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Technology The Rallying Cry Against Apple's App Store Policies is Getting Louder

05:30  25 september  2020
05:30  25 september  2020 Source:   gizmodo.com

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Several of Apple ’ s biggest critics — including Epic Games, Spotify, Basecamp, Match Group, Tile, Blix, and Deezer — have banded together to create the Coalition for App Fairness , a new group aiming to “create a level playing field for app businesses and give people freedom of choice on their devices.”

The company takes a 30 percent cut of app sales. Casey Newton, journalist at The Verge, joins 'Squawk Alley' to talk about the battle between developers fighting against Apple ' s app store policies .

Several developers and organizations have banded together to lead a campaign against Apple’s App Store policies. Announced today, the Coalition for App Fairness (CAF) is a new nonprofit dedicated to fighting for fair, competitive practices across the app ecosystem. The CAF’s founding members include Epic Games, Basecamp, European Publishers Council, Tile, Spotify, and several others who have publicly and vocally denounced Apple’s practices in recent months.

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Put enough pressure on Apple , one way or another, to get the company to change its App Store policies . Please welcome the Coalition for App Fairness. This is a brand new, independent nonprofit organization that is advocating for “freedom of choice and fair competition across the app ecosystem”.

A supporter posted a note on an Apple Store window in downtown San Francisco that reads: "Thank you for fighting for our freedom and our rights against the U. S People at the rally show off their smartphones, some with a sticker on them that reads, "I do not consent to the search of this device."

a stop light in front of a curtain: The Apple logo is seen on the window of the newly opened company store in Bangkok on Sept. 23. © Photo: Mladen Antoniv/AFP (Getty Images) The Apple logo is seen on the window of the newly opened company store in Bangkok on Sept. 23.

“As enforcers, regulators, and legislators around the world investigate Apple for its anti-competitive behavior, The Coalition for App Fairness will be the voice of app and game developers in the effort to protect consumer choice and create a level playing field for all,” Horacio Gutierrez, Spotify’s head of global affairs and chief legal officer, said in the press release announcing the launch.

On its website, the CAF highlights its three key issues with Apple’s App Store policies: anti-competitive policies, the 30% “Apple Tax”—the revenue cut Apple takes from sales of apps and in-app purchases—and a lack of consumer freedom. The organization says Apple uses its control of the iOS operating system to “favor itself by controlling the products and features that are available to consumers.” The CAF cites a CNBC article that reports Apple made $15 billion in revenue in 2019 just from its 30% commission, arguing that it takes too much money from app developers. The CAF also claims that Apple users have less choice than consumers outside of Apple’s ecosystem because iPhone apps are only available via the App Store. This differs from Apple’s policies in regards to Macs, because you can install apps outside of the Mac App Store.

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iPhone owners say Apple ' s 30 percent commission on sales made through the App Store results in developers passing that charge to consumers. The dispute hinged in part on how the justices would apply a decision the court made in 1977 to the claims against Apple . In that case, the court limited

Apple argued that only app developers, and not users, should be able to bring such a lawsuit. Read more: Here's how the Supreme Court's Apple App Store decision could affect companies like Amazon and Google. " Apple ' s line-drawing does not make a lot of sense, other than as a way to gerrymander

Additionally, the CAF created 10 App Store Principles, outlining what its founding members believe will create a fair app ecosystem for developers and consumers alike. Some of those points include: “No developer should be required to use an app store exclusively,” and, “No app store owner or its platform should engage in self-preferencing its own apps or services.”

The CAF says it welcomes “companies of any size, in any industry who are committed to protecting consumer choice, fostering competition, and creating a level playing field for all app and game developers globally.”

Several of the founding members are companies that have recently battled Apple over its App Store policies. For instance, Apple had blocked Basecamp from releasing an update to its subscription-based email app, Hey, and threatened to remove the app from its store entirely if it continued to offer users a way to pay for subscriptions outside of the app. According to Apple’s App Store guidelines, this is a big no-no because it completely bypasses Apple’s in-app payment system, which means Apple doesn’t get a 30% cut of the transactions.

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The Apple v Pepper suit accuses Apple of monopolizing the market for iPhone applications and forcing customers to pay an excessive 30 “ Apple ’ s line-drawing does not make a lot of sense, other than as a way to gerrymander Apple out of this and similar lawsuits,” Justice Kavanaugh wrote.

When the App Store was first introduced, Apple specified that apps would have to be approved before being allowed into the App Store . The reasoning for this approval process was to weed out applications that were against Apple ' s terms of service. This was said to include potentially abusive

Apple's App Store Is Due a Reckoning

Spotify has also been a long-time critic of Apple’s policies, especially the 30% tax, since that portion of all its monthly subscriptions goes to Apple. When the company filed an antitrust suit against Apple with the European Commission in 2019, CEO Daniel Ek claimed the 30% commission forced Spotify to raise prices for iOS subscribers above $10 per month, which gave Apple an unfair advantage since it was launching a competing service at the lower price point. (Apple, of course, does not charge itself a 30% fee.)

Tile is embattled in an antitrust suit against Apple in both the U.S. and Europe, claiming that Apple’s anti-competitive practices give different levels of iOS access to Tile and Apple’s own rumored-but-unreleased competing tracker product, AirTags, which is expected to be part of Apple’s Find My app. According to Tile’s congressional testimony, its app can be deleted from iOS, while Apple’s own app can’t. Tile’s settings are buried in the Settings app while Find My gets set up when a user activates their device for the first time.

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Facebook has become the latest company to rally against Apple ’ s fees for in- app purchases. The social network said it plans to alert its users in its app that Apple gets a 30 percent cut of their purchase, and that it ’s submitted the update for Apple ’ s approval and is awaiting a response.

The Supreme Court has ruled that an antitrust lawsuit against Apple can go forward, despite To learn more or opt-out, read our Cookie Policy . The Supreme Court is letting an antitrust lawsuit against Apple proceed, and it’s rejected Apple ’ s argument that iOS App Store users aren’t really its

“If Apple chooses to compete with developers on its platform, it should do so according to the same rules,” said Tile VP and General Counsel Kirsten Daru said in CAF’s press release.

And Epic Games....well, who can forget the juicy courtroom drama taking place between Epic and Apple right now? The Fortnite maker purposefully violated Apple’s App Store policies in protest against its 30% commission, and even made a callback to a 1984 Apple commercial in protest.

It’s worth noting that in May 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that iPhone owners can sue Apple for monopolistic practices. The original case, Pepper v. Apple Inc., started in 2011, when it was more common to pay outright for individual apps. The plaintiff in that case argued that multiple app marketplaces or other ways to install apps would make iPhone apps cheaper, therefore more consumer-friendly.

Apple and Epic Games are due back in court on Sept. 28. There’s currently a temporary restraining order preventing Apple from booting Epic’s Unreal Engine from the App Store, which Apple is still seeking the right to do. If a judge rules that Apple is allowed to give Unreal Engine the boot like it did Fortnite, there could be consequences for game developers and filmmakers who rely on Unreal Engine and Apple’s products to create their projects—including developers that have games on Apple Arcade.

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