Supreme Court asks Trump administration for thoughts on App Store pricing lawsuit

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Comments

  • Reply 41 of 58
    netrox said:
    Well, to be honest, I hate that Apple charges a lot for developers to distribute on App Store but it is a benefit to consumers. Consumers benefit from going to one service and they don't have to worry about malware and viruses. 


    Apple charges FAR LESS than in-store software retailers used to charge. I think it was something like 50-60% way back when.
  • Reply 42 of 58
    foggyhill said:
    So, the supreme court not doing its job and punting it...
    So, I'm guessing this applies to all retail too hmmm, seems like that's the logical extension too.
    What a mess that would turn out to be.

    Government dictating margins, and markups for products that are put in a store; truly "capitalism" at work.

    The "small government" (sic) republicans will undoubtedly put their heavy hand in there, seems like a natural to them.
    Or maybe just blackmail Apple into complying on some other random area that will line his pockets or those of his chums.

    Considering currently government is understaffed by close to a thousand high level employees (that have not been replaced by well, you know who),
    this is recipie for the bad and the arbitrary.
    Wow. Lot of assumptions there. Pretty bold of you.

    This seems a bit strange to me too, but I'm guessing there's some sort of precedent. I'm not an expert on this matter, but I doubt this is the first time something like this has happened. No need to go off the rails.
    The Supreme Court issues, perhaps, a dozen or two CVSGs (Calls for the Views of the Solicitor General) a year. So it happens a fair bit. At the same time, the Supreme Court gets something like 8,000 petitions for cert (i.e. requests to hear cases) each year. So it doesn't ask for CVSGs for the vast majority of cases.

    The Court grants around 1% of all cert petitions. The rate is no doubt much higher for cases where the Court issued a CVSG, but I'd guess the rate is still less than 50%. (I don't count all such cases, so I can't say with certainty what the rate is - even fairly imprecisely.) And, just to be clear, the Court doesn't always follow the recommendation of the Solicitor General when it comes to granting or denying cert after it issues a CVSG. 
    GG1randominternetpersonpatchythepirate
  • Reply 43 of 58
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,434member
    wizard69 said:
    seneca72 said:
    I thought the US had separation of powers such that Law and Executive were independent of each other.  If so why is the Supreme Court asking the opinion of the President as to whether it should hear a case?   Surely it either should or shouldn't based on a matter of law? 

    Viewed from this side of the pond it looks a little odd.
    Almost exactly what i was about to say?   As for who the court is asking i would imagine it is the justice department, not the "trump Administration" per say. As such some long time lawyer in the department will end up collating the relavant laws and legal presidents to advise the courts on its interpretation.  

    As for how this will play out , it will be tough to say.   The net result here is there any justification in the law to force a store to sell a certain product.   I dont see it myself and frankly the retail industry would raise hell if somebody tried to implement such.  

    It will be interesting to see how this plays out.  

    You may have that backwards. It's not about forcing a store to sell a product, it's whether (and to what extent) a firm can force consumers to use a particular store for a given product.  Ultimately it will come down to how the courts define the relevant market.  If it's "software for iOS devices" then obviously Apple has a monopoly; if it's "software for mobile devices" (or even "software for computing devices") Apple either has significant (or very little) market power but less than a monopoly.  Hopefully, the Courts will determine that the vast majority of software available in the App Store is also available via other stores (for other devices) for very similar prices, and therefore there's not a big anti-trust issue here.

    I'm not sure I have it backwards, it still comes down to government compelling someone to operate their store in a certain manner.   In this case for the legal matter to go forward Apple would be forced to provide a hook for alternative app distribution.   It would be pretty hard to justify that based on market share or even a lack of competition.   

    Frankly it amounts to the government taking a stance that a store (lets say Wegmans for this discussion) must provide facilities for the competition.   So lets say mom and pop bakery down the street doesn't like competing with Wegmans in store bakery.   If these people where to succeed Wegmans might be put into the position of opening up its stores to competing bakeries.   The whole thing perplexes me and frankly I don't think Apples approach to the App Store is perfect, if anything it leaves a lot to be desired.   However on the flip side Apples management of the store has eliminated a lot fo issues we see on other platforms.
  • Reply 44 of 58
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,434member

    freerange said:

    What is equally absurd is that this lawsuit complains that Apple is making 30%, when they are providing the warehouse, the transportation system, the store front, the advertising venue, the banking services, the security, and most importantly, their hundreds of millions of customers for that small fee when other traditional retailers typically mark prices up 100%. Fk these ambulance chasers!
    This is very important as many developers simply are not equipped to handle all of that back office stuff required to run store.    I'd go so far as to say that Apples approach has made many apps in the app store possible and thus has lead to many single man operations becoming successful developers.   To put it another way Apples App Store approach jump started the app market because anybody with a bit of programming skill could deliver product world wide.
    viclauyyc
  • Reply 45 of 58
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,434member

    spice-boy said:
    Apple's polices towards app developers could be considered anti-competitive especially in demanding exclusivity of those apps. If I develop a mobile phone app and want to sell it on two platforms one customer (Apple) should not prohibit me from selling it elsewhere. Microsoft, Adobe, etc... all sell software on more than one platform. Apples App store is already jam packed with apps and I wonder what percentage of developers actually make a profit there, I am talking about good software not the shoddy stuff. 

    People have become blind of the dangers of monopolies in this hyper capitalist society. How many of you forgot that Microsoft was found guilty or running a monopoly  20 years ago. If our government (at that time) had not stepped in it is unlikely Apple would exist today. 

    The very fact hat some people do make money via App Store just highlights the success of Apples approach.   Seriously  consider how many Android developers are making money selling apps.    Also the fact that app store is jam packed just highlights that the platform is well accepted and further it is a good way for developers to get their apps out there.

    It has been al long time since I've read my developers agreement but I really didn't see anything there that is anti competitive.   The fact is there is an alternative in Android that arguably has a bigger market share.    I don't think anybody is blind to the problems monopolies create, it is just that there is nothing about Apples product line that could result in it being called a monopoly.    The product they have that is closest to being a =monopoly is iPad and that isn't exactly setting the tech world on fire.
  • Reply 46 of 58
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,434member
    netrox said:
    Well, to be honest, I hate that Apple charges a lot for developers to distribute on App Store but it is a benefit to consumers. Consumers benefit from going to one service and they don't have to worry about malware and viruses. 


    30% is damn cheap compared to the mark up seen on many other products we buy as consumers.
  • Reply 47 of 58
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,434member

    viclauyyc said:
    foggyhill said:
    So, the supreme court not doing its job and punting it...
    So, I'm guessing this applies to all retail too hmmm, seems like that's the logical extension too.
    What a mess that would turn out to be.

    Government dictating margins, and markups for products that are put in a store; truly "capitalism" at work.

    The "small government" (sic) republicans will undoubtedly put their heavy hand in there, seems like a natural to them.
    Or maybe just blackmail Apple into complying on some other random area that will line his pockets or those of his chums.

    Considering currently government is understaffed by close to a thousand high level employees (that have not been replaced by well, you know who),
    this is recipie for the bad and the arbitrary.


    The Justice Department has broad discretion under Federal antitrust law.  Makes perfect sense for the SCOTUS to seek the opinion of the executive branch before hearing this case.  There's nothing controversial about this move.

    The case itself could turn out to be very controversial with serious implications, but this request by the Court is SOP.

    But isn’t the court’s job to judge the case? If they ask for DOJ for opinion, either way it is a political decision based on who/which party is ruling. After all, all top DOJ personnel are political appointees, thus biased. Isn’t a better idea to kick the ball to congress and ask them to better define the law? I know it will never happen. Just saying. 
    This is a bit misleading.   Yes there are political appointees in Justice, and yes there are obvious biases, however the law is still the law and as such wiggle room is often limited.   Frankly this case is one that I don't think any political party would want to screw it up,  if these people are allowed standing with respect this lawsuit there will be a huge snowball effect that would cause all sorts of problems. n Rational lawyers would see the potential damage and pursue the same direction no matter their political party.
    viclauyyc
  • Reply 48 of 58
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,434member
    netrox said:
    Well, to be honest, I hate that Apple charges a lot for developers to distribute on App Store but it is a benefit to consumers. Consumers benefit from going to one service and they don't have to worry about malware and viruses. 


    Apple charges FAR LESS than in-store software retailers used to charge. I think it was something like 50-60% way back when.
    Once the development work is done each copy of a piece of software cost very little, so in a sense the developers mark up is huge.   As for retail software I wouldn't be surprised if the mark ups are even greater at times.   What people may be completely missing here though is that 50% isn't a huge mark up at all.   There are products that have far greater mark ups.   We are talking hundreds sometimes thousands of percent.
  • Reply 49 of 58
    wizard69 said:

    spice-boy said:
    Apple's polices towards app developers could be considered anti-competitive especially in demanding exclusivity of those apps. If I develop a mobile phone app and want to sell it on two platforms one customer (Apple) should not prohibit me from selling it elsewhere. Microsoft, Adobe, etc... all sell software on more than one platform. Apples App store is already jam packed with apps and I wonder what percentage of developers actually make a profit there, I am talking about good software not the shoddy stuff. 

    People have become blind of the dangers of monopolies in this hyper capitalist society. How many of you forgot that Microsoft was found guilty or running a monopoly  20 years ago. If our government (at that time) had not stepped in it is unlikely Apple would exist today. 

    The very fact hat some people do make money via App Store just highlights the success of Apples approach.   Seriously  consider how many Android developers are making money selling apps.    Also the fact that app store is jam packed just highlights that the platform is well accepted and further it is a good way for developers to get their apps out there.

    It has been al long time since I've read my developers agreement but I really didn't see anything there that is anti competitive.   The fact is there is an alternative in Android that arguably has a bigger market share.    I don't think anybody is blind to the problems monopolies create, it is just that there is nothing about Apples product line that could result in it being called a monopoly.    The product they have that is closest to being a =monopoly is iPad and that isn't exactly setting the tech world on fire.
    There is also still the web route as a way gaining direct access to customers.  The function offered would cover many but not all apps. So there is a non-Apple controlled alternative even on Apple's platforms.

    Sure both customers and developer have not inbraced this method but it exists and Apple have continued to develop it.

  • Reply 50 of 58
    wizard69 said:
    netrox said:
    Well, to be honest, I hate that Apple charges a lot for developers to distribute on App Store but it is a benefit to consumers. Consumers benefit from going to one service and they don't have to worry about malware and viruses. 


    Apple charges FAR LESS than in-store software retailers used to charge. I think it was something like 50-60% way back when.
    Once the development work is done each copy of a piece of software cost very little, so in a sense the developers mark up is huge.   As for retail software I wouldn't be surprised if the mark ups are even greater at times.   What people may be completely missing here though is that 50% isn't a huge mark up at all.   There are products that have far greater mark ups.   We are talking hundreds sometimes thousands of percent.
    More fundamentally, both consumers and developers participate in Apple’s ecosystem completely voluntarily. No one is forced to buy an iPhone, no one is forced to develop apps.
  • Reply 51 of 58
    wizard69 said:
    wizard69 said:
    seneca72 said:
    I thought the US had separation of powers such that Law and Executive were independent of each other.  If so why is the Supreme Court asking the opinion of the President as to whether it should hear a case?   Surely it either should or shouldn't based on a matter of law? 

    Viewed from this side of the pond it looks a little odd.
    Almost exactly what i was about to say?   As for who the court is asking i would imagine it is the justice department, not the "trump Administration" per say. As such some long time lawyer in the department will end up collating the relavant laws and legal presidents to advise the courts on its interpretation.  

    As for how this will play out , it will be tough to say.   The net result here is there any justification in the law to force a store to sell a certain product.   I dont see it myself and frankly the retail industry would raise hell if somebody tried to implement such.  

    It will be interesting to see how this plays out.  

    You may have that backwards. It's not about forcing a store to sell a product, it's whether (and to what extent) a firm can force consumers to use a particular store for a given product.  Ultimately it will come down to how the courts define the relevant market.  If it's "software for iOS devices" then obviously Apple has a monopoly; if it's "software for mobile devices" (or even "software for computing devices") Apple either has significant (or very little) market power but less than a monopoly.  Hopefully, the Courts will determine that the vast majority of software available in the App Store is also available via other stores (for other devices) for very similar prices, and therefore there's not a big anti-trust issue here.

    I'm not sure I have it backwards, it still comes down to government compelling someone to operate their store in a certain manner.   In this case for the legal matter to go forward Apple would be forced to provide a hook for alternative app distribution.   It would be pretty hard to justify that based on market share or even a lack of competition.   

    Frankly it amounts to the government taking a stance that a store (lets say Wegmans for this discussion) must provide facilities for the competition.   So lets say mom and pop bakery down the street doesn't like competing with Wegmans in store bakery.   If these people where to succeed Wegmans might be put into the position of opening up its stores to competing bakeries.   The whole thing perplexes me and frankly I don't think Apples approach to the App Store is perfect, if anything it leaves a lot to be desired.   However on the flip side Apples management of the store has eliminated a lot fo issues we see on other platforms.
    I'm not worried at all that Apple will be compelled to allow other "app stores" to be able to sell iOS software.  However, let's think about an example where anti-trust laws would be relevant (without a bakery example).

    Suppose we go back in time 10 or 15 years when Windows had at 90% of more of the marketshare for personal computers.  Now suppose that Microsoft implemented a change to the software so that the only way to install software on a Windows machine was through a Windows App Store (and they charged 30% on all sales).  I'm pretty sure the Justice Department would be looking VERY hard at Microsoft for creating a monopoly in software sales through unfair business practices.  They would be using their market power in the personal computer OS market to capture 30% of the gross revenue in the personal computer software market.  That's exactly what anti-trust laws (like them or not) are designed to prevent.

    However, I think we all agree that iOS isn't dominating the mobile OS market the same way that Windows did the personal computer market in the bad old days.  So Apple isn't capturing 30% of the gross revenue of all the software companies, just the software that is purchased for iOS devices.

    My point is, it's not outrageous that people are looking at the App Store with an anti-trust lens, but I'm confident that it will pass legal muster.
  • Reply 52 of 58

    This is a bit misleading.   Yes there are political appointees in Justice, and yes there are obvious biases, however the law is still the law and as such wiggle room is often limited.   Frankly this case is one that I don't think any political party would want to screw it up,  if these people are allowed standing with respect this lawsuit there will be a huge snowball effect that would cause all sorts of problems. n Rational lawyers would see the potential damage and pursue the same direction no matter their political party.
    Well, all I know is some lawyers will just want to watch the world burn in the name of justice.
    Given the case who start by 2 guys already reach Supreme Court, it seems it will just keep rolling.

    An analogy I can think of is, customs complaint why Coke won’t allow a small company to use Coke’s factory to make their product so they can buy.
  • Reply 53 of 58
    bshankbshank Posts: 129member
    zomp said:
    Wrong wrong wrong
    apple is eating an income. Back in the day when you purchased software from Best Buy- did Best Buy make money? How about a restaurant selling Bacardi or a Chevy selling to a dealership, does the dealership make money? Amazon sells software, they earn an income too. 
    Groceries go through so many channels - the farmer always complains that they receive nothing compared to how much the retailer is selling product. 
    Companies have 3 prices: retail, wholesale, and what they need to make.  Or how about this, what they need to make and retail price. 
    This is all BS! 
    By far Apple apps are the lowest prices of anything out there. 
    Best Buy does make money off sales of software
  • Reply 54 of 58
    wizard69 said:
    netrox said:
    Well, to be honest, I hate that Apple charges a lot for developers to distribute on App Store but it is a benefit to consumers. Consumers benefit from going to one service and they don't have to worry about malware and viruses. 


    Apple charges FAR LESS than in-store software retailers used to charge. I think it was something like 50-60% way back when.
    Once the development work is done each copy of a piece of software cost very little, so in a sense the developers mark up is huge.   As for retail software I wouldn't be surprised if the mark ups are even greater at times.   What people may be completely missing here though is that 50% isn't a huge mark up at all.   There are products that have far greater mark ups.   We are talking hundreds sometimes thousands of percent.
    More fundamentally, both consumers and developers participate in Apple’s ecosystem completely voluntarily. No one is forced to buy an iPhone, no one is forced to develop apps.
    There was OS/2, UNIX and other smaller OS for X86 market back in the Microsoft lawsuit. DOJ didn’t seems to care. 
  • Reply 54 of 58
    wizard69 said:
    netrox said:
    Well, to be honest, I hate that Apple charges a lot for developers to distribute on App Store but it is a benefit to consumers. Consumers benefit from going to one service and they don't have to worry about malware and viruses. 


    Apple charges FAR LESS than in-store software retailers used to charge. I think it was something like 50-60% way back when.
    Once the development work is done each copy of a piece of software cost very little, so in a sense the developers mark up is huge.   As for retail software I wouldn't be surprised if the mark ups are even greater at times.   What people may be completely missing here though is that 50% isn't a huge mark up at all.   There are products that have far greater mark ups.   We are talking hundreds sometimes thousands of percent.
    More fundamentally, both consumers and developers participate in Apple’s ecosystem completely voluntarily. No one is forced to buy an iPhone, no one is forced to develop apps.
    There was OS/2, UNIX and other smaller OS for X86 market back in the Microsoft lawsuit. DOJ didn’t seems to care. 
  • Reply 56 of 58
    As a consumer I didn't know I had any "legal standing" with regards to prices set freely by app developers. If they choose to raise prices 30% over non-App Store pricing (to support the operations of the App Store ), I didn't realize I was entitled to a legal remedy. I have an iPhone by choice. Developers sell iOS apps by choice. Developers choose their pricing. Why are the courts involved in a free market transaction?

    Was I entitled to something? Was I entitled to side-loading apps? Do PlayStation and Xbox owners have legal rights to side load games into their locked down, walled garden platforms? Or do publishers have to go through an approval process?

    I only wished the article delved further into the legal analysis of this ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. I am genuinely confused by my legal standing as a consumer.
    The plaintiffs in this case made claims under 15 USC §15(a), which allows people to sue in federal court if they are injured by violations of the antitrust laws. That means that they must have both Article III standing (i.e. be able to demonstrate (1) injury-in-fact, (2) causality, and (3) redressability) and statutory standing (i.e. meet whatever requirements the statute, which their claims are based on, put in place).

    The procedural history of the case is a bit extended. But as the case reached the Ninth Circuit, Apple's challenge to their statutory standing was at issue. Their Article III standing had previously been at issue, but by amending their complaint they had effectively removed that issue.

    The Supreme Court has interpreted 15 USC §15(a) to require that plaintiffs be "the overcharged direct purchaser" in order to have standing under that statute. So the (standing) question before the Ninth Circuit was whether the plaintiffs purchased apps directly from app developers or from Apple.

    Apple claims that, rather than (itself, directly) selling apps to consumers, it sells app distribution services to app developers. The Ninth Circuit decided, in effect, that it doesn't matter whether Apple sells app distribution services to app developers. The Ninth Circuit suggested that even if app developers are direct purchasers from Apple (for 15 USC §15(a) purposes), iPhone owners can also be direct purchasers from Apple. So both groups of parties - app developers and iPhone owners - might have statutory standing to sue over Apple's alleged antitrust violations.

    The Ninth Circuit went through a number of considerations which it didn't think controlled the answer to the question - whether iPhone owners are direct purchasers from Apple. I can touch on them if you'd like. But it ultimately decided, based on a line of Supreme Court decisions, that the only thing that mattered was whether Apple is (1) a manufacturer or producer of apps or is (2) a distributor of apps. It concluded that Apple is a distributor of apps, and thus that under relevant Supreme Court precedents the plaintiffs have statutory standing to sue Apple for its alleged antitrust violations.
    edited October 2017 randominternetpersonbeowulfschmidt
  • Reply 57 of 58
    Utter nonsense. The Supreme Court shows yet again that it needs to be almost entirely impeached and replaced with actual Americans. The Executive branch does not rule on the nature of the enforcement of law; it enforces law. The Supreme Court does not create law; it rules on the nature of law. If the SCOTUS is incapable of doing its job, it needs to be erased and rebuilt.

    SCOTUS isn't asking the Justice Department to render judgment, they're asking the Justice Department's opinion on issues surrounding this case.  The Court asks for opinions all the time  Those opinions might or might not sway the Court's actions; sometimes they do, sometimes they don't.  The Court doesn't act in a vacuum, assuming it knows all.
    randominternetperson
  • Reply 58 of 58
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,607member
    carnegie said:
    As a consumer I didn't know I had any "legal standing" with regards to prices set freely by app developers. If they choose to raise prices 30% over non-App Store pricing (to support the operations of the App Store ), I didn't realize I was entitled to a legal remedy. I have an iPhone by choice. Developers sell iOS apps by choice. Developers choose their pricing. Why are the courts involved in a free market transaction?

    Was I entitled to something? Was I entitled to side-loading apps? Do PlayStation and Xbox owners have legal rights to side load games into their locked down, walled garden platforms? Or do publishers have to go through an approval process?

    I only wished the article delved further into the legal analysis of this ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. I am genuinely confused by my legal standing as a consumer.
    The plaintiffs in this case made claims under 15 USC §15(a), which allows people to sue in federal court if they are injured by violations of the antitrust laws. That means that they must have both Article III standing (i.e. be able to demonstrate (1) injury-in-fact, (2) causality, and (3) redressability) and statutory standing (i.e. meet whatever requirements the statute, which their claims are based on, put in place).

    The procedural history of the case is a bit extended. But as the case reached the Ninth Circuit, Apple's challenge to their statutory standing was at issue. Their Article III standing had previously been at issue, but by amending their complaint they had effectively removed that issue.

    The Supreme Court has interpreted 15 USC §15(a) to require that plaintiffs be "the overcharged direct purchaser" in order to have standing under that statute. So the (standing) question before the Ninth Circuit was whether the plaintiffs purchased apps directly from app developers or from Apple.

    Apple claims that, rather than (itself, directly) selling apps to consumers, it sells app distribution services to app developers. The Ninth Circuit decided, in effect, that it doesn't matter whether Apple sells app distribution services to app developers. The Ninth Circuit suggested that even if app developers are direct purchasers from Apple (for 15 USC §15(a) purposes), iPhone owners can also be direct purchasers from Apple. So both groups of parties - app developers and iPhone owners - might have statutory standing to sue over Apple's alleged antitrust violations.

    The Ninth Circuit went through a number of considerations which it didn't think controlled the answer to the question - whether iPhone owners are direct purchasers from Apple. I can touch on them if you'd like. But it ultimately decided, based on a line of Supreme Court decisions, that the only thing that mattered was whether Apple is (1) a manufacturer or producer of apps or is (2) a distributor of apps. It concluded that Apple is a distributor of apps, and thus that under relevant Supreme Court precedents the plaintiffs have statutory standing to sue Apple for its alleged antitrust violations.
    So I posted the Reader's Digest Abridged explanation, while you follow with the detailed "professional" one. Very well done sir and thanks yet again. 
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