Apple Defends App Store Practices in Light of Antitrust Discourse

Ryan Christoffel, MacStories:

Apple has been in the news at several points this year due to claims that its App Store practices are monopolistic. First, Spotify filed a complaint against Apple with the European Commission, then more recently, the US Supreme Court ruled that an antitrust lawsuit against Apple could proceed, setting the stage for potential future battles in this space.

Today Apple has launched a new page on its website defending its App Store practices and sharing the values that lie at the core of the Store.

Coincidentally, Mark Gurman of Bloomberg interviewed Apple’s former senior director of app review Phillip Shoemaker for a podcast that, I’m sure, will soon be entered into evidence in Apple’s antitrust cases:

Shoemaker also spoke about Apple not approving the Google Voice calling service in the early days of the iPhone. He said there was concern inside Apple that companies like Google or Facebook could create a slew of apps that would replace core iPhone functions.

“That was a real thing. I mean the fear that somebody would come along, a Facebook, a Google, whomever and wipe off and remove all of our items,” he said. “Once they started using these other apps, they’d be thinking more about Google now.” Ultimately, Google Voice and similar third-party calling services were approved for Apple’s App Store.

Apple highlights competing apps on their new App Store principles page, but none of these apps can be set as a default.1 Another difference is that some APIs are only available to Apple. Expect to hear these and other differences as these legal cases roll on.

  1. Although, I have found that you can override some Siri commands. For example, if I ask my phone “what’s the weather like?”, Carrot will respond instead of the standard weather app — sometimes. It’s not reliable. ↥︎