No monopoly here, Apple App Store chief tells EU

From Reuters’ “Apple not dominant in any market, plenty of rivals, senior executive says” posted Tuesday:

iPhone maker Apple, the target of EU antitrust investigations into key segments of its business, on Tuesday rejected accusations of market dominance, saying it competes with Google, Samsung and other rivals.

“We compete with a wide variety of companies, Google, Samsung, Huawei, Vivo, LG, Lenovo and many more,” Daniel Matray, head of Apple’s App Store and Apple Media Services, told a Forum Europe online event.

“In fact, Apple does not have a dominant position in any market, and we face strong competition in every category, in tablets, wearables, desktop and notebook computers, maps, music, payments, messaging, and more,” he said.

Matray defended Apple’s App Store, saying the same rules apply to all developers, large and small, with 85% of apps not required to pay a 30% fee to the company which is only valid for those which use its in-app payment service.

My take: To be fair, reasonable people might argue—and Spotify does—that Apple has monopoly control of its own App Store, where hundreds of billions of dollars of payments are transacted each year. Also that Apple doesn’t pay the 15% to 30% fees its competitors pay. Just saying.

See also the Apple 3.0 monopoly archives.

10 Comments

  1. David Emery said:
    Seems to me this will depend on the legal definition of “monopoly” within the EU. Does a monopoly apply to a larger market (e.g. “cell phones”), or to actions within a specific market (e.g. “applications for iPhones”)?

    But given Eurocrats’ tendencies to make up the law as they -want it to be-, rather than what the law -is-, who knows how this will come out?

    3
    June 30, 2020
  2. Joe Murphy said:
    “My take: To be fair, reasonable people might argue… Apple has monopoly control of its own App Store, … Also that Apple doesn’t pay the 15% to 30% fees its competitors pay…”

    My take: To be fair, I suspect the same can be said for all retailers, from Amazon to Tiffany’s to Walmart, including any I overlooked.
    That’s the standard business model.

    Furthermore, unless the EU doesn’t operate within these established, accepted and standard procedures, should the EU find Apple guilty, I’d call it discrimination.

    What do you think PED, and group?

    4
    June 30, 2020
    • It all depends on how the market is defined. Monopolies are not illegal per se. The question is whether a company has abused its monopoly position.

      0
      June 30, 2020
    • Thomas Larkin said:
      But Apple does pay, the entire cost of running the App store less only what it can earn from developers who see the value proposition of having a ready made store in place resulting in much better exposure and huge cost savings in distribution and collection.

      0
      June 30, 2020
  3. Jonny Tilney said:
    Why should Nike be the only shoes sold in the Nike Store??

    8
    June 30, 2020
    • Fred Stein said:
      Yes. Or Disney logo’d items in Disney theme parks. We could go on and on and on.

      2
      June 30, 2020
  4. Thomas Larkin said:
    We should question the very notion that Apple should be required to do anything more than give a developer an option to have a free app conforming to Apple’s security and privacy requirements so it’s customers can run a developer’s or 3rd party provider’s software/service/stream on/to an Apple device, handling any monetary transactions on the developer’s or provider’s own website. If there’s no compensation to Apple, then there should be no on obligation on Apple’s part to handle (or encourage) monetary transactions for them. From Apple’s perspective its first and foremost undertaking is to protect its user’s interests. The notion that a developer doesn’t benefit from the exposure in the App Store for a free App, or that they are somehow unfairly disadvantaged by reason of their customers having to go through a couple more clicks on a developer’s website seems absurd, IMHO. There is also the question of collection risk (maybe not huge but there are issues when it comes to refunds, etc.). It also seems inherently dishonest to me when a particular developer uses the claim of disparate treatment when what that developer is really after is the opportunity to mine data, or put its goods on a retailer’s shelves free of charge. It’s really just an argument over money and privacy of customer data.

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    June 30, 2020
  5. John Blackburn said:
    To whom would Apple Pay the 15% to 30% fees?

    0
    June 30, 2020
    • David Emery said:
      I’m sure the EU would like to have those revenues 🙁

      0
      June 30, 2020
  6. Fred Stein said:
    Apple is not a monopoly. There’s no case.

    Each EU country is a monopoly that charges a VAT of about 10% according to their rules. San Francisco has a 16% hotel occupancy tax. Taxes are OK. Apple’s fees are OK. 30% is fair.

    The App Store provides better ROI than Google Play for developers.

    1
    June 30, 2020

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