Cupertino getting notions of apotheosis again.
Now they're casting out of the walled garden for not feeding the apple...?
Microsoft's Kevin Gammill, general manager of Gaming Developer Experiences, called Epic's Unreal Engine "critical technology" in a filing at the weekend [PDF] in support of Epic's motion for a temporary restraining order to prevent Apple from terminating its developer account. Referring to the statement, Xbox supremo Phil …
Fruit trees benefit from seemingly savage pruning from time to time.This includes branches, ring barking where a ring of up 9/10ths of bark around the tree is removed. Root pruning is also an option. It is thought the near death experience forces them to be fruitful rather than just CO2 stores.
Well, the root- and savage pruning Apple got in 1997 certainly did force them to be fruitful then. I do miss the crop of '98-'99.
However, what do you with a fruit tree that has become so invasive and parasitic that it drains 30% of everything it wraps its branches around. It seems to be more like ivy, if anything.
While I cast a very cynical eye upon Apple and their terms (and Google Play Store of course), Epic agreed to the terms and tried to pull a fast one. They probably did so knowing what Apple would do, and were ready with their legal challenge.
If Epic doesn't like the terms that Apple laid down, they shouldn't have played in their garden. Alternatively, they could have filed a suit while paying appropriate fees and seen if Apple would be foolish enough to cast them out without a valid reason - which would have played into Epic's legal hands.
*My reasoning is flawed if Apple changed the rules after Epic joined.
My understanding is that Epic did indeed do this on purpose to force apples hand.
Apple basically have a monopoly on apps deployed to ios devices.
They have to be deployed via the app store - and apple gets 30% of the price of the app - which is fair(ish).
BUT the issue is that they also take 30% of any transactions that take place in the app whilst mandating that developers cannot redirect users outside of the app to make purchases (or even reference that this is possible).
A good example of where this is causing issues is the FloatPlane video streaming service run by Linus Media Group, If they allowed you to register for the service through the app apple would take 30% of your ongoing monthly subscriptions, because LMG cannot afford this on the tight margins that they run FP on the iOS app does not have a registration mechanism and is not allowed to contain any information telling users how to register for the service.
So a user downloading the FloatPlane app has to know in advance how to register for the service.
Basically apple are making the options for the developer :
1. Do registration in app and give us an ongoing 30% cut of your subscriptions.
2. Have a terrible user experience which will reduce the number of registrations that you will get.
To me that seems like an abuse of apples position.
A transaction fee is reasonable if the payment goes through apple, but to charge an ongoing fee (of 30%) for transactions that do not touch any of their services?
1. Do registration in app and give us an ongoing 30% cut of your subscriptions.
Just for completeness - For subscriptions bought through apps, Apple take 30% for the 12months, dropping to 15% thereafter. Which is still far to high for various low-margin sectors. But worth noting it's not 30% forever. </pedant>
However, paid apps and one-off in-app purchases (by far the most common transactions) are 30%.
"Just for completeness - For subscriptions bought through apps, Apple take 30% for the 12months, dropping to 15% thereafter. Which is still far to high for various low-margin sectors. But worth noting it's not 30% forever. </pedant>"
Thanks - I was not aware of that.
Still, 30% for 12 months is ridiculous even dropping it to 15% is too much - Apple are adding no value to the service after the initial purchase of the app why should they get that much of a cut?
If you sell videos on iTunes, you pay 30% commission, which is probably reasonable, because distributing videos is very expensive.
If you distribute your own video streaming app, then you have to provide your own video distribution service, or pay Amazon or similar to do it for you. Yet Apple still take 30%. All Apple are doing is providing credit a card processing service, and other suppliers do that for about 3%, maybe a bit more for small transactions, but not 30%.
" All Apple are doing is providing credit a card processing service, and other suppliers do that for about 3%, maybe a bit more for small transactions, but not 30%."
YES, but its worse, because they prohibit you from using any other mechanism for getting the funds, not happy using apple to process your transaction so you offer paypal within your app... they still want their 30% even though they dont touch the transaction at any point.
I believe that its also a stipulation that if you take payments you have to offer apple pay as one of the payment processors which comes with its own high transaction fees (but your prohibited from passing this extra cost onto the consumer).
Indeed. Most of these apps are free to download and install, and only start charging you once you actually use them. Games in particular are notorious for enticing you in for free, then having to purchase things to actually progress in the game.
If Apple can't make a margin from in-app purchases then its platform would not be viable.
Apple created the situation for themselves, though.
They started out with a goal to remove versions and upgrades, and create a buy-once-for-life ecosystem. Prior to this the productivity software market relied on upgrade cycles for steady income to fund upgrades.
They encouraged low pricing with a claim that what you lost out in individual sales would be made up for in volume, and you got apps providing 90% of the functionality of desktop apps for a tenth of the price... with free upgrades for life instead of a £50 or more every year or two.
They set up this gold rush race to the bottom, which led to a massive marketplace of "ad supported" apps when they must have known that the market wouldn't support it, and devs the world over wasted innumerable person-years making software that no-one ever got properly paid for.
The only people who ever benefited from this setup were Apple. They made lots of money from cheap app sales. They made lots of money from advertising. Because they were the ones who had scale -- while everyone else got a miniscule slice of the pie, they got 30%. And the reason I have an iPhone is not because I wanted an iPhone, but because I was given an iPad as a gift, and I bought apps for many thinks (mostly sound, video and programming) that I liked, and I didn't want to have to buy them again on Android, or hunt around for suitable substitutes if they weren't available. So I give money to Apple to avoid having to give money to the people who made the apps I use.
It's a messed up market, and it was never sustainable. That's why apps have moved more and more towards subscription models -- it's the only revenue stream that stays (mostly) open to them.
Yes, it's also happening in the desktop space, but as yet on a smaller scale. The death of physical media coupled with the increasing confidence that Windows 10 is going to offer the long-term stability that Microsoft promised at its launch is also probably making desktop app devs worried that for most users a license-for-life will end up being treated as such, rather than buying into an upgrade to get round backwards compatibility bugs in their OS.
So yes, the market was going that way, but Apple accelerated it, and they created a rod for their own back.
I bought into Apple because they offer features the competition lacks:
* Full, bulletproof anti-theft features (it makes second hand a pain though)
* A correct implementation of Secure Boot which actually stops downgrades
* Correctly shielded/isolated hardware-backed key management (root won’t help)
* Correctly shielded/isolated encryption/decryption support (it’s freezer-proof)
* Long term OS update support (5+ years, not 18-24 months)
* Baseband firmware and other components are actually patched properly
* All executables are signed in a device specific way to mitigate evil maids
* Official support for adblocking baked in, with centralised blocking permitted
* Simple, clean lockdown support without needing MDM (this is a must)
* Integrated office suite which supports storing encryption keys per-document
* The free cloud storage doesn’t get mined for advertising data, at all...
* The built in email client doesn’t come with surreptitious advertising
* Background YouTube playback at no cost (Windows Phone did that too)
* Simple, centralised blocking of all in-app purchases, sleazy content etc.
* Free support from one place which applies to the hardware/OS/services
Most of this was also going to be possible from Microsoft with Windows Phone, which when paired with Windows 8.1 was excellent at the time. But then when the ungodly abomination known as Windows 10 shipped, the phones got ruined and stuff started breaking all over the place. If they’d have stuck at it and not made their OS a privacy nightmare, I would be promoting Windows Phone and Windows right now.
"If Apple can't make a margin from in-app purchases then its platform would not be viable."
I see what you're saying, but there has to be a limit - How much have apple made of Epic? Im sure they have covered the cost of hosting and distributing the game many times over.
Bear in mind, they charge developers to get games into the store, they get money even for the "free" apps before anyone has a chance to download them.
Also, because its the only way to get an app on an iphone, they effectively have a monopoly and some of the restrictions are pretty shitty.
"If ongoing transactions are not charged, the any app developer would set the app price as close to zero as possible, and have an ongoing transaction fee for a feature without which the app was was mostly useless."
The 40+ years of paid subscription free software before the app store seems to refute your claim.
in some cases, existing anti-trust laws prevent you from owning everything from one end to the other, such that "fair competition" can exist
And I do not believe that iOS devices being locked into ONLY "the apple store" is in any way REMOTELY close to "a fair playing field" when they dominate WAY too much of it like this. [so maybe some anti-trust action is due?]
But, thus far, Apple has "gotten away with it".
After all, it's their bat, their ball, their field, and their rules. Wanna play? Oh, and fork over money for the developer kit, you'll need one of THOSE, too... For each type of OS. And if you don't like it, go home. YOU can't play!
/me NOT an i-thing developer for that reason, among others
(Android, on the other hand, doesn't require "The Store", and the dev kit is FREE last I checked)
Erm, Apple’s XCode IDE is also free, and can create code for both the the Mac and iOS platforms. You can write and deploy code to Mac and your own/company iPhone/iPad devices for free. You pay $99/year for individual programmers or $299 for companies if you want to deploy via the App Store. Android is cheaper, but not free (a one-off $25) if you want to use the Play store.
That's true, but you also need have a fairly recent Apple computer to run XCode and compile iOS apps, and ideally at least one fairly recent iPhone to test it on: some things don't work in the Simulator they provide, notably (in this context) in-app payments.
So you can add that to your developer tax: for Android any old PC and landfill phone will get you started
The difference is that Apple does not allow other stores on iOS, going so far as to brick phones of people who try it.
Steam is the main game store in the PC world, but you dont have to use it, there are others (GOG, EA Origin, Ubisoft's Uplay). And since Epic didnt like the terms at Steam (the seemingly standard 30% cut) they did go and crate a competitor (Epic Games Store) which is probably now the number 2 games store on PC's (basically because Epic threw around all that Fortnite cash and gave a ton of free games away and nabbed PC exclusives).
On Android, Google Play Store is the king, but you can freely sideload apps and even other Appstores without much trouble - Amazon Appstore is a good example of this.
But when it comes to iOS, you have no choice but to go through the Apple Store. If Apple decided to raise their percentage to 50% of sales, there's nothing a producer could do about it. It is the definition of a monopoly market.
I'm not a fan of Epic at all, and this was absolutely a pre-planned move on their behalf, but if it opens up iOS so that customers have a choice of game store, then that can only be a WIN for us consumers.
This was a deliberate act to force the issue to be heard in the open and to gain as much publicity for the case as possible.
No matter which side you stand on, Epic orchestrated it (especially the release of the 198fortnite video) perfectly.
People have been moaning for nearly a decade that the 30% that the mobile OS makers take for their stores is too much, but it falls mainly of deaf ears. Companies have tried negotiating and there are international cases to be answered, but it is all slow and hasn't really gained much attention, outside of the developer community.
This makes it a big deal. Fortnite and Epic Unreal Engine based games have a big presence on iOS and macOS, so it is inconveniencing Apple users directly. They are now the pawns in this battle for who is right, on whether 30% is reasonable for "doing nothing" other than processing payments - in game currency doesn't need to be stored in Apple's warehouses or transferred bit-by-bit down the line, they need a credit card transaction (2-3%) and the sending of a token (a few bytes). Does that really cost $30 on a $99 transaction?
That is the question that the courts will now have to answer. Epic's hope is that its players on iOS will voice their objections to Apple and if there are enough, maybe Apple will shift...
Microsoft is on dangerous ground arguing against Apple's control over their own platform as a monopoly. The next 'monopoly' Epic wants to break might be Microsoft's control over what games can be played on Xbox. The console companies take even more than 30% off the top of game sales (not sure how in game sales work there) but that goes away if Epic is able to argue that Apple needs to allow third party app stores or sideloading - because they'll be able to force the same on Xbox and Playstation.
Except games consoles are usually used for gaming, with some other entertainment apps available for consumption. So Microsoft or Sony not allowing other game stores isn't a problem because that's the whole point of the console.
As for MS taking a cut per game, or Sony for that matter, is because the consoles would be sold at a loss, with the profit taken from games sold.
My iPhone 8 Plus is a PC with phone and SMS capabilities; I use it for web browsing and non-phone activities more than the telephony stuff.
So iOS should be compared to PCs instead of Gaming consoles.
That's a ridiculous contortion. A modern Xbox and PS4 (and the next gen ones as well) are basically IDENTICAL hardware-wise to a PC - far far closer than an iPhone. It is only because of Sony/Microsoft's greater control over their platforms than what Apple exercises that you can't get say LibreOffice for your Xbox, plug in a mouse/keyboard, and get to work.
If Apple didn't allow the App Store to sell anything other than games, I guess that would be all right in your book and you'd class them with gaming consoles? Because they are LESS restrictive than Microsoft/Sony as far as what apps they allow somehow that makes them MORE monopolistic in your mind?
You pretty clearly have a bias here.
It doesn't matter if the hardware is identical, game consoles are locked down primarily for gaming plus a few other entertainment things. Hence the name "game console". Neither MS nor Sony ever said "There's an app for that" for their console, nor do they advertise it as being able to do multiple things.
Does Xbox allow MS Office? I don't think it does, neither should it do so.
We are comparing Apples to Oranges, people don't go on their XBOX to browse the web, do they? They may watch Netflix or whatever, since the console is already there and connected to the TV, but no one will think I'll check my emails whilst I'm here. Smart Phones on the other hand, are pocket PCs and should be treated as such. I browse the web on it, I check my emails, I play the odd game, it's a fucking PC
Perhaps I do, but I very honestly don't believe I have a bias. I have a PS4--last time I powered it up was a few years ago when I had the time to play games. However, I do own an iPhone and enjoy it more than previous phones.
Neither, XBox games can be purchased in various other ways so it's a completely different scenario. Apple REQUIRE that you use the app store as the ONLY way to get apps. If you don't agree to Apple's terms you can't have an iPhone app at all.
Not saying MS are perfect, but they've certainly learned the monopoly lesson!
Sure XBox games can be purchased in other ways, but Microsoft takes a big cut (rumored to be around 50%) in 'licensing' costs for console games.
Why do you think Sony and Microsoft are able to sell the hardware below cost, if not for the fat profits they make from every game sold for that hardware?
they've certainly learned the monopoly lesson!
Indeed, they've become quite masterful at being one while pulling the wool over enough users and legislators to not get hit by antitrust legislation.
MS and their anti antitrust play is the main reason Apple still exists.
I don't understand the downvotes.
Go read Andy Hertzfeld's Folklore.org (or 'Revolution in the Valley' if you can find it) for some of the early days of Microsoft. Go watch the 'Pirates of Silicon Valley'. Apple & Microsoft go way back.
Look at all of Apple's OS releases and watch how Microsoft rendered their interpretation of them.
It is no surprise that Microsoft Excel was first released for the Macintosh.
Office too first appeared on the Mac.
That Bill Gates gave his public support to Apple at a time they were written off by most (1997) is no surprise.
There was a time - when it was trying to fend off monopoly accusations - that Microsoft was desperate to prop up Apple (with investment and collaboration over Mac versions of Office) so it could show it had a competitor, albeit one that was unlikely to significantly threaten its revenue.
Another time, another boot, another foot.
Have I understood what apple have done correctly?
If I've understood correctly apple have a dispute with Epic so they have said anything written by anyone which uses the unreal engine is banned from the app store?
So if I go and knock up a shitty FPS using the community version of the unreal engine and try to release it on iOS it will be rejected? Even though I have no affiliation with Epic and have not even paid them to licence the Engine?
If thats right then I cant see how apple have a leg to stand on, they are clearly abusing their position to hurt epic and their ongoing business by trying to force game devs off of the unreal engine.
I was basing this assumption on the court filing that Epic made :
"If the Unreal Engine can no longer support Apple platforms, the software developers that use it will be forced to use alternatives. The damage to Epic’s ongoing business and to its reputation and trust with its customers will be unquantifiable and irreparable. Preliminary injunctive relief is necessary to prevent Apple from crushing Epic before this case could ever get to judgment."
This [PAYWALL - BUT FREE VERSION AVAILABLE] https://www.washingtonpost.com/video-games/2020/08/17/apple-cuts-off-epic-its-tools-endangering-future-unreal-engine-projects-ios-mac/ seems to back up by understanding that if you're using the unreal engine you're SOL on iOS.
If I've understood correctly apple have a dispute with Epic so they have said anything written by anyone which uses the unreal engine is banned from the app store?
Not quite. Apple yanked their developer account because of the Fortnite bruhah.
The problem is that without an Apple Developer Account Epic can't access the latest Xcode stuff or signing certs for the other half of their business, which is Unreal.
This doesn't stop anyone using Unreal and certainly doesn't mean their apps get kicked from the store, but it does stop Epic issuing patches. It means Unreal Engine is effectively unmaintained for iOS/macOS.
Additionally, by preventing updates to Unreal for new iOS/macOS versions, there's a fair chance of everyone's Unreal-based games breaking on the next major OS releases. So it's no longer just "Fortnite". Apple are dangling their entire Unreal customer base over the heads.
That makes sense, It also gives context to the statement that they made (copied above).
So existing developments will be fine, but realistically no one is going to use unreal to develop a game being deployed to iOS again until this is resolved.
So apple are not saying "We will stop people using the unreal engine on iOS" but they are saying "We will restrict your ability to update the engine so no one will want to use it going forward".
That's only slightly less shitty than I previously thought.
I would actually be really surprised if Apple was stupid enough to do this on purpose unless it is due to an unavoidable new feature. Given the Dilbert rule, there is a pretty high chance of that happening.
I think Apple would do much better from this if they were to just go ahead and make the ongoing charges much more reasonable. 15% seems more than fair and it would encourage more software to make their subscription fees available in the App Store. The best of all would be to keep the 30% charge on all the purchases of "virtual goods" which have infected gaming culture. Taxing this heavily would discourage developers from building this kind of garbage into everything they make.
"unavoidable new feature"
Im sure someone is cooking up a "new feature" that changes just the right bits of the OS right now.
"15% seems more than fair"
Does it balls.
Im yet to find out what apple are doing to justify taking ANY money from the proceeds of in game spending or ongoing subscriptions.
Ive replied to them - its a valid point, I dont think is saying apple shouldnt make money off it.
BUT can you honestly say that apple taking 30% of a monthly subscription to say netflix or spotify just because the user signed up on an ios device is justified?
Fair enough, I believe they drop it to 15% after 12 months but that means that in the first 12 months apple make around £36 per spotify user on iOS - the only involvement apple have had is to host the app and allow the user to install it - they dont host the content, they dont have an ongoing cost to me using the service, but every month they get 30% of my subscription.
I think apple are absolutely in the wrong here, not just apple anyone that is taking that much of a cut without providing any value is taking the piss - at the very least it needs to be capped so for example once they have recouped their costs x 3 they stop charging.
I can understand that being the issue for iOS, but last time that I checked, you can install anything on Mac OSX...unless you're talking about the Xcode development environment where you need Apple's compilers to compile code for Macs. So it seems to me that Apple canceled not only their iOS developer account, but their Xcode developer account too. Normally, I would say let them eat each other, but the Unreal engine is used by many and Apple's actions will hurt many in the game industry.
The Unreal Engine editor is distributed to non-C++-programmers as an app. With Apple's Developer ID certificates and notarization policies introduced in macOS 10.15, these users will be badgered with scary looking warnings since Epic will only be able to distribute their editor as unsigned code without their developer account. It's not a hard cut off, but it diminishes the perceived credibility of Epic's apps.
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.i hope from my philasophical pov .... Epic stick to theIr guns >>> people are simple and simple is fickle...if kids can't play fortnight or the next what ever realeased through unreal then they wont want istuff. Simple
Ifones are like bmw'$ and bently'$....$tatus$ymbols..if either go under it's not going to stop simple buying cars!
If Epic switched focus to linux they may shake things up ... apple could keep it going in court for years, but they can't stifle imagination and inovation
And yeah fuck the money stuff they have enough!
No, because Epic will not have access to iOS tools.
It's not like Android or Windows (and especially not like Linux), because on those you can build apps to latest API etc without any MS or Google support. You only need Google agreement for the Playstore distribution.
You can in theory develop for Android and let people download direct if they change the security setting on their phone or tablet.
So you can ALSO install old Android and Windows apps for products no longer on on the stores. With Apple your phone/tablet is doomed to NEVER have even an out of date VLC, epub reader or whatever UNLESS you installed it from the store while BOTH the phone/tablet was supported and the App was current.
So apart from the double dip of taking any ongoing income from an app as well as the sale, they totally control and eventually block the device you bought. In the name of "security", but it's ego and greed.
The question was "Is it physically possible?" Answer: "yes". [My emphasis.]
The rest could be sorted with the stroke of a pen; I'm not sure many people would object to Apple varying the contracts in tat way - if it's done for everybody. But that, I suspect, is the rub. It allows you to just try it on, and, if you get caught, resubmit the app under a new name but now playing by the rules. As things stand, it's not worth the risk.
Apple cancelled Epic's developer account because they broke the terms and conditions, and that's what the contract says they must do. Everyone knows that you have to pay the 30% tax, so Epic can't feign ignorance. They can open a new account under a different name, though...
I imagine that Google and Sony will have to follow suite soon. Despite the love of Apple bashing, these terms of service and pricing are pretty much the same across the various stores, including games consoles for that matter.
They're not feigning ignorance -- they're deliberately challenging it as sharp practice and suggested that it is an unfair contract, and they wouldn't have taken that step if they didn't think they've got a very strong case. The key word here is "tying" -- they're making the point that Apple's business practices are exactly the same as car manufacturers who actively prevent 3rd-party servicing of vehicles, which is now banned in most major jurisdictions.
I was curious to how much Apple makes from the App Store.
Found this article: https://www.theverge.com/2019/3/20/18273179/apple-icloud-itunes-app-store-music-services-businesses
Under the App Store/Mac App Store heading
Those “free” apps have resulted in some pretty big sales: as of June 2018, Apple had paid out $100 billion to developers from the App Store. If you work off of Apple’s 70 / 30 revenue split (which is usually, but not always, the cut it takes from purchases), you get total sales of roughly $142 billion, with $42 billion of that going to Apple in the decade it’s been running the App Store.
Apple have ongoing costs for both iOS development and maintaining the store. So, they could charge to list apps and/or per download. That would pretty much spell the end of free truly apps.
Or, they could take a cut off initial cost and nothing off in-app purchases (or ad revenue*?) , and all apps would end up free but possibly unworkable without in-app purchases.
Which is not a model I would like.
The problem isn't that Apple charge both for initial purchase and for additional revenue, it's their monopoly charging of an extortionate 30%. And the solution isn't for Apple to charge less, it's to oblige them to open up to other App stores as long as they meet certain security requirements. Then we can see what the real market price of running an App store is and prices would automatically adjust accordingly
*anyone know if Apple also take a cut of ad revenue? I would assume so given their model