Is the App store a monopoly?

Discussion in 'iOS 5 and earlier' started by Ay_Zimmy, Jun 15, 2012.

  1. Ay_Zimmy macrumors 6502

    Jan 9, 2010
    Long Island, NY
    When you have Apple software the only way to download and purchase apps is through their app store.. Do you think that it is a monopoly? It is hard to compare to actual man-made stores.. But, in an Internet world, don't you think there should be other app store providers? An actual real market just like there would be in real life than just apps only being approved through Apple. This also prevents apple from denying certain apps in the app store since everyone should technically have choice.
  2. B777Forevar macrumors 6502a


    Jul 25, 2011
    Chicago, IL
    Well yes and no.

    There is also Cydia....but that is not out of the box
  3. Orange Furball macrumors 65816

    Orange Furball

    May 18, 2012
    Scranton, PA, USA
    Even if it is I hope nothing is done about it. We don't need any more of the government in the internet. Think of App Store SOPA...:eek:
  4. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus


    Jul 24, 2002
    No as you have a choice of phone in the first place. For the app store to be a functioning monopoly it would have to reach something like 80% of sales across all phones or possibly even all mobile platforms.
  5. atlanticza macrumors 6502a


    Jul 18, 2008
    Cape Town
    According to the definition of 'monopoly' - the exclusive possession or control of the supply or trade in a commodity or service - the App store is.
  6. SteveAbootman macrumors 6502a


    May 12, 2008
    Yes - it's the only place iDevice owners can go to purchase/download apps. (Cydia notwithstanding since that requires a JB and voids warrantee)

    No - It's NOT the only place smartphone owners can go to purchase/download apps.

    So if you're looking at it from a "I have an iPhone and want apps, where can i go?" perspective, sure, it's a monopoly

    But the broader scope is that if you want mobile applications, you have a number of options.
  7. The Phazer macrumors 68030

    Oct 31, 2007
    London, UK
    It would have to attract 39.7 of sales revenue across all phones according to the EU definition.

    I confidently suspect it does.

    It is a monopoly. It has all the negative aspects of a monopoly.

  8. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus


    Jul 24, 2002
    In that case I would agree. Unless the sector is defined to be larger (mobile computer devices perhaps in which case laptops would be included). I was basing my 80% off memory from the US Microsoft anti-trust case.
  9. SpyderBite macrumors 65816


    Oct 4, 2011
    Since the iTunes t&c is displayed & requires that you agree to it before activation; you are acknowledging that you will only make purchases from the App Store. A monopoly is irrelevant.
  10. Omnipotentsco macrumors newbie

    Jun 17, 2008
    No, from the strict definition of a monopoly.

    The App Store is a marketplace for people to be able to sell goods that are vetted and deemed ok for the market place. The actual goods that are being sold (The Apps) are priced by the developers of those apps, and Apple is taking a cut off of the top product that the developers sell.

    Apple isn't seeking out developers and making them create content for the app store. Developers see a market that they want to tap and can make money off of, so they create apps.

    It doesn't matter that the App Store is the only distribution channel. It's what's built in to Apple Software (the OS) to Utilize Apple Hardware (The i Device). It'd be like complaining that Adobe has a monopoly over Adobe Updater.
  11. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

    Aug 29, 2006
    Washington DC
    No, if you're looking at the 'mobile app' market then there are many options.

    Ok, but you say need an iOS device to access Apple's store so that's a problem? Well, you need an Android device to access Android stores. And you need an Amazon device to access the Amazon store. And with Microsoft...well, you get the idea.

    So if you say Apple has a monopoly here then you have to also say that Google, Amazon, and Microsoft do too.

    And what senses does it make to complain that "4 companies have a monopoly in this field with their multiple services?"
  12. Ay_Zimmy thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 9, 2010
    Long Island, NY
    Well all being said.. Don't you think there should be actual digital stores universal for all platforms with apps that you can buy for either the Apple platform, Android etc. It would be like entering a digital game stop and choosing from Call of Duty for Xbox or PS3. Because developers have no choice to let apple take a 30% paycut to put it in their app store or they don't make any money at all. I guess same goes with Google's Play Store etc. I think it's definitely a monopoly, it's just harder to see when everything is digitally run. It's like the beginning of a new time period, monopolies start in everything..I think eventually the world of apps is going to turn into an open market. If a company makes an app it doesn't have a choice to make a deal to sell it to Game stops app market, or best buy's app market etc. But in person your able to buy a video game at numerous places for a platform you choose to use.
  13. Orange Furball macrumors 65816

    Orange Furball

    May 18, 2012
    Scranton, PA, USA
    Impossible due to open source vs. Closed source and different programming languages.
  14. Technarchy macrumors 604


    May 21, 2012
    Not even close.

    The first sign of a monopoly is a lack of competition.

    Google Play, Amazon, Zune and who knows what out else out there is capable of delivering purchsed digital content.

    Meaning, if you don't like Apple's app store policies, you can take your business elsewhere. That means there is no monopoly.
  15. JMG macrumors 6502a


    May 4, 2006
    You don't have to buy an iPhone, so not really.
  16. Orange Furball macrumors 65816

    Orange Furball

    May 18, 2012
    Scranton, PA, USA
    But Microsoft including Internet Explorer was considered a monopoly. People could have used Netscape if they wanted.
  17. oneapplegeek macrumors regular


    May 14, 2012
    I don't think it's monopoly. It's beneficial for all Apple and App providers, and customers. I like this way better, so all apps are organized and prevents cracked apps to be shared widely.
  18. Medic311 macrumors 68000


    Jul 30, 2011
    someone or some entity will eventually bring a monopoly suit against Apple, due to the App Store. that's a fact. heck it might even be the Government as they are on a tear with suing technology companies these days (including Apple)...despite the fact that it's technology companies these days that are creating the most jobs.

    Apple would most likely win a monopoly lawsuit even though they 1) restrict your downloads to the App Store only and 2) have decision authority over what apps get approved in the App Store


    they are not pushing a monopoly agenda against the developers themselves. while Apple might cut into developers profits due to expanding features in iOS 6, Apple shoots themselves in the foot if they put a developer out of business since they just lost a 30% profit cut. it's not like Apple charges money to upgrade to iOS 6, so Apple depends on its developers to write apps and software for its platform. with that said though, Apple has developed the App Store rules to benefit them which was seen when Amazon circumvented the 30% cut by providing an external link to purchase content instead of through the app itself. the counter argument would be that Apple allows everything and anything (as long as its legitimate), they just take a 30% cut.

    microsoft on the other hand, intentionally put developers out of business because they wanted to dominate the "office software" environment in addition to the PC operating system environment. they made background deals with retailers and software developers to push the MS Office software, which was illegal (hence the lawsuit and the fine)
  19. terraphantm macrumors 68040

    Jun 27, 2009
    Actually it probably would be feasible to make something like WINE since most mobile devices have pretty similar CPUs.

    Ideally mobile phones should be like PCs where you can choose to install whatever OS you want as long as your hardware is compatible... but with a completely locked boot chain, that will never happen
  20. kdarling macrumors P6


    Jun 9, 2007
    First university coding class = 47 years ago
    If you don't mean universal apps, that's exactly the way it was until Apple came along.

    Brick and online stores sold apps for the most popular devices. Palm, Windows Mobile, Symbian, Blackberry, J2ME.

    Handango is perhaps the oldest and best known online app store still in business, dating back to around 2000. Some phones even came with a Handango store app installed, starting in 2003.

    Android's different because you can check a box under Settings that allows you to install software from other web stores or source.
  21. macingman macrumors 68020


    Jan 2, 2011
    Depends whether your talking about about just on the iPhone or the whole smartphone market.

    Well, even if apple does allow competitors selling apps on the iPhone since the app store is a monopoly according to economics theory it should he very hard for the new markets to be competitive and enter the market successfully.


    Monopolies have nothing to do with whether they are beneficial or not. Monopoly just means one company controls a huge part of the market and has little competition and competitors find it hard to compete.
  22. ipsychedelic macrumors 6502a


    Mar 8, 2012
    Problem being, one of the things that keeps the quality of apps a bit up on the AppStore is the fact they are reviewed by Apple and stuff (not to say there are crappy ones, even paid!!).
    Otherwise there would be more and more apps but with much less quality (quantity over quality) and that's what Apple doesn't want.

    Plus monopoly.. hmm.. it would be if the iPad was "free" or came shipped with a "free OS".

    Now, charing 99 USD for an annual membership even if you're getting a free app... that is something expensive (but of course, Apple could say those are the server costs and publicity and all).
  23. Lynn Belvedere macrumors regular

    Mar 13, 2012
    I guess Microsoft should have just added similar language to Windows EULA, eh? :rolleyes:
  24. Astropunk, Mar 5, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2013

    Astropunk macrumors newbie

    Mar 5, 2013
    Yes and no - Context and semantics are important

    There at least two factors that are needed to make a convincing argument - two factors it seems that most here have failed to realize or use: context and semantics. The idea that Apple only allows apps to be accessed through their own store (and consequently make profits off others work) is in fact a monopolization within the context of Apple products. To introduce the argument that, to buy another company's platform nulls the monopoly, is a strawman - a logical phallicy. We are not talking about the right to purchase another platform. We are talking about Apple's choice to only allow their apps to be sold through their store. In this context the answer is obviously yes, it is monopolizing their distribution. But like most things in law, a monopoly can be a little tricky. That is why we have juries. But what is going on here is that people are arguing two different things over two different meanings of the word monopoly- the laws meaning and the figurative meaning. That being said, I believe one can make an argument that Apple is indeed breaking monopoly laws. To make an analogy, think of a car company. What would you think about a car company who made it policy that all parts for that car must be sold through them and no part can be made or manufactured for use unless first approved and sold by them...for profit. Ridiculous right? Furthermore, buying another car wouldn't null the monopoly that this company has over the availability of its parts nor would it reverse the the fact that this policy stifles the ability of other companies, who build parts, to make its own separate profits detached from the car company. And why should a manufacturer of a car also take profits from an entirely different company who is in the business of making parts for many models of cars. Its absurd. And so is Apples's monopoly of their iOS platform.
  25. thelatinist macrumors 603


    Aug 15, 2009
    Connecticut, USA
    Of course it is a monopoly. The more interesting question is whether it is an illegal monopoly. That is a open question.

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