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Apple has faced increasing scrutiny as of late over the way it runs its App Store, ranging from Spotify's anticompetitive complaint in Europe to a class action lawsuit accusing Apple of operating an App Store monopoly in the United States, which the Supreme Court recently allowed to proceed.

app-store-principles-practices.jpg

Apple has now responded with a new page on the App Store section of its website titled Principles and Practices, noting that the App Store was created with two goals: to be "a safe and trusted place for customers to discover and download apps" and "a great business opportunity for all developers."

To achieve the first goal, Apple says it "takes responsibility" for "ensuring that apps are held to a high standard for privacy, security, and content" in accordance with its publicly accessible App Store Review Guidelines:
We believe that what's in our store says a lot about who we are. We strongly support all points of view being represented on the App Store. But we also take steps to make sure apps are respectful to users with differing opinions, and reject apps for any content or behavior that we believe is over the line -- especially when it puts children at risk. For example, we strictly prohibit any app that features pornographic material, discriminatory references, torture and abuse, or anything else in exceptionally poor taste.
Apple says an average of 100,000 apps are reviewed per week, most within 24 hours, by a combination of "hundreds of human experts" and "automated systems." Apple says 60 percent of submissions are approved, with 40 percent rejected, mostly commonly due to minor bugs followed by privacy concerns.

All developers have the opportunity to have a rejection reviewed, with Apple making some 1,000 calls a week to developers to help them resolve any issues.

As for the second goal, Apple says the App Store "welcomes competition":
We believe competition makes everything better and results in the best apps for our customers.

We also care about quality over quantity, and trust over transactions. That's why, even though other stores have more users and more app downloads, the App Store earns more money for developers. Our users trust Apple -- and that trust is critical to how we operate a fair, competitive store for developer app distribution.
Apple includes many examples of third-party apps that compete with its own apps, such as Spotify versus Apple Music and Google Maps versus Apple Maps.

apple-apps-vs-third-party-apps.jpg

Apple notes that it supports developers by providing a robust set of tools and SDKs, free marketing opportunities such as the opportunity to be featured in the Today tab on the App Store, programs such as the Apple Developer Academy, and free educational materials such as Everyone Can Code.

84 percent of apps are free, according to Apple, although many are supported by ads, in-app purchases, or subscriptions. Apple collects a 30 percent commission on in-app purchases tied to digital goods, and takes a 30 percent cut of subscriptions for the first year and a 15 percent cut in subsequent years.

Apple's former App Store review team leader raises concerns

In a new podcast interview with Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, Apple's former senior director of the App Store review team Phillip Shoemaker raised concerns about potential conflict between Apple and its competitors on the App Store.

"There is now a conflict as Apple goes into these spaces that are ripe with competition," he said. "I'm really worried about the competition."

Article Link: Apple Says App Store 'Welcomes Competition' Following Criticism From Spotify and Others
 
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Tovenaar

macrumors member
Oct 21, 2008
95
117
Every once in a while I think this store really is becoming a monopoly, then I go to help my wife with her Samsung and get hit with a big fat reality check. It's really incredible what apple have done with the app store. The fact that we rarely have to worry about the quality of apps on there is incredible.

I sincerely hope Apple don't have to dismantle their app store. I don't think that would be a win for anyone, even those app developers who are so eager to kill the golden goose.
 
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Sedulous

Contributor
Dec 10, 2002
2,492
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That’s good and all but Apple still need to prevent apps that continue to track and sell user information. Apple most likely will win court argument that App Store is not a monopoly in the same way as Macs are not a monopoly.
 
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poe diddley

macrumors regular
Jun 5, 2005
229
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greensboro nc
not sure this is really saying anything useful. apple does a fine job with curating the app store. i think we all know that, and i'm confused as to why anyone would question this. there are plenty of competitors to apple's versions of apps, and i'm not sure this is even in dispute, in all reality.
 
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ninjadex

macrumors 6502
Jun 1, 2004
328
215
If they truly care about competition, then they would allow Developer-ID signed apps on iOS. They have the technology in place to make that happen.

What they really want is the 30% cut (15% if subscription over 1 year) on everything released on iOS. As long as competition is happening under those terms, they are Ok with it.

Whether that is anti-competitive is for the courts to eventually decide on. From here it seems like Apple's side so far is pretty disingenuous, by ignoring the fact that they could allow Developer ID signed apps and still retain the safety aspect of the platform.
 
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Rogifan

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Nov 14, 2011
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Nowhere on this website does it say why certain things are subject to commission and why others aren’t, or why IAP has to use Apple’s payment system.

How come I can pay for an Uber ride inside of the Uber app and Apple gets nothing but if I want to buy a Kindle book it’s impossible to do so inside the Amazon app (because Amazon rightfully doesn’t want to give a cut to Apple)?

How come IAP only allows Apple’s payment method? Why can’t Spotify or others use their own payment system in-app?

If the explanation to these questions are either it’s a fee/tax paid to access a large customer base or it covers all the costs of maintaining the App Store, app review, software tools, promotion etc. then my answer would once again be why does this apply to only certain things, digital things (and in some cases things where Apple competes directly). Why doesn’t it apply to everything? Saying Apple deserves 30% of a Kindle book sale but not an Uber ride is an arbitrary distinction that makes little sense. Without iPhone/iOS Uber probably wouldn’t exist. One certainly can’t say that about Kindle books.

Once again Apple is ignoring the elephant in the room.
 
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tegranjeet

macrumors regular
Apr 5, 2019
111
206
Boulder, CO
Spotify complains to Apple, but still haven't found any time to include SOME way to make scrolling through playlists with 100+ songs easier?

Oh.

What would you suggest? If you scroll up when at the top of the playlist, it reveals a search and a hamburger icon to sort by title, artist, recently added, or custom (not sure how this option works).
 
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stonekirby

macrumors member
Mar 25, 2019
35
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What would you suggest? If you scroll up when at the top of the playlist, it reveals a search and a hamburger icon to sort by title, artist, recently added, or custom (not sure how this option works).

At the risk of going offtopic; I know of the sort option, it is a way of 'sorting' however.

Going to the bottom of the list could be as easy as showing a button from the side/below/top/wherever as soon as the user is scrolling with a certain amount of speed.
Said button could then be used to control the list instead.

But hey, I don't have a jar with developers lying around...they do.


Btw; the 'custom' options is, AFAIK, the sorting you yourself used when drag&dropping songs in the list (from the desktop app)
 
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gsurf123

macrumors 6502
Jun 1, 2017
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If they truly care about competition, then they would allow Developer-ID signed apps on iOS. They have the technology in place to make that happen.

What they really want is the 30% cut (15% if subscription over 1 year) on everything released on iOS. As long as competition is happening under those terms, they are Ok with it.

Whether that is anti-competitive is for the courts to eventually decide on. From here it seems like Apple's side so far is pretty disingenuous, by ignoring the fact that they could allow Developer ID signed apps and still retain the safety aspect of the platform.

If you want your app in the store then you pay the measly 30%. The problem is not the 30% fee, but instead the fact that no one can sell an app that costs more than 99 cents with a few exceptions. I say no thanks as I want my apps vetted for nefarious activity, incompatibility and other issues. Apple created the App Store concept and every developer signed up for it because it gave them exposure. They also new going in what the rules were. The only difference is a few app developers don't like the rules they agreed to.
 
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Dremmel

macrumors regular
May 25, 2017
105
169
Apple have a built in advantage with their own apps. If you or me wrote an app we'd have no idea if it would pass until we'd developed. Then Apple can reject it by loosely referencing the 'App Store Review Guidelines' which they interpret however they deem fit at the time. If the EU top brass are reading this thread please contact me for plenty of examples of Apple twisting their own guidelines to suit their desired outcome. Business doesn't play fair, but the App Store should.
 
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Rogifan

macrumors Core
Nov 14, 2011
22,717
28,740
I wonder if Apple knew this former exec was going to do a podcast with Mark Gurman and write a Medium post criticizing some of Apple’s practices? Maybe that’s why this website just went up?

https://medium.com/@phillipshoemaker/apple-v-everybody-5903039e3be

I don’t get this though:

Apple believes if they bring you the customer, then they are entitled to their share of the purchase.

Is Apple not brining Uber or Lyft customers? How about food delivery apps? Or just food apps in general, like Panera? Apple isn’t taking a cut of those purchases.

The easiest way for Apple to solve this problem is to update their business model to say they won’t take a cut of subscriptions where they directly compete, especially in instances where they’re not hosting content. To me that seems the most fair.
 
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gsurf123

macrumors 6502
Jun 1, 2017
271
433

From Wikipedia:
The Court found that a large amount of evidence shows that the Publisher Defendants joined with each other in a horizontal price-fixing conspiracy. There is sufficient evidence to show that Apple violated Section 1 of the Sherman Act by conspiring with the Publishers to eliminate retail price competition and raise the price of e-books. The evidence shows that Apple was a knowing and active member of the conspiracy. The plaintiff has proven a per se violation of the Sherman Act.

There is not even a remotely similarity to the App Store issue (only 1 available) and eBook price fixing where multiple companies were involved.
 
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tegranjeet

macrumors regular
Apr 5, 2019
111
206
Boulder, CO
At the risk of going offtopic; I know of the sort option, it is a way of 'sorting' however.

Going to the bottom of the list could be as easy as showing a button from the side/below/top/wherever as soon as the user is scrolling with a certain amount of speed.
Said button could then be used to control the list instead.

But hey, I don't have a jar with developers lying around...they do.

Nice, that sounds useful. If sorting by title or artist revealed an alphabetical scroll bar like in other apps, I would find that useful.
 
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Dremmel

macrumors regular
May 25, 2017
105
169
If you want your app in the store then you pay the measly 30%. The problem is not the 30% fee, but instead the fact that no one can sell an app that costs more than 99 cents with a few exceptions. I say no thanks as I want my apps vetted for nefarious activity, incompatibility and other issues. Apple created the App Store concept and every developer signed up for it because it gave them exposure. They also new going in what the rules were. The only difference is a few app developers don't like the rules they agreed to.
Many app developers invested in time and equipment after signing up for the rules only to find them drastically changed a few months later. The goalposts change every few months with no warning. Apple are judge and jury. An app they love one month might be tagged for removal a year later. If you've invested in an app and that happens then it is game over.
 
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