Can Apple be trusted with the App Store?

“On the App Store, Apple is legislator, judge, jury, and executioner. Apple makes the rules. It has the final say about which apps you can officially purchase, download, and use on your iPhone or iPad,” Chaim Gartenberg writes for The Verge. “And importantly, Apple can change its mind at any time and make an app disappear — even to promote Apple’s own apps at the expense of a competitor and even if that competitor is a small business that relies on the App Store for its very existence.”

“Presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) actually believes Apple should be broken up: ‘Either they run the platform or they play in the store,’ she told The Verge in March,” Gartenberg writes. “The Supreme Court recently let an antitrust lawsuit proceed against Apple.”

“Apple’s defense is full of holes. Yes, Apple has its guidelines for the App Store and a review process, but after a decade, it’s clear that the company doesn’t consistently enforce them or often chooses to enforce them when it profits Apple. Even for the apps that are allowed on the store, developers still have to fight an uphill battle against Apple’s own services,” Gartenberg writes. “Spotify — as the company’s EU antitrust lawsuit makes clear — can’t ever be the default music app on an iPhone. Plus, Apple’s 30 percent cuts means that if Spotify sells subscriptions through the App Store, it has to charge customers more just to break even.”

MacDailyNews Take: It’s not 30% and repeating Spotify’s lie just makes people sound uninformed.

“It all highlights the biggest problems with Apple’s walled garden, which is that you live or die by Apple’s whim,” Gartenberg writes. “Even if you’re a developer who’s been building an app for years, the whole thing can be yanked out from under you in an instant simply because Apple changed the rules of the game.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple’s App Store is a young work-in-progress, not some stodgy 100-year-old entity with time-tested rules. It is also a technological work-in-progress, so when, for example security/privacy issues arise, Apple needs to be able to adjust App Store rules.

Apple created and owns the App Store, so, yes, Apple makes the rules.

As the general tech media never tires of headlining, Apple clearly has no monopoly on smartphones or smartphone apps. Seems not competing in unit sales has other benefits besides wasting your time on crap customers who are not worth the effort.

If consumers do not like Apple’s prices, ecosystem, or anything else, they are free to choose a smartphone from a nearly immeasurable list of competitors.

Related articles:
Apple defends App Store against developer backlash, says it ‘welcomes competition’ – May 30, 2019
Apple defends App Store amid mounting criticism – May 29, 2019
Apple launches new App Store ‘Principles and Practices’ website – May 29, 2019
Apple’s App Store: monopoly or miracle? – May 28, 2019
Apple’s Supreme Court loss could change the way you buy apps – May 14, 2019
U.S. Supreme Court opens door for App Store lawsuit that Apple will likely win – May 14, 2019
Analyst: Apple investors ‘overreacting’ to U.S.-China trade war and Supreme Court App Store ruling – May 14, 2019
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh’s Apple App Store decision has ‘shaken up’ antitrust law – May 13, 2019
U.S. Supreme Court allows antitrust suit against Apple over App Store; AAPL slides 5% – May 13, 2019
Supreme Court rules against Apple in App Store antitrust case – May 13, 2019
Antitrust, the App Store, and Apple – November 27, 2018
Trump administration backs Apple in U.S. Supreme Court over App Store antitrust suit – November 26, 2018
Apple defends App Store fees in U.S. Supreme Court – November 26, 2018
Apple defends App Store fees as U.S. Supreme Court weighs consumer suit – November 23, 2018
Apple wants U.S. Supreme Court to undo previous decision regarding an antitrust suit – October 31, 2018
U.S. Supreme Court will decide if Apple’s App Store is an anti-competitive monopoly – June 19, 2018
U.S. Supreme Court to consider Apple appeal in antitrust suit over App Store prices – June 18, 2018
US DOJ sides with Apple over App Store antitrust allegations in Supreme Court brief – May 10, 2018
9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals revives antitrust lawsuit against Apple – January 13, 2017
Apple App Store antitrust complaint dismissed on procedural grounds by U.S. judge – August 16, 2013


  1. Repeating the Spotify lie makes them stupid, because they probably really know better..

    Apple is not perfect, but you cannot do everything by committee of people that don’t have experience and trusting the media to come up with the right solution is like turning on the gas in house and expecting them not to light the match

  2. “Apple created and owns the App Store, so, yes, Apple makes the rules.”

    “If consumers do not like Apple’s prices, ecosystem, or anything else, they are free to choose a smartphone from a nearly immeasurable list of competitors.”

    It really is that simple.

    1. As long as I own my device Apple can make the rules to their own store, not on the software I run on my machine.

      For that Apple has no more right than the Queen has over my use of “her English”.

      1. Yes and you can load anything you want. Jailbreak it. Done deal. No one has to bug you and you don’t have to cow to Apple wishes. See simple.

        1. And play the iOS cat and mouse game? No! I shouldn’t have to.
          Jailbreaking exists because of Apple’s policies.
          If i were a developer, I shouldn’t have to go though Apple. They are not my customer.

    2. So like Trump, you are not in favor of an open market with actual competition?

      Ford created the Model T. Such a creation did not grant Ford monopoly rights to all accessories, spare parts, fuel, and repairs thereof. Why does Apple hardware deserve a monopoly on 3rd party software distribution?

      Apple’s bottlenecked store app review process has been exposed several times for its hypocrisy and self serving agenda. Only alternate app stores will keep Apple from becoming just another zealot —making arbitrary rules for no other reason than to enrich & aggrandize itself.

      Either you believe in capitalism with free markets or you are in favor of corporatocracy where unelected oligarchs write all the rules for their own benefit. Locked ecosystems are clearly an abomination of a free market, with no technical defense to justify it. Only fanbois make excuses why such unbridled greed is acceptable to them. Pick a market system. Trump has chosen the latter, oligarchs rule. Long live the richest few, they shall make all rules. Et tu, Sean?

      1. Departments stores decide what is sold in their store.
        They also decide what markup they get.
        And they set various kinds of conditions.
        They DO NOT ask a committee of the public or of the manufactures of various good sold.

        So you want something like the wide-open, crap-infested, virus and spyware ridden Android markets?

        1. The analogy shifts every time an Apple apologist attempts to defend the Company Store.

          You apparently don’t get it. Department Stores are not Apple owned, so any company that wants to sell through the department store has equal opportunity to make their case why they deserve shelf space.

          Not so on the Apple iOS app store. The issue is that no 3rd party app developer can ever compete against Apple’s iOS apps when Apple chooses to put out a competing app. It can’t be done, because Apple has monopoly power in app sales. Apple gets to review the developers’ code, Apple gets to hold up approval for any reason it chooses, Apple gets to change the rules whenever it wants to. Basically tech fascism with a pretty gate.

          Stick to the issue, Sean.

      2. It’s very simple. You come to the Ford repair shop. Do you tell them what parts to use? Nope, you get Ford certified parts. If you want your own you either buy elsewhere or go to an outside shop. In the iPhone world, it’s called jailedbreaking. See you can have what you want, not law needed.

  3. It should be noted that Apple maintains a worldwide network of authorized Apple retailers to distribute its hardware, in addition to its own Apple Stores.

    Why then do the usual Apple cheerleaders insist only Apple is capable of distributing software? I haven’t heard a good reason yet.

  4. Apple created the smartphone.

    Apple created real apps.

    Apple created the App Store that runs vast numbers of third party apps that produce 100s of billions in income to independent developers and very cost effective apps for Apple users.

    The author at The Verge has never created a damn and should shut up and watch what Apple does next and learn from a Master.

    1. Warren has never proposed to break up Apple. She has only proposed that the iOS App Store agreement be fixed so that it acts like the Mac App Store — allowing competition in app distribution. That is consistent with capitalist principles.

      She has proposed breaking up FaceBook, which would be a good thing.

  5. Those who hate Apple have a wide range or options – both hardware and Apps.

    A lot of people (including me) prefer Apple maintaining a tight control on their platforms, especially the mobile platform. I believe that some developers would love the protections to be destroyed so they can run wild. How much malware can informed developers name – and use?

    1. And those that love Apple should have a wideer range of options, including apps. You can continue to shop at the Apple App Store exclusively, so why would you care?

  6. It’s Apple’s responsibility to ensure all Apps adhere to its privacy policy and not leak ANY data without the user’s express acknowledgment. That means I have to be able to specifically opt in for every transmission from my IOS device, if that’s my desire. Apple needs to immediately kick violators out of the store.

    1. If Apple actually offered a security an privacy pledge on its iOS App Store, perhaps that would attract the lion’s share of iOS app sales in an open market. But today Apple offers no such thing. Come on, just look at all the Google and FarceBook apps that iOS users install on their iPhones. Don’t tell me an iOS user knows or cares more than the average google app addict on any other platform. I know dozens of people who claim to care about privacy who use Google Maps daily, and wouldn’t dare touch Apple Maps. So much for Apple keeping the naive iOS user safe from data theft.

      Blind faith alone ensures that iOS remains pure and unadulterated. The same app developers offer the same apps on both Android and iOS, and the same tracking data is knocked back and forth on the iOS gadget as any other platform. Frankly, Apple does a shitty job informing the user what data is sent to app developers, when, and why.

      Ultimately, it is the App that guarantees the privacy and security. Apple’s iOS isn’t fundamentally more secure than Android. It’s the apps.

      1. One issue you don’t see coming up often is the use of private APIs. MS did it when they competed in Apps with their own developers, and IMO was far worse than bundling IE.

        Apple has flat out forbidden some APIs (duplicates functionality) and forbidden Apps entirely. Would MS had been justified if they forbade WordPerfect? It’s that level of outrage.

  7. The Tim Cook don’t innovate but over charge strategy if 30% take is unsustainable. This has been challenged and threatens to destroy the App Store and the enormous amount of profit that Apple enjoys. Tim Cook promises and doesn’t deliver. Where is AR,HomeKit, air power. He has destroyed Apple TV and was crushed by the Disney abc one week after his that had real details. His was vague with details later. If no one sees the parallels with Steve Balmer at this point they might need glasses. Cook has squandered a fortune in buybacks and cannot seem to focus in any other product than the iPhone. Which hail conservative lazy approach could really hurt him with 5G. I do hope that there is something they links Apple TV + and Disney + but I doubt it. Now the trade issues Tim has concentrated most of all manufacturing and supply chain in one country. A communist country. Now the shareholders will get hurt again. Allowing Netflix to destroy ITunes and allowing Amazon and Google to run circles around Siri will hurt Apple in the future

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