Who thinks Apple has a problem with the iOS and macOS App Stores? It depends upon who you ask. Some lawyers call the App Stores a monopoly. Some critics call Apple’s control over apps for iPhone and iPad excessive.
The U.S. Supreme Court says Apple can be sued as an abuser of its monopoly status. Apple countered and declared the App Store is not a monopoly. What’s really going on?
Without question Apple is not involved in price fixing apps on the App Store as developers are free to charge whatever they want for their wares. Apple publishes specific guidelines for apps to be sold on the App Store and developers must follow those guidelines or have their apps banned.
Even Apple admits that more than 80-percent of the nearly 2-million apps are free (though that may also include in-app purchases for additional features to be unlocked). Does any of that sound onerous to you?
Take a look at Victoria Song’s headline in Gizmodo:
Do You Love or Hate Apple’s Locked Down App Store?
The headline itself is biased against Apple’s position simply by calling it “locked down.” Yes, Apple’s stores are walled gardens of a sort, Disneyesque properties that help users avoid the dangers Android smartphone owners experience. There is an anti-trust case against Apple for price fixing, even though Apple allows developers to set their own prices.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Apple can be sued for its stance on the App Store. The response:
Apple reiterated its stance that its hands-on approach ensured quality, security, privacy, and a good overall user experience.
There we go. Walled garden. Disneyesque experience.
But isn’t Apple using its position and prominence as the App Store curator to its own benefit and to the detriment of app developers who dare to compete with the iPhone maker’s apps?
It also rebuffed claims it was using its rigorous guidelines to snuff out the competition, listing plenty of free competitors for each of Apple’s native apps (i.e., Citymapper, Google Maps, Waze, and Maps.Me for the Maps app).
No mention of Spotify on that list, of course. Spotify competes directly against Apple Music which does not have to pay a commission to Apple while the competition does.
Is Apple’s vise-grip on what’s allowed into the App Store a good thing?
Vise-grip may be accurate but only from the negative perspective of Apple exercising too much control. Does anyone write that Google or Microsoft have lax controls and seem to ignore developer misdeeds on their respective stores?
The main benefit of Apple’s closed ecosystem is you can be fairly certain whatever iPhone app you download will not only work, it’s probably free of malware.
That sounds much like a strong benefit to customers and remains in stark contrast to the problems on Google’s Play Store or Microsoft’s Windows apps.
What’s the complaint about Apple’s so-called controls on the App Stores?
You can’t sideload alternative apps onto your device, or download and install them from third-party services.
Those are the rules which developers are required to play by to have access to Apple’s customers. Customers follow those rules, too.
If you don’t like it, buy an Android smartphone. See? No monopoly (and monopolies themselves are not even illegal; monopoly abuse is).
Personally, while I find Apple’s walled garden approach to be irksome overall, for some reason I give it a pass with the App Store.
That is a reasonable response and those are the rules that exist when you buy an iPhone. So, like it or don’t. If you don’t, move to Android and take your chances. Most iPhone and iPad customers like it, which is why their devices give fewer problems than Android device users have.