New EU laws could soften Apple's grip on App Store content and revenue

Posted:
in iPhone
The European Commission is preparing new regulations that could reduce some of Apple's absolute control over the App Store, in light of the company's position as a "gatekeeper" for customers.




The Commission's initiative, which isn't Apple-exclusive, should be ready by the end of the year, Reuters said on Wednesday. It will specifically address unfair contract clauses and trading practices between platforms and businesses -- other affected platform holders could include the likes of Amazon, Google, and Facebook.

In early findings from an investigation started in 2016, the Commission said it learned that platforms were limiting access to data, delisting products or services without sufficient notice, or failing to make search results transparent. The new rules will be geared toward establishing fair practice criteria, as well as offering dispute resolution.

Apple has often been criticized for harsh App Store policies, such as kicking out apps it deems political statements or too competitive with its own. It also normally claims a 30 percent cut from all App Store transactions, even subscriptions to outside services, and blocks developers from linking to Web-based workarounds.

As a result, some services have resorted to charging higher fees on the App Store than they do elsewhere. Even when companies are willing to take the hit, that gives Apple an inherent advantage, since it can keep prices low for its own products like Apple Music, without splitting revenues.

The Commission is presumably responding to complaints from European firms like Spotify, Deezer, and others. In June last year, Sweden's Spotify sent a letter to Apple's general counsel accusing the company of anti-competitive behavior.

EDiMA -- an industry group representing Apple, Amazon, Google and others -- said it was "disappointed and astounded" by the Commission's announcement, claiming that "considering online platforms 'key gatekeepers' deviates greatly from the progressive thoughts put forward by the Commission in its platform communication in 2016."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 36
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,746member
    It's as I completely expected if this happens. The EU Commission has been on an "unfair competition" witch-hunt for the last several years. I fully believe Apple, Google, Amazon and Facebook will be under yet more scrutiny from EU authorities in the next couple of years. It's just beginning. 
    SpamSandwichlongpathelijahg[Deleted User]jony0
  • Reply 2 of 36
    nhtnht Posts: 4,522member
    gatorguy said:
    It's as I completely expected if this happens. The EU Commission has been on an "unfair competition" witch-hunt for the last several years. I fully believe Apple, Google, Amazon and Facebook will be under yet more scrutiny from EU authorities in the next couple of years. It's just beginning. 
    For all his bluster I doubt Trump will protect US interests in this matter where the EU targets US companies because we are successful in building ecosystems and Europeans are not.

    Witch hunt is exactly the right term.
    anantksundaramlongpathelijahgwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 3 of 36
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,686member

    Apple can easily benefit from this. At the moment they get exactly nothing from my Amazon prime membership, or my fairly frequent amazon orders. As I now go to the website. 

    Instead of taking 30% of the retail price  -- which eliminates most profit - they need to use Apple Pay and charge a reasonable usage fee, similar to the credit card fee. 

    edited May 2017
  • Reply 4 of 36
    anton zuykovanton zuykov Posts: 1,056member
    Wow. So basically you can't have any ownership over the product or your company service because that will be considered "anti-competitive"? That makes zero sense and that approach is progressive indeed...
    Although, given what happened in the last couple of years, in no way I would consider it as a compliment.

    That is like not allowing a straight A student to use his brain, because that would be anti-competitive in respect to a D grade student.
    edited May 2017 longpathjbdragonelijahgwatto_cobrajony0tallest skil
  • Reply 5 of 36
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,799member
    asdasd said:

    Apple can easily benefit from this. At the moment they get exactly nothing from my Amazon prime membership, or my fairly frequent amazon orders. As I now go to the website. 

    Instead of taking 30% of the retail price  -- which eliminates most profit - they need to use Apple Pay and charge a reasonable usage fee, similar to the credit card fee. 

    Apple doesn't charge 30% for in app purchases of tangible items.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 36
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,647member
    asdasd said:

    Apple can easily benefit from this. At the moment they get exactly nothing from my Amazon prime membership, or my fairly frequent amazon orders. As I now go to the website. 

    Instead of taking 30% of the retail price  -- which eliminates most profit - they need to use Apple Pay and charge a reasonable usage fee, similar to the credit card fee. 


    Umm, Apple does not get a cut of retail goods sold through apps, they only take a cut of digital content and subscriptions purchased via their platform.

    You have to remember, and so does everyone else, iOS is not an open platform and never has been. Apple didn't all of sudden make these changes when the platform became popular. Apple shells out a lot of money to keep their platform viable and if others want access to it, they should have to help cover some of those costs.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 36
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,799member
    That is like not allowing a straight A student to use his brain, because that would be anti-competitive in respect to a D grade student.
    Handicapper General
    longpathtallest skil
  • Reply 8 of 36
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,557member
    Why not just ban so-called gatekeepers from proving any service or product that competes with a non-gatekeeper entity like Spotify.
    That is like not allowing a straight A student to use his brain, because that would be anti-competitive in respect to a D grade student.
    Handicapper General
    Well that’s the point of European democratic socialism. Equality of outcome is the goal, not equality of opportunity. In that utopia every individual has the same economic status. Nobody gets a leg up, nobody wins. The playing field is regulated and so is competition. If you don’t believe that just read the comments from the European socialists who chatter on and on about this idea here on AI.
    edited May 2017 longpathelijahganton zuykov
  • Reply 9 of 36
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 2,294member
    These EU laws are nonsense. Here is an excerpt from the letter that was sent to the EU by Spotify and others complaining to the EU:

    "A key factor to consider is the role of platforms as gateways to consumers and as competitors to services in downstream markets and their ability to turn into gatekeepers."

    So apparently Apple can't market it's own music streaming platform, on their own OS, and on their own hardware. Makes a lot of sense. What's stupid is you don't need to go through Apple to purchase a Spotify plan. I fail to see how Apple is being anti competitive. Having an App Store and their own OS isn't free for Apple. They spend billions on that.

    edited May 2017 ericthehalfbeelongpath2old4funelijahgwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 36
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    gatorguy said:
    It's as I completely expected if this happens. The EU Commission has been on an "unfair competition" witch-hunt for the last several years. I fully believe Apple, Google, Amazon and Facebook will be under yet more scrutiny from EU authorities in the next couple of years. It's just beginning. 
    Decisions like this are to be expected from Socialists, Progressives and Marxists. Collectivism is the ruling ethos.
    elijahganton zuykov
  • Reply 11 of 36
    ericthehalfbeeericthehalfbee Posts: 4,445member
    "the Commission said it learned that platforms were limiting access to data, delisting products or services without sufficient notice, or failing to make search results transparent."

    Sounds like this will affect Google a lot more than Apple.
    elijahgwatto_cobraanton zuykov
  • Reply 12 of 36
    monstrositymonstrosity Posts: 2,234member
    Fucking Communists. No worries, the EU will be dead within 5 years, just hold your breath.
    elijahgSpamSandwichwatto_cobraanton zuykov
  • Reply 13 of 36
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 7,134member
    It seems clear that few people posting in this thread know anything about Europe. 

    Wouldn't it be better to wait for something to actually happen before spouting off utter nonsense?

    Would it be fair to describe the US as a telephone network backwater? An internet infrastructure laggard?

    How long did it take for EMV to arrive? 

    As for competition, would I be wrong in saying that the US tried to stop The EU's Galileo project in its tracks? One of the most ambitious projects ever to come out of the EU.

    Would I be wrong in saying that US consumer protection legislation, environmental legislation and food legislation are way behind their counterparts in Europe?

    Are you aware of the benefits brought about by the Open Skies policy in the EU? The High speed rail networks? The scientific networks?

    Europe may be far from perfect but in spite of all the difficulties, it has achieved so much more as a single unified unit than any single country could have achieved on its own and competion law is taken very seriously.

    We will see how things play out and under what terms, but rest assured, if any player feels that EU decisions go too far, they can walk away from the table. However, I feel that walking away from the world's largest trading bloc isn't being considered by many of those players.

    The article is very clear. Reasons have been provided. The EU is looking at the complaints. Now it's time to wait and see.




    edited May 2017 kernapstermknelsonbirko
  • Reply 14 of 36
    Some very silly comments on here about Europe, which are nothing more than a parochial view and polarised politics and debating style of some in the US - the weakest of which resort to insults. Accusing people of communism, particularly of a free trade block, is really very silly. Europe has a very keen sense of individual rights, that is, of consumers to get a good deal. This has included removing roaming fees when travelling between countries in the block. 

    Its sounds like the commission wants to make sure these app stores don't control or restrict in an arbitrary fashion. 

    App stores are not products, they are effectively media platforms. They throw up lots of complex issues around power, influence and citizen rights. There's been lots of straw man arguments about weaker products etc. - it says nothing about banning gatekeepers from providing products. If anything, it could encourage investment by providing clearer rules for how these entities operate. If you know the rules will be applied fairly or you have the right to reply, you're more likely to invest in that app. 

    Lastly, if we didn't question market dominance or monopoly behaviour, we'd probably still be using IE. Democracy is eternal vigilance and transparency is good for everyone. If you make a great product, you don't need to act like a monopoly do you? I seem to remember a time when I bought Apple product because they were innovative and great. In addition, I can see a time when a platform will probably not be American (e.g. China) and those rules, especially around political expression are all important. 

    edited May 2017 mknelson
  • Reply 15 of 36
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,686member
    volcan said:
    asdasd said:

    Apple can easily benefit from this. At the moment they get exactly nothing from my Amazon prime membership, or my fairly frequent amazon orders. As I now go to the website. 

    Instead of taking 30% of the retail price  -- which eliminates most profit - they need to use Apple Pay and charge a reasonable usage fee, similar to the credit card fee. 

    Apple doesn't charge 30% for in app purchases of tangible items.
    It doesnt charge anything. I'm saying it should. 
  • Reply 16 of 36
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,686member
    lkrupp said:
    Why not just ban so-called gatekeepers from proving any service or product that competes with a non-gatekeeper entity like Spotify.
    That is like not allowing a straight A student to use his brain, because that would be anti-competitive in respect to a D grade student.
    Handicapper General
    Well that’s the point of European democratic socialism. Equality of outcome is the goal, not equality of opportunity. In that utopia every individual has the same economic status. Nobody gets a leg up, nobody wins. The playing field is regulated and so is competition. If you don’t believe that just read the comments from the European socialists who chatter on and on about this idea here on AI.
    Equality of outcome is a communist idea. It's not the policy of the capitalist states of Western Europe. 
  • Reply 17 of 36
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,686member
    mjtomlin said:
    asdasd said:

    Apple can easily benefit from this. At the moment they get exactly nothing from my Amazon prime membership, or my fairly frequent amazon orders. As I now go to the website. 

    Instead of taking 30% of the retail price  -- which eliminates most profit - they need to use Apple Pay and charge a reasonable usage fee, similar to the credit card fee. 


    Umm, Apple does not get a cut of retail goods sold through apps, they only take a cut of digital content and subscriptions purchased via their platform.

    You have to remember, and so does everyone else, iOS is not an open platform and never has been. Apple didn't all of sudden make these changes when the platform became popular. Apple shells out a lot of money to keep their platform viable and if others want access to it, they should have to help cover some of those costs.
    So I admit that my original post was short on my idea, to flesh out. 

    Apple should try and integrate apple pay with all apps on the app store that sell... anything. 

    Take 1% for tangible items, 5% for digital items hosted outside apple, 30% for most iaps 


  • Reply 18 of 36
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    Fucking Communists. No worries, the EU will be dead within 5 years, just hold your breath.
    We'll see what happens when France faces their next "religion of peace" challenge. Their people may regret not installing Le Pen. But Merkel is like a bad penny. No matter how many moronic decisions she makes, she manages to stay put.
    anton zuykovtallest skil
  • Reply 19 of 36
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    Some very silly comments on here about Europe, which are nothing more than a parochial view and polarised politics and debating style of some in the US - the weakest of which resort to insults. Accusing people of communism, particularly of a free trade block, is really very silly. Europe has a very keen sense of individual rights, that is, of consumers to get a good deal. This has included removing roaming fees when travelling between countries in the block. 

    Its sounds like the commission wants to make sure these app stores don't control or restrict in an arbitrary fashion. 

    App stores are not products, they are effectively media platforms. They throw up lots of complex issues around power, influence and citizen rights. There's been lots of straw man arguments about weaker products etc. - it says nothing about banning gatekeepers from providing products. If anything, it could encourage investment by providing clearer rules for how these entities operate. If you know the rules will be applied fairly or you have the right to reply, you're more likely to invest in that app. 

    Lastly, if we didn't question market dominance or monopoly behaviour, we'd probably still be using IE. Democracy is eternal vigilance and transparency is good for everyone. If you make a great product, you don't need to act like a monopoly do you? I seem to remember a time when I bought Apple product because they were innovative and great. In addition, I can see a time when a platform will probably not be American (e.g. China) and those rules, especially around political expression are all important. 

    You sure talk a lot for saying NOTHING.
    At least relate it to an actual fact about Apple, instead all you got is platitudes.


    anton zuykov
  • Reply 20 of 36
    nht said:
    gatorguy said:
    It's as I completely expected if this happens. The EU Commission has been on an "unfair competition" witch-hunt for the last several years. I fully believe Apple, Google, Amazon and Facebook will be under yet more scrutiny from EU authorities in the next couple of years. It's just beginning. 
    For all his bluster I doubt Trump will protect US interests in this matter where the EU targets US companies because we are successful in building ecosystems and Europeans are not.

    Witch hunt is exactly the right term.
    What could Trump (or any US president) do anyway? Their authority stops at the US border, except of course when the US is "liberating" and bringing "freedom" to resource-rich middle eastern countries as and when they like. Apple bends over backwards to operate in China (and shortly India), if they want to do business in Europe they have to adhere to the authorities there too, as do Google et al. If they don't like it, pull all operations and let 3rd party importers reap the benefits.

    The case against google's app store and apple's app store is very different as I see it however. The only trouble I see Apple having in the EU is their policy about competing apps being banned/removed - Apple would have to provide a fairy convincing argument to explain what detriment would be caused by allowing them. On the other side, I don't doubt for a second that Google would highlight their own or certain chosen content ahead of competitors for financial gain, much like they do on search results, shopping results etc.
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