Future path of Apple's App Stores at stake in Monday's Supreme Court arguments

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  • Reply 121 of 180
    carnegie said:
    Here is the transcript of this morning's oral argument, in case some are interested in reading it.
    Thanks for sharing.  I've read plenty of SCOTUS opinions over the years, but this is the first full oral arguments I've read.

    My first reaction is: what a nightmare is must be to argue in front of the Supreme Court.  The justices interrupt each other and lob both insightful and poorly-informed questions rapid-fire as the poor speaker tries to answer each in turn.  My second reaction is that Daniel Wall (Apple's attorney) is clearly a master of this.  Unlike the attorney representing the "consumers" he kept his cool and did a nice job making his case.  (Tip for Mr. Frederick: don't start a response to the very first question--from the Chief Justice--"Wrong." [page 34.]).

    Breyer seems completely out of his element in this case as were some of the other justices.  I hope their clerks can explain to them how the App Store actually works.

    All in all, I expect Apple will come out of this unscathed.  The justices all asked tough questions because that's the point of oral arguments--to try to punch holes in arguments--but I think Apple's side came out on top.  I expect that the Court will rule that Illinois Brick applies in this instance and therefore the consumers don't have grounds to sue Apple directly.

    If I'm wrong about that, and it goes back to the district court, I expect that Apple will both be able to show that it's not an illegal monopolist and that consumers are not harmed by higher app prices.
    mdriftmeyer
  • Reply 122 of 180
    crowley said:
    avon b7 said:
    I'm for choice in distribution models and less power for store controllers.

    I'd like to see developers have the option to opt out of the App Store if it suits their needs and for Apple to have less say on what is 'acceptable' or not. Likewise, choice would then extend to the end user.
    The open web exists for that. The App Store should be apple controlled.
    And why not allow third-party app stores at the user's risk?
    Because those users will be still coming to Apple. Whining. When they screw up with their third-party access apps. At Apple's cost. Meaning also at the cost of those who are just using a more secure App Store.
    I personally would recommend those users (who whine now, before they whine later) just go get Android. 
    Android was always more customisable. And it was always one of the main selling points for such people.
    JWSC
  • Reply 123 of 180
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 3,933member
    urahara said:
    crowley said:
    avon b7 said:
    I'm for choice in distribution models and less power for store controllers.

    I'd like to see developers have the option to opt out of the App Store if it suits their needs and for Apple to have less say on what is 'acceptable' or not. Likewise, choice would then extend to the end user.
    The open web exists for that. The App Store should be apple controlled.
    And why not allow third-party app stores at the user's risk?
    Because those users will be still coming to Apple. Whining. When they screw up with their third-party access apps. At Apple's cost. Meaning also at the cost of those who are just using a more secure App Store.
    I personally would recommend those users (who whine now, before they whine later) just go get Android. 
    Android was always more customisable. And it was always one of the main selling points for such people.
    That isn't actually a reason. Is there a reason that a third party app store couldn't be as good, or better than Apple's? The point is we don't know because the only way a regular user can get apps is by going through Apple's store and the vast majority of them are unnaware of how much Apple takes for providing the service or if Apple is filtering what is available to them.

    Those would be non-issues if users had the option go elsewhere for iOS apps.

    It is a complex issue but a legal challenge helps clarify many aspects and could possibly lead to changes in how things work.
  • Reply 124 of 180
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,930member
    urahara said:
    crowley said:
    avon b7 said:
    I'm for choice in distribution models and less power for store controllers.

    I'd like to see developers have the option to opt out of the App Store if it suits their needs and for Apple to have less say on what is 'acceptable' or not. Likewise, choice would then extend to the end user.
    The open web exists for that. The App Store should be apple controlled.
    And why not allow third-party app stores at the user's risk?
    Because those users will be still coming to Apple. Whining. When they screw up with their third-party access apps. At Apple's cost. Meaning also at the cost of those who are just using a more secure App Store.
    I personally would recommend those users (who whine now, before they whine later) just go get Android. 
    Android was always more customisable. And it was always one of the main selling points for such people.
    That's solveable though.  Anyone who requests service on an iOS device that has apps from a third party app store installed, first step is that the phone gets wiped and restored to the core OS.  User gets service, but with the message reiterated "third-party app stores at the user's risk"
  • Reply 125 of 180
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,631member
    crowley said:
    urahara said:
    crowley said:
    avon b7 said:
    I'm for choice in distribution models and less power for store controllers.

    I'd like to see developers have the option to opt out of the App Store if it suits their needs and for Apple to have less say on what is 'acceptable' or not. Likewise, choice would then extend to the end user.
    The open web exists for that. The App Store should be apple controlled.
    And why not allow third-party app stores at the user's risk?
    Because those users will be still coming to Apple. Whining. When they screw up with their third-party access apps. At Apple's cost. Meaning also at the cost of those who are just using a more secure App Store.
    I personally would recommend those users (who whine now, before they whine later) just go get Android. 
    Android was always more customisable. And it was always one of the main selling points for such people.
    That's solveable though.  Anyone who requests service on an iOS device that has apps from a third party app store installed, first step is that the phone gets wiped and restored to the core OS.  User gets service, but with the message reiterated "third-party app stores at the user's risk"
    Nope, not enough. (And that's ignoring the fact that Apple now has to monitor, check and possibly restore each phone to the version of the OS it had before the potentially rogue app was installed).

    Here's an interesting case of what Google is faced with on the app store it actually owns and controls:

    https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/craigsilverman/android-apps-cheetah-mobile-kika-kochava-ad-fraud

    Interesting thing to note here is how apps usage of data gathering can affect battery life. Excessive use of battery leads to more charging, and more charging affects the life of the battery.

    Secondly, to get access to the core OS, these apps will then start requesting that users install other bits and pieces that Apple will not be able to monitor. From there, we can get low level stuff that actually goes down to the processor. Stuff that can actually affect the hardware long term (excessive memory writing for example; games that shut off the safeties so that the processor always runs at full speed).

    No, wiping the device is not enough. 

    If you install anything that didn't come from the app store then from then on, you're on your own, until you replace the phone at your own cost. All guarantees are voided. 

    edited November 2018 radarthekatJWSC
  • Reply 126 of 180
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,631member

    Now I think about it, that's quite intriguing.

    On the Apple platform, developers complain about Apple taking a cut.

    On the Android platform, developers complain about other developers taking their cut.
    edited November 2018
  • Reply 127 of 180
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,093moderator
    crowley said:
    avon b7 said:
    I'm for choice in distribution models and less power for store controllers.

    I'd like to see developers have the option to opt out of the App Store if it suits their needs and for Apple to have less say on what is 'acceptable' or not. Likewise, choice would then extend to the end user.
    The open web exists for that. The App Store should be apple controlled.
    And why not allow third-party app stores at the user's risk?
    That becomes a trademark issue, believe it or not.  The iPhone and iOS is protected by trademark, and represents in the eyes of consumers a more secure smartphone versus the competition, among other favorably comparable attributes.  To allow third parties to install less secure or not-at-all-secure apps on top
    of iOS would be to dilute that trademark and would result in harm to the good name Apple has earned through its diligence in keeping the platform secure.  

    You see, this is not merely a cut and dry issue.
  • Reply 128 of 180
    crowley said:
    And why not allow third-party app stores at the user's risk?
    Because someone at some point will attempt to hold Apple responsible for that as well, claiming that Apple didn't do enough to protect their device from malicious third party app sites.

    Apple's App Store is not monopolistic.  Consumers are free to shop elsewhere by using a different device.
  • Reply 129 of 180
    Take the Alex Jones Info Wars app for instance. Apple doesn't want Info Wars in the app store for hate speech. This is an example of why Apple should allow developers to host their apps from their website. If I want to download Info Wars, I should be allowed to download it from infowars.com if App doesn't like the app. This is what I call a violation of the Antitrust Act.
    Yeah, this isn't a violation of the Antitrust act. There are potentially other issues with this, but antitrust isn't one of them.
    A very competent (as in, has won lots of cases) and well respected consumer law attorney of my acquaintance claims that almost anything a business does can be construed to violate the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, simply because portions of it are vague and sometimes contradictory.
  • Reply 130 of 180
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,093moderator
    bitmod said:
    steven n. said:
    As a developer, I love the single store concept and increased visibility allowing cheaper prices to my constomers because of increased volume. Sounds win-win to me. 
    Apple developers should band together and file amicus briefs with the court in support of Apple. 

    This frivolous lawsuit is an insult and dangerous to the earnings potential for all Apple developers.
    Wrong... and hilariously so. Thanks for the Monday laugh. 
    The only 'earnings potential' you are worried about is your precious stock value. 
    Breaking the slavishly greedy and dangerous monopoly Apple has over control of how we use our own property - only stands to greatly benefit developers and consumers. 
    They aren't saying the Apple App Store can't exist - just not hold a monopoly that stifles competition. 
    You don’t own a copy of iOS; you merely hold a license to use it.  And with that realization, there is no argument remaining.  
    edited November 2018
  • Reply 131 of 180
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,093moderator
    Apple is obviously a distributor. But they are also a censor. That’s great when it’s keeping the store clean of filth (mostly), but not so great when it’s a violation of free speech. A iPhone owner should be able to download a legal app of their choosing that is in disagreement with apples worldview. As mentioned above, the info wars thing is a glaring example of complete mishandling of power. I don’t care for info Ward ar all. But if someone wants it, they should be able to have the app on a device they own. This kind of abuse is not new at Apple unfortunately. I remember having a U2 album with questionable cover art randomly appear in my iTunes account because Apple wanted to force it on me - along with everyone else. And whether you like the album or not, appreciate the cover art or not, the principle of it is that Apple weilded power inappropriately. The fact that Apple can take a view it disagrees with and eliminate it from the discussion - or to purposely harm a business it disagrees with - is extremely concerning. The terms “hate speech” gets used a lot today as justification for censorship. But it’s part of life. People say hateful or sometimes just foolish things sometimes. You want hate speech? Look at donald trumps twitter whenever he retaliated on someone. Horrible. You want far worse hate speech? Listen to the other side of the aisle with Maxine waters, Madonna, etc. calling for actual actionable assault and harassment of people who don’t share their views. Scary stuff. But you don’t see Apple banning their apps or banning twitter. 

    All that to say that Apple needs to provide a way for device owners to acquire the apps that the OWNER wants and not just what Apple agrees with.

    If Apple doesn’t want an app in their store, fine. But someone should be able to go to the store next door and get it - if they truly are just a distributor after all. 


    As soon as you look up the definition of free speech you’ll see that the basis of your entire argument no longer exists.  You may fault Apple as being a censure, but Apple kicking the InfoWars app out of its App Store has exactly zero to do with free speech.  Free speech is exclusively between a government and its citizens, not between a private company and its customers, suppliers or partners.  

    It really must frustrate those who misapply the free speech argument to this InfoWars situation that Apple hasn’t been charged with any crime or brought before congress, or whatever other remedy these folks imagine should play out.  Must not occur to them to think, ‘maybe I’m not correct in my imagining that this is a free speech issue.  Maybe I better go look this up to see what free speech is all about.’  Oh well, sucks to be frustrated and at a loss for an explanation.  Especially with a Google search box so close at hand.  
    edited November 2018 muthuk_vanalingamsvanstromericthehalfbee
  • Reply 132 of 180
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,093moderator
    geekmee said:
    I haven’t finished reading all these comments, but from what I’ve read, I still do’t get it????
    Can you say? Choice
    Can you say? Microsoft store
    Can you say? Google Play
    Can you say? Android
    Lack of choice is at the crux of the concept of monopoly. 
    Everyone has made a choice when the go with one operating system or the other.
    If someone feels they are overpaying for anything, they are free to choose another OS.
    People are not being forced to buy anything. They can chose other approaches or solutions.
    The marketplace will decide... Apple will go out of business if they make a bad marketing decision.

    From the looks of it, they’ve made a marketing decision... and the market as whole likes it.

    The idea is that you choose a platform. 

    Say a smartphone with app capability. 

    Apple makes a smartphone. But Their are many Manufacturers of other smartphones - each with their own flavor, quality, etc. 

    Yet the manufacturers have to play by the rules when they are allowed to sell in the USA. 

    Ford and Chevy both make cars with radio capability in the cars. But one doesn’t choose for you what you can and can’t legally listen to over the available airwaves. 


    So you’re saying that a person using an iPhone should be able to browse any website they like.  Agreed. Because that’s the closest to your radio airwaves example.

     A better analogy would be that Ford and Chevy should be forced to allow users to install any engine management apps they like.  And if someone installs some poorly designed ignition and valve timing app that siezes the engine, can they bring it to Ford or Chevy to get it serviced under warranty?  Is that what you’re trying to suggest?   And if someone installs an engine management app that causes the engine to rev out of control resulting in a crash and some dead passengers and pedestrians?
    edited November 2018
  • Reply 133 of 180
    Johan42 said:
    svanstrom said:
    So what? I'm free to build my own house, that doesn't mean that it's some sort of evil oligarchy controlling the house building market just because I lack the skills to build houses myself… You either accept having to pay extra for it to be easy, or you put in the hard work to learn how to do it yourself.
    Nonsensical analogy. 
    No it isn’t it’s a great analogy. You’re free to build and side-load apps for iOS, just like you’re free to build a house. But that doesn’t mean it’s “free” to do so without costs. To build a house you must buy tools (wood, saws, etc). To build an iOS app you must als buy tools (a Mac).

    What part are you struggling with?
    Well said.  It's a perfect analogy.
  • Reply 134 of 180
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,930member
    Johan42 said:
    svanstrom said:
    So what? I'm free to build my own house, that doesn't mean that it's some sort of evil oligarchy controlling the house building market just because I lack the skills to build houses myself… You either accept having to pay extra for it to be easy, or you put in the hard work to learn how to do it yourself.
    Nonsensical analogy. 
    No it isn’t it’s a great analogy. You’re free to build and side-load apps for iOS, just like you’re free to build a house. But that doesn’t mean it’s “free” to do so without costs. To build a house you must buy tools (wood, saws, etc). To build an iOS app you must als buy tools (a Mac).

    What part are you struggling with?
    Well said.  It's a perfect analogy.
    But there isn't a single provider of house building services, there's a huge number of them.  The choice isn't between Houses Inc or do it yourself, there are a massive amount of choices.  It really doesn't work at all.

    If anything it proves the opposite point.  If you bought a piece of land and then had to use a single monopoly company to build a house on that land (or d.i.y.) you'd be major league pissed and it may well go to the courts to get rid of the absurd restriction.
    edited November 2018 muthuk_vanalingamgatorguy
  • Reply 135 of 180
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,930member
    Apple is obviously a distributor. But they are also a censor. That’s great when it’s keeping the store clean of filth (mostly), but not so great when it’s a violation of free speech. A iPhone owner should be able to download a legal app of their choosing that is in disagreement with apples worldview. As mentioned above, the info wars thing is a glaring example of complete mishandling of power. I don’t care for info Ward ar all. But if someone wants it, they should be able to have the app on a device they own. This kind of abuse is not new at Apple unfortunately. I remember having a U2 album with questionable cover art randomly appear in my iTunes account because Apple wanted to force it on me - along with everyone else. And whether you like the album or not, appreciate the cover art or not, the principle of it is that Apple weilded power inappropriately. The fact that Apple can take a view it disagrees with and eliminate it from the discussion - or to purposely harm a business it disagrees with - is extremely concerning. The terms “hate speech” gets used a lot today as justification for censorship. But it’s part of life. People say hateful or sometimes just foolish things sometimes. You want hate speech? Look at donald trumps twitter whenever he retaliated on someone. Horrible. You want far worse hate speech? Listen to the other side of the aisle with Maxine waters, Madonna, etc. calling for actual actionable assault and harassment of people who don’t share their views. Scary stuff. But you don’t see Apple banning their apps or banning twitter. 

    All that to say that Apple needs to provide a way for device owners to acquire the apps that the OWNER wants and not just what Apple agrees with.

    If Apple doesn’t want an app in their store, fine. But someone should be able to go to the store next door and get it - if they truly are just a distributor after all. 


    As soon as you look up the definition of free speech you’ll see that the basis of your entire argument no longer exists.  You may fault Apple as being a censure, but Apple kicking the InfoWars app out of its App Store has exactly zero to do with free speech.  Free speech is exclusively between a government and its citizens, not between a private company and its customers, suppliers or partners.  

    It really must frustrate those who misapply the free speech argument to this InfoWars situation that Apple hasn’t been charged with any crime or brought before congress, or whatever other remedy these folks imagine should play out.  Must not occur to them to think, ‘maybe I’m not correct in my imagining that this is a free speech issue.  Maybe I better go look this up to see what free speech is all about.’  Oh well, sucks to be frustrated and at a loss for an explanation.  Especially with a Google search box so close at hand.  
    Freedom of speech may be protected by a constitution, but that doesn't mean someone can't violate your free speech in a completely different manner that is not constitutionally protected.  Someone can violate my personal space and I can complain about it, but that doesn't mean its a Supreme Court issue, it's a civil issue.

    Free speech likewise can be a civil issue that people are sensitive to when it's big companies like Apple acting puritanical, and Apple would be wise to be very aware of the lines that they're drawing, and why.
  • Reply 136 of 180
    avon b7 said:
    urahara said:
    crowley said:
    avon b7 said:
    I'm for choice in distribution models and less power for store controllers.

    I'd like to see developers have the option to opt out of the App Store if it suits their needs and for Apple to have less say on what is 'acceptable' or not. Likewise, choice would then extend to the end user.
    The open web exists for that. The App Store should be apple controlled.
    And why not allow third-party app stores at the user's risk?
    Because those users will be still coming to Apple. Whining. When they screw up with their third-party access apps. At Apple's cost. Meaning also at the cost of those who are just using a more secure App Store.
    I personally would recommend those users (who whine now, before they whine later) just go get Android. 
    Android was always more customisable. And it was always one of the main selling points for such people.
    That isn't actually a reason. Is there a reason that a third party app store couldn't be as good, or better than Apple's? The point is we don't know because the only way a regular user can get apps is by going through Apple's store and the vast majority of them are unnaware of how much Apple takes for providing the service or if Apple is filtering what is available to them.

    Those would be non-issues if users had the option go elsewhere for iOS apps.

    It is a complex issue but a legal challenge helps clarify many aspects and could possibly lead to changes in how things work.
    We do know, because such situations do/have existed. They have existed with cracked iPhones, with Android, with Chrome extensions etc.

    Quality drops, and security problems are all over the place. 
  • Reply 137 of 180
    steven n. said:
    As a developer, I love the single store concept and increased visibility allowing cheaper prices to my constomers because of increased volume. Sounds win-win to me. 
    I agree with this, the App store provides a single source of apps to buy and you know there is a great chance they have been thoroughly vetted and are safe.  Some malicious apps still get through but it's not a wild west. 

    However, there should be alternatives allowed with a "purchase at your own risk".  IMO the biggest issue is Apple restricting access to apps based on their moral compass.  I'm not saying I want smut on my phone or ipad, but it should be possible for an average owner of a device to put literally any app on it.  Apple could protect itself by not allowing these externally sold apps to have access to secure enclaves of the phone.  

    There is a happy medium there, and sounds like it will require the courts to force Apple to explore it.  
  • Reply 138 of 180
    Take the Alex Jones Info Wars app for instance. Apple doesn't want Info Wars in the app store for hate speech. This is an example of why Apple should allow developers to host their apps from their website. If I want to download Info Wars, I should be allowed to download it from infowars.com if App doesn't like the app. This is what I call a violation of the Antitrust Act.
    Yeah, this isn't a violation of the Antitrust act. There are potentially other issues with this, but antitrust isn't one of them.
    Can you help me understand why that example isn't an antitrust one?  Apple controls the only avenue to get an app onto a phone (short of an airwatch or some other esoteric workaround) and now refuses to allow the app to use the sole distribution channel.  Sounds exactly like an antitrust issue...restrict competition and then censor what you don't agree with.  
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 139 of 180
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 3,933member
    crowley said:
    avon b7 said:
    I'm for choice in distribution models and less power for store controllers.

    I'd like to see developers have the option to opt out of the App Store if it suits their needs and for Apple to have less say on what is 'acceptable' or not. Likewise, choice would then extend to the end user.
    The open web exists for that. The App Store should be apple controlled.
    And why not allow third-party app stores at the user's risk?
    That becomes a trademark issue, believe it or not.  The iPhone and iOS is protected by trademark, and represents in the eyes of consumers a more secure smartphone versus the competition, among other favorably comparable attributes.  To allow third parties to install less secure or not-at-all-secure apps on top
    of iOS would be to dilute that trademark and would result in harm to the good name Apple has earned through its diligence in keeping the platform secure.  

    You see, this is not merely a cut and dry issue.
    Definitely not cut and dry but there is no reason to think that someone couldn't actually do an equally good, or better job than Apple. Yes, some might be worse but that wouldn't be enough to rule that security would be affected. That remains to be seen (supposing someone gets something through a ruling that increases app store competition). At the very least direct app to consumer sales from trusted developers (safeguards in place) is hard to argue against if the developer is willing to manage the administrative side.
    airnerd
  • Reply 140 of 180
    airnerd said:
    steven n. said:
    As a developer, I love the single store concept and increased visibility allowing cheaper prices to my constomers because of increased volume. Sounds win-win to me. 
    I agree with this, the App store provides a single source of apps to buy and you know there is a great chance they have been thoroughly vetted and are safe.  Some malicious apps still get through but it's not a wild west. 

    However, there should be alternatives allowed with a "purchase at your own risk".  IMO the biggest issue is Apple restricting access to apps based on their moral compass.  I'm not saying I want smut on my phone or ipad, but it should be possible for an average owner of a device to put literally any app on it.  Apple could protect itself by not allowing these externally sold apps to have access to secure enclaves of the phone.  

    There is a happy medium there, and sounds like it will require the courts to force Apple to explore it.  
    Basically we’re getting there with webapps.

    If you keep up with the development of good standards etc you know it’s slow work, but progress is made as far as letting webapps get deeper integration with especially mobile devices.
    airnerd
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