The noise to break up tech industry titans continues to grow. Google dominates search and online advertising. Facebook dominates social media and has an outsized influence on users. Somehow Apple shows up in the break up noise, too.
The App Store. The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, says Apple can be sued as a monopoly and that could lead to changes in the App Store. Alexandra Samuel:
It’s Time to Break Up the Apple App Store
Apple’s stranglehold on the App Store is problematic.
How Apple got lumped into the break up noise that covers Google and Facebook is not easily understood.
Apple has been driving parental controls and screen time management apps off its platform.
They were breaking Apple’s rules.
So, amid noise from the Supreme Court decision, Facebook break up cries, and app developers breaking Apple’s App Store rules, what else?
These events amount to a powerful argument in favor of breaking up the App Store, and creating genuine competition in the market for mobile apps by allowing developers to sell mobile apps directly to iPhone and iPad users.
Competition abounds on the App Store already. Apple does not set prices. Most applications are free. Apple merely takes a percentage of the revenue to host, promote, and provide the downloads.
Why should Apple lose control over the iOS app marketplace?
First, it would lower prices—potentially not just for apps, but for smartphones themselves.
Again, Apple does not set prices. App developers do. How will lower app prices impact smartphone prices since those are going down anyway?
Second, it would foster innovation, so that consumers could enjoy a wider range of app choices.
There are nearly 2-million apps on Apple’s App Store already. Ask developers. Do they want more competition?
Third, and most importantly, it would dramatically reduce Apple’s power and influence over the mobile app ecosystem.
Why is this bad?
Apple’s only control is over the distribution and that apps must follow specific API requirements.
The rest of the argument is a lesson in ludicrousness. Samuel says app developers pay Apple a 30-percent commission, when in reality developers pay nothing.
App purchasers are de facto Apple customers, and therefore entitled to sue Apple for driving up prices with its business model.
Again, no monopoly here. Apple does not set App Store prices. Developers do. The innovation argument is equally silly as every operating system platform has specific requirements for developers to follow. Samuel’s argument on innovation has more to do with product marketing than an affront to Apple’s API’s.
It’s silly season in Breakupville.
Breaking up Apple’s control over the mobile app market is essential to ensuring freedom of choice for tech consumers, both in America and beyond
Again, choice is a non-issue on a platform with nearly 2-million apps. The so-called Freedom argument has to do with censorship. Apple merely adheres to laws in each individual country’s App Store.
The Federal Trade Commission should recognize that the App Store is an anti-competitive monopoly, and one that is bad for both consumers and for the software development industry.
A monopoly exists when a specific person or enterprise is the only supplier of a particular commodity.
We’re still talking about apps, right? Not much of a monopoly there, huh?
If the App Store is the only place consumers can buy apps, it needs to be managed by an independent company that does not itself sell apps or devices to consumers—so that there’s no incentive to play gatekeeper, stifle competition, or drive up iPhone prices.
Again, Apple is not involved in iPhone app prices. Just iPhones. And there is no monopoly there.
Let’s eliminate the requirement to sell all apps through the App Store, and allow consumers to decide where, when, and how they’ll get software for their phones.
Where is the benefit to customers when side-loaded applications create havoc on the iPhone or iPad?
Stop the noise. Leave Apple’s App Store alone. It works well for everyone.