Microsoft president raised concerns about Apple App Store in House antitrust meeting

Posted:
in General Discussion edited July 2020
Microsoft president and chief legal officer Brad Smith reportedly expressed concerns about the Apple App Store in a meeting with the U.S. House antitrust committee investigating dominant tech companies.

Credit: Microsoft
Credit: Microsoft


The meeting came a few weeks before the House's Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee is set to grill prominent tech executives like Apple CEO Tim Cook, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and Alphabet and Google CEO Sundai Pichai.

Amid the ongoing antitrust probe, the committee met with Smith via videoconference earlier in the summer, The Information reported. According to sources familiar with the meeting, the primary goal was to get Microsoft's perspective as a major technology company that has faced past antitrust regulation.

But The Information notes that Smith also discussed some of Microsoft's "concerns" about how Apple operates its App Store -- an issue at the forefront of the House committee's investigation.

Specifically, the concerns centered on the "arbitrariness of Apple's practices around approving apps, while also criticizing Apple's requirement that developers use the company's payment mechanism through their apps." Smith did not levy any criticisms against other tech companies, sources claimed.

Spotify, Basecamp and other companies have complained about Apple's 15% to 30% cut of in-app purchases made through its payment system. In June, the House antitrust chairperson called the fees "highway robbery."

Apple, for its part, says that those fees are meant to ensure consistency across the App Store -- not to generate excess profits.

The House launched their bipartisan probe investigating "weak" antitrust enforcement of technology companies in 2019. The same year, the U.S. Department of Justice also launched a massive antitrust investigation.

At a Politico event in June, Microsoft's Smith chimed in on antitrust probes, stating that it's past time for regulators to examine Apple's practices.

In addition to antitrust scrutiny in the U.S., Apple is also in the spotlight elsewhere in the world. In June, the European Commission launched their own probe investigation alleged anticompetitive practices on both the App Store and Apple Pay.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 64
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 6,099member
    Please correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t Microsoft’s Windows Mobile App Store exclusive also?
    genovelleBeatsmwhitemdriftmeyeraderutterwilliamlondonuraharaqwerty529secondkox2civa
  • Reply 2 of 64
    genovellegenovelle Posts: 1,481member
    My question is how much does Microsoft charge for access to Windows on PCs and how much for developers on the Xbox platform?
    williamlondonqwerty529secondkox2civaronnwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 64
    danvmdanvm Posts: 1,425member
    sflocal said:
    Please correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t Microsoft’s Windows Mobile App Store exclusive also?
    I don't think it's important what was the Windows Mobile / Windows Phone App store.  The issue is what is the iOS / iPad OS App Store today.  
    williamlondon9secondkox2
  • Reply 4 of 64
    danvmdanvm Posts: 1,425member
    genovelle said:
    My question is how much does Microsoft charge for access to Windows on PCs and how much for developers on the Xbox platform?
    I don't see any relevance on what MS charge OEM for Windows in an issue related to the iOS / iPadOS App Store.  Maybe is more close to the XBox platform.  The difference is that I can go any retailer and purchase games.  I cannot do that with IOS / iPadOS devices.  

    Another issue, that in my opinion doesn't makes sense, is Apple blocking games streaming services (xCloud, Stadia, GForce Now).  I hope Apple change their mind in the future.
    edited July 2020 williamlondon9secondkox2
  • Reply 5 of 64
    jimh2jimh2 Posts: 631member
    genovelle said:
    My question is how much does Microsoft charge for access to Windows on PCs and how much for developers on the Xbox platform?
    This is a perfect comparison. You either pay the licensing fee and follow the rules or you do not have a product to sell. Same is true for other gaming platforms.
    Beatsmdriftmeyeraderutterwilliamlondondewmeqwerty52civajony0Dogpersonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 64
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    sflocal said:
    Please correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t Microsoft’s Windows Mobile App Store exclusive also?

    Yes and that was after stealing Apple's engineering and App Store idea.




    danvm said:
    sflocal said:
    Please correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t Microsoft’s Windows Mobile App Store exclusive also?
    I don't think it's important what was the Windows Mobile / Windows Phone App store.  The issue is what is the iOS / iPad OS App Store today.  

    So Apple should pay for Microsoft's failure? What kinda logic is that? Apple invented the App Store and should generate as much profit from it as possible.


    I wanna be able to sell my games on Xbox without paying MS a dime!! /s
    mwhiteaderutterwilliamlondoncivaronnjony0Dogpersonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 64
    personperson Posts: 31member
    If you don't like the App Store, don't use it. If you don't like the App Store, don't use it!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKIcaejkpD4
    Beatswilliamlondondewmebeowulfschmidturaharaqwerty52jony0Dogpersonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 64
    How convenient. Make an ally of the government against your competition. 
    aderutterwilliamlondonforegoneconclusiondewmeuraharamuaddibqwerty52civaronnjony0
  • Reply 9 of 64
    wonkothesanewonkothesane Posts: 1,729member
    Hey Brad, jealous that your company isn’t important enough anymore to be invited to the “grill party”? 
    aderutterwilliamlondondewmeuraharasunman42civajony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 64
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    Microsoft president says Apple not fair.

    Of course he cares about "antitrust" issues and doesn't have a vested interest. Not like he works for a failed competitor or anything.
    /s


    In other news Burger King says there's too many McDonald's locations, causes environmental problems.
    Rayz2016aderutterwilliamlondoncivaronnchasmjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 64
    mr lizardmr lizard Posts: 354member
    Whatever mine or your views on Apple’s entitlement to a cut of in-app purchases, Apple’s argument that the cut exists to ensure consistency doesn’t hold water. Apple has struck deals with some of the largest developers who avoid the same cut that applies to smaller developers. Apple arbitrarily determines what is a “reader” app that is permitted to function with out-of-app purchasing. 

    Perhaps Apple is entitled to be inconsistent. But Apple are the ones saying that the cut exists to ensure consistency. 

    That is untrue. 
    edited July 2020
  • Reply 12 of 64
    danvm said: I don't see any relevance on what MS charge OEM for Windows in an issue related to the iOS / iPadOS App Store.  Maybe is more close to the XBox platform.  The difference is that I can go any retailer and purchase games.  I cannot do that with IOS / iPadOS devices.  
    Purchasing software at retail wasn't a better system for customers or developers when the App Store launched. It was much harder for developers to find a publisher and distributor. If they did get their software published/distributed, they would typically expect to retain about 30% of the proceeds from the retail price. The idea that getting 70% of the proceeds is "highway robbery" is a relatively new one. Also, the price of software at retail for consumers has always been generally higher vs. digital distribution. It wasn't common to find new applications that cost $4.99 or less prior to the App Store. 

    Not saying everything about the App Store is perfect or that it doesn't make sense for Congress to modernize some of the digital distribution rules with new legislation, but I think it will be hard for anyone to find things that rise to the level of antitrust under current law. Federal courts seemed to be fine with Amazon controlling 90% of ebook sales as long as their prices for consumers were lower. 
    edited July 2020 tmayuraharacivajony0DetnatorDogpersonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 64
    svanstromsvanstrom Posts: 702member
    danvm said:
    genovelle said:
    My question is how much does Microsoft charge for access to Windows on PCs and how much for developers on the Xbox platform?
    I don't see any relevance on what MS charge OEM for Windows in an issue related to the iOS / iPadOS App Store.
    Ever seen one of those court room movies where someone yells something like "it goes to motive, your honor"…?
    civawatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 64
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,557member
    This from the quintessential monopolist with 95% of the computer operating system market? And 95% NOT because it’s better but because of the skullduggery used to get there. The mind boggles.
    qwerty52civajony0Detnatorwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 64
    tmaytmay Posts: 6,371member
    Essentially, Apple has a business model; hardware, software, and app store, all wrapped in an expanding ecosystem, that MS would like to successfully emulate, but hasn't been able to create, at least to date. 

    I blame this on historic Windows branding, and the Windows license business model, and an almost entirely separated Xbox franchise. Perhaps Smith is now at the stage of tearing down the competition in lieu of actually innovating.

    It's interesting to me that Apple has recently enabled iOS and iPad apps to run on Mac OS Big Sur and ASi with little effort from developers, certainly adding increased value to developers in the App store. With ASi rumored performance, will Apple now become a gamers haven?
    rainmakercivajony0Detnatorwatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 64
    danvmdanvm Posts: 1,425member

    danvm said:
    sflocal said:
    Please correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t Microsoft’s Windows Mobile App Store exclusive also?
    I don't think it's important what was the Windows Mobile / Windows Phone App store.  The issue is what is the iOS / iPad OS App Store today.  

    So Apple should pay for Microsoft's failure? What kinda logic is that? Apple invented the App Store and should generate as much profit from it as possible.


    I wanna be able to sell my games on Xbox without paying MS a dime!! /s
    The thing is that Apple should generate as much profit they can without breaking the law.  

    Second, the article mentions that MS discussion was about "arbitrariness of Apple's practices around approving apps, while also criticizing Apple's requirement that developers use the company's payment mechanism through their apps".  And based of what I have read from developers, maybe they have a valid point. 
  • Reply 17 of 64
    danvmdanvm Posts: 1,425member
    Beats said:
    Microsoft president says Apple not fair.

    Of course he cares about "antitrust" issues and doesn't have a vested interest. Not like he works for a failed competitor or anything.
    /s


    In other news Burger King says there's too many McDonald's locations, causes environmental problems.
    The article mentions that the discussion was related to "arbitrariness of Apple's practices around approving apps, while also criticizing Apple's requirement that developers use the company's payment mechanism through their apps".  Maybe MS may have a valid point, considering f
    what I have read from developers. For example, is there a valid reason for Apple to block game streaming services, like Stadia, GeForce Now or xCloud?  Does it makes sense to you?
    gatorguy
  • Reply 18 of 64
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,917member
    Wov! Microsoft, don't forget. You acted anti competitive most of your past life taking over, and control the important software on PC/Server now says with straight face that Apple is anti competitive ? Shame on you, Microsoft. Apple became world's most admire and beloved company with hard work, making superior products that people love to buy and use. So, stop your propaganda against apple. Congressional Anti competitive committee should still go after Microsoft and divide there office suite,cloud,gaming and OS businesses. Microsoft, stop your efforts against another great American company Apple and direct towards making your products better. And if you still have energy and money, fund to make security software better and free to all so China or other bad actors don't hack computers, theft IP.
    qwerty52civajony0Detnatorwatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 64
    tmaytmay Posts: 6,371member
    danvm said:

    danvm said:
    sflocal said:
    Please correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t Microsoft’s Windows Mobile App Store exclusive also?
    I don't think it's important what was the Windows Mobile / Windows Phone App store.  The issue is what is the iOS / iPad OS App Store today.  

    So Apple should pay for Microsoft's failure? What kinda logic is that? Apple invented the App Store and should generate as much profit from it as possible.


    I wanna be able to sell my games on Xbox without paying MS a dime!! /s
    The thing is that Apple should generate as much profit they can without breaking the law.  

    Second, the article mentions that MS discussion was about "arbitrariness of Apple's practices around approving apps, while also criticizing Apple's requirement that developers use the company's payment mechanism through their apps".  And based of what I have read from developers, maybe they have a valid point. 
    You spend a lot your posts parsing others.

    Weak sauce.
    edited July 2020 jony0DancingMonkeyswatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 64
    tmaytmay Posts: 6,371member

    danvm said:
    Beats said:
    Microsoft president says Apple not fair.

    Of course he cares about "antitrust" issues and doesn't have a vested interest. Not like he works for a failed competitor or anything.
    /s


    In other news Burger King says there's too many McDonald's locations, causes environmental problems.
    For example, is there a valid reason for Apple to block game streaming services, like Stadia, GeForce Now or xCloud?  Does it makes sense to you?
    Apple doesn't have its own game streaming service, so why would they want to enable 3rd party game streaming? Will Congress now force Apple to provide streaming games, and what would be a fair cut?
    edited July 2020 watto_cobra
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