Blog #675 Apple vs SCOTUS

SCOTUS to review Apple Apps

For years the only place to get iPhone apps is the Apple Store.  If you have a ‘paid’ app (that is one that people pay to download to their iPhone), Apple keeps 30% of the price.  But that might be changing.

From the article:

-“The Supreme Court, ruling 5-4, allows iPhone users to pursue their antitrust lawsuit against Apple in a case involving its signature electronic marketplace, the App Store.”

-”The iPhone users argued that Apple’s 30% commission on sales through the App Store was passed along to consumers, an unfair use of monopoly power. Apple argued that only app developers, and not users, should be able to bring such a lawsuit.”

I am an iPhone owner and user.  As a retired person, there aren’t many paid apps that I am interested in.  There are some (like password managers) that look attractive to me, but I haven’t invested in them.

On-the-other hand, I have several free apps – from games, to library downloads and learning sites.  Unfortunately, almost all of these have to be supported by advertisements (hey – they aren’t getting my money – so they need income – and they are forced to have ads).

I have a good friend and former student (Steve) who loves to write apps.  He has faced this problem by not charging.

He wrote me this analysis:

“Yes, Apple taking 30% seems like a lot, but us app developers don’t have a choice.  I think the Google fee is somewhere around the 30% commission, too. But that article brings up a good point; it is in sense a monopoly; but from Apple’s perspective, it is their product so they should be able to do whatever they want with it.  

“Did you know that Apple charges a $100 annual fee just to be a developer?  It could be anything, and developers would pay it. (Last I knew) Google only has a one-time setup fee of $35.  

“I suppose in Apple’s defense, they are reviewing each app (I know this all too well; I’ve had several apps rejected for a variety of reasons), so the money to pay those reviewers I guess needs to come from somewhere.  Apple is known for having “quality” apps in their store.

Thank you Steve!!!  

My friend loves to write apps.  It is a hobby for him – and like most hobbies there is a cost.  If your hobby is playing golf, you have to pay for clubs and pay to play on a course.  If your hobby is music (like mine), you have to pay for your instrument and lessons and for driving to gigs.  (For an amateur like me that is).

So, we will have to wait and see if the Supreme Court thinks Apple is being ‘fair’.  Apple phones are one of the two major mobile phone systems (the other is Android apps).  If you want to play, you have to pay.

What do you think? Is Apple in the right for making app developers pay an annual fee?  Is Apple right to take 30% off of paid apps to support their infrastructure (of hosting and reviewing apps)?


Posted by Bruce White

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