Apple launched an interesting “Principles and Practices” page on their site today that reads like a defense of their oft-seemingly unfair App Store practices. And considering the Supreme Court’s recent ruling that now allows plaintiffs to sue under antitrust laws, it’s hard to not assume Apple is wanting to plead their case in the court of public opinion – perhaps ahead of next week’s WWDC19. As the acronym implies, there may be a few a developers in attendance.
Dedicated to the best store experience for everyone.
That’s the headline. And whether consumers and developers believe this to be true or not, the App Store is still the only place where users are able to download apps for their iOS devices. Apple lays out several reasons as to why the App Store is what it is (exclusive) and operates how it does (exclusively).
- They take responsibility for the App Store by covering “safety, performance, business, design, and legal.”
- They give developers a platform that makes it “easy and compelling for developers to develop apps for the one billion App Store customers around the world.”
- The App Store is one that welcomes competition because they “believe competition makes everything better and results in the best apps for (their) customers.”
This final point starts to sound a bit self-exonerating. They go through the trouble of pointing out 12 native apps that apparently have plenty of competition in the App Store, but they don’t give any indication as to how well the alternatives do in comparison. Now granted, they are singling out a dozen free, pre-loaded Apple apps such as Calendar, Mail, and Maps, so they won’t have download or revenue statistics to share. But considering there are over 1 billion active Apple devices, it’s doubtful there is much “competing” to be had. At least when it comes to plain old everyday usage.
Apple is wanting to make it very clear that they are committed to competition. And even though the 30% cut they take from developers is mentioned, they are still quick to highlight the claim that “84% of apps are free, and developers pay nothing to Apple.” However, they don’t state what percentage of the 84% never generate revenue with in-app purchases or subscriptions.
The article ends with one final thought. “We’re always learning, and trying to make the App Store experience better for customers and developers by offering the best apps. And this commitment has never wavered.” Though it almost sounds like an admission or an apology, the argument to be made is that this can only happen if Apple is in control.
Trust vs. Antitrust
One thing that interestingly jumped out was that the word “trust” is mentioned five times in this relatively short post. Twice at the beginning and three times at the end. It’s a strategic trick that writers use all the time – plant the seed at the outset and reinforce it at the very end so it is the last thing remembered and first thing associated with the content. Perhaps Apple is hoping that trust will trump antitrust?
If you choose to give it a read, let us know what you think!