Apple: Everybody’s taking aim at the App Store

From Arizona to the UK to The Netherlands and beyond.

From The Verge’s “Arizona advances bill forcing Apple and Google to allow Fortnite-style alternative payment options” posted Wednesday:

The bill, HB2005, opens the door for alternative payment systems on iOS and Android

From Reuters’ “UK starts probe on Apple over alleged App Store monopoly” posted Thursday:

Britain’s competition regulator said on Thursday it has opened an investigation into Apple Inc after complaints that the iPhone maker’s terms and conditions for app developers are unfair and anti-competition…

The company is also being investigated on similar grounds by the Dutch competition authorities, who are nearing a draft decision, Reuters reported last month.

Last year, the European Commission too had opened a probe into the iPhone maker over App Store commission fee.

My take: The App Store has been — and remains — a big fat antitrust target.

See also Apple 3.0’s Antitrust Archives

17 Comments

  1. Gregg Thurman said:
    Open the App Store and you lose control of what you are downloading, it’s a simple as that. What part of App curation don’t these people understand? Oh wait, they’re politicians, they aren’t required to know what they are doing.

    9
    March 4, 2021
  2. Jerry Doyle said:
    It doesn’t end with the European Union, the Netherlands or with Arizona as PED alludes. At the federal level, Democrat US Senator Elizabeth Warren once again reiterated recently that Apple will have to choose between running the App Store or publishing their own apps on the platform, in accordance with her proposal to break big companies. When the news reporter asked her how Apple would keep the iPhone secure if the App Store is not run by Apple the good Senator replied by saying: “…. if Apple does want to run the App Store then, it will have to stop publishing its own apps….. It’s got to be one or the other…. Either they (Apple) run the platform or they play in the store. They don’t get to do both at the same time. Democrat Senator Elizabeth Warren

    2
    March 4, 2021
    • Dan Pallotta said:
      Does she have the same plan for CVS-branded products in CVS stores? 365-branded products in Whole Foods? Nike sneakers in Nike stores? I’m embarrassed to have her as the Senator from my state.

      6
      March 4, 2021
  3. Greg Lippert said:
    I’m astounded this is an issue.

    Stores everywhere in the world can sell what they want and mark it up (or take a %). Widget makers jump through hoops to get on shelves. Check Home Depot. Stores also sell their own (often less expensive) versions of items.

    Apple has to maintain and curate the store. It costs $$$. Since when is it wrong to make a profit? Apple provides app developers access to millions of the best customers in the world. Worth nothing?

    The Arizona bill has an exception for game stores (PlayStation, Xbox). Why? Don’t those game makers have a monopoly? There are about as many console makers with worse lock-in as Apple + Google.

    If you open up the App Store you destroy the security of the device. If my phone gets malware and is compromised, who is liable? Apple of course.

    This stinks.

    10
    March 4, 2021
    • Gregg Thurman said:
      This stinks.

      Yes, it does. These are ideological objections to the Apple App Store that haven’t been logically thought through. I don’t see any of these efforts surviving judicial revenue as they are applying a code of conduct that does exist anywhere else, and exempts all others in the retail industry.

      1
      March 4, 2021
    • Bart Yee said:
      The exceptions for current game stores (like Epic’s) and console makers is exactly the language Epic’s lobbyists who wrote these bills handed to the legislatures to fight for them. Epic wants to protect its own store while trying to disable competition. Hypocrisy.

      4
      March 4, 2021
  4. Gary Morton said:
    Liz Warren and politicians on both sides of the aisle in the US and of many affiliations in Europe like to make news and act and if they are valiant defenders of common folk by attacking business success. The underlying idea is that successful businesses are exploiting you common folk and they (the great politicians you elected) will step in for you and stop it. Whether there is sound antitrust precedent does not matter. What matters is whether it riles up more votes.

    Apple is big…big is bad…elect me and I will make it good. You purchased a premium smartphone from a 15% global market share player, but I will make sure that you can install non-vetted, bug ridden, crappy applications on that premium phone because you should not trust that premium phone manufacturer to offer you a fair deal on the phone’s app prices. I mean, come on, an average of less that $3.00 for an application, that is highway robbery. Vote for Me!

    9
    March 4, 2021
  5. bas flik said:
    anti trust laws does not apply to apple because all customers choosed freely to make the appstore big. apple grew the way it is based on transactions made by consumers in absolute freedom. 1.8 billon people choosed to make apple big. they also could have choosen to pay high subscription fees to spotify and make them big. but they choosed otherwise. politician can better eye spotify for unfair competition. they sell there products for already more then 20 years under cost price thanks to access to free money. they cutting out competition which have no access to free money but would have had a profitable business if spotify raised their prices to a market fair level.

    2
    March 4, 2021
  6. Ralph McDarmont said:
    When did success become a crime? It used to be admirable.

    4
    March 4, 2021
  7. Dan Pallotta said:
    The greatest consumer fraud racket in the world is the U.S. government. No corporation comes close to the dismal value/dollar that taxpayers have to swallow. I swear to God if I didn’t have to work with a bunch of bozos just like her—at a mahogany desk with a Windows computer and a fax machine— I’d run against her.

    5
    March 4, 2021
  8. David Emery said:
    Redefining the “App store” as its own market will have substantial unexpected consequences. Exemptions for different kinds of stores could be challenged in court. And the idea that a state can pass legislation forcing changes will bump up against the Constitution’s Commerce Clause (for exactly the kinds of reasons that there is a Commerce Clause – it is not in the interests of the US for a company to have to run 50 different stores against 50 different sets of state rules.)

    1
    March 4, 2021
  9. Michael Goldfeder said:
    Let’s see what happens to all of these “inquiries” after Epic loses in Federal District Court.

    0
    March 4, 2021
  10. Timothy Smith said:
    Couldn’t Apple make Pages, Keynote, etc into web apps, like Google Docs?

    0
    March 5, 2021
    • Kirk DeBernardi said:
      @ Timothy Smith —

      During a recent “The Talk Show” (hosted by John Gruber) podcast episode, John pointed out that most apps used to primarily operate within the confines of the device without the need to be connected to the internet.

      Now most require an internet connection to be fully functional — even if just for file retention and back up.

      0
      March 5, 2021

Leave a Reply