German antitrust watchdog now monitoring Apple-Epic battle

Posted:
in General Discussion
Germany's Federal Cartel Office is now watching Apple's ongoing battle with "Fortnite" developer Epic, hints at opening an antitrust probe.




On August 28, Apple followed through with a promise to shut down Epic's developer account after the company failed to comply with Apple's App Store terms of service. Epic attempted to block the action by filing a restraining order, but a U.S. District Court denied the request.

The move has garnered much attention from public and press alike, and now draws the attention of Germany's Federal Cartel Office.

"This has most certainly attracted our interest," Andreas Mundt, head of the Federal Cartel Office told Reuters. "We are at the beginning, but we are looking at this very closely."

In an online briefing, Mundt pointed out that the Google Play Store and Apple's App Store represent "an interesting habitat, because they are the only two worldwide."

While the Federal Cartel Office can impose fines, it's likely that officials would attempt to institute change the way the app stores worked instead.

As Reuters points out, the German authority had reached an agreement last year with Amazon regarding merchants who use the service. Facebook is currently appealing an order that would require it to curb its collection of user data.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 11
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,337member
    Even if Apple wins most of the antitrust lawsuits against them, they're unlikely to win all of them. And where they don't win, they'll end up being forced to allow sideloading and/or reducing the 30% cut. If sideloading is forced, there will be a two-tier system where some countries have more open iPhones and some that don't. I'm not sure a two-tier system is really sustainable but if Apple chooses that route, then it will be interesting to have a control group to see if more open iPhones will end up full of malware as some here claim. 
    edited September 2020 cflcardsfan80stevenoz
  • Reply 2 of 11
    If Apple does get forced to allow other app-stores it should let users know that installing a third party non-apple-approved app will disable all the Apple authored apps to ensure their security is not compromised. So, if you install the Epic app-store for example you can say goodbye to Safari, the official Apple App-Store app, Mail, Calendar, Notes, GarageBand, Pages etc.
    AlexMorellowatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 11
    aderutter said:
    If Apple does get forced to allow other app-stores it should let users know that installing a third party non-apple-approved app will disable all the Apple authored apps to ensure their security is not compromised. So, if you install the Epic app-store for example you can say goodbye to Safari, the official Apple App-Store app, Mail, Calendar, Notes, GarageBand, Pages etc.
    And even more than so. They could say goodbye to any app trying to access common resources like photo album, address book etc. Virtually any app trying to access resources extarnal to it would be stopped, since these resources could be tampered with or confusing the user when trying to access. In principle, you could either run the apps from this alternative App Store  OR  anything else of what you have today, but not both. And this is actually the situation you already have when you jailbreak your iDevice. So, all you enemies of the App Store: stop whining! You already have the results of your wishes in place. Don't you like it?
    edited September 2020 watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 11
    aderutter said:
    If Apple does get forced to allow other app-stores it should let users know that installing a third party non-apple-approved app will disable all the Apple authored apps to ensure their security is not compromised. So, if you install the Epic app-store for example you can say goodbye to Safari, the official Apple App-Store app, Mail, Calendar, Notes, GarageBand, Pages etc.
    And even more than so. They could say goodbye to any app trying to access common resources like photo album, address book etc. Virtually any app trying to access resources extarnal to it would be stopped, since these resources could be tampered with or confusing the user when trying to access. In principle, you could either run the apps from this alternative App Store  OR  anything else of what you have today, but not both. And this is actually the situation you already have when you jailbreak your iDevice. So, all you enemies of the App Store: stop whining! You already have the results of your wishes in place. Don't you like it?
    I just wonder why Mac users are still allowed to install programs outside the store - according to your policy apple should disable everything on Macs as soon as you download adobe from the web.
    elijahg
  • Reply 5 of 11
    elijahg said:
    And where they don't win, they'll end up being forced to allow sideloading and/or reducing the 30% cut.. 
    Not really. Nobody can force Apple to sell iPhones in any country. Apple is completely free to either stop selling iPhones or to stop selling software through an App Store. Nobody can force Apple to sell anything to anyone. If Apple took one of these two routes for a given country, it would virtually force the jurisdiction to remove their restrictions. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 11
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,337member
    aderutter said:
    If Apple does get forced to allow other app-stores it should let users know that installing a third party non-apple-approved app will disable all the Apple authored apps to ensure their security is not compromised. So, if you install the Epic app-store for example you can say goodbye to Safari, the official Apple App-Store app, Mail, Calendar, Notes, GarageBand, Pages etc.
    aderutter said:
    If Apple does get forced to allow other app-stores it should let users know that installing a third party non-apple-approved app will disable all the Apple authored apps to ensure their security is not compromised. So, if you install the Epic app-store for example you can say goodbye to Safari, the official Apple App-Store app, Mail, Calendar, Notes, GarageBand, Pages etc.
    And even more than so. They could say goodbye to any app trying to access common resources like photo album, address book etc. Virtually any app trying to access resources extarnal to it would be stopped, since these resources could be tampered with or confusing the user when trying to access. In principle, you could either run the apps from this alternative App Store  OR  anything else of what you have today, but not both. And this is actually the situation you already have when you jailbreak your iDevice. So, all you enemies of the App Store: stop whining! You already have the results of your wishes in place. Don't you like it?
    Doing such would be just as anticompetitive as not allowing unapproved apps, so that would be regulated against too. You’re advocating that Apple should block access to photo albums with your own photos in by third party apps because they’re not Apple approved? Why should Apple choose who may access my own photos, they’re my photos, not Apple’s. 

    And no, jailbreaking doesn’t result in all Apple approved apps not working, no idea where you got that from. 
    edited September 2020 gatorguykbeemuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 7 of 11
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,337member
    elijahg said:
    And where they don't win, they'll end up being forced to allow sideloading and/or reducing the 30% cut.. 
    Not really. Nobody can force Apple to sell iPhones in any country. Apple is completely free to either stop selling iPhones or to stop selling software through an App Store. Nobody can force Apple to sell anything to anyone. If Apple took one of these two routes for a given country, it would virtually force the jurisdiction to remove their restrictions. 
    You really think Apple is so stubborn it would rather pull out of an entire market than comply? You’re claiming if the EU decided Apple should allow sideloading or forced a reduction in App Store commission, Apple would rather pull out of the EU where roughly 1/3 it’s total revenue is made than capitulate? Yeah, I don’t think even Apple is that stubborn. 
  • Reply 8 of 11
    kbeekbee Posts: 23member
    aderutter said:
    If Apple does get forced to allow other app-stores it should let users know that installing a third party non-apple-approved app will disable all the Apple authored apps to ensure their security is not compromised. So, if you install the Epic app-store for example you can say goodbye to Safari, the official Apple App-Store app, Mail, Calendar, Notes, GarageBand, Pages etc.
    I‘m really wondering what kind of stuff you guys are smoking? Does anyone really know what anti competitive means? 

    The cartel could force Apple to allow multiple payment providers for IAP - this would open competition and the price would regulate itself (just look up free market in a wiki).

    Furthermore Apple could be forced to grant access to the AppStore. This would stop Apple from blocking Apps like Hey, f.lux, Parental Control Apps and many more. No more possibility to block an update because of "irrelevant" information. Yet another point could be that Apple is blocked from unfair competition - like buying a book in Apple Books is free and competitors have to pay 30% (this may be already resolved but you still can’t buy a book in the kindle app).

    Different AppStores could appear naturally - just think of China and Trump trying to remove Chinese Apps from the AppStore. Give a custom AppStore to China - problem solved. Same is true for HongKong where China forced Apple to remove an App - or for content Apple doesn‘t like.
    But I don‘t think it is likely to happen - Apple could be granted to remove Apps only if they are affecting device security or if it is considered to be malware. 
    elijahg
  • Reply 9 of 11
    kbee said:

    Furthermore Apple could be forced to grant access to the AppStore. This would stop Apple from blocking Apps like Hey, f.lux, Parental Control Apps and many more. No more possibility to block an update because of "irrelevant" information. Yet another point could be that Apple is blocked from unfair competition - like buying a book in Apple Books is free and competitors have to pay 30% (this may be already resolved but you still can’t buy a book in the kindle app).

    I, for one, don’t want that rubbish on my phone at all. The regulators rarely do the customers any good because they mostly have no (earthly) idea how stuff works. And yes, I’m sure they’d want no B.S. on their phones, either. 

    P.S. And no, I don’t really care about Epic, Amazon, and the like. Trying to tear down the ‘walled garden’, in which I feel (almost) as snug as a bug (in a rug), in an attempt to turn the AppStore into Play Market and fill my phone with rubbish, is impinging on my most basic rights as a customer. It would be only logical to take class action against that. 
    edited September 2020
  • Reply 10 of 11
    aderutter said:
    If Apple does get forced to allow other app-stores it should let users know that installing a third party non-apple-approved app will disable all the Apple authored apps to ensure their security is not compromised. So, if you install the Epic app-store for example you can say goodbye to Safari, the official Apple App-Store app, Mail, Calendar, Notes, GarageBand, Pages etc.
    And even more than so. They could say goodbye to any app trying to access common resources like photo album, address book etc. Virtually any app trying to access resources extarnal to it would be stopped, since these resources could be tampered with or confusing the user when trying to access. In principle, you could either run the apps from this alternative App Store  OR  anything else of what you have today, but not both. And this is actually the situation you already have when you jailbreak your iDevice. So, all you enemies of the App Store: stop whining! You already have the results of your wishes in place. Don't you like it?
    I just wonder why Mac users are still allowed to install programs outside the store - according to your policy apple should disable everything on Macs as soon as you download adobe from the web.
    Not at all. iOS and MacOS are two totally different operating systems, with very different levels of security and control of 3rd-party apps. If they were at the same level then Apple probably would've applied the same rules too.
  • Reply 11 of 11

    elijahg said:
    aderutter said:
    If Apple does get forced to allow other app-stores it should let users know that installing a third party non-apple-approved app will disable all the Apple authored apps to ensure their security is not compromised. So, if you install the Epic app-store for example you can say goodbye to Safari, the official Apple App-Store app, Mail, Calendar, Notes, GarageBand, Pages etc.
    aderutter said:
    If Apple does get forced to allow other app-stores it should let users know that installing a third party non-apple-approved app will disable all the Apple authored apps to ensure their security is not compromised. So, if you install the Epic app-store for example you can say goodbye to Safari, the official Apple App-Store app, Mail, Calendar, Notes, GarageBand, Pages etc.
    And even more than so. They could say goodbye to any app trying to access common resources like photo album, address book etc. Virtually any app trying to access resources extarnal to it would be stopped, since these resources could be tampered with or confusing the user when trying to access. In principle, you could either run the apps from this alternative App Store  OR  anything else of what you have today, but not both. And this is actually the situation you already have when you jailbreak your iDevice. So, all you enemies of the App Store: stop whining! You already have the results of your wishes in place. Don't you like it?
    Doing such would be just as anticompetitive as not allowing unapproved apps, so that would be regulated against too. You’re advocating that Apple should block access to photo albums with your own photos in by third party apps because they’re not Apple approved? Why should Apple choose who may access my own photos, they’re my photos, not Apple’s. 

    And no, jailbreaking doesn’t result in all Apple approved apps not working, no idea where you got that from. 
    No, that's not what I'm saying at all. The photos may be your own, but the Photos app is not. And the Photos app is controlling access to those files as long as they are reciding within its realms. So in order to get access to those files any 3rd-party app will have to ask Photos (or iOS) to serve them, or the user will have to export them to somewhere. Cross-app communication and exchange of resources are very limited on iOS (and for a reason). Now, why should Apple be forced to make Photos distribute its resources to any unapproved 3rd-party app? So, yes in principle the user could build its jailbroken iPhone entirely on non-Apple products. But that's back to what I was saying.
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