Ex-App Store head says Apple Arcade violates Apple's own policies

Posted:
in General Discussion edited October 2020
A previous head of the App Store told the US House of Representatives that Apple rejects subscription game services because they compete with Apple Arcade.

Apple Arcade
Apple Arcade


As the dispute between Apple and Epic Games continues, a former App Store manager has claimed that Apple does reject apps that compete with its own services. Questioned by the US House of Representatives in its antitrust investigation, Philip Shoemaker said that the App Store had been used to protect Apple's interests.

"[Apple] was not being honest," he said when asked about the company's claim that it treats all developers the same. Calling the App Store rules both "arbitrary" and "arguable," he said that, "Apple has struggled with using the App Store as a weapon against competitors."

"Apple has complete and unprecedented power over their customers' devices," he continued. "The decisions they make with regards to third-party apps needs to be above reproach, and currently are not."

Shoemaker, who was senior director of Apple's App Store Review team from March 2009 to April 2016 and had nothing to do with the Apple Arcade decision, nor the recent rules revision about game streaming services said that it is also untrue that Apple will not favor its own apps over those of competitors. He said that Apple Arcade was a type of app that was "consistently disallowed from the store," if submitted by a third-party.

Shoemaker's testimony in the House's full report -- embedded below -- was first spotted by Business Insider.

The House's antitrust investigation was into Amazon, Google, and Facebook as well as Apple. Recently, however, firms such as Microsoft have also claimed that the App Store game rules are unfair.

During his seven years at Apple, Shoemaker says that he "built [the] App Store Review team from 4 to over 300 employees... reorganizing as necessary to support international growth." He also represented the company in what he describes as "numerous hearings with DOJ and FDA, as well as numerous legal depositions for legal proceedings related to the App Store, national and international."

Since leaving Apple, Shoemaker has been a critic of the company's App Store practices. "In-app purchase is broken," he said in June 2020. "As Apple is entering into more and more of these areas and putting out of business more developers, they really have got to think differently."

He has praised how Apple originally assigned three reviewers to every app, but says that this was later cut back to one. And that even though the curation is still done by people instead of algorithms, "there's a lot of stuff in the store that shouldn't be there."

Shoemaker has himself been through the App Store review process as a developer. He founded the entertainment software firm GrayNoodle, and ran it for a year before joining Apple.

GrayNoodle does not appear to currently have any apps on the App Store, but it previously had ones including a urination simulator named "iWiz," and a flatulence one called "Animal Farts."

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 42
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,556member
    That's not going to sit well with Apple. If Apple sues this guy for libel, we know he's lying. Otherwise he's telling the truth, or paid off by Epic. Though that then would be lying under oath. 

    Will be interesting to see if Apple has a response other than “we refute this”. Because when one of your own says this kind of thing, there’s very little defence - as long as the guy wasn’t dismissed for poor conduct at least, as then he could be saying this to get retribution. 
    edited October 2020 chemengin1watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 42
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,134member
    My sense is that much of what he said is opinion rather than hard, cold fact:  that it is interpreting the intent behind decisions by Apple.   Unless he has something in writing it is essentially just his take on it.

    But, that does not detract from the seriousness of these allegations because:  essentially, they are not claiming a simple business dispute between Apple and developers but something that hurts Apple customers because Apple is artificially restricting their options to favor their own bottom line.   In other words while the customer reaps no benefit of any kind and only experiences harm, Apple enhances its bottom line at other's expense.

    That is not what has made Apple a great company.   A great stock.   But not a great company.   Quite the opposite really.

    The question though remains:   Is what he said/suggested true?   Was this Apple's conscious intent?
    OferrandominternetpersonaderutterBeatsmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 3 of 42
    If by “competes with its own services” he means Apple is going to squash alternate app stores, of course Apple is going to do that.  Everything he alleged could also apply to Sony or Nintendo. But Apple allows alternate calendars, email, or calculators so it’s not like they’re out to protect all apps Apple. 
    jahbladeaderutterwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 42
    Seems like a slightly disingenuous wording of apple not allowing a store within a store. 

    Also to saying that the reason for this is due to competition with Apple Arcade is bizarre, Arcade is relatively new - the desire of 3rd parties to run a store within a store is not. 
    mwhitewatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 42
    elijahg said:
    That's not going to sit well with Apple. If Apple sues this guy for libel, we know he's lying. Otherwise he's telling the truth, or paid off by Epic. Though that then would be lying under oath. 

    Will be interesting to see if Apple has a response other than “we refute this”. Because when one of your own says this kind of thing, there’s very little defence - as long as the guy wasn’t dismissed for poor conduct at least, as then he could be saying this to get retribution. 
    There are a couple problems with your comment. First the testimony was oral and not written so Apple couldn't sue for libel it would have to be slander. Second, you can't simply sue someone for saying something untrue you have to show damages were incurred and given the testimony has been public for a few days Apple would be hard pressed to show any sort of damages. When it comes to lying during testimony to Congress being under oath doesn't matter. Lying to Congress is a crime if you are under oath or not. That said it is something that can be difficult to prosecute as the person has to knowingly and willingly make the statement. In this person's case what he said could have been accurate 4+ years ago when he worked for Apple but inaccurate presently. In that instance he would have told the truth based on his knowledge but said knowledge is out of date. As for Epic, what do they have to do with the Judiciary Subcommittee's report? This testimony would have been well before the Epic/Apple pissing match started. Lastly, Apple provided a statement to. Business Insider, the publisher of the story AI is referring to in this article, but AI opted to not include it or make reference to it in this article. 
    edited October 2020
  • Reply 6 of 42
    That’s why he is an EX employee.....follow what Comey said, I dont recall or I don’t remember. 
    qwerty52watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 42
    hriw-annon@xs4all.nl[email protected] Posts: 53unconfirmed, member
    Isn't that the guy that was fired just before Phil Schiller was assigned to clean up his mess?
    razorpitmacplusplusSpamSandwichwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 42
    I have been peeved at times that AppleInsider just goes with the herd to be anti-Apple even when there is evidence an Apple competitor is being dishonest. There is evidence Shoemaker is a disgruntled ex-Apple employee and this time AppleInsider chose to publish the evidence instead of just going with the herd. This is what call fair. Please keep it up because Epic Games isn’t done with its PR campaign and more information from the House antitrust subcommittee is going to be revealed slowly to get as many sensational headlines as possible. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 42
    qwerty52qwerty52 Posts: 338member
    AppleInsider said: Since leaving Apple, Shoemaker has been a critic of the company's App Store .

    It seems to me, Shoemaker didn’t leave Apple voluntary, but it was fired. 
    Now we know that it was the right decision.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 42
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,322member
    Isn't that the guy that was fired just before Phil Schiller was assigned to clean up his mess?
    He sounds far more reasonable if you read this article of his.
    https://medium.com/@phillipshoemaker/apple-v-everybody-5903039e3be
    Oferdysamoriamuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 11 of 42
    zimmiezimmie Posts: 577member
    Except ... Apple Arcade isn't an app? It's a collection of individual games. You pay the subscription, then you get access to all the individual games.

    You know, just like what they want Microsoft to do with xCloud. Submit the games individually.
    foregoneconclusionrazorpitaderutterthtwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 42
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,322member
    zimmie said:
    Except ... Apple Arcade isn't an app? It's a collection of individual games. You pay the subscription, then you get access to all the individual games.

    You know, just like what they want Microsoft to do with xCloud. Submit the games individually.
    In Microsoft's case the games would not typically be streamed from Apple who would have no responsibility beyond handling the subscription itself. Afterall, Netflix didn't need to submit each movie individually, only submit the Netflix app. Apple never had anything to do with the content streaming itself.  Is there a difference?
    edited October 2020 Ofermuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 13 of 42
    "Apple has complete and unprecedented power over their customers' devices"
    www.theverge.com/2020/1/21/21075033/apple-icloud-end-to-end-encryption-scrapped-fbi-reuters-report
    "For iCloud backups, “our users have a key and we have one,” said CEO Tim Cook in 2019"
    Presumably this includes Arcade and app history, Apple Watch, HomePod, Health, Photos, HomeKit, and other data...?
  • Reply 14 of 42
    hriw-annon@xs4all.nl[email protected] Posts: 53unconfirmed, member
    If Microsoft gets what it wants, how long before we can stream Word and Excel?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 42
    gatorguy said: In Microsoft's case the games would not typically be streamed from Apple who would have no responsibility beyond handling the subscription itself. Afterall, Netflix didn't need to submit each movie individually, only submit the Netflix app. Apple never had anything to do with the content streaming itself.  Is there a difference?
    Games are applications. Movies and music and books are files. The App Store requires applications to be reviewed, not files. That ultimately means that you need to create an iOS/iPad OS native application in order for it to pass review. If you don't want to do that, then you can skip the App Store and make the application available to iPhone/iPad users through the web browser (similar to Amazon Luna). It works that way because Apple considers the App Store to be their own creation and under their control and different from internet content...which is not their own creation and not under their control. 
    edited October 2020 tmaymacpluspluswatto_cobrap-dog
  • Reply 16 of 42
    If Microsoft gets what it wants, how long before we can stream Word and Excel?
    They could stream Word and Excel through the browser right now. They just don't want to do it. That's the same as not wanting to port Xbox and Windows games to iOS/iPadOS. They could, but they don't. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 42
    hriw-annon@xs4all.nl[email protected] Posts: 53unconfirmed, member
    If Microsoft gets what it wants, how long before we can stream Word and Excel?
    They could stream Word and Excel through the browser right now. They just don't want to do it. That's the same as not wanting to port Xbox and Windows games to iOS/iPadOS. They could, but they don't. 
    Not really the same. Porting Xbox and windows games to iOS and iPadOS is a lot of work. Streaming Word and Excel would require no work at all.
  • Reply 18 of 42
    But Apple allows alternate calendars, email, or calculators so it’s not like they’re out to protect all apps Apple. 
    Except that none of those alternative programs threaten Apple revenue in any way.
  • Reply 19 of 42
    radekradek Posts: 7member
    on App store is Game Club which is exactly same like Arcade
    Beatswatto_cobrap-dog
  • Reply 20 of 42
    [email protected] said: Porting Xbox and windows games to iOS and iPadOS is a lot of work. 
    But it can be done and has been done with desktop and console games. Those types of games not showing up through the App Store has more to do with companies like MS not seeing the benefit in making the effort than Apple being worried about competition. 
    watto_cobra
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