Time

There is new API [1] for this and I believe everything you mentioned is available to developers, although I haven't used it myself.

> only Safari is allowed to launch apps

This should be possible to implement by checking the `.well-known/apple-app-site-association/` and calling `openURL:` on matches. It might be difficult to know for sure if some apps were installed or not, but that doesn't seem to be the key issue here.

[1]: https://browser.kagi.com

[2]: https://developer.apple.com/documentation/deviceactivity/dev...

> The Orion browser [1] supports extensions, although I suppose the App Store rules could prove to be a problem with executing arbitrary code as it hasn't run through the full review process yet.

A prototype with support for extensions already went through full review process https://apps.apple.com/us/app/kagi/id1484498200

This is great to know!

I've been enjoying Orion a lot so far. Thanks for all of your work on building something new!

> I don't think any of these are strictly limited to Safari. As far as I can tell, every feature you mention could be implemented by the third-party browsers.

Reimplemented. iOS builds these mechanisms in, but many (seemingly) can't be used by other browsers.

> The Orion browser [1] supports extensions, although I suppose the App Store rules could prove to be a problem with executing arbitrary code as it hasn't run through the full review process yet.

Safari Extensions, from the iOS App Store, have a UI optimized for iOS/mobile. I tried installing 1Password for desktop Chrome on Kagi mobile, didn't work since it couldn't communicate with the 1Password iOS app (might be a problem on Kagi's end though). 1Password's iOS WebExtension seemingly only works with Safari.

> Brave blocks content and ads.

Not through iOS Content Blockers; Brave had to reimplement that. BTW, Brave on Android lets you add custom filters, but doesn't on iOS; not sure if that's Apple's fault.

> There is new API [1] for this and I believe everything you mentioned is available to developers, although I haven't used it myself.

Hadn't seen this, thanks.

> This should be possible to implement by checking the `.well-known/apple-app-site-association/` and calling `openURL:` on matches. It might be difficult to know for sure if some apps were installed or not, but that doesn't seem to be the key issue here.

Interesting. It's sad though that of all browsers I've tried, none supported this; it's a sad statement on the quality of non-Safari browsers on iOS.


> Apps that have the com.apple.developer.web-browser managed entitlement may not claim to respond to Universal Links for specific domains. The system will ignore any such claims. Apps with the entitlement can still open Universal Links to other apps as usual.

Because most of competition law is written such that practices only become illegal when then they demonstrably create or increase a monopoly or dominant market position. [1] The courts don't like to interfere in these practices as long as there's competition in the market.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_antitrust_law#Ty...

They totally create damage to the market in this case.

The fact that courts turned competition law into some toothless tool only highlights the problem.

I think the problem is that outdated competition laws stem from an era where a potato is a potato and it doesn't particularly matter whose potato it is that you buy.

It completely fails to account for the relatively recent platform lock-in and network effects which dramatically amplify the leverage and impact of the platform owner not only on the end users (who could with great effort choose a different platform and migrate all their data and services) but also the third parties who need access to the platform in order to enter a market.

I think concepts behind the laws are fine. Courts just don't want to apply them, instead diluting the original idea.

I believe they are all just UIs for WebKit. Google can't bring over Blink to iOS, which they use for Chrome on Android.

> Does Firefox on iOS use webkit instead of gecko?


That's correct. On iOS, all web views are Webkit (Safari). The browser apps largely exist to provide account sync/value adds/UI design.

you can make a browser - but it won't have a JIT for javascript, rendering it useless.

It used to be faster. I still can't believe they got away with the huge performance degradation in Safari 15. Hardly anyone reported it.

While Apple is definitely a monopolist, this is probably the one monopoly we all have to hope they're allowed to maintain. Safari on iOS is basically the sole defense of the open web. Once Apple is forced to fold on this, every website will be built solely to run on the Chromium code base exclusively.

The fact web developers have to use open standards to support iOS is basically the only reason we have open standards on the web today.

Safari isn't protecting the web, it's killing it


The largest Safari complaint is unrelated to experimental features from the Chrome team: it's the showstopping bugs in implemented features, made worse by Safari's slow release cycle.

This assumes Google ships features that are useful to people. But, what do we get in return?

A privacy-invading feature like FLoC which thankfully has been disbanded. And Google even controls specs. Thankfully, due to safari web is free from the monopoly of Chrome. Today some website doesn't work in firefox. Do you think that is good for the web?

I understand the shenanigans of Apple here. They just want to make sure people make apps instead of the website so, that they can egregiously charge a yearly fee + 30% of revenue. But safari does protect the web in some way by challenging Google.

Google isn't the only company shipping a browser. They may be the highest by market share, but I think that Firefox, Brave, and numerous others would like to be able to compete on the merits on iOS.

They cannot.

Brave Engine - Google Chromium

Edge - Google Chromium

Vivaldi - Google Chromium

Opera - Guess what? Yes its Google Chromium

Electron - Google Chromium

The only two other engines are: Webkit Firefox

Firefox is barely surviving and is using funds from Google. If Google stop those funds, its gone. Webkit is from Apple and if you look on my apple it is only alternative till today. If IOS allow other browser then you should know web will be in hands of Google.

Google can do whatever they like. And web being in hands of Google is dangerous.

Perhaps Firefox would not be "barely surviving" if it was able to have a presence on one of the most valuable mobile platforms, iOS?

No. The correct course of action is this: dismantle one monopoly, by forcing Apple to allow alternative appstores and whatever apps users want to run, them dismantle another monopoly, by, I don't know, splitting Chrome to a separate company from Google or something.

I agree, but we have to deal with Chrome first, and then we can deal with Apple on this issue. The moment Safari stops being required on iOS, the web is dead as an open platform, and good luck getting it back.

Even spinning off Chrome might not be enough: Even if it's not Google, it'd still be the entire web platform controlled and implemented by one group.

The moment Safari stops being required on iOS nothing will change at all, because very few users will run to install chrome. Safari would still come pre-installed and used by default. However, it would probably develop faster.

As for 'over group' - no, with the crucial advantage of Chrome bundled with Android and Google gone, other players will pick up quickly, competing for those lucrative deals with the search engines. Currently this space is dead because nobody dares competing with Alphabet.

We must have Apple's monopoly so we can prevent Google's monopoly? And if we tear down Apple's monopoly somehow we won't be able to tear down Google's? Or am I missing something in this logic

Because Google gives away their stuff for "free" it's difficult to make a monopoly claim against them.

Wasn't Internet Explorer free?

Imagine if Firefox had been allowed 16 years to become the premier iOS browser.

I'd hardly call it "a defense of the open web", Apple has hamstrung Safari for years to keep the App Store on iOS competitive with the exploding capabilities of every other modern browser. Chromium is popular because people like it.

This is exactly the narrative that Google's marketing folks have screamed to the heavens and any shill outlet that will publish it, yes. :)

Chrome is not popular because people like it. Chrome is popular because Google forces over 80% of phones on the planet to ship with it as default, and because people trying to install Adobe Reader and Adobe Flash Player would suddenly discover their default browser was now Google Chrome. And then, once they had a decent install base... a lot of other people installed Chrome because some poorly written website that didn't follow web standards told them it'd only work well if they installed Chrome. Like Gmail, the world's most popular email client.

People can install alternative browsers (real ones not shallow skins) on both Android and Chromebook. You cannot do that on iOS.

It became popular because it was faster and better, despite the memory hog memes.

One of the rare cases where a non default option overtook the defaults.

Microsoft also was forced by the EU to offer a browser choice in a fresh install of Windows. At least in Europe this probably offered a lot of visibility to alternative web browsers.

Also IE felt years behind the competition and the situation isn't even remotely comparable to Safari. It seems like the Safari team made some efforts to catch up. While they aren't at the same point as Firefox or Chromium they did catch up a little bit over the last year.

The situation with IE was completely different. Microsoft used IE to push proprietary standards like ActiveX and it felt like there wasn't really a active development team for Internet Explorer or that Microsoft IE wasn't a priority. The first thing isn't true for Safari and while it feels like Safari wasn't a priority for Apple they announced making more of an effort if I remember correctly and if they don't Safari will probably go down the same road as IE.

The situation is totally identical, the 'distinctions' you outlined are debatable, but even if true, have no relevance to the antitrust law.

This is the equivalent of just like 'well he stabbed a man, but the guy deserved it and was a filthy pleb"

Nope. It became popular because Google advertised it on their homepage for years.

Doesn't matter, Safari and IE were defaults, no advertising needed. Chrome wouldn't have prevailed if those browsers were even close to as good at the time.

> Chrome is popular because Google forces over 80% of phones on the planet to ship with it as default

This is false. Yet, even if it were true, Chrome's 75% marketshare outside of mobile is strong evidence that it's pretty popular.

> This is false.

What's false about it? It's either chrome or chrome-based, isn't it? Or can you actually get the play store if you have a default browser of firefox?

> Chrome's 75% marketshare outside of mobile

Is covered by the rest of the sentence.

I don’t disagree that these phones, installers, and design prompts contribute to significant market share.

It doesn’t change my opinion that Chrome has the best performance, developer experience, and latest API features. It’s the only browser trying to give web apps access to the expensive hardware I paid for.

I know it’s a hot take to like that, but unfortunately tons of my desktop software must be connected to the internet anyways to make sure I’ve paid a subscription bolted on a few versions ago :( I prefer the sandbox and portability of a web app when that’s my alternative.

Still better than banning competing browser engines entirely like Apple does.

So if the only reason people use Chrome is that it comes pre-installed on Android, it shouldn't matter if it's allowed on iOS right? Most people would keep using the pre-installed Safari right?

It's fairly easy for Apple to prove their pure intention of "protecting the open web". Just implement web push notification and a few other top feature requests from ordinary web developers.

"Just implement all of what Google tells you to, then you will prove you support the open web"

This is the root of the problem: Google isn't the open web, Google is the one closing it.

Also, Chrome's notification API is, in practice, that thing I have to shut off when people keep asking why porn ads are constantly popping up on their PC in the bottom right corner. Probably not a great model for others to follow.

Hey apple! Here is what I do to your safari users: if(/iPad|iPhone|iPod/.test(navigator.userAgent) && /WebKit/i.test(avigator.userAgent)) document.body.remove() If you don't support mobile PWA notifications, we don't support your users. Thank you!

Not to be a broken record here (eg [1]) but IMHO Apple has made a strategic error here. You never, ever want a court to define the landscape you wish to operate in. it ties your hands and could easily go against you. You are almost always better off seeking settlement to avoid those outcomes.

A 30% cut for small developers makes a certain amount of sense. It enables a lot of developers who would otherwise be unable to get a payment pipeline (or at least easily get one) to have a revenue model on the App Store. But it makes absolutely no sense to big publishers like Epic, Apple, Netflix or Amazon, who all have their own payment processors already.

A 30% cut on billions a year in revenue is a big incentive for challenging Apple's payments monopoly.

Apple instead should've offered volume discounts for "Partners", scaling down to 10% or even less. Being a Partner means abiding by certain contractual conditions. Challenging Partnership terms ends your sweetheart volume deal. This simply changes the math from:

- Win: Pay less than 30%

- Lose: Keep paying 30% (ie no loss). To anyone who thinks the likes of Amazon would be kicked off the App Store, you're crazy.


- Win: Pay less than 10% (so the upside is smaller)

- Lose: Have to pay 30% instead of 10% (huge downside).

The truth is that Apple uses that 30% as a slush fund. it makes it's way back to bigger publishers in backroom deals ("incentives"). You, as a smaller publisher paying 30%, are paying for that.

Unfortunately I believe short-term greed got a hold of Apple management. When it was 30% of a new, much smaller market it made more sense. There are costs involved in running the App Store, vetting apps, hosting apps, etc. But 30% now? It's become a huge profit center.

So Apple may well lose control over payments because they're trying to hold on too tight to that cash cow.

Personally I don't think users want or would benefit from alternative App Stores. But being able to buy digital goods on Amazon like I can with physical goods (which was another carved-out exception) with my Amazon payment information? That's entirely reasonable and I think Apple is making it inevitable.

[1]: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=28485655

>You never, ever want a court to define the landscape you wish to operate in. it ties your hands and could easily go against you. You are almost always better off seeking settlement to avoid those outcomes.

I agree but I really think Apple has backed themselves into a corner now. Their App Store revenue is such an enormous chunk of their income (direct and indirect) that to remove their monopoly on distribution and payments now would cut their profits by double digits. Their stock price would plummet. I don't think they have a choice but to drag this out for as long as possible, in every country they can. I think it is inevitable that many countries will order Apple to unbundle the App Store and allow competitors, but many will not, and the process will take years or even decades. In the mean time, Apple stands only to gain.

In terms of strategic calculus, I think this makes sense, even if it means they will eventually receive worse strategic positions in certain countries.

They really could prevent it from happening through branding/psychological manipulation - allow sideloading and put it behind many warnings/hide it similarly to android’s dev menu with 7 clicks on God knows what.

Governments no longer have a teeth, pro-users will be happy, and for apple everything will remain the same as even the pro-user will continue to use the AppStore for nigh everything.

Something like this would certainly release a lot of regulatory tension. I suppose they've run the numbers and concluded that a significant chunk of their subscriber base would be willing to jump through said hoops for cheaper services and apps.

I don’t know, I think youtube vanced would be the most common target, which would only cut into google’s profit. For the ~1 dollar apps, people would rather buy it and other subscription-based programs would also continue to be purchased through apple I believe, decreasing their immediate profits only by a small margin, but potentially making it last for much longer. But of course I don’t know all the details they do.

> A 30% cut for small developers makes a certain amount of sense.

These are the developers you want to support the most in the hope that they don't die before they become bigger and generate more revenue for you. They also don't generate that much revenue for you right now, so overcharging them isn't nearly as profitable as overcharging the big players.

And overcharging the little guy but not the big guy is bad PR. There are a lot of them and they'll spend their lives complaining to anyone who will listen that you're destroying their business and making it impossible to compete against "volume discount" conglomerates.

> Apple instead should've offered volume discounts for "Partners", scaling down to 10% or even less.

So then they lose most of the money anyway because the "volume discounts" go to the people with the most revenue. Might as well lower the price for everyone.

> You, as a smaller publisher paying 30%, are paying for that.

It's been 15% for over a year now[1]. Plus it's 15% for all subscription fees after one year for all developers. I think they actually forced Google to reduce developer fees to remain competitive.

[1] https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2020/11/apple-announces-app-s...

It's hilarious that in an antitrust case, you would suggest charging 30% for everyone but 10% for some self-selected group through separate "partnership" contracts.

It is not funny, it is a sad reflection on how incentives on corporate litigation work.

(And in case you missed it, he didn't suggest it as the best moral/legal outcome, but as a better strategy for Apple Inc to continue abusing their monopoly unchallenged).

I'd sign up for Steam on iOS immediately. I'd also sign up for the Epic store for free games. If Nintendo had a store I'd sign up for that too. I don't think I'm alone

This should have been the case from the beginning, but I think maybe Apple thought that the app store was always going to be many indie devs and maybe a few slightly more organized outfits making some millions. I don't think they ever envisioned a day where billion dollar companies would have material stakes in the app store

Does this get me closer to being able to play Quake on my iPhone?

It looks like there is a port of Quake onto iOS. You could technically run it right now. Last I checked though, GPL license isn't compatible with Apple's App Store license. But this is 10 years old so maybe things have changed.



Huh, I'm confused by this. If I understand correctly:

- GPL does not allow any restrictions on usage or distribution;

- App Store restricts installation to 5 devices.

So they're clearly incompatible. I was confused about why Apple would be the one to pull the app, as it's the GPL that's being broken, but I guess from Apple's perspective they just don't want the hassle of anyone claiming they're breaking the GPL.

But can't it all be resolved just by having the App Store version of the app contain a link to the open source?

Edit to add: is this a GPL vs LGPL thing, where the GPL build of an app would include some Apple code and they don't want to have that claimed by the GPL?

If you own the copyright to the app's source code, you can release it to anyone under any license you want. This means a GPL-licensed app can be released by the developer under a proprietary license that is compatible with and exclusive to the App Store. It's a form of dual licensing, and the app's source code is still free because it is still publicly available under a FOSS license.

Things get trickier with multiple contributors. The app store submitter would need to get permission from all contributors to dual license the code for the App Store, and the easiest way to do this is to require each contributor to sign a CLA granting permission for this before accepting their pull request.

If the submitter can't secure dual licensing permission from all contributors, the code needs to be refactored to remove the parts without the necessary permission. If this isn't possible, then the app can't be published in the App Store.

The first conflict between the App Store terms of service and the GPL concerned the GNU Go app, which was removed from the App Store in 2010. The FSF explained the conflicting provisions: https://www.fsf.org/blogs/licensing/more-about-the-app-store...

Tencent has a 40% stake in Epic

Apple uses Chinese child slave labour.

Is this how we play this game?

What's your point?


As long as any ruling includes Sony, Microsoft and Steam I’m for it.

The reversal rate in the court of appeals is below 10% so I wouldn't bet on Epic.

Epic essentially won the case. A lot of people fail to understand that. They threw a dozen complaints at the court, and only needed one to stick. And that it did, which is why Apple is also appealing the case.

Also, even had they lost the case, Epic still essentially won the case: They made the god bleed. The data revealed in the lawsuit which was previously outside the view of regulators is now public, and lawmakers and regulators will act on them, regardless of the decision of this particular case. A lawsuit is an excellent way to bring garbage to light that you were told you had to keep confidential.

Even if Epic ultimately loses the suit, within a couple years the facts revealed in the case will render most of Apple's practices regarding the case illegal. Apple might win the case, but they also might have half a dozen countries pass laws to cap their app store tax rate at 3%.

Or Facebook has been recommending them content favouring Epic (because of the higher engagement) and nobody knows any better anymore. Also, let’s not neglect the huge investment in lobbying both parties are making behind the scenes to both government and media orgs. A lot of due diligence for us little people to fact check it all.

> Apple continues to monopolize app distribution and in-app payment solutions for iPhones

Apple phones use Apple payment solutions and Apple's app store.

What is wrong with this?

It is argued that this is an example of illegal tying arrangement to between the markets of "mobile phones", "app distribution" and "payment systems" given the market power Apple has. This space notably is the one where Apple had its loss in the District Court ruling.


For a less legalese read, FTC's article on monopolistic tying: https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/competition-guidance/guide-a...

IMHO "the 30%" - the fact that you have to use Apple IAP when you ship on Apple's app store - isn't the problem with Apple's policies. It's just a convenient way to express that Apple has a lot of market power and is willing to wield it.

If Apple had a change of heart tomorrow and opened up app distribution, they probably would still charge 30% - because everyone does, even things like Steam which runs on platforms Valve doesn't own. However, that doesn't change the fact that Apple can gain competitive advantage over their own partners by utilizing their app distribution chokepoint.

Steam has competition though. Can you imagine if MS owned Steam and disallowed the Epic Launcher/Store on Windows? The Justice Department would be all over it.

Steam's 30% was based in a time when brick and mortar accounted for the vast majority of sales, and publishers were lucky to keep 30%.

It’s not 30% for the vast majority of developers.

They should be allowed to charge 99% if they want... But they should not be allowed to have exclusive apps or exclusive App Store.

Pretty sure it is 30% for the majority of professional full time developers, as normally company size scales with revenue. If you meant majority of apps, sure.

Uh, where in his comment did he use the words “professional full-time”? He was just talking about developers.

Best I could find is that they’ll wave fees on the first $15,000 in sales, which is pretty damned low. Then it’s 30% until you get in the millions of dollars, and then they’ll cut it to 25%.

I’m not sure about “vast majority”, but I’m sure that lots of devs are making no money purely because they sell basically no copies. But if a game has even a moderate success, it looks like Steam’s cut will be 30%

You are just wrong. Its 15% until you have more than $1M in revenue.

Then the sources I found were out of date.

What sources did you use?

Looks like you just misread it. The linked piece supports what I said, and nowhere says what you claimed.

It seems like you were talking about Apple, and I was talking about Valve.

Apple should literally be broken up like Bell System.

Along which lines? Hardware/Software/Services?

A nice matrix cut would also do.

While I understand the complaint, I can say that I believe a victory for Epic would benefit anyone besides Epic, a few larger companies and scammers.

Sure, Apple should have reduced they cut to 5% years ago. I don't really see what service Apple provides that justify 15 or 30%.

Allowing third party app stores, and alternative payment solutions, isn't something I can see benefiting anyone. There might be countries where credit/debit cards aren't accessible to most, and that's a problem Apple should have dealt with.

Having multiple payment option and stores bypassing Apple will result in people getting scammed and that will hurt Apple. Right now people complain about Apple having total control over the platform. When a third party payment provider or alternative App Store starts selling information stealing credit card numbers or when Epic won't refund some kids $5,000 spending on in game purchases, Apple WILL be criticized for not doing more to protect users.

Even if Apple charged 0%, they shouldn't be allowed to have a say in what software can be run on what is now effectively "America's computer".

Imagine in the limit that 100% of computing was Apple iPhone. If you couldn't do anything without Apple's blessing. Totally absurd and nonsensical, right? It's a dark ages fiefdom. Now scale that back to a gentle 60% of Americans, because that's the grip Apple has over our country and our small businesses.

Apple shouldn't be able to keep my "Steve Jobs is a Dingo" game off of their devices. That's just not their job in a well regulated economy. They also shouldn't be able to tell me when I can or cannot emergency hot fix my "Serious Business Software" when there's a bug that needs to be fixed yesterday. They have no place between me and my critical business function.

Apple has gone too far, and it's time to roll back to a sane, regulated, and fair position. It isn't going to hit their bottom line at all.

I completely agree with that, you just have to be willing to accept the risks that follows from wrangling control from Apple and not blame Apple when it backfires.

Honestly had it been Microsoft (or even Google) behind the lawsuit I would have been more positive. The gaming industry however is going to misuse the everlasting shit out of a victory.

I agree with you too.

We live in a world with lots of risks (cars, guns, drugs, people), but we mostly manage with rules and guidelines instead of strict nannying. Software can be dangerous, but there are lots of guard rails and safety nets for banking, dating, and the other sharp areas.

Software systems are getting safer, too. There's sandboxing, fine grained permissions, vuln scanning, central command and control to remove known malware, multi factor auth, and so on. Lots of tools to leverage.

I wouldn't be opposed to Apple monitoring the software that runs on my device and having an (opt-outable) automatic means of killing it remotely in the event it should violate heuristics or be reported as malicious.

Apple's interests in protecting consumers aligned really closely with their interests in protecting their platform economics. While it seems risky, I think both Apple and consumers will do fine with an opening up. It won't preclude protective measures, and it'll make Apple leaner and more focused on new products and features. They'll still make a killing selling their best of class hardware.

I want Apple to succeed. Just not at the expense of everyone else, consumers and small businesses alike.

I think the best solution here would be to outright disallow (by law) companies from manufacturing devices in a way in which they retain more control over them even after the sale to the end user has been completed.

They can have either the same level of control, less, but never more. As it stands right now, Apple and pretty much all Android manufacturers have more control (Yes, I said Android too. Good luck trying to mod the bootloader itself or gaining access to the TEE)

This would be a great thing because that way you don't force any company to modify their app plattform or change their normal user-facing software in any way, yet those who wish so can do with the device whatever they want in the same fashion the manufacturer could before (and even after) the sale.

> effectively "America's computer"

iPhone had 47% market share in the US last quarter.

So shouldn't it be that an Android is America's computer ?

Taken for the year https://gs.statcounter.com/os-market-share/mobile/united-sta... , its 59% iOS. So iOS is America's computer.

Sorry but I don’t buy into the Apple hatebonering. If someone wants to make their own competing OS and platform as good as Apple’s, they are 100% free to do so.

Not without a patent + legal funds warchest to take on Apple, Microsoft, and the other tech giants they're not.

Hell you can't even start a website to compete with these giants or you get smeared through their very long reaching tentacles or even banned at the DOMAIN LEVEL!

Ummm, you’re being ridiculous, and not supported by evidence. there are plenty of open source OS’s with accompanying hardware platforms wherein this doesn’t happen.

Take PinePhone for a example. They aren’t being sued by any top players, and they certainly aren’t being banned at the domain level.

How about PinePhone then?

I support Pine64’s ongoing efforts to make the PinePhone into a viable Linux phone. But the existence of the PinePhone doesn't justify Apple's anti-competitive actions.

If you want to exclusively download apps from the App Store and exclusively make in-app purchases through Apple's payment system, you are 100% free to do so, even if others are able to choose differently.

I don’t think Apple should be forced to make changes to their own platform at behest of government orders. Today it’s forcing them to open up payment gateways, tomorrow it’s forcing them to put a police backdoor in iMessage. I don’t agree with the sentiment at all. And if I owned a company, I wouldn’t like to be forced by the government to make changes to MY software. It is completely antithetical to the notion of this being a free country.

My point with PinePhone is that if someone wants to make their own platform that uses a different payment processing system, they are free to do so, much like PinePhone has done.

This isn’t comparable to the railroad monopolies of the 1800s like these anti-trust laws were intended to effect. Because no one is forcing anybody to use Apple products. If you don’t like it, simply use something else. No one anywhere is being forced to use Apple products. The idea that the government should force Apple to make changes to its systems both sickens and disgusts me.

> Today it’s forcing them to open up payment gateways, tomorrow it’s forcing them to put a police backdoor in iMessage.

There is no U.S. antitrust provision that would force Apple to place a backdoor in iMessage. And if iMessage is compromised in certain countries where secure messaging apps are banned (such as China: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-apple-icloud-insigh...), iOS users would benefit from having the option to sideload apps like Signal and use them to communicate securely.

Forbidding one company from taking anti-competitive actions against smaller companies that increase the prices its users pay for products and services is not taking away from your rights. If you don't want to download or purchase anything through means not endorsed by Apple, you're not being forced to do so. The App Store and Apple's payment system are still available to you. The idea that others should conform to and pay for your preferences is antithetical to the notion of freedom.

But why should Apple be forced by the government to make changes to its platform under anti-trust laws when they aren’t even a monopoly? If someone doesn’t like Apple‘s system, there are at least dozens of different phone manufacturers to choose from. Anti-trust laws are written to bust monopolies, which Apple doesn’t fit the definition of in any way, shape, or form. It is a bad-faith misinterpretation/misapplication of Anti-trust laws. Just because they are a popular choice doesn’t mean that users have no other choice. If you think they are a monopoly it means you think users are forced to use their product and have no other choice. How can you say that with a straight face that users have no other choice but to use Apple? It’s just plain wrong.

Your questions are answered in the filing:


U.S. antitrust law does not require the existence of a monopoly for a violation, just sufficiently anti-competitive behavior. High market power strengthens an antitrust claim, and iOS being part of a duopoly fits the mold.

And if the government says that Apple engages in anti-competitive behavior, they are 100% free to take action against Apple. I don't see the point of that kind of argument.

Apple has to comply with the same laws as everyone else. Microsoft got hit with antitrust multiple times for their OS, and were even forced to advertise browser competitors in some markets.

What you are suggesting is in fact special treatment, for Apple.

Again, the AppStore restrictions are no different from any console in the last 40 years.

You’re not paying for transactions, you’re paying a platform commission. Calling it a transaction fee is simply an attempt to make it sound like they’re being overcharged.

> Again, the AppStore restrictions are no different from any console in the last 40 years.

A sensible argument to shut that down too.

> You’re not paying for transactions, you’re paying a platform commission. Calling it a transaction fee is simply an attempt to make it sound like they’re being overcharged.

They are being overcharged. It's leveraging a monopoly over the users of the platform against the app developers who are customers of software distribution and payment services.

The key difference is that Apple iOS covers more than half of the general computing market in the US.

Keep in mind that to many of the younger generation, smartphones are their singular computing device.

That’s not because Apple used its market position to stifle competition. It’s because Google could never figure out a messaging solution. People want a reliable and consistent experience. Not forced to switch to some half baked attempt that is nothing more than padding for some dudes promo doc

> That’s not because Apple used its market position to stifle competition

Of course they did, all the big tech firms do but Apple is perhaps the most egregious. Whenever Apple acquires a company it shuts that company down and integrates all the IP and talent into the Apple walled garden (e.g. Dark Sky), by comparison many of the other big firms are often happy to let their acquisitions remain available to users of all platforms e.g. Instagram, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, Github etc.

If you buy a company shouldn't you be able to do what you want with it?

When you've got huge market power, not necessarily:

> In general, any business — even a monopolist — may choose its business partners. However, under certain circumstances, there may be limits on this freedom for a firm with market power.


Within the boundaries of the law, which should (ideally) be modified based on arising new problems in the benefit of people.

Also, this starts getting into the “temporarily embarrassed billionaire” mindset, which is a really bad lens to view politics through.

Yes. That's beside the point however.

So what? They are, in fact have 50+% market share in the US on handheld general computers - and they disallow me from using this general purpose computer as I see fit. Even if they got into this position by feeding the poor in God knows where, the current state in itself is the bad thing.

They can switch to Android.

The App Store protections are part of the platform value proposition. Please don't respond with "they don't have to install third party store" nonsense, because for many people if (say) google docs puts itself in its own store they will have no choice.

Microsoft really should have used this defense back in the 90s.

What, you don't like Internet Explorer? Apple exists, buy a Mac! Or better yet, delete Windows and install Linux! See, there's no monopolistic behavior at all, provided that number of competitors is greater than zero!

> Microsoft really should have used this defense back in the 90s.

They did. They were pointing to MacOS and Sun Solaris and all of them as supposed competitors, even though they didn't run on the same hardware as Windows did and apps for Windows didn't run on them.

The court didn't buy it.

And in the same way 'they can switch to Android', people could switch to any other Office suite on iOS. If you truly believe that people are choosing Apple for the "App Store protections", then why would they move off? Every third party app store would fail instantly.

It's because other app stores are providing better value or better apps? Well that's why Apple preventing other app stores is anti-competitive.

If someone picks Apple over Android is being of value and therefore should be allowed, how is someone picking Google Docs over every other Apple App Store office suite not also because of value?

Hold on, you can use your iOS apps that you paid for on Android now? And access iCloud? And use iMessage?

Oh wait, you mean give up all that stuff to 'switch to android'. To most people that like suggesting that they learn how to write with their left hand by cutting off their right hand; Not even close to tenable.

They could be free to put sideloading behind 10 warning/error flags, in which case google docs would be effectively forced to use the still de facto AppStore.

Yet I still get the opportunity to install whatever program I want to on a device I payed a huge sum of money.

And no, switching between 2 things is not consumer choice, so with all due respect, saying switching to android is disrespectful.

So should Microsoft be allowed to tax all business on Windows by 30%? If that makes you uncomfortable, so should the position Apple is in.

I almost want to see them try, in some fantasy world, just to see what would happen. Would we get a mass exodus to macOS, or would it finally be the year of Linux?

Of course it’s probably best left to our imagination…

I think Microsoft could actually do that. And say 30% of all transaction on their platform would go to non-profits just to make a point.

Microsoft has made an attempt with S mode, which locks down Windows 10/11 so that apps can only be installed from Windows App Store. I don't believe it's been going very well for them.

Yeah, sure. The range of apps / tasks people do on macOS/iOS doesn't even compare. Console do... games?

But, don't let a bad precedent define you. Given that consoles are also basically general purpose computers I don't see why users shouldn't be allowed to sideload games / apps on the consoles they own.

If the manufacturer can digitally sign an app to make it run on the console, users should also get a signing key upon purchase.

>Again, the AppStore restrictions are no different from any console in the last 40 years.

Consoles are Gaming. I have no problem with Apple charging 30% on Games or In Games transaction. As it is the norm in Gaming market. The console 30% or higher commission was determined in an open market. And shows 30% is not an arbitrary number.

Why do they need to charge 30% of an Online Teaching Glass ( currently exempted ), or 30% of tips going to creators? Are those market the same as gaming? They are not, as any sane person should agree and as defined in court by Judge YGR.

Edit: On that note I still dont understand why Apple doesn't break the Games into a separate store. Continue to charge 30% of it, which protect 80% of their current App Store revenue. And let the App Store to charge at a lower rate.

The PS5 and Nintendo Switch run on FreeBSD and the Xbox Series X runs on a modified version of Windows 10 with a full-blown NT kernel. Those sound like general usage computers.

30% in the rest of the market is also not an arbitrary number. The App Store charged 30% to compete with brick-and-mortar retailers charging 70% on all software - not just games. Apple has charged the same rate since the store's inception. If developers are complaining about the 30% after 15 years of agreeing to it in the first place, then Apple isn't the cause of their woes. Apple is not obligated to change it's rate simply because developers have retroactively deemed it unfair anymore than developers are obligated to change their prices because the consumers should deem those to be unfair.

>Those sound like general purpose computers.

And everything running linux would be a general purpose computer? The console only run games. And that is their model. You dont sell productivity and content creation or other social / business apps on it, nor are those allowed on their "App Store".

> The App Store charged 30% to compete with brick-and-mortar retailers charging 70% on all software - not just games.

It absolutely make sense then. Because brick and mortar was at the time how majority of software distribution works. Again, suggesting 30% on software completely neglect the terms on services. You charge 30% on software, by none of that software charge 30% when I try to teach kids online during a pandemic.

>15 years of agreeing to it in the first place,

Because 15 years ago there wasn't a digital services industry on top. Why is domain name registration inside Apps exempt from 30% services fees and not other fees like email hosting? How did that exempt came from?

Spending sometime thinking about this I think I have a better description of the problem.

Apple should charge for access to their software IP, but not for access to their customers.

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