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DrMacintosh

Supreme Court Allows Anti-Trust Lawsuit Against the App Store

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Posted · Original PosterOP

The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 (with the infamous Brett Kavanaugh being the deciding vote) today to allow the Anti-Trust case against the Apple App Store to go through. The Lawsuit accuses Apple of holding a monopoly over iOS Apps on iOS. 

 

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The ruling, with an opinion authored by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, relates to a 2011 case arguing that with the App Store being the only sanctioned place for iOS downloads, that's led to artificially inflated prices. The company claims a 30 percent cut from most transactions, shrinking to 15 percent only for subscriptions active for over a year.

The "Honorable" Justice Brett Kavanaugh claims that rising prices on the App Store are because of Apple, rather than developers who are moving to subscription models more and more frequently. Apple claims (imo correctly claims) that increasing prices are in-fact due to developers asking more from the platform that spends 2x as much on Apps as do users of competing App Stores. 

 

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Apple has argued that developers are the ones who set prices, and that it's not in violation of any antitrust laws. It has moreover claimed that by paying its commission, developers are "buying a package of services which include distribution and software and intellectual property and testing."

This is true, Apple only sets the percent cut that they make from every sale. Apple does not control what price developers charge for their applications. The US Justice Department attempted to help Apple by explaining this to the Supreme Court, but it did not persuade any of the Justices. 

 

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Pro-Apple Justices included Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch, both of whom hinted that Illinois Brick should be re-examined. Alito pointed out that "tens of thousands" of app developers have yet to launch antitrust actions. 

 

If Apple were to lose this case they could be forced to allow 3rd party App Stores on iOS. Personally I can't subscribe to the idea that a company who built an entire ecosystem from the ground up should be forced to allow competition from 3rd parties on their platform. Imagine building your own home and being told that you have to let some moocher squat in it because it's not fair to the people who don't have homes? That's what is at risk of happening here. 

 

Developers are more than welcome to develop for Android if they want to get their Apps out there. There are far more Android users than iOS users and Google allows for nearly anything to be installed on phones that run Android. 

 

What do you think? Should Apple be forced to allow competing app stores on their platform? Do you view this as similar to how Windows and macOS have their own respective app stores but can still install applications from the Internet? 

 

Here is the ruling from the Supreme Court:

https://www.scribd.com/document/409790734/Supreme-Court-App-Store-Apple-Ruling#download&from_embed

 

Source: https://appleinsider.com/articles/19/05/13/us-supreme-court-greenlights-lawsuit-over-app-store-monopoly

 


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It doesn't make sense to me, apple and their app store already has lots of competition. This would maybe make sense if apple was in microsoft's position in the 90s of being the overwhelmingly dominate force, but thats not true for apple. Its incredibly easy to switch from apple to android. If you don't like that you can't use 3rd party app stores on apple products, then just don't buy apple products.

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No one would like it if you can only install APPs on a windows PC only from the windows store, or google play store for android, ect.

 

But also in turn would this count towards consoles too?

 

this is a interesting case, I see the argument from both sides.


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Imagine building your own home and being told that you have to let some moocher squat in it because it's not fair to the people who don't have homes? That's what is at risk of happening here. 

That analogy is nothing like this situation though..... A more accurate analogy would be that this is like saying you need to take American Airlines to travel to America or that you need to fly Emirates to be able to fly to the UAE. Sure, you can fly to a different destination but at the end of the day you're getting a different experience while still fundamentally getting the same basics like a legal system, food, water, electricity, transport etc.

 

I genuinely no longer see Android as a competitor to IOS. I see both as serving two entirely different sets of people. There is no true competition here other than between Android and LineageOS or Android and other 3rd party ROMs.

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Developers are more than welcome to develop for Android if they want to get their Apps out there.

See my comment above for why I disagree with this idea.

 

Android is a good platform to target in addition to but not as a substitute for IOS and the opposite is also true imho.

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Do you view this as similar to how Windows and macOS have their own respective app stores but can still install applications from the Internet? 

Yes. I do.


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33 minutes ago, DrMacintosh said:

Do you view this as similar to how Windows and macOS have their own respective app stores but can still install applications from the Internet? 

Why not? You said it yourself, you can do it on macOS, so why not on iOS?

I absolutely am for them opening to 3rd party apps. Not on App store directly, but from the internet, so you can install alternate store if you want. 

For instance, I download all apps that I can from F-Droid instead from Play Store. Why? Take Blokada for instance. On play store it's basically a dns switcher, however the version on F-Droid has a built in ad blocker. Why? Because Google regulations don't let devs put all functions on Play Store, because Google likes ads. While App store is in some things better than Play Store, and vice versa, we don't know (afaik) what kind of regulations Apple has at the moment or if they at some point in the future may decide to even more strictly control Apps and force devs to remove functionalities from apps. Most people won't care, but enough will I reckon. 

People saying "Oh, you don't like the terms? Go to other platform" are missing the point so hard. Stop putting Apple on a pedestal because oh my dear beloved brand and look at this objectively. I do manage everything on our iPad and MBP at home and yes, I'd like more options. This is playing dirty in a monopoly on a dedicated platform.


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I'd rather have a seperate App Store alternative that's open to practically anything, while App store itself remains closed. People buy into Apple for lack of tinkering, so keeping a clean place for those people will be ideal


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24 minutes ago, poochyena said:

It doesn't make sense to me, apple and their app store already has lots of competition. This would maybe make sense if apple was in microsoft's position in the 90s of being the overwhelmingly dominate force, but thats not true for apple. Its incredibly easy to switch from apple to android. If you don't like that you can't use 3rd party app stores on apple products, then just don't buy apple products.

Technically there is a third party app store available on iOS - if you jailbreak it.

 

Obviously that's not officially supported, but hey - I don't think Google officially supports third party app stores either, even if it's "easier" to put them on Android than it is to Jailbreak an iPhone.


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1 minute ago, dalekphalm said:

Technically there is a third party app store available on iOS - if you jailbreak it.

 

Obviously that's not officially supported, but hey - I don't think Google officially supports third party app stores either, even if it's "easier" to put them on Android than it is to Jailbreak an iPhone.

Google offically allows side loading APPs, and a APP store is just another APP.

 

Amazon use to side load there APP and it acts as a Amazon APP store too.

 

The only other products that block 3rd party APPs is consoles. 


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9 minutes ago, dalekphalm said:

Technically there is a third party app store available on iOS - if you jailbreak it.

 

Obviously that's not officially supported, but hey - I don't think Google officially supports third party app stores either, even if it's "easier" to put them on Android than it is to Jailbreak an iPhone.

Officially, no, but you can install them with few clicks on non rooted devices which is a big thing. F-Droid, and even open sources Play Stores like Aurora for which you don't even need a Google account. Or the now dead Yalp. And some of them work even better than Play Store, per se. 


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3 minutes ago, The Benjamins said:

Google offically allows side loading APPs, and a APP store is just another APP.

 

Amazon use to side load there APP and it acts as a Amazon APP store too.

 

The only other products that block 3rd party APPs is consoles. 

Allows and supports aren't inherently the same thing, but I do understand your point.


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16 minutes ago, dalekphalm said:

I don't think Google officially supports third party app stores either

I can just as easily download an app from a 3rd party website as I can on the google play store.

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17 minutes ago, dalekphalm said:

Technically there is a third party app store available on iOS - if you jailbreak it.

 

Obviously that's not officially supported, but hey - I don't think Google officially supports third party app stores either, even if it's "easier" to put them on Android than it is to Jailbreak an iPhone.

Just going to point it out before Apple fans have time from their shock. You can sideload apps on iOS, it's almost as easy as on Android but it has few quite huge downsides like iOS refusing to sideload the same app version more than once, 1 week or reboot timeframe before the sideloaded app stops working and there's basicly no ways aroudn these except from not shutting down your phone.

 

So basicly from the point of view you actually cannot sideload apps on iOS while technically you can. And all because there's no way in the world to support any app that needs to be sideloaded (you need to build new versio every week and I would guess Apple wouldn't be that stupid that they would allow you to just change the versio number from 1.0.9.124836482736487236874218 to 1.0.9.124836482736487236874219 and ship it but actually make changes to the app).

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1 hour ago, The Benjamins said:

No one would like it if you can only install APPs on a windows PC only from the windows store

That's literally what Windows 10 S is? I don’t see any antitrust lawsuits being thrown at MS for that...


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8 minutes ago, sazrocks said:

Thats literally what Windows 10 S is? I don’t see any antitrust lawsuits being thrown at MS for that...

There are multiple versions of Windows. Thus choice (though not always complete). Apple only have 1 store/OS for their phones.

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4 minutes ago, TechyBen said:

There are multiple versions of Windows. Thus choice (though not always complete). Apple only have 1 store/OS for their phones.

Not good enough for the rabid Apple fans, their magical glowing fruit can do nothing wrong (apart engineer around design).

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1 minute ago, Curious Pineapple said:

Not good enough for the rabid Apple fans, their magical glowing fruit can do nothing wrong (apart engineer around design).

Let's not turn this into a fanboy war of Apple vs Android or any shit like that.

 

Yes, rabid Apple fanboys exist. But so do rabid Android fanboys. And rabid fanboys for just about every other company.

 

But there also exists (one might even suggest this is the majority of both Apple and Android owners) people who own and use Apple (or Android) products, that are not fanboys of either company. Users that know that there exists both pros and cons of both systems, and are okay with that. Users that aren't inherently pro "Apple everything", but on the flip side, don't inherently jump on the pretty common anti-Apple bandwagons that keep popping up.

 

Personally I see no issue with Apple having an exclusive store. They're not a monopoly in marketshare, nor do they even have the majority of the marketshare. Nobody complained when Blackberry had exclusive app stores (Though people did complain once they promised - and repeatedly delayed - Android app sideloading).

 

With that in mind, if there was a way for a third party app store to be voluntarily installed? I'd be okay with that too. I just don't think Apple should be forced into officially supporting third party app stores. If they are forced to allow said stores, but not forced to devote a large amount of resources to said stores, I'm okay with that.

 

iOS is never going to be Android - and that's okay.


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I would make the argument that Apple should be required to sanction a way for competing app stores to exist... BUT that it should require some user effort and carry no guarantees. 

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2 minutes ago, comander said:

I would make the argument that Apple should be required to sanction a way for competing app stores to exist... BUT that it should require some user effort and carry no guarantees. 

I would be okay with that outcome.

 

And Apple should receive 100% blanket legal indemnity since they will have zero control over what goes onto the competing store. So that means if you get a virus on your iPhone due to the competing store? Apple bears no responsibility. If you download a shitty app that bricks your phone? Same thing.


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1 hour ago, dalekphalm said:

Technically there is a third party app store available on iOS - if you jailbreak it.

 

Obviously that's not officially supported, but hey - I don't think Google officially supports third party app stores either, even if it's "easier" to put them on Android than it is to Jailbreak an iPhone.

There are other app stores now. You download them through installing configuration files, not too sure whether they are real apps or web apps, but they exist.

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2 minutes ago, dalekphalm said:

I would be okay with that outcome.

 

And Apple should receive 100% blanket legal indemnity since they will have zero control over what goes onto the competing store. So that means if you get a virus on your iPhone due to the competing store? Apple bears no responsibility. If you download a shitty app that bricks your phone? Same thing.

And to expound - Apple can still maintain its app store and use the quality of what is on it as a selling point for iOS based hardware.
I don't think I'd want a non-tech savvy relative using some third party app store. 

The principle concern is that there needs to be competition - Apple has effectively created its own anti-competitive niche. 

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This is an interesting conundrum. I would like for the iOS store to remain a closed ecosystem, but Apple needs to open up app installs from the internet without needing workarounds like jailbreaks and dev certificates. 


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1 minute ago, comander said:

And to expound - Apple can still maintain its app store and use the quality of what is on it as a selling point for iOS based hardware.
I don't think I'd want a non-tech savvy relative using some third party app store. 

The principle concern is that there needs to be competition - Apple has effectively created its own anti-competitive niche. 

I would indeed say that only tech enthusiasts who want to go out of their way for a third party store on iOS, should use one. I definitely wouldn't point any regular user towards one, since if I suggested they use iOS to begin with, it was probably to keep things simple, and make it less likely they download some random malicious app.


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