Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 14th Jan 2017 13:39 UTC
Apple

iPhone app purchasers may sue Apple Inc over allegations that the company monopolized the market for iPhone apps by not allowing users to purchase them outside the App Store, leading to higher prices, a U.S. appeals court ruled on Thursday.

Apple bloggers obviously kneejerk straight into defence mode in response to this news, but if you actually dive into the decision, the court makes a very compelling argument as to why this case ought to be allowed to continue, that preempts all the usual terrible analogies they tend to come up with and/or parrot from the party line:

Apple argues that it does not sell apps but rather sells "software distribution services to developers." In Apple's view, because it sells distribution services to app developers, it cannot simultaneously be a distributor of apps to apppurchasers. Apple analogizes its role to the role of an owner of a shopping mall that "leases physical space to various stores." Apple's analogy is unconvincing. In the case before us, third-party developers of iPhone apps do not have their own "stores." Indeed, part of the anti-competitive behavior alleged by Plaintiffs is that, far from allowing iPhone app developers to sell through their own "stores," Apple specifically forbids them to do so, instead requiring them to sell iPhone apps only through Apple's App Store.

[...]

Instead, we rest our analysis, as compelled by Hanover Shoe, Illinois Brick, UtiliCorp, and Delaware Valley, on the fundamental distinction between a manufacturer or producer, on the one hand, and a distributor, on the other. Apple is a distributor of the iPhone apps, selling them directly to purchasers through its App Store. Because Apple is a distributor, Plaintiffs have standing under Illinois Brick to sue Apple for allegedly monopolizing and attempting to monopolize the sale of iPhone apps.

Over on Twitter, John Gruber asked me "iPhones are their own market? Does BMW have a monopoly on BMWs?" This clearly demonstrates a lack of understanding of how the car market actually works (and, quite clearly, indicates Gruber didn't even read the actual decision quoted above). In fact, exactly because car manufacturers have a de facto monopoly on their own products, they are legally obliged to open up their specifications to allow other companies to manufacture competing, off-brand parts and to allow third parties to service and maintain the cars according to the manufacturer's own specifications.

As I've argued before, there's absolutely no reason why the technology world should be treated any differently. Computers have become integral parts of our society, much like cars, and as consumers we should not be forced into relying on just one company for servicing, maintaining, and using them. It's high time we stop treating technology companies like special little flower children, and force them to grow up and become real companies with real responsibilities.

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Tony Swash
Member since:
2009-08-22

"What benefit would a third party app store actually bring to Apple’s customers?


Two examples :
- Cheaper apps without the Apple fee, or with lower margin.
- Apps not allowed by Apple : Alternate browsers, emulators (game consoles, one could even make an android emulator),...

[- Pirated games, obviously.]
"

Most apps are free or cost almost nothing. There are plenty of browsers already available on iOS. I still can’t see any tangible benefit for Apple’s customers of breaking the App Store model.

This is a non issue except for a tiny number of obsessives. Apple's customers do not think the current model is broken. The App Store did $20 billion worth of sales in 2016. It appears the current model is very popular with customers.

Reply Parent Score: 1

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

The App Store did $20 billion worth of sales in 2016. It appears the current model is very popular with customers.


Most of that revenue comes from crappy pay-to-win games.

If you want to boast about selling the digital equivalent of crack, then be my guest. It's right up serial liar Tim Cook's ally.

Reply Parent Score: 2

ssokolow Member since:
2010-01-21

There are plenty of browsers already available on iOS.


According to Apple policy, they must all use the iOS-provided copy of WebKit.

If you got to sites like caniuse.com, you'll see that WebKit has been falling behind in feature support ever since Blink forked off from it.

...of course, Apple is perfectly happy if services like appear.in must release iOS apps because the native browser doesn't support WebRTC.

Reply Parent Score: 3

daveak Member since:
2008-12-29

But still ahead of Edge based on that. As for WebRTC, stop adding so much crap to the browser, you want something like that do it in another program.

Reply Parent Score: 1

Megol Member since:
2011-04-11

"[q]What benefit would a third party app store actually bring to Apple’s customers?


Two examples :
- Cheaper apps without the Apple fee, or with lower margin.
- Apps not allowed by Apple : Alternate browsers, emulators (game consoles, one could even make an android emulator),...

[- Pirated games, obviously.]
"

Most apps are free or cost almost nothing. There are plenty of browsers already available on iOS. I still can’t see any tangible benefit for Apple’s customers of breaking the App Store model.
[/quote]

Not relevant. Apple limits the type of things you can _choose_ to do with your device. Not everyone likes being told what to do even if you do.

[quote]
This is a non issue except for a tiny number of obsessives. Apple's customers do not think the current model is broken. The App Store did $20 billion worth of sales in 2016. It appears the current model is very popular with customers. [/q]

Homework: How much did Bell earn per year before the breakup? And do you really believe that money flow for a closed platform mean that there are not advantages for customers and providers (software, service etc.) making that system open?

Did you think before posting? Your post is completely void of any intelligence...

Reply Parent Score: 3

phoudoin Member since:
2006-06-09

The App Store did $20 billion worth of sales in 2016. It appears the current model is very popular with customers.


It's easy to be popular when you're the only one allowed to compete...

Edited 2017-01-17 15:20 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3