Apple Uses App Store As A Weapon Against Competitors, Says Former Director

Oct 9, 2020 11:14 EDT
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Former App Store director Phil Shoemaker made a bombshell revelation to the House antitrust committee for their report which details Apple’s use of its policies to discourage competitors from thriving on iOS. It consistently disallowed apps from competitors, under the guise of App Store policies, that it would later introduce itself without any issues.

As per Phil, Apple disallowed subscription-based gaming services over the years that would allow customers to download games. However, it later launched Apple Arcade, which violated its own App Store own guidelines. Phil said:

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Apple's gaming service, Apple Arcade, is a type of app that was 'consistently disallowed from the store,' when offered by third-party developers, but Apple allowed its own app in the store 'even though it violates existing [App Store] guidelines.

Although Apple Arcade is not exactly like Microsoft’s xCloud, and Google’s Stadia, as it lists each app as an individual entity in the App Store, and does not stream them from a remote server, Apple still has policies in place that disallow xCloud and Stadia to function as intended. Apple has offered that these companies allow each game to be listed as an individual app in the store so they can be reviewed as per App Store guidelines, but it is too big a change for a company to do for just one of the many supported platforms.

xCloud and Stadia are more similar to Netflix, than they are similar to Apple Arcade.

As per Apple:

"The App Store was created to be a safe and trusted place for customers to discover and download apps, and a great business opportunity for all developers. Before they go on our store, all apps are reviewed against the same set of guidelines that are intended to protect customers and provide a fair and level playing field to developers."

As per Phil Shoemaker, these App Store guidelines are arbitrary and arguable, and Apple uses them as a weapon against competitors. What makes this statement even more concerning is that this has come from an ex-Apple employee, who worked for more than 7 years at the company. Phil grew the App Store review team from 4 to 300 employees, and worked at the company from 2009 to 2016.

Apple gave the following statement to Business Insider, in response to Phil’s statement in the antitrust report.

"We have always said that scrutiny is reasonable and appropriate but we vehemently disagree with the conclusions reached in this staff report with respect to Apple. Our company does not have a dominant market share in any category where we do business. From its beginnings 12 years ago with just 500 apps, we've built the App Store to be a safe and trusted place for users to discover and download apps and a supportive way for developers to create and sell apps globally. Hosting close to two million apps today, the App Store has delivered on that promise and met the highest standards for privacy, security and quality. The App Store has enabled new markets, new services and new products that were unimaginable a dozen years ago, and developers have been primary beneficiaries of this ecosystem. Last year in the United States alone, the App Store facilitated $138 billion in commerce with over 85% of that amount accruing solely to third-party developers. Apple's commission rates are firmly in the mainstream of those charged by other app stores and gaming marketplaces. Competition drives innovation, and innovation has always defined us at Apple. We work tirelessly to deliver the best products to our customers, with safety and privacy at their core, and we will continue to do so."

via Business Insider

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