Tim Cook will tell Congress Apple's App Store treats all developers equally

Developers beg to differ.

From Cook's prepared remarks to the Judiciary Committee Subcommittee:

The App Store guidelines ensure a high-quality, reliable and secure user experience. They are transparent and applied equally to all developers of all sizes and categories. They are not set in stone. Rather, they have changed as the world has changed, and we work with developers to apply them fairly.

From Twitter:

My take: The App Store hosts 1.7 million apps, according to Cook, of which only 60 belong to Apple. It's in the space around those 60 apps that antitrust concerns arise.

See also:


  1. David Emery said:
    The two comments here are just plain bovine effluent. Non-public APIs are explicitly that. If you can’t write an app using only public APIs, you’re not competent.

    And “every idea I had was too close to existing Apple apps” strikes me as someone with very little imagination.

    I’m sure there are legitimate complaints from developers, such as opaque processes. But if these two are truly representative examples, it’s all just ‘fertilizer’ for conspiracy theories and failed execution.

    July 29, 2020
  2. Gregg Thurman said:
    But if these two are truly representative examples, it’s all just ‘fertilizer’ for conspiracy theories and failed execution.

    Checked in to see what the commentary was like regarding today’s hearings, then couldn’t resist commenting.

    If there were 100 developers for each Apple-owned app wanting to create an app that “Apple wouldn’t let us do it”, the total would represent 0.332% of all apps on the App Store. Stated another way that’s one potential complainer per 283 published apps.

    Where’s the problem?

    July 29, 2020
  3. Fred Stein said:
    Don’t we need at least 5% of the 23M developers and 1.7M Apps to complain about monopoly, highway robbery, and the other allegations to make a case?

    And yes, we need the debate and the discussion.

    Let’s focus on laws to make the digital transformation work better, more equitably. Let’s not make this a mock trial. Congress’s job is legislation.

    July 29, 2020
    • David Emery said:
      > Congress’s job is legislation.

      True, but without trying to be too political, it seems these days most of what Congress is about is making headlines.

      I can think of a lot of good laws Congress should be looking at, starting with privacy and something like the EU’s GPDR. I could even see ‘right to repair’ requirements, and probably an informed debate on cryptology. (I can dream about ‘informed’, can’t I?)

      July 29, 2020
  4. Kirk DeBernardi said:
    I admittedly need to be schooled here.

    So, please — anyone. School me.

    Can anyone (especially you, PED) cite examples where Apple gives preferential treatment to their own apps over others?

    Also, justify Apple allowing apps to be loaded from anywhere.

    Smartphone apps and their distribution are a right to be regulated? Really?

    (One thinks much of themselves, doesn’t one?)

    July 30, 2020
    • Bart Yee said:
      Kirk, I think the biggest argument that some developers have is that Apple supplies their own apps as defaults – Maps, Safari, Mail, iMessage, Stocks, etc. so they have “a built in first mover advantage” as the default apps. Others argue that you can’t delete these apps or default choices or actions (like clicking on a link in your mailbox or Twitter and not have it open in Safari but in Chrome or Duck Duck Go instead). People don’t realize that they can group all of Apple’s Apps into a folder or icon box and use other apps for themselves. But the issue of default actions IS an issue and something Apple seems to be working on in newer iOS versions.

      July 30, 2020
      • Kirk DeBernardi said:
        @ Bart Yee —

        If we all remember back to when the iPhone was first introduced, Steve Jobs was reluctant to even open the iPhone to third-party apps and he had to be convinced. If I’m not mistaken, all of the apps you mentioned were initially part of the iOS system from day-one where no one could even raise the specter of being mistreated.

        Yet Apple went ahead and opened the iPhone up and created — on their dime with THEIR store — what has somehow now been woefully misconstrued as a utility for the world in dire need of regulation and control.

        The “first-mover advantage” doesn’t apply here as you are restraining that meme to just the iOS platform when the entirety of the smartphone marketplace should be considered — especially when users can EASILY use other available apps. On iOS, some have even competitively proven out to be more popular than Apple’s apps with Apple garnering criticism that their apps should be better.

        From its beginning, Android users have long been able to sideload apps, as you say — from a wild west smorgasbord. Once Apple opened the iPhone to third-party developers, utilizing an app store is like picking books from the shelf, no matter the platform. So who has first-mover advantage?

        July 30, 2020
        • Kirk DeBernardi said:
          Also, your mention of not being able to delete platform-installed apps is a true tempest-in-a-teapot and seems more like a personal user problem to me, especially when the next iOS will allow an even easier management of this.

          Consider — why should the inability to delete them be interpreted as some dastardly barrier to simply using another app?

          July 30, 2020
  5. Bart Yee said:
    “Every job I’ve had for the last 10 years I’ve had moments we thought of a really great feature or product but then immediately stopped because we realized Apple wouldn’t let us do it

    Apple has all of tech in a total chokehold. I dread having to eventually ship on their platforms”

    So don’t. You have 2 Billion Android users to build your App for in what, 100 different countries? You have 200-300 different Android makers who offer all kinds of neat cutting edge tech just waiting to be exploited by you. Isn’t that a much bigger and more attractive platform and market to build for? Isn’t developing for Android so much easier since its an open platform, and Google’s “control” is so much less? Plus you can offer side loading on alternative App Stores where its the wild west out there with little control. Of course, your app might get “infected” with malware, your % fees are the same with Google, and you might have a lot more competition since Apple “only” has 1.7M apps vs 2.8M apps in Google Play. Hmmm, maybe it doesn’t look so good outside of Apple does it?

    July 30, 2020

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