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Apple now rejecting apps with Pebble Smartwatch support (getpebble.com)
702 points by FreakyT on Apr 23, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 407 comments



It's a bit tricky. I agree with most comments here that Apple is in the right to control what appear in the description and metadata. Not just from a competitive standpoint but in a way to make the it better for the user experience.

That being said, in the Pebble case, I think it makes the user experience worst for the user. I.e. if I have a pebble watch and am looking for an iphone app that play well with it, I'd want to see the name in the description/meta-data.

I think it's different than saying "Also on Android" because this is a totally different device. I.e. saying it's on another smartphone doesn't add value to the description, but saying it supports some hardware device does.

It seems like Apple is doing that as a way to kill competition and promote their own watch, which is fair from a business standpoint. But as a user, I don't like that approach of forcing everything into the Apple ecosystem. I got tired of that 2 years ago and switched to android, haven't looked back since.


"It seems like Apple is doing that as a way to kill competition and promote their own watch, which is fair from a business standpoint."

It's nowhere near fair. It's extremely anticompetitive. This is the kind of behavior that gets a company in trouble with the FTC.


This is the kind of behavior that gets a company in trouble with the FTC.

Indeed but Apple is aware that the FTC isn't likely to punish them enough that the behavior will be a net negative.

If only the Federal Government would be as serious about "Sending a message" on antitrust as they are about low-mid level drug dealers, this kind of thing would be a lot more rare.


FTC won't but European union probably will plus in Europe they fine you a percentage of total revenue of company which for Apple could be over 15billion.

   My recommendation to any one developing for apple devices is be ready to be blocked or kicked out of the app store if you are too successful. As apple will enter the market and if they do they will start applying rules they were ignoring earlier as those were selling devices for them but now they don't need you as you are a competitor so out you go.


>Indeed but Apple is aware that the FTC isn't likely to punish them enough that the behavior will be a net negative.

That makes it correct game theory, Apple has to do it because every other company does it. So it's necessary, but that doesn't make it fair.

So apparently the FTC won't punish them enough for it to be a net negative. Oh well, I guess that's it then. No one else has responsibility, right?

Wrong!

We have responsibility. The good news is, you don't have to work hard at it. If you want to punish apple for this, just stop buying their shit. It's actually easier than not doing it!


But Apple doesn't have anywhere near a monopoly on smart phones, so being anti-competitive is completely legal


Monopoly is a smokescreen word. Antitrust is not about monopoly, it is about abuse of market position.

If your company has 10% of the market, and the rest has 1% each, you can still be slapped for antitrust if you start using that position as leverage in a different market.

ianal, btw...


What are examples of companies being penalized for antitrust while not being a monopoly (or part of an oligopoly)?


Well, there's Microsoft, which has been penalized on various occasions in the States and the EU despite not actually being a monopoly (there were plenty of other operating system vendors out there, Apple among them).

And then you have Google, which has been taking quite a bit of flak from Europe lately.


I'm sorry, could you be more specific? Please link to specific cases that meet the criteria (antitrust cases where the company is found guilty of anti-competitive practices that do NOT involve the company abusing their (mon|olig)opoly power in a certain market). Both those companies are involved in many cases, antitrust or otherwise, and I'm unable to find one that fits the bill. I think you (and digi_owl) are incorrect.


Neither of them were or are actually monopolies (Google isn't the only search engine in the world, and Microsoft wasn't the only PC operating system vendor in the world even during the 90's), so literally any of the cases you've found would be applicable.

An antitrust case can still be levied for conspiring to become a monopoly (as Microsoft did with its strongarming of OEMs combined and its bundling of Internet Explorer with Windows). Apple has even run afoul of that at various times (like when it got dinged for its monopolistic behavior regarding e-books; it certainly didn't have an actual monopoly, but that still fell under antitrust regulations).


> Neither of them were or are actually monopolies

"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" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Microsoft_Corp...

A company does not have to be the sole supplier in a market to be considered a monopoly in the eyes of the law.

> Apple has even run afoul of that at various times (like when it got dinged for its monopolistic behavior regarding e-books; it certainly didn't have an actual monopoly, but that still fell under antitrust regulations).

But that case didn't just involve Apple. It also involved the oligopoly of book publishers, who worked with Apple to engage in price fixing against Amazon.


That still leaves us with Google, which (as far as I know) is not considered a "monopoly" by any measure of the term.

With that said...

> Microsoft's dominance of the x86-based personal computer operating systems market constituted a monopoly

If you read further in the paragraph you quoted, you'll find that Microsoft was specifically engaging in monopolization (i.e. the process of becoming a monopoly), which was the specific reason why it got dinged. It also states the and in there - that they had taken measures to disrupt attempts to counter their monopolization.

This analysis is consistent with the Sherman Antitrust Act (the law under which Microsoft was cited), specifically Section 2: Every person who shall monopolize, or attempt to monopolize, or combine or conspire with any other person or persons, to monopolize any part of the trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, shall be deemed guilty of a felony [. . . ]". It's also consisted with the Sherman Antitrust Act's intent, as specified by its authors (George Hoar: "... [a person] who merely by superior skill and intelligence...got the whole business because nobody could do it as well as he could was not a monopolist..(but was if) it involved something like the use of means which made it impossible for other persons to engage in fair competition.").

This isn't even mentioning the failure of the court to recognize that there were viable altneratives to Windows that, in their words, "a significant percentage of consumers world-wide could substitute for Intel-compatible PC operating systems without incurring substantial costs". GNU/Linux (which was designed for "Intel-compatible PC"s to begin with), three of the four mainstream BSDs (NetBSD, FreeBSD, and OpenBSD), OS/2, and a variety of other operating systems existed at the time of that ruling. The only way the ruling's rationale would hold true is if they interpreted "Intel-compatible" to mean "Windows-compatible", in which case the ruling is directly applicable to Apple's behavior now (since Apple - like Microsoft then - is attempting to monopolize the application ecosystem of iOS; if Microsoft can get dinged for monopolizing a specific market segment, then so can/should Apple). In this case, Apple is "attempt[ing] to monopolize" smart watches within the the iOS application market (just like how Microsoft "attempt[ed] to monopolize" browsers within the Windows application market). The difference is that Apple's attempts are much more obvious.

Disclaimer: IANAL.


Sorry buddy, you've gone off the deep end here. Microsoft was found in a court of law to have a monopoly in the OS market, and used their market power illegally. Full stop. This is not a controversial fact. You are at best mincing words, and at worst misrepresenting history, to suggest something different.

> That still leaves us with Google, which (as far as I know) is not considered a "monopoly" by any measure of the term.

I don't know how you've come to this conclusion. It is very reasonable to argue that Google has a monopoly on internet search. Whether they are engaging in antitrust is more unclear, but they wield an amount of power in the search market that no other company even gets close to.


Yep. This is the long and short of it. Apple is careful not to get monopolies which allows them to be as anti-competitive as they want. Not sure why this got downvoted. Typical HN..


What? Doing an anti competitive practice is legal if you don't have a monopoly?


That is my understanding.

For example, Microsoft got in trouble for pre-installing IE on Windows because they had monopoly in the OS market. If they didn't have that monopoly, they would not have been penalized.


Having a monopoly might put you under the microscope, but you certainly can't get away with anticompetitive practices like price fixing or wage fixing even if you don't have a monopoly.


Yes but those are just about the only things which you can't get away with. The US has very weak consumer protection laws in general.


Collusion. Retail price maintenance. Dividing territories. Exclusive dealing.

These are all anti-competitive behavior that will get one smacked by Federal regulators without being a monopoly.


Can you link to specific examples of companies being found guilty of those things, where the company was not a monopoly, or part of an oligopoly?


Can you link to specific examples of companies being found guilty of things like price fixing and wage fixing, where the company was not a monopoly, or part of an oligopoly?


Well there's this case, which got a lot of HN coverage:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/01/16/silicon_valley_415m_...


Looks you're correct, thanks. Reading up on this a bit, I was wondering if Apple/Google/Intel/Adobe/etc constituted an oligopoly, but I don't see how that could true in this case. Also reading up on the Sherman Antitrust Act (which is what they were in violation of), the section that applied here does not require a monopoly or oligopoly.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherman_Antitrust_Act#Elements


Pre installing a browser is not an anti competitive practice.


It can be, if the company that does it has a monopoly in the market of operating systems, which would give that company an unfair advantage in the market of browsers. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Microsoft_Corp.


Poor wording for my part, it must say "it is not an anti competitive practice per se"


Right, the fact it is not illegally anticompetitive per se shows that it is an answer to your original question.

> Doing an anti competitive practice is legal if you don't have a monopoly?

A practice being anti-competitive (in a legal sense) depends on the act being done by a company that is a monopoly, or part of an oligopoly.

For example, a company giving their product away for free is not illegal per se. Say, as part of a promotion, in order to get their product in consumer's hands instead of a competitor's product. In a healthy market, this is a valid way to do business.

But, if the company that decides to give their product away for free is a monopoly, and the result of that act is squashing what little competition might exist or is entering the market, then this same act (giving the product away for free) is illegal.


Microsoft was not found guilty for giving away IE


If you define the market as smart phones. If you define the market as smart watches, Apple could well be dominant in 6 months and this behavior would not be OK.


I feel that Google/Apple should have been hit with an antitrust policy already some time ago.


I am curious why would Google be in trouble with antitrust ?


The EU announced antitrust charges against Google a couple of weeks ago [1]. tl;dr - '[T]he company has given an unfair advantage to its own comparison shopping service ...'

[1] http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/apr/14/european-c...


No charges were filed and likely never will be. This is merely a list of complaints.


Because they dominate search with their PageRank algorithm, they are a huge email provider, online calendar provider, among other services.


Probably because they provide the best versions of those services. But hey, no good deed goes unpunished.


"Indeed but Apple is aware that the FTC isn't likely to punish them enough that the behavior will be a net negative."

If we believe in what we write, then we should punish them.


It's also ultimately shitty for consumers, which will drive people away from Apple's products. Microsoft pulled this shit for years with MS Office, and it opened the door for Google.

This behavior may get them in trouble with the FTC, but it's also not likely to be very popular in the market. I get if they want a "premium" experience with the Apple Watch, but they shouldn't block other devices. The Apple Watch should be able to win on its own merits; the wearables space is still small enough that IMO any competition should be welcomed as it drives the whole market forward.


That assumes an informed consumer, and what we are discussing is actually Apple's attempt to restrict consumer information.


Exactly. Business isn't a no-holds-barred anything goes anarchy. It's not because we have some free trade that there are no rules what so ever.

Abusing a stranglehold or monopoly will eventually draw the ire of regulators. Just ask Microsoft or the EU.

What is and isn't OK is something that will probably be decided in court. I hope this kind of anti-competitive measures do get some kind of regulation in the app-stores/ecosystems space that large mobile players have crafted over the past few years, because they could easily stiffle competition from their current dominant positions.


Apple doesn't need to ask Microsoft. Apple being convicted monopolists, they are no stranger to litigation.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Inc._litigation#Antitrus...


I upvoted you as you make a good point. But a quick note: you can't be a convicted monopolist. "Monopolization" is illegal, but that requires both monopoly power and anticompetitive conduct. Monopoly power on its own is not illegal (at least theoretically).


Anarchy means no rulers, it doesn't mean there are no rules. Maybe eventually it will if people keep perverting the meaning.

> Abusing a stranglehold or monopoly

Apple has a "stranglehold" on what exactly? I think you're just using hyperbolic words.

> I hope this kind of anti-competitive measures do get some kind of regulation

How about a little patience instead? How about not buying Apple products? Let's get the pitchforks out and demand the government punish these companies because they're inconveniencing us, or give it enough time and let consumers sort it out. Look what happened with Internet Explorer. Does it dominate the market anymore?


You're allowed to do things like this; you're also allowed to be a de-facto monopoly. You're not allowed to do things like this AND be a monopoly.


I will never understand how "competitive" and "anticompetitive" came to be used interchangeably.


Cutting your prices is competitive. Cutting your competitor's throat is anti-competitive.


dumping


It took me a little while to figure out that your one-word post meant the practice of selling below cost to gain market share, with the intent to force marginal competitors out of your business and gain pricing power to be used later to make up for the losses.

I am not convinced that this practice is worthy of concern. I don't think that a short-term predatory pricing loss incurred by a dumper can ever be recovered. This opinion is based mostly on the personal belief that the substitution effect is far greater than most economists care to admit, particularly when the potential substitution is to not buy anything at all.

You can't dump alfalfa to bankrupt existing hay growers and then make a killing by raising alfalfa prices once you dominate the market. Why? Farmers will feed their livestock gummy bears[0]. And then they will plant their own damned hay crops at the very next available opportunity. The net result is that you go bankrupt, too, because you took a huge loss right before killing your own market.

[0]http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/23/us-usa-cattle-cand...

http://www.naturalnews.com/037351_cattle_candy_marshmallows....

http://money.cnn.com/2012/10/10/news/economy/farmers-cows-ca...


A great point. Perhaps because if "competitive behavior" means striving to win in a competition, and "anti-competitive behavior" means breaking the rules of the competition, hoping to win unfairly, then the former will tend to transform into the latter?


[deleted]


They did exactly the same sort of thing with Jobs running things. You can find hundreds of examples.

This sort of thing is business as usual at Apple.


What, now we're supposed to give a pass to people and companies that behave horribly and/or illegally just because they have a better product?


"Better" being debatable, of course.


I agree, I just didn't feel like debating it was worthwhile for the point.


> it's different than saying "Also on Android" because this is a totally different device. I.e. saying it's on another smartphone doesn't add value to the description

I disagree even with that. If an app runs on other platforms, that means you can use it yourself on other devices you may have lying around, or recommend it to others, which allows you to collaborate in using it socially (actual social features or just discussing how to use it, and so on). Few household and friend groups will be entirely on one platform or another. It also gives you the option of moving to that platform in future. That is useful to many customers. It's obvious that the reason those kind of notices are prevented is to stifle competition.


"It seems like Apple is doing that as a way to kill competition and promote their own watch, which is fair from a business standpoint."

Google are currently being taken to the cleaners by the EU for something wholly analogous to this.

I can imagine the chaps in Brussels rubbing their hands with glee at the thought of getting their hands on all the dodgy offshore cash that Apple have got piled up in Dublin.


The thing is Apple's share of the phone market in the EU isn't all that great (I gather it's less than 25%). Meanwhile Google has > 80% of the EU search market.

You can't exploit a monopoly if you don't have one to begin with.


It's about time the idea of "monopoly" is extended beyond mere market share. With the amount of mobile profits Apple is raking in (70%? 80%?) I'd argue that they have FAR more market power in mobile than all the other players combined.


No, I think share is primary here.

If they had dominant share, and this behavior and massive profit?

Yeah, that's borked up for sure and people are being over exploited.

But they don't have that dominant share, meaning their path is a clear choice, and it's clearly competing with others who operate differently.

The thing is, Apple sells a managed experience. Apple also adds a lot of value, and they ask for that in their pricing, and the managed experience means they can command high margins for the whole solution.

As much as people don't like that, it's a perfectly viable market offering.

That it's not getting dominant share means the other ways of doing things are competing nicely.

As for who makes money and who does not, that's a business problem.

The general purpose market offerings tend to race to the bottom quickly. Margins are thin, share high.

Apple doesn't want to do that, instead offering a different vision, and it's high margins are worth it.

Nobody is trapped with Apple. They have lots of alternatives to choose from.

That means people like Apple, and will pay for the value Apple adds too.

Capitalizing the company like that means they have funded not only the current products, but the development and means for future ones. And Apple makes good products that target some very specific niches.

Other players can and should add value and start asking for it like Apple has for a very long time now.

Heck, they started that with the Apple ][ computer. Given it's overall capability, it was priced pretty high relative to others, but it was also a very high value package. That machine ran from what? late 70's to mid 90's?

Worth it.

Share matters.

Apple has made a business doing niche, high value, high margin products. They get to do that.

They are not a monopoly, and that's why they get to do that.


> It's about time the idea of "monopoly" is extended beyond mere market share.

I don't get the reasoning here. It seems to go something like this:

- "monopoly" is bad

- Apple is bad

- Therefore, whatever Apple is doing, we should call that a monopoly. They're both bad, and all bad things are the same thing.

We have monopoly-suppressive legislation because we're afraid that monopolies will do certain things. If you want to extend the sense of "monopoly", as used in monopoly-suppressive legislation, you need to show (or, heck, at least claim) that your new "monopolies" pose the same risks as the old monopolies. If it's just that you don't like the new things, and you want to see them suppressed in the same way that monopolies are suppressed, say that instead. We can send people to jail for rape, and we can send people to jail for vandalism, but in order to jail people for vandalism we don't need to say that vandalism is actually a type of rape.


Market share matters because when a viable competitor exists in the market it provides a check/balance.


Under US law, it would be anti-competitive to use market control to stifle competition. I agree on your point about android, but you should be able to see what the software supports. Of course a court would need to decide, IANAL etc


I disagree about Android. It's helpful to know whether some particular app you're purchasing is going to lock you into one platform or the other. Why should you have to leave the app store to investigate? What's the point of suppressing interoperability? Companies should be rewarded for interop efforts, not punished for it.


Nah. The pebble complements an iPhone whereas android replaces.


The Pebble replaces an Apple Watch, however.


Exactly. And while I do think this is a shitty thing of Apple to do, I can't help but feel some Schadenfreude as well, given Pebble's treatment of Microsoft[1]. I'm also wondering if this kind of thing will happen to app developers who support other watch/band manufacturers on multiple platforms? There are a lot of fitness bands out there with multi-platform support.

[1]Microsoft took on the bulk of the financial and research hurdles in bringing Pebble support to Windows Phone, but the Pebble CEO said more or less "fuck you, I hate Microsoft because reasons" and shuttered the deal: http://www.windowscentral.com/pebble-microsoft-and-what-coul...


My guess is this article is either false or Apple re-examines to allow "watch" mentions on iOS app store pages.


An important point is that its the other way around, Apple Watch replaces the Pebble.


Apple doesn't have control of the smart phone (or phone) market. Having control of the iPhone market is not considered monopolistic.


"Control" is not the relevant test, market power is, and the prime test for market power is having the ability within some (even small) range to increase prices (or possibly more generally increase price-to-feature mix) without sales moving to competitors. Its not an easy test to apply, and its possible for more than one player in the same general market (e.g., smartphones) to have market power, or for a player that isn't absolutely dominant -- or even the #1 seller -- in a market to have market power in that market.

Without having done any kind of structured data gathering and analysis, my intuitive impression is that it is not all that unlikely that a finding of market power for Apple in the smartphone market could be supported, and that therefore anticompetitive leveraging of its position in that market to build a stronger market position in the smart watch market could be an antitrust violation.


In antitrust cases, much of the game is in delineating the bounds of the relevant market. Apple would argue for it being really wide, as you have done.

One of the other comments here argues for it being "the market for iOS apps", which is far narrower, and seems way too narrow to me. If Apple built the device, and the OS, and the marketplace, of course they're going to have a monopoly there. Just like Walmart has a monopoly on things sold at Walmart.

A definition of the market that seems sensible to me would be the "mobile device apps" market. There, Apple is one of two players with any significant market share. It's not a monopoly, but it's probably enough "market power", in the antitrust sense, to draw scrutiny from regulators.


> If Apple built the device, and the OS, and the marketplace, of course they're going to have a monopoly there. Just like Walmart has a monopoly on things sold at Walmart.

I'm not sure that this is as innocent as it might sound. Walmart exercises plenty of market power, unethically if not illegally, to make sure that it has a monopoly on some of the things it sells. (By way of comparison, would you expect that, say, Target of course has a monopoly on things sold there? Maybe you would, and I've misunderstood your language.)


IMHO the trade-off for creating anti-consumer walled gardens should be that you define the market in which you are subject for anti-trust cases.

If you have set yourself up as the sole gatekeeper for selling apps in your walled garden, you accept legal responsibility in that role to maintain a level playing field. If you don't like it, don't put up the walls and compete at being the best flower in open parkland.


> Just like Walmart has a monopoly on things sold at Walmart.

No, not just like it. Walmart does not exclusively sell goods that require a Walmart product to use. That distinction makes the comparison not very similar at all.


But they do have exclusive control of the distribution channels of apps for iOS. That's a monopoly.


That's a monopoly but it's not an economy monopoly. You have a monopoly over where you live, but that's not an economic monopoly. Monopoly is not a magic word. The FTC has very strict standards for when something is considered a monopoly. It's not the same as the general definition.


Well, sure, they have control over their own platform. Monopolies are about markets though, and Apple is hardly a monopoly in the smart device app market.


Apple does have their own smart watch, though, and seems to be using their influence over the iPhone market to pressure the auxiliary device market.

I'm not a lawyer, but isn't that roughly compatible to the Microsoft/Netscape situation?


It's compatible with what they did in the eBook market which drove up prices for eBooks and killed off some eBook businesses.


Which businesses were these? I thought the plaintiff was Amazon.


In the case, yes. There were ebook markets that had to shutdown as a result of the 20% in-app rule.


> Having control of the iPhone market is not considered monopolistic.

...and in an hypothetical lawsuit this will just turn in favor of Apple.


> I think it's different than saying "Also on Android" because this is a totally different device. I.e. saying it's on another smartphone doesn't add value to the description, but saying it supports some hardware device does.

Cross-platform is the exact value-prop for a great number of apps.

Apple doesn't like this because it exposes one of their own apps' weaknesses.


> saying it's on another smartphone doesn't add value to the description

Except for all the cross-platform IM apps out there where it does add value. People want to know whether their friends could also use a certain app so they can talk to each other.


> I think it's different than saying "Also on Android" because this is a totally different device. I.e. saying it's on another smartphone doesn't add value to the description

Being less restrictive on the users future smartphone choices if they want to keep using the app is, for osme users, a valuable fact about a product.


This is something that Apple has done, which is what is best for itself first and the user second. Now almost every company in the world does this but it does feel stronger in Apple's case due to it's walled garden approach.

Can Apple do this? Not if it was deemed a monopoly. The numbers don't show it as such. Should it act this way? This one non-Apple user hacker that doesn't feel the devices fit me personally and doesn't like the actions of the company for the past 35 years, says no. Consumers seem to say yes by their desire to support and purchase their devices.

This means more manufacturers and designers won't necessarily want to make them for iOS possibly. I don't think this would concern Apple. It is also hard to not follow the money that is available in the iOS world. So further straining in the developer with Apple relationships continue.


> I'd want to see the name in the description/meta-data.

I would much rather go to a web site that specialized in covering Pebble apps. The rankings, reviews and comments would be more relevant to my interests. Even simply doing a web search can provide this type of information. Why does the AppStore need to be cluttered with it?

5 years ago the AppStore was like a Walmart or Target -- big store with lots of items for sale but not so big that you can't walk around and find what you want. Today the AppStore is more like a big mega mall. If you know what type of item you want it's a waste of time to just randomly walk around browsing hoping to stumble on to it.


s/right/wrong/ s/fair/unfair/

I really hope those were typos, because if this is a deliberate attempt by Apple to silence competition in the marketplace it manages, then this is almost certainly unethical from a business standpoint.

It would be equivalent to Amazon banning Roku or Apple TV or Chromecast sales right after announcing the Fire TV.


"I got tired of that 2 years ago and switched to android, haven't looked back since."

And you just made my decision easier.


Meh. Android has come a long way, the Google flavor of it is the most well thought out and put together experience... But all in all, the experience sucks compared to iOS coupled with an iPhone. There are a lot of neat little widgets and gestures that come with Android, but the phones aren't as good. The software is no where near as good. I made the switch, I came crawling back to iOS.


I find that it depends on the person - I loathe Apple's restrictiveness in general, including the sometimes poor UX (no back button on the phone is extremely annoying and I have to make extra taps in out of the way places instead of quickly hitting back, as one example, or the mindboggling restrictiveness to manually created 30 second snippets for ringtones instead of allowing me to just use my mp3s, or the horrific text selection/editing on the phone).

My experience with both has me missing Android overall, the only reasons I am on an iPhone currently is for mobile development and because I am on a legacy family plan on Verizon combined with Verizon Android phones being polluted with garbage software & being more locked down than their counterparts on other providers.

Some prefer Apple's curation of the experience though. Some don't like configuring their devices to their liking and want an out of the box ready experience, even if it means sacrificing on some UX.


> including the sometimes poor UX (no back button on the phone is extremely annoying and I have to make extra taps in out of the way places instead of quickly hitting back

You never tried the swipe from the edge for back ?


Not all apps do that, so it's not reliable.


>I made the switch, I came crawling back to iOS.

My Nexus 4 died and I used iPhone 5 for a month. Couldn't stand it, and bought a Nexus 5. To each his own.


The iOS experience - no matter how "polished" it may look - still ranks way farther than even some absurdity like MS-DOS-on-a-phone for as long as Apple continues to pull these sorts of shenanigans while not providing for any way to sideload an app (and no, jailbreaking doesn't count, especially when Apple actively fights against it).

Of course, that's just, like, my opinion, man, but having used both, the marginal (if any) advantages of the iOS ecosystem come nowhere near balancing out the massive downsides, for me at least.

To each his/her own.


And Google has privacy issues.

I think consumers need more choice!


> I don't like that approach of forcing everything into the Apple ecosystem. I got tired of that 2 years ago and switched to android

So you rather switched to a system where there's a Google Services component that sends your location every 60 seconds (unless device is set to "GPS only") and gets updated without your control ?

That's bold.


Apple devices also record your location history and send it to Apple. It's to build a wifi location database.


There's an option for opting out, without hindering the geolocation.


According to Apple, this data is gathered when location services is on, see "Crowd-sourced Wi-Fi and cellular Location Services"

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT203033


A good reminder of what it would be like if we lived in a world where there is no Android and iOS is a monopoly.

Apple's anti competitive behavior puts Microsoft of the 90s to shame.


Apple always closely controlled what hardware can be used with their software, even in the 90s... which is why I never purchased it. Always been the opposite of Microsoft in that regard.


Right, but until iOS came about, they didn't really go the other way and control what software can be used with their hardware.

That's the underlying problem here. Unlike with their desktop products, Apple's mobile products have only one possible source of software (unless you break the phone's security and install Cydia); as long as that continues to be the case, the sort of shafting like what this topic is about will continue to happen without government intervention.


Imagine a world where IBM compatible computers didn't exist.


Then I'd be happily running an SGI or Sun workstation :)


Nowhere near...


> Nowhere near...

You're right, Apple is significantly worse.

Microsoft went out of it's way to make sure that competitors applications didn't work (DOS isn't done until Lotus 123 won't run). This sparked a development arms race wasting hundreds of hours of development time working around intentional compatibility bugs.

On the other hand, Apple sometimes just doesn't let your software run at all. No matter what. Because fuck you, that's why. Your company plays by Apple's rules and tithes to Apple or it dies on iOS. Oh, and Apple reserves the right to kill your compay's sales on iOS for any time, any reason, including stealing all your ideas and competing with you.


It's about market share and global impact.

It might sound like double standard to you, but denying your awesome new airbnb for dogs app is not quite the same as denying Java.


You are mistaking monopoly for anti-competitive behavior. It's possible to exhibit anti-competitive behavior without being a monopoly.


Uuuh, yeah... ompanies are competing for the same clients, of course they would exhibit anti-competitive behavior. This is problem only if said company has market dominance, because then the anti-competitive measures affect all the market.

Guys, do you dream of unicorns and fart rainbows all day? WTF?


The original statement was "Apple's anti competitive behavior puts Microsoft of the 90s to shame." It was specifically about the behavior or apple, not the result on the market. If you want to make an argument that Apples anticompetitive behavior is not as bad as Microsoft's behavior in the 90's, feel free, but whether either of them have or had a monopoly is irrelevant when comparing behavior.


> It's about market share and global impact

There's not some kind of, "the impact has to be as large as when company X did it" rule.

Apple now has enough market share, especially in mobile, that the global impact is troubling.


> Apple now has enough market share, especially in mobile

Not really. Depending on the country, the iPhone has between 10 and 20% market share and they are shrinking month after month. Android is on its way to becoming a monopoly, for sure.


This story isn't about the "mobile smartphone" market - it is about Apple abusing their control of those phones to restrict the "iOS Apps" market.

These are separate markets. Customers that want to buy software for their Apple-branded general purpose computers cannot buy Android apps, so there is no overlap between the markets. Software developers may choose to participate in both, but that means the have to create two separate products.

What matters is is if the customer can switch their business, and not the size of the respective markets which is what those iPhone market share numbers indicate.



I don't know what rules you're talking about here. The OP says that Apple has worse practices than MSFT. I say that's not true. Denying computing technology on which business, governments, factories, powerplants, etc. run is FAR worse than denying (objectively) useless apps.

When has Apple hindered a break-through technology?

PS: I'm a massive fan of Microsoft marketing and strategy and have owned a grand total of 1 Apple products in my life - an iphone 4. Just fyi.


> When has Apple hindered a break-through technology?

Contemporary example: it's impossible (as in, disallowed by Apple's policies) to install a web browser with a rendering engine written in a memory-safe language on your iDevice.


I'm not super concerned about that. In particular, no such browser exists, so it's largely a semantic argument.

Furthermore, there are inherent security risks; so it's easier to just lock it down until there is actually a problem.

The bigger problem is that you can't implement a JIT on iOS, because you can't take a writeable page and make it executable. This is a clear security positive for iOS, but does preclude writing a decent javascript runtime.


> In particular, no such browser exists

Such a rendering engine does exist (Servo), and one can build a browser around it (and that will in fact happen). Just not on iDevices.

> The bigger problem is that you can't implement a JIT on iOS

You're not allowed to implement an interpreter either, if the code that you're interpreting is downloaded from the internet.


Not quite. I did consider Servo, but it's hardly ready for use in the wild. It'd fall foul of many iOS guidelines, not just the 'no browser' one. It'd also fall foul of the 'only C, C++, Objective-C, Swift' guideline, for example.

I didn't know the second point, but it's clearly there for the same reason; it's an easy way to stop apps from including new functionality and bypassing the review process.


Sure, I understand why they have the interpreter rule in place. It just blocks legitimate apps and reduces competition with Apple's products, which is what blumkvist is asking for an example of.

And I wasn't talking specifically about their "no browser" or "no interpreter" guideline, just the sum total of requirements they have for iOS apps. The actual details of which exact requirement block useful things are not that important for purposes of addressing blumkvist's original question, which was how Apple's policies are more restrictive than those of Microsoft 20 years ago in ways that block objectively useful things.


How does this benefit them?

I'm genuinely interested. I'm not a developer and don't know what that means. It sounds bad, but how does it stifle competition? Is Safari gaining an advantage? I used Chrome on my iphone4 and was pretty happy with it.


Chrome on iPhone is forced to use Apple's rendering engine, not Google's. In particular, it can't implement any HTML/CSS/JS features that Safari on iPhone doesn't implement.

Apple benefits partially in terms of disallowing possibly-unsafe code (JS interpreters, for example) that they themselves did not author. But also from locking out competing browsers so their hardware is harder to commoditize...

In terms of stifling competition, it means there isn't meaningful competition on iOS in terms of features browsers expose to web pages. Browsers on iOS can have different user interfaces, but they all look more or less identical as far as web pages are concerned. (I say more or less because browsers can implement a custom network stack; just not a custom CSS parser or JS engine.)

So for example, if you want a browser on iOS that supports the "transform" CSS property without the "-webkit" prefix, you're out of luck. Apple's policies don't allow such a browser. This is not "break-through technology", of course. But a browser engine in a memory-safe language, with the resulting smaller attack surface, is. And it's disallowed by Apple.


This is true but doesn't address the question. How is this stifling competition?


To answer your own question, it's stifling competition in the iOS browser space. The above example is precisely why Firefox (for example) is unavailable on iOS; they didn't want to make a technical compromise like using Apple's version of WebKit instead of Gecko or (eventually) Servo.

Basically, the only browsers allowed on iOS are reskins of Safari. Technical competition is stifled that way.


The question was for an example of Apple preventing "a break-out technology" from existing on its platform.


Chroms of iOS is a re-skinned Safari WebView[1]. They just put a front-end on it with their added on features. Apple entirely controls the browser and what's allowed, disallowed, supported, etc. For example, Google's SPDY protocol wasn't supported until Safari 8[2], and probably then because much of what SPDY entailed was adopted as HTTP/2.

1: https://developer.chrome.com/multidevice/ios/overview

2: http://caniuse.com/#feat=spdy


Which Apple does both of, so...?


That's true. Microsoft have never taken out a court case claiming exclusive ownership of the idea of windowing GUIs, or the shape of icons, or the mechanisms for interacting with touch screens. Apple are infintely worse.


Google actually just stated they moved to in person reviews, so expect Android to get just as bad.


They actually stated they moved to reviewing apps several months ago. They are just letting us know now. No one noticed.


Even if it did get "just as bad" on the Play Store (it probably won't, since Google's fully aware that Apple's shooting itself in the foot with its draconian restrictions on apps), you're forgetting that - unlike with iOS (unless you jailbreak, something that's actively fought against by Apple) - most Android devices allow the installation of apps from outside the Play Store.


I think I want to see more information before I grab my pitchfork. From the replies,

> are you sure you're a developer? because this has been part of iOS submission guidelines for 4 years. (developer.apple.com/app-store/review/guidelines/#metadata)

I mean I really wouldn't put it past Apple to start enforcing this more aggressively because of the iWatch, but a forum post by some dev is hardly proof that Apple is intentionally rejecting Pebble-supporting apps. After all, let's look at another comment:

> By that logic, Apple should also reject Pebble's app.

Which they haven't done yet.


"By that logic" doesn't belong anywhere near a discussion of Apple review guidelines or behavior.

The only thing they are consistent about when reviewing iOS apps is being completely inconsistent. You cannot point to the acceptance of one app as evidence that some rule isn't being applied to another app.

Apple constantly rejects apps for claimed rule violations while allowing other apps through with identical violations. Apple frequently rejects app updates because of features which were in previous, accepted versions while claiming that the rule in question is not new. Apple frequently rejects apps for rules that aren't written down anywhere, which they insist are ironclad, and which disappear the moment you bring public attention to the situation.

It's like, Dr. Frankenstein is up in his castle doing some weird shit. Should we grab our pitchforks and torches, or should we see exactly what he's doing first? What if Dr. Frankenstein has been unleashing weird undead horrors upon the town at an average rate of once a week for the past seven years? At some point it becomes reasonable to just assume that he's up to the same stuff as usual.


This comment is far more true than people realize. And the worst part is, it's not an exaggeration in the slightest.

> You cannot point to the acceptance of one app as evidence that some rule isn't being applied to another app.

This is something they won't even discuss if you question how other apps can have some feature they may not like. You could have the same exact feature, and you'll get rejected.


Because someone else breaking the rules is no excuse for you breaking the rules. It's like when you were a kid, and you tried to say, "But Johnny's doing it!".


Yeah, but when you don't think you're actually breaking the rules, "you never did anything about that guy" is good support.

This is not a case of somebody breaking the rules and trying to say that the rules do not apply. This is a case of the rules suddenly being reinterpreted to mean something completely different from what they used to mean.

Imagine if you stepped on a worm and then got arrested for murder. Would it not be a reasonable thing to say, "uh, there's another guy stepping on worms right over there and you're not arresting him, so what gives?"


"Yeah, but when you don't think you're actually breaking the rules, "you never did anything about that guy" is good support."

No, it isn't. The other guy is irrelevant; the fact of the matter is, YOU broke the rules.


Every app literally breaks the rules. I do not know of one that doesn't.


Every app violates the word of at least one of those rules. So the only thing you can do is interpret it the best way you can, and that interpretation is guided by what you see being approved.


Isn't that kind of the point. I had 4 apps with Pebble support (and noted in the description) approved in the last week, along with countless others as mentioned. This is more likely to be the bad/unlucky review than all the others.

While it is another example of a bad review, it's not necessarily an example of a ridiculous new practice by Apple. Maybe it is maybe it isn't, but 1 app is far from proof.


You're right, but this is more or less what I was trying to address with the last part of my comment.

Yes, this is far from proof. But Apple has done stuff like this constantly since the iPhone SDK was first released. At some point, it becomes reasonable to stop giving them the benefit of the doubt, and assume that there's a good chance something bad is going on, just like the last thousand times.

If they roll it back, great! I imagine being called to task for a stupid decision will help make that happen.


Do we know how the app approval process works internally?

I've never been involved with iOS, but from the various articles I've read, it sounds like there is a large team involved with approvals, their process is largely manual, their internal documentation is lacking, and they're probably missing simple things like checklists.


I suspect there are vague instructions preferred over hard-and-fast guidelines that can be leaked to the press and quoted in hearings.


For an example of something similar: when one of these rejection snafus ends up making a public spectacle to the point where Apple wants to work directly with the app developer, they will do so exclusively over the phone rather than in a more sane fashion like e-mail, so that the details can't be so easily recorded and spread around.


> By that logic" doesn't belong anywhere near a discussion of Apple review guidelines or behavior.

Just like every other rule/law in the world.


It does belong because the claim is that Apple is actively denying apps that support Pebble (which is not true). If Apple were doing that, they'd have taken down the official Pebble app entirely. You're muddying the entire discussion bringing in the consistency of Apple's enforcement of rules or how fair the rules are. None of that matters in this discussion.

What matters is that some dev made a wild claim that Apple is actively denying Pebble apps for being Pebble apps, when in fact they just failed to follow the rules. That's all there is to this. That this story is as popular as it is is ridiculous. The headline is clickbaity as hell and just outright false.


The whole point of my post is that if Apple were actively denying apps that support Pebble they would not necessarily have taken down the official Pebble app, because that sort of inconsistency is exactly how they operate.

They can and do say "All apps that do X are forbidden" while not taking down some apps that clearly do X.


But when an app is the official embodiment of X, you'd really expect that to go first. If Apple were actively trying to get rid of Pebble-friendly apps, I would think the main/official Pebble app would be first to go.

None of this really matters though because the title/claim are still bogus.


I wouldn't expect anything except inconsistency.

Apple does not move quickly, or consistently, or sanely. The continued presence of the official Pebble app on the store is completely consistent with a new Apple policy of prohibiting apps that talk about Pebble. Apple often starts by simply rejecting updates, and the Pebble app hasn't been updated since February. When Apple does start going after existing app versions, it often takes weeks or months. For example, there were several stories from the past fall about apps that came up with novel uses for the new Today screen in iOS 8, submitted, got accepted, were in the store for a month or two, then were suddenly given the choice of removing the feature or being yanked because it turns out that they were going against the arbitrary rules about what you're allowed to do in a Today widget.


Given that the issues with Pebble-related apps cropped up when trying to publish app updates, it's possible that Pebble itself just hasn't pushed an update yet, and thus hasn't hit this obstacle yet.


The problem appears to be that Apple has reclassified smart watches as a "mobile platform" whereas they did not before. So suddenly having an app so much as mention a smart watch brand is tantamount to mentioning, say, Android.

The guidelines state "3.1 - Apps or metadata that mentions [sic] the name of any other mobile platform will be rejected."

The poster states the app was approved previously just fine: "SeaNav US has previously been approved by Apple with no problem, we have had Pebble support in SeaNav for nearly 2 years" The poster gives no reason to believe the metadata has changed recently to mention Pebble.

Granted this is based on one example, but it seems unfair to say this was already the policy.

Here's a second example, the official Fitbit app, which does repeatedly mention the Fitbit device in the metadata. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/fitbit/id462638897?mt=8


Apple is well known for enforcing rules spottily if at all. TONS of app violate some of the rules (such as ads through push notifications).

Many of them seem to be there as justification to choose from if they see something they don't like.


Currently no Fitbit devices allow you to run apps on them, so "mobile platform" doesn't apply as it does to Pebble.

But regardless of whether it's evenly applied or not, I don't like their policy.


Actually, I cant see any place in the description that mentions that the Fitbit device is some sort of device.

Their description is extremely vague.


The truth is that it goes far beyond the unfairness to this specific developer and far beyond whether the developer neglected to check the TOS 4 years ago.

Apple is a vile anti-competitive monstrosity. These jerks needed to be slammed with a lawsuit long before this one single example of their flamboyant and abundant anti-competitive behavior.


> Apple is a vile antitrust monstrosity. These jerks needed to be slammed with a lawsuit long before this one single example of their flamboyant and abundant anti-competitive behavior.

While Apple are being increasingly huge dicks with their ecosystem I think you'd be hard-pressed with an antitrust case because Apple does not have a monopoly (or even a majority marketshare) on mobile devices.


> I think you'd be hard-pressed with an antitrust case because Apple does not have a monopoly on mobile devices.

> [Merriam-Webster] of, relating to, or being legislation against or opposition to trusts or combinations; specifically: consisting of laws to protect trade and commerce from unlawful restraints and monopolies or unfair business practices.

It doesn't only apply to monopolies but it is a very good tool for dealing with them.


They have a monopoly for the iOS platform, at least. And in some jurisdictions you don't need a monopoly to be guilty of anticompetitive behavior.


Do you have the same stance on Twitter? Twitter has a monopoly on the Twitter platform and may choose not to provide API keys for apps that it doesn't want to exist. Is this abusing a monopoly? If not, why not?


If Twitter was killing an App or Device made by a 3rd party simply because Twitter was entering that market and wished to monopolize the user-share, then yes I'd consider that anti-competitive.

(yes, Twitter does just that, and yes, it's anti-competitive in my book).

Simply not being able to mention "Android" or "Android Wear" or now "Pebble Watch" is ridiculous. If I chose to buy an Android Wear or Pebble Watch, it's because I felt it was a better match for me... I still would have bought an iPhone (since I'm looking for iPhone Apps).


If Twitter was killing an App or Device made by a 3rd party simply because Twitter was entering that market and wished to monopolize the user-share, then yes I'd consider that anti-competitive.

This is exactly what they've done.


> This is exactly what they've done.

I realize that. If you look at the parent, they were making the argument that it's not the same.


>If Twitter was killing an App or Device made by a 3rd party simply because Twitter was entering that market and wished to monopolize the user-share, then yes I'd consider that anti-competitive.

Don't they have long history of doing exactly that?


Twitter's stance of shutting down apps that get too many subscribers definitely looks bad to me - although it's a little different in that no money changes hands.

http://www.pcworld.com/article/2104603/metrotwit-vanishes-as...


Twitter has definitely performed anticompetitively in the past like that. Legal or not, it's abusing their position.


I'll agree they're not a monopoly, but they're being highly anti-competetive, to a point that a legal remedy might actually be successful should the FTC or DOJ push it.


> Apple is a vile antitrust monstrosity.

I think you want to say "anti-competetive", not "antitrust". Antitrust legislation is what is used against anti-competitive companies. But yes, otherwise you are absolutely right: Apple's behaviour is monopolistic and unfair and "vile" is not unjustified.


Edited, thanks


This has nothing to do with the (blatantly) false title or claim though. Apple is not trying to remove Pebble-supporting apps. The dev of a single Pebble-supporting app violated the rules and their app as rejected accordingly. Whether or not the rules are fair is irrelevant, imo.


I've said it before and here it is again:

Microsoft was in a position of arguably less control in the late 90's and got a huge antitrust case brought against them. Apple is somehow getting away with wildly anticompetitive behavior (more broad than just this case) and for some crazy reason we are all supporting it because "that's the way it is!"

When Microsoft was the dominant OS, imagine Windows having a blacklist of applications you can't install because they advertised compatibility with Linux or Mac apps. People would riot. But we accept exactly the same behavior from Apple like it's totally fine.


You should stop saying this. Microsoft didn't get prosecuted for controlling what things end-users could do with Windows. They got punished for using their market share to make it impossible for computer manufacturers to build computers that didn't include software from Microsoft, illegally maintaining their monopoly at the OEMs (and ultimately consumers) expense.

Apple has nowhere near the market share that Microsoft has back in the 90's and if you don't like this decision you can take your money elsewhere. In the 90's you literally could not. It is a totally different situation.


> In the 90's you literally could not.

You actually still could. There were plenty of non-Windows OEMs back then (SGI, Apple, and Sun are examples; all of them built desktops/workstations without Windows installed (instead using IRIX / Mac OS / SunOS/Solaris, respectively)).


You are technically correct (the best kind of correct), but Apple had a very small (and shrinking) market share. Where I lived (NZ) they were almost impossible to find - very few shops even carried them and you paid a large premium. SGI and Sun built specialized, expensive machines for specific professional markets and didn't really compete with Microsoft.

In 1995, if you walked into a shop and said "I need a computer" you were shown a range of machines, all running Windows. It was hard to buy a bare machine without Windows unless you built it yourself. Various PC OEMs made noises about offering other OSes (or even creating their own) but Microsoft shut them down with licensing clauses.

The court cases eventually had the desired effect and now OEMs are free to offer Linux and ChromeOS machines as well as Windows. Took a long time though.


The App Store is Apple's private property. As much as we disagree with its policies of mentioning Any Mobile OS Which Shall Not Be Named, we must allow Apple to do with its own property as it sees fit. This is the essence of liberty. As a developer, you are also at liberty to choose against developing for iOS if you disagree with Apple's policies.


> The App Store is Apple's private property.

Historically this hasn't been a hurdle for litigation. However, the floral language I used isn't only a result of the App Store - it arises from the many instances of this type of behavior. Take the interaction between iTunes and iDevices as another example. Want to use Winamp to manage your music? Tough. Want to get apps from another store? Tough. Want to browse your phone files with your OS native file manager? Tough. Want to develop apps for the device on anything but a Mac? Tough.

Other companies were litigated for merely pre-installing software on their OS (even though alternatives could be installed at a later date). In many cases with Apple alternatives aren't a possibility whatsoever (unless you violate DMCA).


Microsoft had a monopoly on OSs for PCs, so they were not allowed to use that to give another piece of software an advantage. They did not simply have a monopoly on Windows users.

In order to be regulated under Anti-trust, Apple would need to have a monopoly on some market that isn't simply described as "their customers". The closest they came was iPod, but it looks like that hovered around 75%

http://stratechery.com/2010/apple-innovators-dilemma/

So, would probably not fall under anti-trust.


Microsoft didn't actually have a monopoly; they got dinged for trying to create a monopoly by strong-arming OEMS that wanted to sell Windows with their PCs, but there were plenty of non-Windows-centric manufacturers (Apple, Sun, SGI, Be, etc.) and plenty of alternative operating systems, even for IBM-compatibles (one of which is now dominant in pretty much every realm other than desktop/laptop PCs).


So apps for cars would be rejected? Tesla is literally a "mobile platform", hehe.


Well, you jest now, but if rumors ever come to fruition (I don't believe they will) and Apple enters the "smart car" market, by this policy, Apps for Ford or Honda compatibility would start to get rejected.


The OP replied in that article's comments saying that their appeal was rejected with a statement that any reference to Pebble in the description had to also be removed.


The Runkeeper app explicitly mentions Pebble Support, and was released on the 20th of April.

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/runkeeper-gps-running-walk/i...

I'm going to wait a little before passing judgement on this. Could just be a bad review/er.

I do feel sorry for these devs though, running to 'the press' is something Apple passive-aggressively warns you not to do. Their future app-approval life could be quite unpleasant after this.


Then the "bad" reviewer would have been the one the approved the RunKeeper app since the guideslines specifically state that "Apps or metadata that mentions the name of any other mobile platform will be rejected"[1].

Edit: I do not endorse the app store guidelines.

[1] https://developer.apple.com/app-store/review/guidelines/#met...


Except Pebble isn't another mobile platform. It is an accessory.


Pebble has apps: http://www.wareable.com/apps/the-best-apps-for-pebble-and-pe...

And Pebble works even when you don't have your phone with you, so it's more of a mobile platform than Apple Watch.


define "works even when you don't have your phone with you"? I have one, and most of the useful features definitely require my phone.


> running to 'the press' is something Apple passive-aggressively warns you not to do.

Can you elaborate on this? What language do they use?


It’s in the App Store Review Guidelines introduction: https://developer.apple.com/app-store/review/guidelines/

“If you run to the press and trash us, it never helps.”


This doesn't surprise me. Our app relies on the Yubikey devices for 2-factor auth and since the iPad 4 Apple have deliberately blocked non-Apple devices working with the Camera Connection Kit, meaning that our customers cannot use our product with anything after the iPad 3.

This obviously meant we had to drop support for Apple products and even for a small product like ours this has lost Apple hundreds of device sales from customers of ours purchasing other devices because of this.

While Apple won't give a crap about those few sales, at some stage, their provincialism will come back to bite them.


I've worked for Apple twice in my life, but it's policies like this that keep me from ever being an Apple developer. I will never support the Apple software market, for as long as they continue being so transparently shitty to developers.

Just look at how far Apple has come since the original Apple I, directly aimed at the DIY market. These days, Apple locks down everything, tightly controlling what developers (and users) can and cannot do.

"Golden handcuffs" does not even begin to describe the level of restriction Apple exerts on the tech market.


This forum appears to have an invalid certificate:

Domain: forums.getpebble.com

CN = *.vanillaforums.com

If you use HTTPS Everywhere, you'll want to uncheck this specific site, remove the HTTPS part of the URL and reload.

PS - I love HTTPS Everywhere but it always surprises me just how many sites have broken HTTPS implementations.


This is the whole reason the site itself doesn't direct you to https or advertise it is available. In order to support https, you don't just install a cert, you know. You have to make sure your whole chain supports it. Including things like third party CDN providers, which can be more expensive to enable https than you pay for the CDN. So, if you use an extension that randomly directs you to connect using a method the site operator never told you to use, expect problems.


The site operator never told me to use plain http either. I just "randomly" ended up there by clicking on a link on HN that has no relation at all with the site.

If you expect http->https redirection to be the only valid path to a https site, then a MITM attacker would obviously disable that redirection because it's still done on the unsecure channel. This is the whole reason extensions like https everywhere exists.


> This is the whole reason the site itself doesn't direct you to https or advertise it is available.

They are advertising it. They have a web-server running on 443 open to the public, they aren't required to, but they choose to. They're also erroneously returning status code 200 (instead of 404 or 301).

> So, if you use an extension that randomly directs you to connect using a method the site operator never told you to use, expect problems.

Nothing "random" about it.

The site advertises that it has HTTP running on 80 and HTTPS on 443. So I have an extension which opts for 443 when status code 200 is returned as a first priority and then 80 as a backup. Google and Bing's search results do exactly the same thing.

If they don't want people to use HTTPS/443 then simply shut it down, problem solved. If you have to have 443 running for another site then return status code 404 (or 301).


There is no reason that HTTP and HTTPS ports have to serve the same website. In this case, the HTTPS port is serving pebble.vanillaforums.com (or whatever) while the HTTP port is serving forums.getpebble.com.

The HTTPS port could just as easily be serving up an admin page for the forums, rather than the forums themselves.


Many websites do not support HTTPS but have no chance to disable the default listener that is in place because it comes from somewhere else.


Just because the same IP address also listens on port 443 doesn't mean that delivers the same website, and assuming it does is not a failure on their part, it's a failure of assumptions you or some software you utilize (knowingly or not) has made along the way.


Indeed it doesn't. So why are they returning status code 200?

> not a failure on their part, it's a failure of assumptions you or some software you utilize

No, it is a failure on their part. They're returning the wrong status code. The software I utilize checks that, they got it wrong. Return 404 instead.


You misunderstand the situation. It's entirely valid to serve one site on port 80 and another on port 443. Consider this scenario:

A webserver listening on a specific IP on port 80 and serving HTTP traffic, but using name based virtual hosting (reading the Host: header) to determine what site to deliver. We'll say it's configured for emample1.com and example2.com.

The same webserver (or a different one, it doesn't matter) listening on that same IP, but port 443, and serving HTTPS traffic. Without use of some newer SSL/TLS/HTTPS protocol features (which aren't universally supported), the certificate needs to be served before any regular HTTP traffic is sent across the encrypted tunnel. Which cert do you serve?

You can argue that it's probably good practice to not have named based virtual sites on the same IP as SSL sites, or that if you access the SSL site with the wrong hostname it should respond in error, and I think you would be correct.

But agreeing on best practices doesn't mean the site is set up wrong, just that it could be set up in a more robust way. It my be set up in a perfectly valid configuration.

It's wrong to assume when you can access a site on port 80 that if that same IP address responds to port 443 that it should serve the same site.

> The software I utilize checks that, they got it wrong. Return 404 instead.

The software you use should be checking that the cert served matches the site requested, and not try to upgrade the connection to HTTPS if it doesn't.


> Indeed it doesn't. So why are they returning status code 200?

Why are you making a request if they don't serve a certificate you accept? You're making the wrong request.


And surprises me how few SSL-deploying sysadmins use HTTPS Everywhere! (Or perhaps, how few browse their own site...)


That's because quite a few of us shunt the folks trying to access port 80 back onto port 443 (usually by redirecting the request to the https:// equivalent, be it in the load balancer, in the web server, or (in some cases) in the application/site itself).

The world's switching to HTTPS-only setups anyway (particularly when deploying JSON APIs, which are all the rage nowadays). Might as well be ahead of the curve.


I'm getting the sense that QA means something dramatically different to the web developers of today...Seldom a day goes by when I don't find major errors (that I would fire people for not catching) on major web apps!!


Yea, but sometimes it's impossible to offer TLS. Like, in this case, where a forum software is being hosted remotely, and they are putting a custom domain in front of it. Squarespace is another notable example. These services simply DON'T offer ssl support when used with custom domains.

You really can't expect everything to work right when you aren't even offering the service that is being requested, can you?


From the forum comments, this is new behavior. It seems connected to Apple entering Pebble's space with their new Apple Watch. The existing Terms of Service about competing platforms is now being interpreted to consider Pebble a competing platform. The developer appealed and Apple told them that they specifically can't mention Pebble anywhere in their app description or metadata. Other developers have confirmed that Apple is now forcing them to remove existing screenshots in the App Store that demonstrate a given app's functionality tied to the Pebble.

So, yes, it is Apple being anti-competitive now that they have entered the same space as Pebble. Apple are attempting to kill off Pebble support within the iOS ecosystem. It appears Apple will only allow mentions of Apple Watch within the App Store and in screenshots, no other smart watches going forward.


Can you provide links to other cases where Apple has been restrictive about this?


You'll find multiple other developers of iOS apps with Pebble support complaining of the same issue with Apple in the comments of the page that's linked to.


A client's app was rejected because we mentioned Android in the description.. I replaced it with "the crossplatform app for -- ($market)" and it was accepted.

Apple's review process is completely opaque to me. One time an app was rejected because the user signed in with a unique code instead of an email/password.. literally had to change the name of the textfield to "username" from "code" and added a password field that did nothing and it passed. Kafkaesque.


My guess is that in Europe they could get an anti trust lawsuit. Comparing it with internet explorer on windows anti trust lawsuit from EU, Microsoft was forced to acknowledge and provide choice of competitor platforms that where compatible with the system (Firefox, Chrome, Opera,...).

Under the same logic, pebble is just an laternative platform compatible with the system (IOS + SeaNav).

But either way that is a behavior that is characteristic of Apple and doesn't surprise me at all.


Antitrust requires a monopoly position, which Apple doesn't have (but Microsoft did have). Apple are being dicks and should be smacked down for it in the market, but I doubt antitrust would stick.


It's a duopoly, but in terms of revenue/prestige it's a de-facto monopoly. The simple fact is that that Apple can bully because NO developer can afford to walk away from the Apple App store; and the App Store is simply too big for the market to self-regulate.

The anti-trust cases against Microsoft ultimately allowed Firefox, Opera, Chrome to flourish and eventually lead to the demise of IE's monopoly position.


Did it? Microsoft didn't get pwned in court over the fact that the OS came with a web browser, they got pwned in court because they were enforcing deals on OEMs that didn't allow them to include another browser.

I'd argue that Firefox, Chrome, and Opera did not flourish because of a court ruling, they did so because they were better in every sense than IE. Microsoft has never stopped anyone from downloading whatever browser they choose.


The EU stuck it to MS over the browser bundling.


That's not accurate. Apple themselves have already lost a suit about anti-competitive behavior in a market in which they do not have a monopoly. [1]

I don't know about you, but I've bought hundreds of ebooks from the largest ebook retailer on Earth - and it's not Apple.

There is way more nuance to it all than "do they have a monopoly or not" and there are a range of anti-competitive practices. There are also different laws in different jurisdictions of the US and abroad. The EU has a much stricter definition.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Inc._litigation#eBook_pr...


> Antitrust requires a monopoly position

No it doesn't. That can attract an antitrust case, but it's not the only means of doing so.

> which Apple doesn't have (but Microsoft did have)

Microsoft didn't actually have a monopoly. They had a very significant market share, but there were still plenty of viable competitors.


I am no lawyer, but this sounds like an antitrust lawsuit waiting to happen. Apple, IMO, should not be allowed to monopolize their platform in this way.


Should Walmart, who has 100% market share of people walking in a Walmart right now, have control over what is on their shelves?

Should Disney have control over what stores are on Disney Main St.?

iPhones are not the only choice, so if you don't like how they work, you can choose not to buy them (because they have significant competition).

The reason there are laws that limit monopoly behavior is because you wouldn't have that choice and it is considered a free-market failure that we want regulated.


I don't think this holds up. WalMart choosing not to stock a product doesn't mean that the product won't be made at all. WalMart doesn't decide to stop stocking Hanes underwear because Hanes ships boxers to KMart and Target too.

Now maybe in some cases WalMart does demand exclusive right to sell something. But imagine they did it for EVERY. FUCKING. PRODUCT. I think people would get pretty pissed off. And rightfully so.


How does Apple demand the exclusive right to sell anything? There are plenty of Android apps that integrate with Pebble, and plenty of apps that are available across iOS, Android, even Windows, Blackberry, FireFox OS, Cyanogen, etc.

Apple can set rules for apps in their app store, just like Walmart can control the stock on their shelves. Walmart doesn't carry what you want? Go to Target. Apple doesn't allow an app you want? Go to Android.


I always hear that the choice you present is what allows anti-competitive behavior.

But does that hold true even when the costs of switching is enormously high?

With Target/WalMart you don't have to re-buy a $650 phone to switch. You don't need to (maybe) switch carriers depending on needs or offers with all the hassle and fees that might entail.

You might have to re-learn an entirely new OS. How much time does that cost someone in lost productivity or just time in life?


I think its entirely possible for a product to depend single handedly on WalMart for distribution in order to get economics of scale benefits to even be profitable in the first place.


Should Amazon be allowed to forbid Apple TV sales on Amazon.com now that they have the Fire TV line? Sure, you could shop on Overstock or Newegg or somesuch instead, but would that be convenient after all the energy you might have invested into Amazon (ordering products, perhaps even a Prime membership)?

Amazon.com and the App Store both seek to be places where you can find "everything" (in the context of their respective domains, of course). The difference, however, is that Apple's trying to redefine "everything" to mean "everything that doesn't compete with Apple", whereas Amazon has no problem selling things which compete against itself.


This is actually a great analogy. If the AppStore was a physical store, I would agree; but I still don't agree and that actually surprises me. The freedom of the internet has shaped my expectations around this issue.


Can Amazon decide what you can buy on Amazon.com? Can Netflix decide what movies you see in their app?

(not trying to troll you -- but I think you'd agree that they do, so it's not the freedom of the Internet. I do agree that there is a difference -- but I am having a hard time justifying it for myself)


This isn't about deciding whats in their store, its the justification given. In the US, an at-will employee can be fired for any reason, excluding special cases like sexism, racism, or homophobia in some states. A store can decide to not stock a product for any reason, except for a set of special cases. I think that 'because you are also friendly with a competitor' is one of those special cases. I would definitely have a problem if amazon refused to stock books that are also on B&N, or if Netflix refused to provide a movie only because its also on HBO right now (note that this obviously doesn't apply if there were exclusivity agreements made with the consent of the content maker).


A more relevant comparison would be if Amazon were to forbid Apple TV and Roku and Chromecast sales on Amazon.com because of the existence of the Fire TV.


Not even close. Even if Walmart chooses to not stock a particular product, you can still purchase said product from other authorised retailers. This is more like if Walmart is the sole reseller in the U.S. for a certain hardware device used all around the world, and they choose not to stock it and you have no other venues from which to purchase it.


If you buy a home from KB Home, must you buy appliances from the KB Home Appliance store? (or risk voiding your warranty)

If you must buy appliances from the KB Home App Store, is it ok to prohibit mentioning that an oven fits great in a Toll Brothers home as well?


I totally agree with this analogy. All of the hate in these threads is just... weird.

Maybe it's because people relate better to the developers who are losing money, than the company who is controlling it. My bet is someone with a basic understanding of business and marketing would side with Apple, and everyone else would side with the little guy, even if the little guy isn't in the right.


I honestly don't understand why you'd defend Apple as an iPhone user - that actively harms you as a customer O.o


I'm not defending Apple, per se, I'm defending logic and reason.


Apple has no monopoly in any market. Their platform terms and conditions may (or may not) be draconian, but what antitrust concerns can be taken seriously? Apple owns a small (but profitable) share of every market in which they operate.


> Apple has no monopoly in any market.

Antitrust "monopolies" aren't monopolies in the sense of no other players, they are monopolies in the sense of practical lack of competitive pressure displayed through market power (also known as pricing power) which is the ability, within some -- potentially narrow -- range to raise prices without losing sales to competitors (hence "pricing power", but market power could perhaps also be demonstrated by being able to make other adverse changes without driving sales from the party with market power to competitors.)

In a sense, this does match the "no competition" definition, in that having market power indicates that while there may be other players -- or even bigger players -- in a named market, they aren't in a practical sesne actually acting as competitors in the sense of economic theory, because the goods are revealed by market behavior not to be substitutes.


What about laws against abuse of vertical integration? What they're doing seems like anti-competitive use of vertical integration to me.

Whether it's actually illegal is a question for a lawyer though.


Keep in mind they attracted some amount of regulatory attention via their "no third party frameworks" rule, even in the US.

http://www.macrumors.com/2010/08/10/european-commission-join...

I agree that they're unlikely to be spanked under antitrust rules--unless they end up dominating the smart watch market, in which case they'll be very vulnerable, but they're not there yet. But even if they don't fall under those rules, they're definitely under scrutiny.

Plus, Apple is definitely heading where Microsoft was: perceived as big enough to be the public's favorite piñata. That may ultimately be a bigger problem for them than any business realities.


They have a total monopoly on the software market for iDevices. Even if the way they got that monopoly wasn't abusive, they are abusing it now.


That's not what monopoly means.


I don't think you understand anti-trust laws nor the meaning of "abusing a monopoly".


They didn't say the support had to be removed just the mentioning of the other platform.


Seems like it might be hard to build a UI for Pebble support without mentioning the name Pebble, but I guess it's possible. It would make it a lot harder for users to discover the feature, which is sort of like saying support has to be removed.

> Specifically, -> your app <- and app description declare support for thePebble Smartwatch.


It is still anticompetitive, suppressing information about a competitor's product helps the consumer in 0 ways.


You start up movie theater. You sell ads to marketing companies for before the movie. One of those ads is pushing a competing movie theater.

Are you really saying you would allow it to run just so that you can 'help the consumer'?

Businesses are in competition... that's how the market works.


That's not quite comparable to what Apple's doing.

Here's a better analogy:

Amazon sells set-top boxes. Apple TVs, Rokus, the works. They also sell HDMI sticks, like Chromecasts.

All of a sudden, they come out with a product called the "Fire TV". It integrates with Prime, and in comes in either stick or box form, depending on your preference.

All is well in the world.

But then, all of a sudden, Apple and Netflix and Google find that their Amazon product pages for Apple TV and Roku and Chromecast (respectively) aren't published anymore. When they ask Amazon about it, Amazon stubbornly replies with some rule in their ToS about mentioning competing products.

Is Amazon's behavior in this scenario ethical? Is it worthy of brushing off as "that's how the market works"?

This differs from your analogy by the order of events. In your analogy, your movie theater existed before the attempt to buy an ad for a competitor.

In the case of my analogy (and, indeed, in the case of what Apple's doing now), it would instead be akin to you running a TV station that runs ads for a theater, you opening up a theater of your own, and you then banning the ads of the other theater while running your own ads on the TV station you own.


First of all, Apple isn't PULLING apps now that the Apple Watch is released. The Pebble app is still there, and you can still use it. This whole uproar is about a single developer who had his app denied by a specific reviewer at Apple for a basic breach of their terms and conditions for putting Apps on the App Store. The general consensus seems to be that a simple rewording (maybe not even having to remove the word 'Pebble') is all that he needs.

Also, a theater buying a TV/Radio station and not allowing competing theaters to run ads is perfectly acceptable and realistic.

Overall, I'm failing to see your point. Not to be a broken record, but these are competing businesses. It doesn't really matter if you s/Apple/Amazon|Google/g and s/Pebble/Netflix|Roku/g, all you're really arguing is that a company doesn't have a right to control a marketplace that they OWN.

I get that choice is great for the consumer, and I totally agree. It's absolutely best to have the ability to choose the devices you want, have them interconnect, and to be able to run the software that you want on them. I also think there should be no war or crime, and that the 1%'s money should be spread out evenly over the population. I (shockingly) think that no one should treat ANYONE unfairly. Unfortunately, we don't live in that world.

As long as we allow competition between businesses, they are going to, well, compete. Just because one gets very large and popular doesn't suddenly mean the rules have to change for it.


> First of all, Apple isn't PULLING apps now that the Apple Watch is released. The Pebble app is still there, and you can still use it.

For now.

A better analogy would be if Amazon suddenly refused to stock new Apple TVs and Rokus and Chromecasts in its warehouses and only stocked Fire TV devices, if we want to get all semantic about it.

> This whole uproar is about a single developer who had his app denied

There are multiple apps affected per the linked discussion.

> by a specific reviewer at Apple

No, by multiple reviewers on multiple occasions. Even appealing the decision results in the same response ("don't reference Pebble in your metadata").

> for a basic breach of their terms and conditions for putting Apps on the App Store

That's only being enforced for Pebble-related apps now that the Apple Watch has been released.

> The general consensus seems to be that a simple rewording (maybe not even having to remove the word 'Pebble') is all that he needs.

Apple's response (when SeaNav tried to appeal) was specifically to remove the word "Pebble". It's not a wording issue; it's an issue with that specific word existing in the metadata.

> Also, a theater buying a TV/Radio station and not allowing competing theaters to run ads is perfectly acceptable and realistic.

That's not what the more accurate scenario describes; you're still getting this backwards. It's the TV/Radio station buying/building a competing theater and preventing new ads from existing theaters that the corrected scenario describes.

> Just because one gets very large and popular doesn't suddenly mean the rules have to change for it.

Yes they do, per U.S. and European (at the very least; probably others are included) antitrust laws. Using one's market position to conspire to monopolize runs afoul of them.

And even if it weren't strictly illegal per se, it sure as hell doesn't mean that we should just lay back and let Apple do what it wants. What's the harm in calling them out on their dickery? A free market relies on an informed consumer base; such call-outs - at the very least - might put market forces in the consumers' favor for once.


> Yes they do, per U.S. and European (at the very least; probably others are included) antitrust laws. Using one's market position to conspire to monopolize runs afoul of them.

I'm sorry, but I have to *sigh at that one. They don't have a monopoly on anything but THEIR OWN marketplace.

Anyway, have fun with your opinions man. I'm sure you're a bit hit at parties.


I understand that is how that the market works. It may not be a "problem" in people's current understanding of the law, but I certainly think a problem is being exposed here. I am arguing that Apple has created something different with the AppStore; a privileged sub-market. Because the burden of changing markets is heavily in Apple's favor they should, as a large public company, be required to serve the public good and manage it in the consumer's best interest, not their own.


I can understand what you mean, but isn't the consumer's best interest sort of... subjective?

Apple has obviously gone to great lengths to make their walled garden a reliable and safe place for consumers who have chosen to buy their products. If you talked to Tim Cook or Jony Ive, I bet they would make a case that the best thing for consumers is to be entirely invested in the Apple ecosystem. After all, it DOES give you the most consistent experience.

So if you look at it from that perspective, who's right is it to go into a company and say, "No, that's not what's best for the consumer!" Obviously people like what they are getting, otherwise they would be defecting to Android in droves. Contrary to what some people are saying here, they DO have a choice.

Thinking through it logically, I just can't see any scenario where a company, no matter how large, should be forced to push a competitor's products.


Not disagreeing they are only helping themselves here. At least the support for the watch is not removed (which is a plus for now).


iOS is far from having a monopoly in the market (smartphones and tablets). No, monopoly over their devices doesn't count.


Vendor lock-in does count as monopolistic behaviour https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vendor_lock-in


On top of this, there's such a thing as a "vertical monopoly" (which vendor lock-in facilitates).

The myriad of comments about how Apple "isn't really a monopoly" assume that horizontal monopolies are the only "real" monopolies, but vertical ones are just as dangerous and just as harmful in just as many situations.


Monopolistic behaviour != has a monopoly.


And having a monopoly isn't illegal. Monopolistic behavior is.


Well, it's the combination that's illegal. Anti-competitive behavior as a non-monopoly is generally fine (and expected). As your market influence grows, it becomes riskier.


They have a monopoly on the sale of iPhone apps, no?


Doesn't count. Microsoft has a monopoly on the sale of games sold through Xbox Live.


    may result in antitrust action against a monopoly.
You need to have a monopoly first.


Not really, even the Wikipedia article you sourced doesn't see it that way.

> Lock-in costs which create barriers to market entry may result in antitrust action against a monopoly.

It's anticompetitive behaviour that suddenly becomes relevant if you're a monopoly.


> No, monopoly over their devices doesn't count.

Why not? They are influencing one market because of their control of another unrelated market.


And why is Apple still allowed to monopolize the core browser technologies? Imagine if Microsoft said in the late 90's that only IE is accepted on Windows, but you're free to put your on UI on top. Would that have been acceptable?


Do they have a phone monopoly, when they don't even have a plurality?


In what way? They aren't rejecting the app, they're rejecting the use of the trademark "Pebble" in the app's description.


They are suppressing information which could help a customer make a decision. Users can no longer search for or discover apps that support their watch via the AppStore. I view this behavior as anti-competitive and does not serve the greater public good. Apple is a corporation.


Erm... Wouldn't that be similar to Google rejecting the trademark "Apple" from their search results? You're making it sound like Apple owns Pebble trademark and aren't happy for it to be used.


Google does prevent you from using other trademarks in your Play Store copy.


> Google does prevent you from using other trademarks in your Play Store copy

Can you point where it is stated or the related point in the policy? Thanks


Look for any story where someone said they had their app taken down because they had copyrighted material in the promo pictures or used a trademarked name in the title or copy.

https://support.google.com/googleplay/android-developer/answ...


Those stories and policies is for using copyrighted material without permission or using trademarks without authorisation, totally different thing from not able to use trademarked names.


If the Microsoft antitrust lawsuit proved anything, it's that the US government is not powerful enough to bring meaningful enforcement action against a corporation of that size.


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