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iPad's growing competition from Android could quell Apple antitrust talk

post #1 of 94
Thread Starter 
Growing competition from tablets running the Google Android operating system may help Apple and its iOS subscription plans for the iPad avoid antitrust probes, at least in the eyes of the European Union.

Regulators with the European Commission have said they cannot yet judge whether Apple has a dominant position in the tablet market, according to Bloomberg. Though Apple sold millions of iPads last year and took the vast majority of touchscreen tablet sales, it is a market that is "relatively new and evolving," they said.

Apple caught the ire of European newspapers before it even formally announced its iOS recurring subscription plans, of which the Cupertino, Calif., company takes a 30 percent cut of all sales. Concerns from European publishers prompted Belgian lawmakers to file formal antitrust complaints with the European Union.

But in a response from EU commissioner Andris Piebalgs earlier this month, the possibility of an antitrust probe was downplayed: "Alternative applications platforms exist and several companies have recently launched or are expected to launch in the near future a number of devices similar in terms of functionality to the iPad."

On Tuesday, Apple unveiled its subscription plan for the iOS App Store on the iPad and iPhone. In addition to allowing content providers to offer recurring subscription billing, the company also takes a 30 percent cut of all sales and has banned links within App Store software to external websites that would allow users to purchase content or subscriptions at a lower price and without Apple's share.

Android-maker Google quickly countered by announcing its "One Pass" service for subscriptions just a day later. In the competing product, the search giant takes a smaller 10 percent cut of transactions and offers users the ability to view content in a Web browser on a variety of devices with a single login. But Google has also agreed to allow publishers to control subscribers' personal data, while Apple gives customers the option of providing a publisher with only their name, e-mail address and zip code when they subscribe.

While regulators in Europe for now do not seem convinced that Apple is engaged in antitrust practices, The Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission are currently looking into Apple's terms in a "preliminary stage." However, a formal investigation has yet to be launched. The report also cited the European Commission as saying it was "carefully monitoring the situation.
post #2 of 94
I don't think Apple/SJ want a monopoly even if they get one - they want to be the best, high-end option. Here's hoping we get competition from a decent third party who does want to cater for the entire market (a la Google) - but without the privacy concerns :/
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post #3 of 94
In Europe they don't need to be a monopoly to be fined by anti competitive practices. Telefonica, Siemenes, etc have been fined with fines greater than 100 million
post #4 of 94
how can you have an antitrust investigation when there's not even an operation going on?

shakespeare said it; "much ado about nothing"
post #5 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by ezduzit View Post

how can you have an antitrust investigation when there's not even an operation going on?

shakespeare said it; "much ado about nothing"

Much ado about nothing indeed.

They aren;t using any monopoly power to squeeze out competition. You can agree to their ad rules or not. Nothing anti competitive about that in this case.
post #6 of 94
deleted.

Many of the most important software concepts were invented in the 70s and forgotten in the 80s.

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Many of the most important software concepts were invented in the 70s and forgotten in the 80s.

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post #7 of 94
Yeah, some toll roads are more expensive than others...

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #8 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by oseame View Post

I don't think Apple/SJ want a monopoly even if they get one - they want to be the best, high-end option. Here's hoping we get competition from a decent third party who does want to cater for the entire market (a la Google) - but without the privacy concerns :/

If they wanted to be the best high end option, they wouldn't have priced the ipad at $499.

Simple as that.

They priced the iPad WAY TOO aggressively to defend that assertion.
post #9 of 94
Maybe this is news on other sites, but is anyone focusing the same attention on Amazon with its Kindle? Amazon has a local monopoly with its Kindle, and you get a take-it-or-leave-it set of options. And Sony can't sell its wares for the Kindle. They could sell you a DRM free format and let you put it on a Kindle if you wanted to, but they (probably correctly) don't feel that makes good business sense. Where's the outcry about that?
post #10 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jcoz View Post

If they wanted to be the best high end option, they wouldn't have priced the ipad at $499.

Simple as that.

They priced the iPad WAY TOO aggressively to defend that assertion.

The iPad price scaled from $499 to $829, and their Mac lineup starts at $999. As much of a utility the iPad is, it is in no way as powerful as a Mac, so to price one at the same price (or more) would not make any sense. Steve Jobs presented the iPad as an in-between device, so the price needed to be in between a smartphone and a laptop as well (at least in Apple's ecosystem). The iPad price fits perfectly for the type of device Apple is trying to promote.
post #11 of 94
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post #12 of 94
I suspect the real legal debate won't hinge on market share and anti-trust laws, which can get messy and often ends up inconclusive.

No, the debate is really a public policy issue. Is the public interest best served by putting cell phone companies and those who make digital devices such as Apple's iPad and Amazon's Kindle under the digital equivalent of the common carrier laws that apply to the shipping industry? For the full details, check out the "common carrier" entry in Wikipedia.

Here is how it works in practice. When you want to ship a package, you don't have to worry about whether the shipping firm you want to use allows you to ship through them or whether they will apply a 30% surcharge simply because you compete with a firm that the shipping company owns. The 30% surcharge is the package equivalent of what Apple wants to do with ebooks. FedEx and UPS can't enforce such surcharges.

No, subject to safety regulations and weight limitations, a common carrier has to transport any package the public brings in and to do so at certain fixed rates. They can't charge one company one rate and another company a different rate. They particularly can't do so to restrict competition.

The same is true for forms of communication that involve data rather than physical objects. Your landline telephone company can't block or impose surcharges on a call you might make to a cellular company under the assumption that you might be transferring your service to them. A common carrier has a public responsibility, enforced by law, to carry everyone's packages or data without discrimination or prejudice.

What the Kindle does and what Apple wants the iPad to begin to do is discriminate between data in ways that a public carrier cannot. Apple wants mobi ebook data intended for the Kindle app to be subject to a 30% of the retail price surcharge over that same book's data, encoded as epub and intended for their own iBooks apt. They're doing precisely what a common carrier cannot do.

Keep in mind that the law doesn't force every transporter of goods or data to be a public carrier. In part, the distinction lies in the public interest. Some private carriers (called contract carriers) are acceptable as long as the public also has access to common carriers, otherwise there would be no way goods could move freely about the country. Apple could argue that Google and the Droid OS are providing the common carrier OS, so they can be as restrictive as they like.

But Apple faces two problems that have little to do with market share. First, Apple isn't refusing to permit ebook data to be transported to Amazon and Sony apps. It is simply demanding a hefty surcharge, one that is identical to the entire income that Amazon earns from those books. That's an obvious and deliberate anti-competitive activity that's not in the public interest, whatever Apple's market share.

Even more important, in virtually every one of its ad campaigns, Apple identifies itself as a common carrier. When it promotes all the apps created by others that run on iPhones and iPads, it is strongly implying that any of those apps can access any data the user wants without unfair restrictions. Because of that advertising, Apple can't change, years after the iPhone came out, and suddenly transform itself into something much more restrictive. It can't sell tens of millions of devices under one claim and suddenly abandon that claim. Apple has made itself a de facto common carrier.

Interestingly, the same is not true of Amazon's Kindle. Amazon has never claimed that its device has any primary purpose other than displaying books and magazines downloaded from Amazon. What other features it has are limited, restricted and clearly labeled experimental. Amazon has been very clear that features other than reading books and other material provided through Amazon may not always be there. Under law, it would seem that they've established themselves as a contract carrier. When someone activates a Kindle, they go through a procedure that establishes a formal contractual relationship between themselves and Amazon, a contract that involves the buying and selling of ebook data, with Amazon agreeing to provide certain services and the customer agreeing to pay for those services.

I'm not a lawyer, although I did represent myself in a complex legal dispute that I won handily. But common carrier status seems to be the real legal issue we are disputing here.

  • First, is it in the public interest to insist that all those who make devices like iPhones and iPads behave as common carriers unless they clearly market themselves as contract carriers. That would mean an end to many of the restrictions that both Apple and cell phone companies apply to their products, as well as all the niggling charges.
  • Second, has Apple by its actions transformed itself into a de facto common carrier? If the latter is true, then Apple's behavior is clearly illegal.

--Michael W. Perry, Seattle
post #13 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacRulez View Post

Is the web broken?

Why spend all that money making an app for one platform when you can make a web app for your content and get 100% of all people using all web-capable devices?

That's exactly what Google is trying to do with Google Books, and (potentially) Google Music. Just understand that every word you read and listen to, Google will track it, store it, and sell it to the highest bidder.
post #14 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by hittrj01 View Post

That's exactly what Google is trying to do with Google Books, and (potentially) Google Music. Just understand that every word you read and listen to, Google will track it, store it, and sell it to the highest bidder.

The words you typed were tracked by Tribal Fusion, Google Analytics, Google AdSense, Quantcast, Federated Media, OpenX, Crowd Science, Advertising.com, ValueClick Media, AdHere and Doubleclick, courtesy of AI. AI sells you to all of these advertisers, and more. They know who you are. They know what you write. They know what makes you click.

That is no different from anything that Apple and Google are doing together. These companies need to make money. You think they should provide content and services to you for free?
post #15 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inkling View Post

I suspect the real legal debate won't hinge on market share and anti-trust laws, which can get messy and often ends up inconclusive.

No, the debate is really a public policy issue. Is the public interest best served by putting cell phone companies and those who make digital devices such as Apple's iPad and Amazon's Kindle under the digital equivalent of the common carrier laws that apply to the shipping industry? For the full details, check out the "common carrier" entry in Wikipedia.

Here is how it works in practice. When you want to ship a package, you don't have to worry about whether the shipping firm you want to use allows you to ship through them or whether they will apply a 30% surcharge simply because you compete with a firm that the shipping company owns. The 30% surcharge is the package equivalent of what Apple wants to do with ebooks. FedEx and UPS can't enforce such surcharges. ...

Nonsense.
post #16 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jcoz View Post

They priced the iPad WAY TOO aggressively to defend that assertion.

Have you seen Apple lastest earnings ? They sure aint giving them away.
post #17 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Regulators with the European Commission have said they cannot yet judge whether Apple has a dominant position in the tablet market, according to Bloomberg. Though Apple sold millions of iPads last year and took the vast majority of touchscreen tablet sales, it is a market that is "relatively new and evolving," they said.

Let's hope that US regulators (FTC, DoJ) will have half the brains of these EU folks, and don't, through their overzealousness, choke off this exciting new market.

Let it play out. At least for a while. The self-destruction of the traditional media is near-totally self-induced, and it is past time to stop paying attention to those caterwaulers.
post #18 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

Nonsense.

Once again you have no clue, nothing intelligent to say, and yet you put down others comments.
post #19 of 94
As much as I despise parts of the newly enforced app store rules, I oppose government intervention. The Market will sort this out via their wallet.

With that said, the app store rules for content providers such as Hulu, Netflix, Amazon (Kindle app), Barnes and Noble etc. are truly over the top. None of these vendors work on a margin that would allow them to give-up 30% of their revenue. I would argue their apps have spurred many iPads sales. Maybe they should get a cut of that revenue from Apple?
post #20 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Let's hope that US regulators (FTC, DoJ) will have half the brains of these EU folks, and don't, through their overzealousness, choke off this exciting new market.

Apple is the one trying to choke off the market and elimiate other sales channels. Why not have the FTC, or perhaps an act of Congress, allow fair price competition on different distrubution methods and providers? Why not let Apple charge whatever fees they want for in app purchases, but prohibit apple from requiring the in app price be the same or lower and why not prohibit apple from banning links to other competing purchasing options?

I have a hard time seeing how anti-competitive behavior that resticts choice is going to promote an exciting new market.
post #21 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by AIaddict View Post

Once again you have no clue, nothing intelligent to say, and yet you put down others comments.

Bullshit is bullshit. There's no point in wasting time replying to long-winded nonsense.
post #22 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by tbsteph View Post

I would argue their apps have spurred many iPads sales. Maybe they should get a cut of that revenue from Apple?

Good point, I think Apple owes Amazon 30% of the purchase price of my iDevices because Kindle was a big part of the motivation to purchase them.
post #23 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by AIaddict View Post

Good point, I think Apple owes Amazon 30% of the purchase price of my iDevices because Kindle was a big part of the motivation to purchase them.

... or short-winded nonsense, either, for that matter.
post #24 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

Bullshit is bullshit. There's no point in wasting time replying to long-winded nonsense.

Really? Are you sure it is not because you are incapable of reading a well reasond argument, understanding it, and formulating an intelligent reply?

In my opinion and understanding, common carrier laws don't apply here...YET. This is a new form of commerce and laws can and do evolve. If there is a big enough uproar from consumers and the potent content lobbies, it is certainly possible that either the US or EU will take action including possible legislative action. They could directly outlaw Apple's pricing agreement terms, or the requirement that in app purchases must go through Apple. They could even outlaw the walled garden that allows Apple to limit access to only their own App Store. The US Congress has a ton of power to regulate interstate commerce if they want to act, and historically they tend to act in favor of more competition and access, not less.
post #25 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by AIaddict View Post

Really? Are you sure it is not because you are incapable of reading a well reasond argument, understanding it, and formulating an intelligent reply? ...

Yeah, I'm pretty sure that's not it.
post #26 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by AIaddict View Post

Apple is the one trying to choke off the market and elimiate other sales channels. Why not have the FTC, or perhaps an act of Congress, allow fair price competition on different distrubution methods and providers? Why not let Apple charge whatever fees they want for in app purchases, but prohibit apple from requiring the in app price be the same or lower and why not prohibit apple from banning links to other competing purchasing options?

Which market is Apple choking off?

Computers? Nope - you can still buy your choice from any number of suppliers -- and Apple only has a minor market share.

Cell phones? Nope- you can still buy your choice from any number of suppliers -- and Apple only has a minor market share.

Smart phones? Nope- you can still buy your choice from any number of suppliers -- and Apple only has a minor market share.

Music? Nope- you can still buy your choice from any number of suppliers -- and Apple only has a minor market share.

Magazines? Nope- you can still buy your choice from any number of suppliers -- and Apple only has a minor market share.

Books? Nope- you can still buy your choice from any number of suppliers -- and Apple only has a minor market share.

Software? Nope- you can still buy your choice from any number of suppliers -- and Apple only has a minor market share.

Software for smartphones? Nope- you can still buy your choice from any number of suppliers -- and Apple only has a minor market share.

The only thing Apple is doing is choosing which items they will sell in their store and taking a cut. That's no different than Walmart taking a cut (closer to 50% than to Apple's 30%, btw) and choosing what to sell in their store. Is Walmart anticompetitive because they won't sell Playboy?

Or maybe it's like Ford dealers refusing to sell you a new Corvette. Must be anticompetitive, right?

Or maybe it's like Coca Cola not allowing its distributors to sell Pepsi in a Coke can.

All this talk of Apple having a monopoly or restricting competition is total nonsense.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AIaddict View Post

I have a hard time seeing how anti-competitive behavior that resticts choice is going to promote an exciting new market.

Obviously because you don't have a clue what anticompetitive behavior is.
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post #27 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

Yeah, I'm pretty sure that's not it.

Yet your total refusal to put forth an argument suggests that you don't have one.
post #28 of 94
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Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

Software for smartphones? Nope- you can still buy your choice from any number of suppliers -- and Apple only has a minor market share.

According to this chart posted over at Engadget, this assertion is false. 82.7% is not a minor share by any meaningful measurement.
post #29 of 94
If the ipad is like a netbook, then there is no monopoly of anything.
post #30 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

Nonsense.

Such a well thought out argument. Lot of thought went into that. Stop thinking before you hurt yourself.
post #31 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by EWTHeckman View Post

According to this chart posted over at Engadget, this assertion is false. 82.7% is not a minor share by any meaningful measurement.

That's extremely misleading. That's only smartphone sales through dedicated app stores. Software purchased elsewhere is not listed.

Consider that Apple only has 25% of the smartphone market. Is it reasonable to believe that the other 75% of owners are only buying 17% of the software? Obviously not - they're just not getting it through dedicated app stores.
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post #32 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jcoz View Post

If they wanted to be the best high end option, they wouldn't have priced the ipad at $499.

Simple as that.

They priced the iPad WAY TOO aggressively to defend that assertion.

Yea, and free is better, but I would not hold my breath if I were you. I hear you can get a XOOM for 800$ to 1000$ that matches an iPad.... or pay the same price for a 7" screen.

There are better options everywhere out there...... in another dimension. LOL

Just a thought,
en
post #33 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by EWTHeckman View Post

Yet your total refusal to put forth an argument suggests that you don't have one.

I'm pretty sure it suggests that bullshit isn't worth replying to. For example, suppose I posted this:

Quote:
In my opinion and understanding, privacy laws don't apply here...YET. This is a new form of cyberstalking and laws can and do evolve. If there is a big enough uproar from consumers it is certainly possible that either the US or EU will take action including possible legislative action. They could directly outlaw Google's data theft, or force all ad services to only collect information from people who opt in. They could even outlaw Internet advertising. The US Congress has a ton of power to regulate interstate commerce if they want to act, and historically they tend to act in favor of consumers. Android would immediately become illegal.

Is there any likelihood that the US Congress is going to do this? No. So, is there any point in responding to it other than to say it's nonsense? No.
post #34 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

That's extremely misleading. That's only smartphone sales through dedicated app stores. Software purchased elsewhere is not listed.

Consider that Apple only has 25% of the smartphone market. Is it reasonable to believe that the other 75% of owners are only buying 17% of the software? Obviously not - they're just not getting it through dedicated app stores.

From what I keep reading in various places, Google is very worried about how poorly Android (the only serious smartphone competitor to the iPhone right now) Apps are selling. I've also been reading that part of the reason is that hardware specific dependencies as well as significant version fragmentation in Android make developing a single app for all Android devices essentially impossible, which doesn't give developers much encouragement to develop for Android.

Also, remember that the iOS ecosystem also includes iPod Touches (no serious competition to speak of) and iPads (where competitors are just beginning to get serious).

So yes, while I'm sure that 75% of smartphone owners buying only 17% of the handheld software is not dead nuts accurate, related information suggests that it's not that far off the mark either.
post #35 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

Which market is Apple choking off?

You can't be that stupid. Anonymouse yes, but I doubt you are. Apple is trying to choke off the the ability to sell content to owners of its hardware. They want your music to come from iTunes and your books to come from iBooks and your news and magazines to go through their billing system. They already force you to get your apps from their app store on iOS devices and they are trying to use that power to eliminate customer choice for the other content and video content for iOS and apple TV as well. Apple is trying to keep iOS customers from buying add on content from anyone but Apple, or an Apple partner who is giving 30% to Apple.

Quote:
Obviously because you don't have a clue what anticompetitive behavior is.

No, I have more than just a clue. I understand exactly what Apple is trying to do and what it will do to consumers and competitors.
post #36 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

I'm pretty sure it suggests that bullshit isn't worth replying to.

Fascinating. You did all that work to argue why you don't want to do any work to make an argument.

BTW, noting that two different issues can use the same form of argument, then claiming one is nonsense, therefore the other is nonsense is well nonsense!

Please, either put forth your argument or go do something which is actually productive.
post #37 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by AIaddict View Post

You can't be that stupid. Anonymouse yes, but I doubt you are. Apple is trying to choke off the the ability to sell content to owners of its hardware. They want your music to come from iTunes and your books to come from iBooks and your news and magazines to go through their billing system. They already force you to get your apps from their app store on iOS devices and they are trying to use that power to eliminate customer choice for the other content and video content for iOS and apple TV as well. Apple is trying to keep iOS customers from buying add on content from anyone but Apple, or an Apple partner who is giving 30% to Apple.



No, I have more than just a clue. I understand exactly what Apple is trying to do and what it will do to consumers and competitors.

More nonsense. And frankly, I think you do understand what Apple is trying to do, and that you're being entirely disingenuous in your posts. (That means I think you're just making bullshit up, by the way.)

Apple's trying to do two things, period.

1. Maintain a consistent user experience for iOS users so that using an iOS device is a better user experience than using a web browser.

2. Stop "developers" who are cheating on their developer agreement to avoid the revenue sharing aspects of that agreement from doing so.

That's it, period, and there is exactly no evidence to support any of these fictional "evil plot" theories that you and the other astroturfers, fandroids, etc. are here trying to pass off as "the real story".

You're like the Glenn Beck of the AppleInsider forums.
post #38 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

1. Maintain a consistent user experience for iOS users so that using an iOS device is a better user experience than using a web browser.

2. Stop "developers" who are cheating on their developer agreement to avoid the revenue sharing aspects of that agreement from doing so.


1. Agree.

2. I do agree that Apple has a right to collect revenue from those selling through apps right now. But you don't think Apple insisting that pricing being the same across all distribution channels is a bit of an over-reach? I don't know if that's there in the developer agreement right now. Whether it is or is not, I do believe many developers will find that a bit too much. In any event, we'll see in due course, whether this flies with developers. I trust if Apple reverses its policies, you'll be back here acknowledging that you were wrong?
post #39 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

1. Maintain a consistent user experience for iOS users so that using an iOS device is a better user experience than using a web browser.

Occam's Razor: Make everything as simple as possible, but no simpler. When you start trampling business relationships where you're not invited in, it doesn't matter how "user friendly" your design is, you've crossed the line into "too simple".

Quote:
2. Stop "developers" who are cheating on their developer agreement to avoid the revenue sharing aspects of that agreement from doing so.

There's another way to do it with destroying your partners' profits*: Require such "content" apps to provide a certain fixed minimum of income to Apple, even if that minimum is 100% of the selling price. For example, $4.99 of income for Apple would probably make such an app one of the better "per unit" apps on the App Store. I'm sure most content app developers would be willing to list their apps at that price since they're not actually looking to get any profit out of the app itself now. It's also not crazy expensive for the end user and Apple gets paid for the services they're actually providing. So why couldn't Apple do something like this instead of creating such an uproar?

(*Yes, partner. While Amazon competes with Apple's iBooks, they're also a partner in that their software and services help drive sales of iDevices.)
post #40 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jetz View Post

... 2. I do agree that Apple has a right to collect revenue from those selling through apps right now. But you don't think Apple insisting that pricing being the same across all distribution channels is a bit of an over-reach? I don't know if that's there in the developer agreement right now. Whether it is or is not, I do believe many developers will find that a bit too much. In any event, we'll see in due course, whether this flies with developers. I trust if Apple reverses its policies, you'll be back here acknowledging that you were wrong?

Right now you have a situation where "developers" are essentially hiding most or all revenue by selling out the back door. A "developer" releases a shell app that has no content or functionality at all, and then doesn't offer in-app purchasing, but sells everything outside the App Store. (Making for a "web browser" user experience.) Some of these apps pull in quite a bit of revenue. Revenue that the developer agreed to share with Apple when they signed the developer agreement.

I think it's entirely correct for Apple to rein in the cheaters and not allow this to continue. The cheaters are essentially shifting the burden of supporting App Store costs onto honest developers. But, unless Apple plays hardball with them, they have no incentive to negotiate a lower percentage, because right now they are, in violation of the agreement, sharing zero percent. My guess is that Apple may eventually set different percentages for different kinds of content, but maybe not.

For subscriptions, the 30% is neither here nor there, despite all the noise from publishers. Most of their revenue is coming from advertising anyway, so the little bit of subscription revenue they lose is insignificant. For games selling, for example, additional levels, it probably will, and ought to, remain a straight 30%, otherwise, game developers will cheat the revenue sharing system by including a couple of levels in the downloaded app, and making users buy the rest after the fact.

The "developers" for whom this means the most are those like Amazon and Sony who are hiding all their revenue from Apple. Their free reader apps don't do anything (revenue generating) unless you buy content. If they can avoid selling any content through the App Store, they can effectively hide all their revenue. But, the argument is that 30% is too much for them to have to pay.

There are a couple of reasons I think it may not be. First of all, even if they do have to enable in-app purchases, it's unlikely that all their sales will be made through the App Store. Amazon, at least, is on multiple platforms and there are a number of ways users can buy books that they may be reading on iOS devices. So, it's a certainty that Amazon won't be paying 30% of it's total eBook sales to Apple. The actual percentage of total sales might be quite small. And the same argument applies to Netflix.

But, if they were to negotiate a lower percentage because 30% did turn out to be too onerous, it would need to be done by very carefully defining specific categories of content to which it applies, otherwise, it just creates another loophole for developers who want to cheat on their agreement to share revenue. But, before any of that happens, the cheaters have to be forced to the negotiating table, and to do that, they have to have some reason to want to negotiate.
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