Apple’s iron-fisted control over the App Store is no longer sustainable

Romain Dillet for TechCrunch:

Last week, Apple caved to the Chinese government and pulled an app called HKmap.live that was being used by Hong Kong protestors to crowdsource the location of police forces.

While Apple CEO Tim Cook defended Apple’s stance, the move is a reminder that Apple is the only judge and jury regarding what’s acceptable in the App Store — but as mobile devices are integrated into more aspects of our lives, it’s getting harder to justify such tight control over their software.

The current state of the App Store is a great example of the risks of running a marketplace that becomes too big. It also shows that we can expect wide-ranging marketplace regulation in the near future.

MacDailyNews Take: Are other closed marketplace for software – video game consoles, we’re looking at you – subject to regulation? Are they forced to “open up,” in effect having a major selling point – security – obliterated through regulatory force?

25 Comments

  1. Apple knows that the trust customers place in their products and software is largely based on the walled garden. While hackers, thieves, governments, and other scumbags want to take the “Power of No” away from Apple. They would be wide to resist at almost any cost. The last thing I want is an Android iPhone.

      1. Because the same thing will happen as with Mac software—developers will avoid paying a fee to Apple by offering their software directly. Anyone who wants more than a narrow range of offerings will be forced to buy outside the App Store and will have to trust that they aren’t opening themselves to malware. Vulnerable users like kids and senior citizens will be open to con artists who can target them for exploitation. They will get ripped off, but why should we care? Because we aspire to elementary human decency, perhaps.

        1. “Proven” developers will avoid paying a fee to Apple. Those still new will most likely continue to offer their Apps via the App Store. ‘Narrowing” the range is relative when the App Store has literally millions of Apps available.

        2. Then Apple must actually own the wares they sell, otherwise they are restricting commerce. You mean to tell me that Apple forcing exclusivity now is somehow better than actually having to compete for channel?

        3. What Mac malware?

          The walled garden is about “monetizing” low sophistication users. Nothing more. All software requires trust. With iOS and its derivatives, Apple shows it doesn’t trust the users. There is no “professional mode” in PadOS because Apple doesn’t want users to have a personal computer. They want you to be forced to buy or better yet rent all software and data storage at highly inflated prices. That is the whole point. It would be naive to think otherwise. Apple long ago stopped being a user-empowering personal computer maker. It’s now a profit-maximizing corporation and as such it loves to limit user choice. Like the choice to write your own iOS software and test it on your own iPad and distribute it to your friends for testing. That is not allowed. Apple wants a cut for everything.

          The illusion that iOS is in any way more secure than macOS is just that: an illusion.

      2. You reply on almost every post, applecynic, with mind numbing inanities. Why do YOU care to waste your time on a topic you openly hate with incredible disdain? You must be a masochist with a small mind hoping against hope that bashing yourself against a wall will grow your muscle instead of shrinking it with endless hate

  2. This is BS driven by tech press and has nothing to do with largely satisfied customers. How that iPhone 11 selling? The tech press makes statements like it has its finger on the pulse, but, honestly, it mostly seems good at excreting turds.

  3. TechCrunch like the Verge have been haters for years, they want Apple (all devices at Android/Windows) prices with the ability to put Google/Winamp skins on everything.

  4. Sure, everyone, all future Apple executives will be as benign as Cook. Let’s all grant Apple as legislator, judge, and jury. Let’s have an unelected oligarch make arbitrary decisions that can impact millions. What could possibly go wrong?

      1. Nope. but ever since then Apple has controlled just about everything. That is not a competitive market. Apple maintains uncompetitive advantage over its app developers. Apple gets to review their code, set their prices, constrict or ban content, and arbitrarily yank apps. That is unacceptable in any other industry. Do Americans really yield their rights to corporate overlords so easily????

  5. The article implies that spammy apps would be minimized without the App Store which is, of course, nonsense. Open iOS to multiple app stores and the number of spammy (not to mention security-nightmare) apps would increase ten-fold or more. I’m all for breaking up monopolies that are strangle-holding competition or innovation, but not at the cost of actually creating a worse environment for the consumer.

    1. The consumer is not forced to used outside App Stores. Nothing is preventing those people from continuing to use Apple’s App Store exclusively. The App Store will most likely remain the primary source for iOS Apps maybe sans the really large established brands.

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