The U.S. Supreme Court Debates Taking Apple App Store Antitrust Case

cageymaru

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The United States Supreme Court is considering taking on a court case where Apple is being sued by a group of consumers. They are pursuing a class-action lawsuit alleging that the price of apps in Apple's App Store are high because it is anti-competitive and monopolistic. Since all software that is allowed to run on an Apple iPhone has to be purchased through the App Store, the market for apps on the platform is closed to competition. Apple argues that it acts as only a conduit; the prices set are up to the app creators. Apple charges developers a 30% commission on the sale of apps in its App Store. Apple has blocked Valve from bringing its Steam Link app to iPhone users because it allows for in-app purchases and other reasons.

The justices, and the court system more broadly, have regularly wrestled in recent years over how old laws should interact with new technology, sometimes raising the question of whether current law is adequate to address a rapidly evolving technological landscape. In this case, it was clear the justices had at least some familiarity with the issue through their own iPhones. A decision is expected by the end of June.
 

Darunion

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Not to be a dick on the other side but so do all retailers. And if you have ever had to deal with walmart buyers, that is a pain.

Also you know this going in what apple charges. You as a developer make the choice to do it or not. But seriously, this is a bunch of angry kids upset about items priced at under $10? I would think increased prices would actually just move more people to the other side? Anti-competition would mean google and apple inflating prices together because you really don't have much of a 3rd option.

As I always say, buy a phone that does most of what you need/want one to do instead of expecting it to change to your demands.

sigh, i use iphone but dammit I hate iphone users lol.
 

Spidey329

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Apple charges developers a 30% commission on the sale of apps in its App Store.

There's the real crime.

Apple and Android want 30% for the initial sale and then 30% for sales that occur through the app on the platform in perpetuity. That's outrageous. It's why there's been some fragmentation with Androids store (Amazon).
 

Darunion

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There's the real crime.

Apple and Android want 30% for the initial sale and then 30% for sales that occur through the app on the platform in perpetuity. That's outrageous. It's why there's been some fragmentation with Androids store (Amazon).

True but that has been explioted in the past which is probably what helped create it. Give app away for free on the store (with limited to almost no usability) but in-app purchase to unlock 'pro' features. If unchecked, that is what would happen with every app.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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There's the real crime.

Apple and Android want 30% for the initial sale and then 30% for sales that occur through the app on the platform in perpetuity. That's outrageous. It's why there's been some fragmentation with Androids store (Amazon).


It's probably only a legal problem because without jailbreaking (which is unsupported and may void your warranty) you can't install software from any other source. On android this is not the case.
 

Axehandler

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Not to be a dick on the other side but so do all retailers. And if you have ever had to deal with walmart buyers, that is a pain.

Also you know this going in what apple charges. You as a developer make the choice to do it or not. But seriously, this is a bunch of angry kids upset about items priced at under $10? I would think increased prices would actually just move more people to the other side? Anti-competition would mean google and apple inflating prices together because you really don't have much of a 3rd option.

As I always say, buy a phone that does most of what you need/want one to do instead of expecting it to change to your demands.

sigh, i use iphone but dammit I hate iphone users lol.

I agree with your Last statement :)

but your 1st statement disregards the fact that I'm not REQUIRED to Buy or Sell thru Walmart.. there are other options.. I think that is the main argument.
 

steakman1971

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This could have a lot of interesting ramifications. When I was working on mobile apps, I always dreaded the app review process. Sometimes, Apple would focus on something unexpected and reject your app. Of course, the clients I worked with got pissed at me when Apple rejected the app (even though I had no control - I advised companies about things I thought could be a problem, but my crystal ball doesn't always work). A few example: icons with rounded corners, icons with sharp edged corners, fonts, one app was deemed to have no value to consumers - so was rejected (we appealed and the app actually did ok for a short time span), etc. A lot of these were subjective and varied based on the reviewer. Android apps - never had a single rejection - even when one app crashed on install and never worked (goof on our part - wrong APK posted).
Still, if I own a PS4/Xbox/Nintendo - isn't this similar? I can only buy authorized software from the store (physical copy) or from their online store. I can't get unsigned software on these devices. (Although, this does make it more flexible as I can choose where/how).
 

Lakados

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The fact that the Apple platform is closed and "more secure" is one of their selling features honestly if this does go through I just see apple creating an app for $9.99 that lets you create a sandbox on the phone that you can install those 3'rd party stores into that basically runs all those apps in a VM. Competition is great and all but too many cooks in the kitchen.
 

emphy

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The United States Supreme Court is considering taking on a court case where Apple is being sued by a group of consumers. They are pursuing a class-action lawsuit alleging that the price of apps in Apple's App Store are high because it is anti-competitive and monopolistic. Since all software that is allowed to run on an Apple iPhone has to be purchased through the App Store, the market for apps on the platform is closed to competition. Apple argues that it acts as only a conduit; the prices set are up to the app creators. Apple charges developers a 30% commission on the sale of apps in its App Store. Apple has blocked Valve from bringing its Steam Link app to iPhone users because it allows for in-app purchases and other reasons.

The justices, and the court system more broadly, have regularly wrestled in recent years over how old laws should interact with new technology, sometimes raising the question of whether current law is adequate to address a rapidly evolving technological landscape. In this case, it was clear the justices had at least some familiarity with the issue through their own iPhones. A decision is expected by the end of June.

I suspect that apple just doesn't have the market share for the store exclusivity to be a legal problem.
 

TonyZ

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I suspect that apple just doesn't have the market share for the store exclusivity to be a legal problem.

So you think 100% market share on the app store isn't exclusive? No one can sell non apple approved apps on the iPhone app store.. Apps do need to go thru a screening process, but the only thing apple should be allowed to reject for is a malicious or malware enabled app.
 

Laowai

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So you think 100% market share on the app store isn't exclusive? No one can sell non apple approved apps on the iPhone app store.. Apps do need to go thru a screening process, but the only thing apple should be allowed to reject for is a malicious or malware enabled app.
They can reject whatever they want for whatever reason they want.
Got a problem with it? Don't buy it.

This is complete crap. I don't like Apple or their products but seriously, people need to grow the hell up.
There are options for phones so...no monopoly.
100% of app market share on 100% of their phones does not a monopoly make unless they're the only company producing phones. They are not.
Don't like the constrained nature or limitations of the Apple app store? Simplest solution is to not buy an Apple phone. Buying one, knowing full well what you'd get and wouldn't get... then complaining is childish.
 
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Darunion

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I agree with your Last statement :)

but your 1st statement disregards the fact that I'm not REQUIRED to Buy or Sell thru Walmart.. there are other options.. I think that is the main argument.

Can sell on android, even subbed out to amazon if desired. Can write web based apps so people can utilize those. Same thing exists with any digital platform where you as a developer want to release your program to a piece of hardware you did not create sell or maintain.

I guess my walmart analogy was flawed. But to sell in any store you have to pay them their fees and follow their rules. You are free to create your own platform to utilize, but it might not be popular enough to warrant the amount of money you would have to invest.

It could also be argued that the walled garden tends to be a safer place as it is harder to get rogue apps onto an iphone. I think any phone I've owned maybe there are a dozen apps I install at best anyways. I actually don't personally support free apps. I would rather give money directy to the developer and apple/google than sit there with a ton of ads anways.

Apple is pain to get apps through them and the fees do suck. But we went through it at work because the amount of people that do statistically buy apps on iphone is greater than those on android. You will always make more money on iphone than on android. Also on android you get chinese copy-cats that just pretty much steal your app and then sell it

for a dollar less using your name and search terms and sometimes even graphics. And google isn't quick to respond to those disputes.




tl;dr Both companies aren't here for us, they are here to make money off of us. Everyone pick your poison and drink up, we are all just consumers.
 
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Anything that hurts Apple profits is Great news for consumers!

There is NO reason for store exclusivity except for PROFITs, afterall.
 

Trepidati0n

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The fact that the Apple platform is closed and "more secure" is one of their selling features honestly if this does go through I just see apple creating an app for $9.99 that lets you create a sandbox on the phone that you can install those 3'rd party stores into that basically runs all those apps in a VM. Competition is great and all but too many cooks in the kitchen.

So are you saying that nobody out there could make a store as secure for 29% of sale value? Do us consumers not have that choice? Or is this a case of "do not look behind the curtain, it is to complex for you puny humans to comprehend"?
 
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Wiffle

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Pretty sure you made a choice when you threw down that 600-1200$ for your device. I would assume most reasonable people would at least research a bit about the object they are purchasing when the price tag is that high.

Apple is 100% anti-competitive and has been since the companies' creation. They have always made their own hardware and software, and have always limited what could and could not run on their hardware and software. However, what they do allow to run is almost guaranteed to work without too much hassle. This wasn't an issue back in the day, but because of the iPhone fad, they command a huge market share of active phones which is currently the issue. The used iPhone market is huge, as they still work pretty well after several generations.

About the only legal issue here, is that apps have to come from the store and they take a cut of it, which probably includes monthly subscriptions and in-app purchases like Google does. They might be made to allow third party apps to run, but they don't have to support them or put it on their store.

Apple commands around 50% of the world phone market... which is pretty significant. Its also one more reason why I won't buy one. Iphones and IOS are fairly similar regardless of carriers, this isn't the case for android phones. Develop a hack for one, and it works on pretty much all iphones. The walled approach only works if you can keep your enemies outside your walls, but once inside you are screwed cause you are too busy defending your walls from the enemies that surround you.

Also, apple has been totally anti-gaming since forever, which lets you know this pressure is coming from a bunch of yuppies who gave their kids iphones not knowing anything about the company or the product.
 

shspvr

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Sorry that not the problem APPLE is making it difficult for 3rd party developer and repair companies just take a look at Steam Link for iOS and min app are not allow on the Apple Store and we have no other way to install apps like with Android bypassing the Store, Then they turn around and started toss in T2 Chip making repairs impossible for repair companies which circumventing the right-to-repair, So the way I see it Apple is doing nothing but try to control everything and it bad they don't get there head out of rear end they could take a big chuck out even Windows OS if they hadn't made so difficult to install MacOS on 3rd party hardware.
It about time for Apple to get knock down off it pedestal
 

atom

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There are no lawyers in existence that can win this one. If they did it would dismantle the business models of Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony. Next they will tell Netflix they aren't allowed to have exclusives. Just think, in the 90s we were worried about Microsoft bundling it's browser with Windows for free.
 

shspvr

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There are no lawyers in existence that can win this one. If they did it would dismantle the business models of Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony. Next they will tell Netflix they aren't allowed to have exclusives. Just think, in the 90s we were worried about Microsoft bundling it's browser with Windows for free.
You miss the whole point about the bundling it funny how AOL and many where there
Another problem was who was default browser in Windows in past IE would over ride other the part of the problem and MS app would run IE in stead of what I set as the default browser.
 

Laowai

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Pretty sure you made a choice when you threw down that 600-1200$ for your device. I would assume most reasonable people would at least research a bit about the object they are purchasing when the price tag is that high.

Apple is 100% anti-competitive and has been since the companies' creation. They have always made their own hardware and software, and have always limited what could and could not run on their hardware and software. However, what they do allow to run is almost guaranteed to work without too much hassle. This wasn't an issue back in the day, but because of the iPhone fad, they command a huge market share of active phones which is currently the issue. The used iPhone market is huge, as they still work pretty well after several generations.

About the only legal issue here, is that apps have to come from the store and they take a cut of it, which probably includes monthly subscriptions and in-app purchases like Google does. They might be made to allow third party apps to run, but they don't have to support them or put it on their store.

Apple commands around 50% of the world phone market... which is pretty significant. Its also one more reason why I won't buy one. Iphones and IOS are fairly similar regardless of carriers, this isn't the case for android phones. Develop a hack for one, and it works on pretty much all iphones. The walled approach only works if you can keep your enemies outside your walls, but once inside you are screwed cause you are too busy defending your walls from the enemies that surround you.

Also, apple has been totally anti-gaming since forever, which lets you know this pressure is coming from a bunch of yuppies who gave their kids iphones not knowing anything about the company or the product.
I think you're misusing and/or misunderstand what the term 'anti-competitive' means.
You also overstate Apple's market share of global phone sales by an absurd amount.
Of course, you're free to make whatever purchasing decision you wish to for whatever reasons you like, even if they're not true.
I would assume most reasonable people would at least research a bit about the object they are purchasing when the price tag is that high.
I would assume most reasonable people would be sure to use words as accurately as possible and search for information before posting easily verifiable/disprovable numbers. Seems we're both wrong
 

Lakados

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So are you saying that nobody out there could make a store as secure for 29% of sale value? Do us consumers not have that choice? Or is this a case of "do not look behind the curtain, it is to complex for you puny humans to comprehend"?
Not saying they can't just saying at this point they haven't, and I am saying that if they are mandated to Apple will follow that ruling to the letter and they will be dicks about it at every step they would have to make it possible not easy and they wouldn't have to do it for free either. But I was saying that Apple's platform being single player has been one of their greatest strengths to up till this point and I don't see a need to change it.
 
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That's idiotic on so many levels.

i am not a holder of Apple stocks, and neither is Apple paying proper taxes. Argument would be extremely different if it was a company that is ethical in paying their dues.

So what part of my original statement is idiotic?

Diversification of avenues of sale means competition in the % taken by storefronts. ( Good for devs, good for consumers as prices are now more flexible) It also means greater variety of apps considering how Apple vets applications. (Good for devs, and also good for consumers)

And really, what is store exclusivity except a Profit driven exercise for corporate benefits ?
 
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Not saying they can't just saying at this point they haven't, and I am saying that if they are mandated to Apple will follow that ruling to the letter and they will be dicks about it at every step they would have to make it possible not easy and they wouldn't have to do it for free either. But I was saying that Apple's platform being single player has been one of their greatest strengths to up till this point and I don't see a need to change it.

strength for Apple. Not for everyone else. So good news. No reason to keep on supporting this mega corp (largest in net worth sitting on USD300b of cash) if they don't drive and lobby consumer-friendly practices.
 
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There are no lawyers in existence that can win this one. If they did it would dismantle the business models of Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony. Next they will tell Netflix they aren't allowed to have exclusives. Just think, in the 90s we were worried about Microsoft bundling it's browser with Windows for free.

aint that good news for consumers ? Like on PC, we can already buy products on multiple storefronts. And "xyz"originals are products they produce themselves. So naturally they can choose what storefront to sell it in, or to syndicate it after "123" year . There is not much original Apple apps on Apple store when taken as a whole.
 

Darunion

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And really, what is store exclusivity except a Profit driven exercise for corporate benefits ?

Android allows outside apps, and now that is why most come standard with anti virus software on them. Once you open the gate, you have no control and when people screw up their phone, they get on the support line calling apple.

Businesses are here to make profit off of you, not benefit you. They hold meetings to decide how to increase revenue and lower cost, not figure out what will make a few people outside of the average happy.

We really are fighting over things that only cost a couple dollars. People aren't going after them for options, they are going after prices.

I bounce back and forth as said, for me right now my iphone x is doing what I want it to do. And so far since getting it in spring, hasn't given me any issues.

My galaxy s7 I was about to throw into the trash after all the random reboots and poor battery life. What my next phone will be who knows, i hold no real allegiance to a phone company.
 

Laowai

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Anything that hurts Apple profits is Great news for consumers!

There is NO reason for store exclusivity except for PROFITs, afterall.

That's idiotic on so many levels.

i am not a holder of Apple stocks, and neither is Apple paying proper taxes. Argument would be extremely different if it was a company that is ethical in paying their dues.

So what part of my original statement is idiotic?

Diversification of avenues of sale means competition in the % taken by storefronts. ( Good for devs, good for consumers as prices are now more flexible) It also means greater variety of apps considering how Apple vets applications. (Good for devs, and also good for consumers)

And really, what is store exclusivity except a Profit driven exercise for corporate benefits ?
1. Hurting Apple financially benefits consumers in no way, shape, or form. Any costs they incur are more than likely to be passed on to the consumer. This does not happen because they're Apple, it happens because they're a business. To make it worse, they're a public company which means they're beholden to shareholders who demand profits above all else in many cases. If you can support your claim that hurting Apple financially benefits consumers, I'll happily retract my earlier comment. I challenge you to support your own claim.

2. There are many reasons for store exclusivity not related directly to profits, but let's remember that they're a business. Why the hell shouldn't they seek to maximize profits? They're not a charity. You can point to stability, security, and control as a few reasons not directly related to profit for why they'd want exclusivity.

I get it. You don't like big business. I'm not much of a fan either in many cases.
If you have a problem with Apple not paying taxes....the problem isn't Apple my friend. The problems lie in the tax codes. If they were illegally dodging taxes, they'd be in deep shit and held accountable. Instead, they are legally doing so. If you blame Apple for that, your anger is misplaced. I'm fairly certain they aren't the only company who employs a fair number of people to find legal ways to reduce their tax burden.
 
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1. Hurting Apple financially benefits consumers in no way, shape, or form. Any costs they incur are more than likely to be passed on to the consumer. This does not happen because they're Apple, it happens because they're a business. To make it worse, they're a public company which means they're beholden to shareholders who demand profits above all else in many cases. If you can support your claim that hurting Apple financially benefits consumers, I'll happily retract my earlier comment. I challenge you to support your own claim.

2. There are many reasons for store exclusivity not related directly to profits, but let's remember that they're a business. Why the hell shouldn't they seek to maximize profits? They're not a charity. You can point to stability, security, and control as a few reasons not directly related to profit for why they'd want exclusivity.

I get it. You don't like big business. I'm not much of a fan either in many cases.
If you have a problem with Apple not paying taxes....the problem isn't Apple my friend. The problems lie in the tax codes. If they were illegally dodging taxes, they'd be in deep shit and held accountable. Instead, they are legally doing so. If you blame Apple for that, your anger is misplaced. I'm fairly certain they aren't the only company who employs a fair number of people to find legal ways to reduce their tax burden.

1. shareholders aims is often not aligned with giving benefits to consumers . This is one of the case. Worse profits (thought the profits are still huge at the end of the day) is good cause it gives reason for a pause on the business-profit-first path set, and the continued exposure of such profit-first practices in media, of which we coincidentally are having right now. As long as the dialogue continues of what is ethical, then once these generation of investors pass on, there might be change for the better in the next generation.

2. cause there was once a implicit social contract between businesses and consumers, where business should be ethical in the pursuit of profits. The balance have been swung so far to the business-profit-first side that it is incredulous that we have quarters that side with mega businesses based on that now discarded implicit contract.

3. on tax codes, it takes two to tango, and Apple is participant of massive lobbying efforts where money change hands (so not just a nice word of mouth). It is not a necessity , but a conscious effort to maximize profits to the expense of consumers. (refer back to point no.2 ). Exploitation of the tax codes is not a requirement but has always been a bonus.
 
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Android allows outside apps, and now that is why most come standard with anti virus software on them. Once you open the gate, you have no control and when people screw up their phone, they get on the support line calling apple.

Businesses are here to make profit off of you, not benefit you. They hold meetings to decide how to increase revenue and lower cost, not figure out what will make a few people outside of the average happy.

We really are fighting over things that only cost a couple dollars. People aren't going after them for options, they are going after prices.

I bounce back and forth as said, for me right now my iphone x is doing what I want it to do. And so far since getting it in spring, hasn't given me any issues.

My galaxy s7 I was about to throw into the trash after all the random reboots and poor battery life. What my next phone will be who knows, i hold no real allegiance to a phone company.

businesses is suppose to be fair and ethical in their pursuit of profits. If they do not, then of course we should be angry about it. It is one small way to show our displeasure, since we are not multi-billionaires that can fire CEOs and force a change of Chairman..

Are you not a consumer too? Ain't everyone a consumer in some form?
 

Laowai

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1. shareholders aims is often not aligned with giving benefits to consumers . This is one of the case. Worse profits (thought the profits are still huge at the end of the day) is good cause it gives reason for a pause on the business-profit-first path set, and the continued exposure of such profit-first practices in media, of which we coincidentally are having right now. As long as the dialogue continues of what is ethical, then once these generation of investors pass on, there might be change for the better in the next generation.

2. cause there was once a implicit social contract between businesses and consumers, where business should be ethical in the pursuit of profits. The balance have been swung so far to the business-profit-first side that it is incredulous that we have quarters that side with mega businesses based on that now discarded implicit contract.

3. on tax codes, it takes two to tango, and Apple is participant of massive lobbying efforts where money change hands (so not just a nice word of mouth). It is not a necessity , but a conscious effort to maximize profits to the expense of consumers. (refer back to point no.2 ). Exploitation of the tax codes is not a requirement but has always been a bonus.
That's a whole lot of words just to say you aren't going to support your initial claim.
That said, I don't disagree with what you've stated.
None of what you've stated though can be considered a reason for Apple to give up their store exclusivity.
 

Darunion

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businesses is suppose to be fair and ethical in their pursuit of profits. If they do not, then of course we should be angry about it. It is one small way to show our displeasure, since we are not multi-billionaires that can fire CEOs and force a change of Chairman..

Are you not a consumer too? Ain't everyone a consumer in some form?


They are selling a device where you can pay for additional games and apps and music to play it on. The complaint is they are charging too much for these games and that they won't allow people to circumvent their marketplace to install apps they have not approved or evaluated.

Not sure how old you are if you remember the minidisc fiasco. Sony produced a R/W disc in a protective jacket (so as to not scratch the disc) and it was a very decent format. They would not license the technology to anyone else. They charged a lot for it, at the time almost $300 for a portable player/writer IIRC in the 90s, which was too much. The market did not allow such a thing, their sales fell and the project fell apart. Same thing happened with betamax.

This IMO is the right way to handle this, just don't buy it. If it is actually as bad as people say, it will fail on its own. The thing is, the loudest voices do not represent the majority or even the average.

So then you will have companies selling antivirus software for iphone, now they will profit off adding in an additional weakness into the system.

Apple created a platform full of consumers and charges a fee to sell to them. Others want to utilize this but not pay apple the dues. Just saying, it is a level of greed coming from a different direction.

Playing devils advocate.
 
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They are selling a device where you can pay for additional games and apps and music to play it on. The complaint is they are charging too much for these games and that they won't allow people to circumvent their marketplace to install apps they have not approved or evaluated.

Not sure how old you are if you remember the minidisc fiasco. Sony produced a R/W disc in a protective jacket (so as to not scratch the disc) and it was a very decent format. They would not license the technology to anyone else. They charged a lot for it, at the time almost $300 for a portable player/writer IIRC in the 90s, which was too much. The market did not allow such a thing, their sales fell and the project fell apart. Same thing happened with betamax.

This IMO is the right way to handle this, just don't buy it. If it is actually as bad as people say, it will fail on its own. The thing is, the loudest voices do not represent the majority or even the average.

So then you will have companies selling antivirus software for iphone, now they will profit off adding in an additional weakness into the system.

Apple created a platform full of consumers and charges a fee to sell to them. Others want to utilize this but not pay apple the dues. Just saying, it is a level of greed coming from a different direction.

Playing devils advocate.

the scenario of not buying is relevant to not buying on Apple Store, but since that is the only store, we have what we have in the article.
 
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That's a whole lot of words just to say you aren't going to support your initial claim.
That said, I don't disagree with what you've stated.
None of what you've stated though can be considered a reason for Apple to give up their store exclusivity.

well, i think we all agree that there is no reason for Apple to give up until they are forced to, if they ever will be forced to.

I've already elaborated my reasoning more than what a comment should. Though working out actual figures would mean a journalism longread that could feature on WSJ or something akin to that.

I don't have the deep industry connections and budget to dig things that deep, and tech press outlets that could do this being chummy and all with Apple, we don't get any of these sort articles thus far.
 
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Deathroned

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So are you saying that nobody out there could make a store as secure for 29% of sale value? Do us consumers not have that choice? Or is this a case of "do not look behind the curtain, it is to complex for you puny humans to comprehend"?

you do have a choice, use Android
 

atom

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All console games are licensed and sold at a fixed price. That is much more anti consumer than what Apple is doing, where the developer sets the price. Unofficial apps are cool, but they don't make much money or have much market share on Android.
 
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