The Register has asked Apple, Spotify, and Rakuten for comment.
And no prizes for guessing which one is highly unlikely to respond!
In the words of Brenda from Bristol: Another one? Yes, afraid so. The European Commission has opened up a fresh investigation into Apple's business practices, this time focusing on the App Store and Apple Pay. The first investigation, prompted by complaints from Spotify and Rakuten (which is described solely as "an e-book and …
Yes... a most surprising and unexpected development there....
One wonders what must have happened to have a PR/Legal drone fly over Vulture Central territory in blatant disregard of the strict No-Fly Zone that is usual from the Masters of Fruit..... Maybe they know they're in deep doodoo with this one and are desperately scrambling for all the sympathy they can get?
Icon because...not quite...but close...
More like 3rd-party manufacturers being obliged to sell their accessories (eg tyres, wiper blades, seat covers, fluffy dice, etc) for Ford vehicles through Ford dealers, and pay Ford a hefty fee for the privilege.
Or, say, music companies being forced to sell their music (to be played in a Ford vehicle) through Ford dealers, and again, paying Ford a hefty fee for the privilege.
They are absolutely _not_ forced to sell through Apple. Netflix doesn't pay Apple a penny, for example. So this is like music companies having a choice to sell CDs through Ford dealers, or through their music stores, and Ford charges for CDs sold through Ford dealers, and not for CDs bought anywhere else.
> They are absolutely _not_ forced to sell through Apple.
Apple are currently demanding that Hey add in-app purchases of their subscription service, or their app will be removed from the Apple app store: https://www.macrumors.com/2020/06/16/apple-threatens-to-remove-hey-from-app-store/
The vast majority of the music on my home system never went anywhere near Apple. Almost all is music I personally converted from vinyl and audiotapes and CDs over a period of decades as I was NOT going to buy that music again. I have, only a few years ago, finally decommissioned my LP records as the last of them are now on my music volume.
Zero point zero of the movies on my system came from Apple; some were moved over from VHS and DVD, some were digital downloads purchased with DVD/BluRay discs. None came from Apple.
But, hey, carry on.
So, the downvoters think that ripping copyright holders off is OK...
Where I live, penalties of a fine of up to AU$117,000 (~£64,000) and a term of imprisonment of up to five years are possible. For a company the maximum fine is 5 times that.
I kept up with this as I used to write software - Some was Pro-bono and some was FOSS; but as I needed to eat, I charged for about 2/3rds of my stuff including "shrink-wrap". Perhaps, not surprisingly, the worst infringers were often in various levels of government and "not for profits". It was a little embarrassing when I was in a public area of one organization to see the registration details of a different group up on a screen. They would justify this by "lack of funds", or "we were just trying it out" (In spite of the unregistered version allowing 50 items and the FOSS versions 200, they would use another organization's key to input a few thousand). They seemed genuinely surprised that I wanted paying. A couple of them even said things like "we put 50 items in and saw how useful it was, so we 'borrowed' the registration key details from a friend in another organization to put more in" and one classic was: "We wrote our own, but yours was better, so we needed to export our stuff into yours".
OK, I know music publishing companies are not our friends - I must have bought some Rolling Stones tracks on both 7" and 12" vinyl, audio cassette, CD and download, so I could (almost) be sympathetic...
Apps are what make a platform, and where mobes are concerned, it is what makes them more attractive than the competition.
Apple is imposing a luxury tax on developers when they are the ones who bring value to the entire Apple ecosystem. What have I just read about HTC ? It has crap apps. Doesn't make me feel like buying a phone from them.
As far as apps are concerned, Apple is just a facilitator. Yes, it provides the App Store, but don't try to make me believe that that is costing Apple $100Bn/year.
The normal fee of an intermediary is 10%. That is what Apple should have the right to ask for.
and the "Advertising and promotion" you get for that extra 20% is really vaporous. Apples app store has crappy discovery, so unless you make it to the top of one of the categories you languish in obscurity. Apple puts barely any effort into promoting apps outside those algorithmic silos, and only for a tiny fraction of the apps listed. There are also a ton of crAPPS listed in the store. Many of those include Apple adware. So even accounting for the cost of vetting apps to reduce the number of malicious apps, the store remains a quagmire of user hostile design. Gatekeeping and rent seeking are more appropriate to categorize the Apple relationship to their app developers.
While in principal having diverse and competitive choices for app stores would be warranted, the issues with app vetting and platform access make that a path of thorns. So I think limiting Apples compulsory take may be a better remedy. Though a Co-op app store would also have merits if it answered to both developers and consumers, and could let Apple shed the burden of supporting low traffic and low quality apps, and allow Apple and app developers to negotiate on more equitable terms were apple would have to offer more than just a digital listing to entice main stream devs in.
Google doesn't also doesn't prevent companies from selling through other stores. Google simply copied the 30% from Apple having concluded that the market would bear it. But, it's also probably fair to say that there are more ad-funded apps on Android than on IOS, so Google is less focussed on app fees.
As I'm writing a book, I had a look at what percentage a beginning author gets off the cover price.
From what I can see of that world, the author getting 30% would be astonishing, "Luxury" in Yorkshire Men terms :).
I'm not actually aiming at making a living off this book (it's more in the way of marketing), but that doesn't mean I am keen to sponsor gateway operators either, so I may end up self publishing.
Anyone who has gone through this already?
I am not very knowledgeable about this, but I think the reason is that a book has a lot more work in its production than just the author's contributions. Manufacturing of the book (paper, printing, binding, artwork, etc.) is expensive. Illustrators may need to be paid as well, or editors. And there's shelf space in physical stores if they still do that. The real question would probably be how much the publishing company gets merely for marketing and profit and whether they are useful in that capacity. I'd imagine exact statistics on both are jealously guarded by publishers.
Manufacturing of the book (paper, printing, binding, artwork, etc.) is expensive. Illustrators may need to be paid as well, or editors. And there's shelf space in physical stores if they still do that.
Ah, but here's the rub. Those percentages also apply to e-books, where duplications costs are miniscule.
Sure, dead tree variants cost a lot more, but even there the percentages are ridiculous, and have all the happy feel of monopolies squeezing content creators just because they can (Google "Courtney does the math" to see just how uneven the distribution of burdens lie). I'm sure that if you're a top selling author you may be in a position to push a better deal, but by default you're rogered. Electronically, even more so.
This is what happens when a successful company becomes so arrogant that they believe that whatever they do, people will just pay because it is "Apple".
If anyone other than Apple (or a similar US tech company) were to take a 30% cut people would be screaming about profiteering. Look at all the flak direct against petrol stations when oil prices change.
On streamed music Apple take a greater percentage cut than is returned to the artists.
Do you know what it costs to box up any apple product?* I have boxes that 15" powerbooks came in now holding CDs and DVDs, they have survived longer than any plastic bin I bought in the shop. I've moved house 3 times too!
*When shipping, the cool apple box goes in a brown box for security!? They have a serious bill from Georgia Pacific, and we know Apple would never be so generous.
It's unfortunately a popular restriction. I was recently writing an Amazon review and wanted to mention that a certain product is nice because they have open source firmware builds that are easily modifiable, and I linked to the manufacturer's site to show people where to find them. Amazon was not pleased. Stupid really because this manufacturer doesn't have their own store and all the purchase links on their site go to Amazon. I am allowed however to include Amazon links to completely different products; Amazon is not about to protect their sellers but they certainly will protect themselves.
Evidently Apple, Google et al are merely following a very old way of doing business in Ermerika. Old because was alive and being criticised in 1952.
Read "The Space Merchants" by Frederik Pohl and Cyril M. Kornbluth to see how much of the way Apple does business is new and original.
Why would they? Old hardware will still function and there will likely be a transition period where software is still supported. Also micromanaging every hardware design decision would be time consuming and way out of their remit without more justification than people will eventually need to upgrade.
This post has been deleted by its author
As app stores are natural monopolies they ought to be run as separate, independent non-profit entities. The natural monopoly is due to the network effect: even if the company controlling a platform allows installing from other sources as Google does with Android, the interdependent app users and developers tend to flock up in a single app store as more users means more developers, which means more users, which means more developers, ... which results in a (de-facto) monopoly - a market failure, great for the monopolist, but sucks for consumers and developers.
Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020