Introduction: U.S. and European officials are investigating whether Apple’s tight control of the App Store constitutes a monopoly, according tomedia reports. Meanwhile, developers including Tinder and Fortnite have accused Apple of business practices, particularly the 30 per cent draw on app sales. Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) is about to take place, when the company unveils new projects and needs to convince developers to continue to believe in the appeal of the apple platform.
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Apple’s business practices are under fresh scrutiny after European officials announced this week that they would investigate whether the Company’s App Store violated EU antitrust rules. For most people, the App Store is the only way they can install apps on their iPhones.
Meanwhile, top app developers, including Match Group, the developer of dating app Tinder, and Epic Games, the developer of the popular game Fortnite, have accused Apple of its long-standing App Store policies, including a 30 percent split from digital content purchases, and Apple’s often self-developed software competing with third parties.
David Hanson, chief technology officer at Private Enterprise Software developer Basecamp, has previously lashed out at Apple. Dozens of smaller developers have since complained about Apple’s App Store rules on social media. Hansen said on Twitter that Hey, an email app developed by Basecamp, was rejected by Apple when it released the update because it required certain apps to allow users to pay for subscriptions through the app. If so, Apple will draw 15 to 30 percent of what users pay.
“Apple’s 30 per cent draw has squeezed markets such as e-books, streaming music and video, cloud storage, games and online dating,” a Match Group representative said in an email. And when Apple itself moves into these areas, the situation is even more worrying, as we have seen many times. We’ve noticed Apple’s influence on us. “
The App Store is one of Apple’s most important services and a fast-growing business unit that contributed more than $46 billion in revenue to Apple in 2019, or nearly 18 percent of the company’s total revenue. Investors see the business as Apple’s growth engine, and the company has set a public target of $50 billion for sales of its services this year. Apple did not say how much of the service’s revenue will come from the App Store.
Matt Jung, Astropad’s chief executive, said: “One of the things that has become increasingly clear recently is that Apple is pushing people to buy in-app. In my opinion, it’s all about the company’s own service business. Much of the growth came from subscription revenue from the App Store. “Astropad developed software and hardware to turn the iPad into a second monitor or tablet.
What are developers worried about?
The App Store is the only way most users can install software on their iPhones.
If a developer or company wants to update an app in the App Store, the App Review process must be completed. In this process, Apple employees check the app against a long line of “guides.” They will decide in a matter of minutes whether to allow an update to be released, or whether the app developer will need to make adjustments.
Developers say they’re experiencing three major problems on the App Store:
The audit process is opaque. The developers said the decision made by Apple’s app review process appeared arbitrary. In the developer’s view, an app may be completely off the shelves for some less important or unfair reason. In addition, it can be difficult to communicate with Apple representatives and get the app back on the shelf.
At an earlier congressional hearing, Mr. Hanson of Basecamp said app developers were always in fear because Apple did not know when it would arbitrarily reject an app.
Into. Apple will draw 30 percent of its revenue from paid apps and in-app purchases. The share will fall to 15% in a year’ time. Developers say Apple’s draw is too high, leading to a sharp drop in their own profits.
In a recent annual report, Apple said it believed that users buying Apple’s computers is based on the availability of third-party software, and noted that developers could stop developing software for Apple if it becomes cheaper and more profitable for rival operating systems such as Google’s Android or Microsoft Windows.
Unfair competition. Software developers are also concerned that Apple may use trend data on the App Store as a guide to developing apps or features that compete with third parties. Developers argue that similar features developed by Apple often take advantage of the core parts of Apple’s operating system that developers do not have access to. Apple’s behavior in developing such features is also known in the circle as “Sherlocking.” Apple launched a search tool for Mac computers in 1998 called Sherlock, but the tool has a clear competition with a third-party product called Watson.
Mr Jung said that while Astropad and Apple’s developer relations department had maintained a better relationship for years, Astropad’s products were also modelled by Apple last year. Apple launched a similar product, Sidecar, as part of macOS. And because Sidecar is built into the operating system and can invoke system-level features that Astropad cannot access, It’s hard for Astropad to compete with Apple.
This week, Astropad published an official blog called Dear Apple, which advises Apple to allow users to set default apps on their own, offer alternatives to 30 percent of the charge, and allow some apps to fail the App Store’s app approval process.
Apple VS Worldwide
Apple argues that tight control of the App Store allows the company to ensure that all software running on the iPhone is secure. At the same time, many companies make money through the App Store. Some of this comes directly from Apple-driven payments, and the other part comes from routine business activities within the app.
In a statement, an Apple spokesman said: “We act in accordance with the law and welcome competition at every stage because we believe that competition will drive us to better results.” “
“It is disappointing that the European Commission is pushing forward unfounded complaints from a small number of companies. These companies just want to have a free lunch and don’t want to follow the rules like everyone else. We don’t think that’s right. We want to maintain a level playing field and help anyone with determination and great ideas succeed. The statement also said.
Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, said: “Apple is talking about a level playing field here. For me this should mean that all iOS developers are free to process user payments directly, and all users are free to install software from any source. “Apple is currently selling virtual goods in Fortnite by 30 per cent.
In the U.S., Apple is also under increasing antitrust pressure. According to Politico, the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel is trying to push Apple CEO Tim Cook to join the CEOs of Amazon, Facebook and Alphabet in hearings on antitrust issues.
Chris Sagers, a professor of antitrust law at Cleveland State University, said the EU investigation is a bigger problem for Apple than the U.S. House investigation unless new antitrust legislation is passed. One of the problems with any possible antitrust action against Apple in the U.S., according to Counterpoint Research, is that the iPhone doesn’t seem to dominate the market compared to Google’s Android. Only about 46% of smartphones sold in the U.S. in the first quarter of this year were iPhones. The Google Play store also makes a 30% draw on digital shopping.
“Similar to the last five to seven years, Apple is at risk of ‘significant cases,'” Suggs said. This could be an antitrust case, and could cause big trouble for the company. But I think the current risk is similar to what it has been for a long time, and it’s not a big risk in the U.S. “
For Apple, the timing of this tension is bad. Apple’s software developer conference this year, WWDC, will begin next week. The conference will take the form of video and Cisco WebEx phones as a result of the new crown outbreak.
Jung said he will be watching the news about the Mac on WWDC, and his company will continue to launch products on the Apple platform. However, the priority of the Apple platform will drop. The key product Astropad plans to launch this year is support for Windows systems.