Ooh, a company leveraging any angle they can, for gain and profit, regardless of ethics or legality?
Indeed, water seems to be wet. Maybe the sun will indeed rise in the east tomorrow as well??
The ongoing federal court trial in California between Apple and Epic Games has provided some unprecedented levels of insight into the iOS platform and iPhone. But most of all, it has confirmed things we already knew. Most notably that Cupertino built the wider iOS ecosystem with an aim to deter people from switching to other …
I don't understand your complaint. While I don't know very much about them or their games, it seems like the one I've heard of, Fortnite, is supported on all those platforms except Linux. From Wikipedia:
Platform(s): Windows, macOS,[b] Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, iOS,[b] Android[b]
If you're asking why they don't put those on disks instead of downloading them, the answer would be that most computers don't have optical drives at all and most which do are traditional DVD readers which probably aren't big enough to store modern games compiled for five platforms. Also, I don't know if the various consoles have a disk format which allows universal disks.
Perhaps the better question though is why this matters to anything? Is their point against Apple any better or worse because of this lack of disks?
Epic is a digital sales platform. They don't sell disks. Same way Steam, Origin or Uplay don't sell disks.
However a quick dip into the playstations store and there is Epic's Fortnite all over it. I have the Epic launcher on my PC and a quite a few games from them installed.
Whats stopping them selling disks is technology and how the world works now - Digital downloads and no one has optical drives anymore.
Not sure what your post is regarding.
If they simply made it POSSIBLE to load a non-app-store application [similar to Android downloading and installing a non-store APK] this whole issue would PROBABLY go away...
After following the first link in the article, I'm reminded that Apple banned Epic's game because it allowed in-game purchases outside the Apple store. But I recall _other_ applications being banned by Apple for different reasons. If there are no exploits or gross vulnerabilities, WHY ban them?
Instead, Apple has made _THEMSELVES_ the gatekeeper of iOS, with the obvious motive of PREVENTING people from switching to an Android platform (as indicated in the article), as well as preventing "apps they do not like for some reason" from being deployed on iOS.
So it looks like they got the 'evil' part of the definition right. The 'necessary' part, not so sure.
regardless iOS is great if it's what you want - I just don't see why they need a STRANGLEHOLD on "The Store" like that. I have to wonder how many customers they LOSE because of it.
It is possible to load non-store apps on your device.
You just need to know what you're doing, which apparently is difficult for young people today....
Epic's argument is the same as demanding to have Waitrose (a UK high end supermarket) deliver your ASDA (UK low end supermarket) shopping....
"It is possible to load non-store apps on your device."
If you're talking about corporate iDevices being added to side load in house APPs that have not passed through the iStore that doesn't count.
A it's not a storefront, B the app still needs to be signed by an apple cert that restricts where the app can be deployed.
"Epic's argument is the same as demanding to have Waitrose (a UK high end supermarket) deliver your ASDA (UK low end supermarket) shopping...."
Sorry, that's a terrible analogy.
The argument is more like - remember the Microsoft antitrust case from the 1990s, and now imagine that Microsoft did not allow users to install any software on Windows except through their own "store" and with them taking a 30% cut of all revenues from all software or media that did run on Windows.
Being able to load your own software on a computer independently of the computer or OS vendor is not "forcing Waitrose to deliver ASDA groceries".
Lets not forget Microsoft tried for this with the Windows 8 era
Now we are left with an office product that is extremely difficult to buy without their online services 365 attached to it.
A product that once you have a copy compatible with Windows 10 (that looks likely to not be made obsolete anytime soon) doesn't have any significant new features added to office over any 6y view.
I'm all for spending 150 GBP for a copy and after 3y since activation 5 GBP per year for security updates. Plenty of profit at those price points, but alas not a product that exists (at those price points anyway).
> If they simply made it POSSIBLE to load a non-app-store application [similar to Android downloading and installing a non-store APK] this whole issue would PROBABLY go away...
Would it? It's worth bearing in mind that Epic has launched the exact same lawsuit against Google, despite the fact that you can sideload on Android. That courtcase simply hasnt' received as much media attention.
> After following the first link in the article, I'm reminded that Apple banned Epic's game because it allowed in-game purchases outside the Apple store. But I recall _other_ applications being banned by Apple for different reasons. If there are no exploits or gross vulnerabilities, WHY ban them?
Because it went against the rules which Apple have set for vendors which wish to use Apple's infrastructure to sell goods and services to consumers.
And therein lies the key point: Apple can (to an extent) choose to offer different terms to users of it's platform, in a similar way as to how open source software can sometimes be made available under multiple licences.
But a vendor can't turn around and demand that Apple change those rules.
Epic's argument is that Apple (and Google) are monopolies and therefore should be forced to give better terms to the vendors which use their infrastructure.
And, y'know, I can see where Epic is coming from. However, I can also see that Epic is basically fronting for Tencent (which owns a lot of game companies other than Epic - 60% of their annnual revenue comes from mobile gaming), and it's mostly other software giants (Facebook, Microsoft, etc) who are jumping onto the hammer-Apple bandwagon.
That makes me very suspicious of the motives for this little "won't someone think of the little guys" crusade - if Epic/Tencent does win, I'm equally doubtful as to whether either the vendors or consumers are likely to see any benefits after all the dust has settled.
> regardless iOS is great if it's what you want - I just don't see why they need a STRANGLEHOLD on "The Store" like that. I have to wonder how many customers they LOSE because of it.
Apple has spent decades building an eco-system up which runs according to their rules. You don't really buy a PC or mobile phone from them - instead, you buy an appliance which then plugs into this eco-system.
Apple's contention is that this eco-system needs to be protected, and there's some merit to this argument. OTOH, there's also some merit to the argument that all they're really doing is protecting their monopoly.
Which on the third hand, is something they've built entirely by themselves, using private money and resources. Which is the American way, dontcha know.
So, yeah. It's messy, there's a whole host of complex law and economic aspects, and the lawyers are definitely the main winners in all of this...
I'll agree with you when Apple is deemed responsible of any loss sustained every time one application manages to evade their controls.
The fact that they retire harmful applications from their store on a regular basis is a strong indication that they don't do their work properly...
To some extent, it is relevant because they are trying to show that Apple frequently tries to use its market dominance to disadvantage competitors. It isn't core to their point, as they're talking about a different alleged anti-competitive step, but they want to indicate that it's a pattern of behavior by Apple which harms its customers (users and developers respectively). That is the purpose to their discussion.
As the article says, the existence of the Apple and Android stores in their current locked in format makes a huge barrier to entry for newcomers. While competitors, by operating similar models Apple and Android are essentially operating as a cartel
I suspect the store lock-in is worse on Apple than Google.
Whilst I buy apps on Google app-store they aren't expensive and very few. eBooks I buy elsewhere, music I don't buy from Google, or video. AFAIK Google doesn't take a cut on movies, music, books I buy on other services but watch on my phone. Google also doesn't particularly encourage me to use their services to buy those things (I get directed to YouTube alot but then thats free to me other than the annying ads).
I believe Apple are much more aggressive in directing users to their own services for Music/Video/eBook purchases. Apple were also first with decent smartphones / tablets and got iTunes front and centre and many users were already locked in from the iPod.
Its the same as MS directing me to the x-box store for games on ,my Windows machine.
Only way to stop this is to ban vertical integration between the hardware/os platform vendor and the services vendors.
I swore never to give Apple a penny ever many years ago when they snuck iTunes onto my PC alongside a QuickTime download, and it immediately decided to reindex my carefully curated .mp3 collection. I then had to hack the registry to remove traces of it. Its that kind of thing thats unpleasant.
P.S. Don't get me started on Apples insistence on their own version of the USB-c socket. Idiots.
Indeed. Because you put the barriers in place to ensure that would need to happen.
It's funny, in a way, because I've been hearing for decades now that buying a video gave me a "right to view", and not a right to own.
Of course, that discourse is a load of crap but still, I'd really like to see someone argue in court that their "right to view" transcends the platform and any restriction artificially implemented by a company is an illegal impediment to their right to view.
Heck, if I were a millionnaire I think I'd give it a try, just to scare them shitless.
I don't know how this is different from any hardware/software platforms. Sony, Microsoft, Nitendo, Apple, Disney, etc. all participate in this lock-in.
You can't purchase a game for one platform and hope to run it on another platform. If I bought a Windows game, I can't ask to get a corresponding Mac game for free (unless the publisher gracefully gives a free license). You have to re-purchase every software to move from Windows to Mac, or from Android to iOS.
This is not just software, but also any digital media. If I bought a DVD movie, I cannot ask to get a free BluRay media or streaming of the same movie in the same resolution (unless you explicitly paid for several formats in a bundle) without re-purchasing the new formats. If I bought a CD audio, I can't ask to get a free DSD or 192k audio, or even the same resolution FLAC format over the Internet without re-paying. Just the act of downloading is illegal, even if it is exactly the same as backing up your CD you already own.
I think Epic is just being greedy. They should just focus on increasing Linux games, then complain about lock-in after that.
I think they're doing some misdirection by saying that Apple's evil over there, so they must be evil over here too. However, I think Epic's fundamental point is that they just want to sell Fortnight widgets. They don't want to sell iOS Fortnight widgets or Android Fortnight widgets or Windows Fortnight widgets. Just Fortnight widgets that work where ever you play Fortnight. And that you should be able to buy those common widgets where ever you play Fortnight, preferably without having to go through the platform's purchasing system.
Though, I'm not sure if Apple's beef was that Epic wanted to sell cross-platform Fortnight widgets or just that they wanted to sell widgets on iOS without using Apple's purchasing system.
* I've never actually played Fortnight, so I don't know what kind of things Epic sells in their game store. So I'll just call them widgets. :)
My understanding is that Apple has an issue with Epic wanting to sell Fortnight widgets on iOS without using the Apple purchasing system. I don't think (not 100% sure) that Apple has an issue with purchases made elsewhere ending up on iOS apps (if so, I've played a few games that violate Apple's terms then as I could sync purchases made on PC to the iOS version of the game).
I have disneyplus, Netflix and Amazon prime on my iOS devices, all of them have the subscription bought outside the App Store.
However they are not ‘in app’ purchases. By controlling the payment method you could argue that they are ensuring that the transactions are secure and the payment gateway isn’t a fraudulent site
But then I would far rather pay a suitable amount for an application just so I am not plagued with adverts when using it.
No, it's more like they want to sell the front-cover of the magazine in the shop and then sell you the rest of it in a dodgy deal afterwards. In-game content and subs are not like buying Product X from Vendor Y who placed a (paid) advert in Magazine A published by Publisher B. Vendor Y and Publisher B are not necessarily the same company or financially related, the paid advert is a business transaction between separate parties. That's not how in-app purchases work.
So if I can:
- buy an album on Amazon Music and listen to it on the Amazon Music app on any platform I like, including Apple, without Apple taking a cut
Why can't I:
- buy a big gun on Epic store and use it to shoot people in an Epic game on whatever platform I like including Apple, without Apple taking a cut.
I sense Apple will lose this one.
Apple issue with Epic was that if you are logged in the game on an iOS device, then when you make an in-game purchase
Shylock Apple wants its pound of flesh 30%.
And Apple forbids also Epic from selling the same item at a lower price from another source (like an Epic owned web store for example) if I remember well the term & conditions.
Yes this is a major problem, that the UK payment card industry also has.
My view is that it should be required at the point of sale to itemize transaction costs. So it is clear to the consumer how much the vendor is actually getting, how much is being lost to a transaction platform.
This then leads into a vendor providing the consumer with options on how to reduce overall costs to the consumer, by using a different transaction platform. It is also my view that this should legally be allowed (via consumer laws) regardless of apple/google/visa/Mastercard contract that attempt to inhibitor this information and consumer choice.
Obviously for Epic this means allowing to option to buy from Epic store.
Where this ethos affects UK/EU payment cards is that recently (jan 2018) it became illegal to charge less to the consumer based on the different rates of credit/debit/bank transfer charges and breakdown those additional costs to consumer by way of surcharges.
1) all such charges should be made transparent to the consumer, so itemization at point of sale should be allowed and in some situations made compulsory.
2) vendors should be allowed to legally offer alternative options at point of sale to reduce transaction charges.
> Where this ethos affects UK/EU payment cards is that recently (jan 2018) it became illegal to charge less to the consumer based on the different rates of credit/debit/bank transfer charges and breakdown those additional costs to consumer by way of surcharges.
So could someone charge loads for transaction costs and outspend their rivals on marketing, knowing that shops have to average their high costs out with other cards' lower costs?
@Fred T but is it pot kettle when the article said this
“Or, put simply, you can't buy a game on iOS and have it run on Android, a fact Epic Games was keen to highlight, as its own marketplace allows users to run the same software on multiple platforms.”
I agree with you to an extent about having to purchase software again if you moved hardware/software platforms. In the past this was the case but today with online registration we are starting to see some software being movable to a new platform if supported without another purchase. I have seen this with MMOs like WoW.
Apple do try to lock you into their OS/hardware and the article has Epic including music as an example. But unless something has changed that is not the case with purchased music. About six years ago I was able extract my music from ITunes as DMR free when I stopped using an IPhone.
MMOs like WoW have a different sort of lock-in. They make minimal money off the software itself. They make all of their money off subscriptions (or sometimes in-game-store transactions).
Most music on iTunes is now DRM free. I do have some tracks that are stuck with DRM because Apple only let you "upgrade" from DRM to DRM free for a limited time (there are workarounds - easiest is subscribe to one of Apple's music-related services for 1 month at about $10-15 which allows you to download DRM free).
> I don't know how this is different from any hardware/software platforms. Sony, Microsoft, Nitendo, Apple, Disney, etc. all participate in this lock-in.
More precisely, it's the responsibility/choice of the IP owner as to whether to port from one platform to another, not the platform owner.
To take an example, Monument Valley is an amazing mobile game which was first released on iOS. It was (much) later released on Android because the content owner chose to do so.
In fact, if memory serves, there's plenty of examples of iOS apps/games not being ported over to Android because the profit margins are generally lower for various reasons - not least because of how much more hardware variation there is and how that impacts QA and support costs.
Be interesting to see if Apple use that in their defence.
Should the platform owner(s) make it easy to port from one platform to another? Perhaps, but that's a much wider question - and it also tends to result in the weaker platforms being killed off, as happened with Blackberry/WinMobile when they decided to start offering Android compatibility. After all, if you're not going to make any use of that platform's special features, what's the point in using that platform?
Either way, I can't help but think Epic is playing a dangerous game here - the stuff they're bringing up touches on a lot of stuff around platform "lock-ins". They've been very keen to stress the monopoly/anti-trust angle, but it wouldn't take too much to point the same attack at Sony or Microsoft.
Or even Epic themselves. After all, Fortnite is essentially a monopoly/eco-system, and there's an in-game store. Should they be forced to open this up so that players can re-sell previously purchased goods - and/or for third parties to make and sell their own goods?
(Yep, this is a definite stretch. But it's the sort of thing which needs to be thought about more as the market continues to shift towards microtransactions and resellable content, as the debacle with Diablo III showed...)
"You can't purchase a game for one platform and hope to run it on another platform"
Why not I'm purchasing a licence to run the game the platform is irrelevant. Look at the original Diablo disks which would work on both PC and Mac's? There's plenty of examples of smaller publishers having a mobile product priced at £x and a PC/Max version priced at £y, the price difference being directly attributable to the feature set.
The DVD/BuRay argument is BS because typically BluRay is now 4K where DVD is lower resolution. The same goes for the audio you mention as there are measurable quality differences. That being said the laws in different parts of the world vary. If you buy a a CD (or digital audio) many places allow for format shifting.
When talking about apps that are cross-platform, this is where I get confused.
Take Office 365, Netflix, Spotify, Amazon & others, they all state in-app purchases when viewed through the iOS app store, and the subscription price they state is the same as if I went direct to the vendor's website, i.e. Spotify £9.99 subscription is the same if purchased through app store or through Spotify website. Are they paying the 30% fee to Apple, does that mean they lose money for every subscriber that purchases through iOS?
Times are changing from when you had an OS specific application or game, it is moving towards the subscriber model, you are not paying for the app you are paying for the service through an app. So I can understand why Apple is getting concerned about their revenue stream, especially if you can download a free app and pay for the subscription/widgets/gadgets/power ups (whatever they are called nowadays) on a website or different platform. But that is what is available with the names above, so again I can understand why Epic want the same for their app.
Disclaimer, I have never played Fortnite, so no idea if that is how it works, but from all the articles I've read that is the picture it paints!
"Are they paying the 30% fee to Apple, does that mean they lose money for every subscriber that purchases through iOS?"
Most of them, Yes. A significant portion of the sticker price is profit. So long as they are making a profit then it's a cost of doing business. Many of these businesses look at economies of scale. Is it better to get £2 from 100 people or £0.5 from 100k people?
A critical point here is that the contract they have with Apple does not allow the app developer to tell it's customer they can get a better deal elsewhere.
That's a sad indictment of reading comprehension, because this is not Epic's argument.
They are arguing licenses to run things should be platform-independent, and the same for things you purchase in-app. The principle of buy once, run anywhere, instead of being forced into vendor lock-in.
Noble, but of course not the reason behind their beef with Apple. Epic is simply trying to spin "we don't want to pay Apple 30% of everything" into "Apple's behaviour is anticompetitive, and we're doing this for the greater good".
You're ignoring the other end of this. If I buy in app items then those in app items will be the same assets regardless of platform.
Part of their point is why should Apple get 30% of the in app transaction. Think songs on Spotify. It's not like the song on Android is any different from the song on an iPhone.
Additionally "one platform's software doesn't run on another" is not entirely true. There are many apps written in Java which will quite happy run on any platform. If you look at Wine on Linux you'll see many Windows apps running within Linux. The core difference is the system calls that are being made.
Since you ask… Apple sends a purchase receipt to your server. Your server needs to figure out that the same app on different devices is owned by the same user, so you make the in-app purchase available on all the customer’s devices. The only difference is that Apple helps you if the same user uses your app on multiple iOS devices; I hope Google does the same with android devices.
"And how would buying something from the Apple App Store and it working on all other stores for all other platforms work?"
Please enter your username:
Please enter your password:
You would like to purchase the following in-game items, which will cost 12.99. Please confirm.
Thank you for your purchase. This will be stored in the account you just signed into. If you use the same account on another platform, it will still be there.
If a developer wants to implement this using their own account server system, which most of them do, then why shouldn't it work on multiple platforms?
You can buy a Spotify subscription via an IOS device, and then use Spotify on any other platform.
Technically I could buy audiobooks via the Audible IOS app, and listen to those audiobooks on other devices, but in practice I cannot do that while with the Android version of the app I can.
Imagine if Microsoft took a 30% cut of all revenues from any software to be allowed to run on Windows?
"The argument follows that if you've already accumulated content on one platform, such as app purchases or e-book downloads, switching platforms means you're effectively forced to repurchase them.
Yes, it sucks, but if this is Epic's argument then they're f*cked.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Sony (Playstation), Microsoft (X-Box) and Nintendo (Switch). Feel free to add Amazon, Audible, Netflix, Comixology, and others. It didn't happen in the physical real world either - I didn't get a free DVD for every VHS I owned when I switched to a DVD player. It sucks, but it is what it is.
Your argument is flawed.
I had Audible for quite some time (pre Amazon buying them) and all the titles I purchased are available on my phone, my pc, my tablet, etc. regardless of OS - EXCEPT the 2 titles I mistakenly purchased through the Apple store.
I watch my Disney+ subscription on any of my devices - including my Sky Q box, even though I didn't buy the subscription through Sky. Ditto Prime video.
IMHO Epic has a point - this is not a hardware specific application, don't let the h/w vendor lock you in and rip you off.
Your response is flawed.
Your assumption is that the hardware (and/or OS) is the platform. Wrong. In your Audible example, *Audible* is the platform - i.e. you can't take your Audible paid stuff off elsewhere to a competitor and listen to it there (at least not officially/legally, as sanctioned by Audible, as far as I know - there are ways of course, but we're talking officially here). Audible - surprise, surprise - wants you to stay on their 'platform'.
Ditto for Disney+, although that is a subscription service where you don't really purchase content outright in any capacity anyway, you only have access as long as you have a subscription. But: if Disney decide to remove content *you may have no-where else to view it* despite having previously 'paid' to watch it. If they pull The Mandalorian then the only way you will be able to watch it again (legally) is to buy it again on disk...
Audible is a platform (at least for non-techie users), as is Disney+, as is Prime Video, as is NetFlix.
Why is Epic not a platform in the same way as the examples you quote? Why should things I buy on Epic website not be available to me in their iOS app? Why should Apple take a cut of purchases made in Epics iOS app but not via their website?
If I buy a license to an Epic game from Epics website then why should I not be able to install and play on multiple platforms without Apple taking a cut?
You can. Well, not right now, because Epic got themselves removed from the AppStore, but epic can sell whatever they want on their website without a penny going to apple, or they can sell things on Android without giving a penny to apple, and they can make it available to anyone they want.
Apple wants their cut _for things purchased on an iOS device_ and epic can make it available to anyone they want. And the app is free to download.
Epic chose to set up their own games store on Android and then pulled it a year and a half later and went back to the Play Store.
They also have an Epic games store for Mac and PC.
If they had ever put two and two together they could have had a cross platform Android, Mac, and PC games store with cross-buy and cross-play which would beat Steam and they cound legitimately accuse Apple of locking them out.
But at the moment it seems they seem to want other people to do the work for them.
You an buy audio book from Audible, you get to access it on the Audible app on any platform it's available.
You buy an audio book from Apple, you get to access it on the iTunes app (I think) on any platform it's available.
You subscribe to Disney+, you get to access it on the Disney+ app on any platform it's available.
You obviously don't buy an audio book from Apple and get to access it on the Audible app on any platform it's available. You yourself said this as if you didn't have a problem with it.
And yet it's exactly what Epic want as well... buy Fortnite DLC from Apple and get to access it on the Play Store app from Google, Galaxy Store from Samsung, Steam from Valve, and other unrelated platforms.
"And yet it's exactly what Epic want as well... buy Fortnite DLC from Apple and get to access it on [...]"
No, that's not what they want. They want to be able to run their app without their users buying it from Apple. They made it, and they want all the money from sales of it. They want to sell it to IOS users, rather than having Apple sell it to IOS users, but this they are not allowed to do, so they want Apple's monopoly position to require them to at least ease the terms.
"Epic Games was keen to highlight, as its own marketplace allows users to run the same software on multiple platforms."
So why can't they allow users to run it on Android and iOS? Can't they give customers on one system a voucher to switch to the other? Or even an install file which they can carry across?
There is no no real switching cost.
The problem is that if I play Fortnight on IOS and decided to purchase some items in game, Apple would want 30% of what is charged even though Apple have no involvement in the deal.
Tomorrow I could continue playing Fortnight on my PC and purchase some in game items and Microsoft are not entitled to 30% of what is charged.
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