There’s been a lot of commentary recently about the US Supreme Court’s decision to allow a lawsuit to proceed, brought by app users, claiming that Apple has a monopoly over what apps are allowed in the App Store.
I guess they do. And I’m really glad about that.
On the other hand, that suit also claims that that monopoly creates unfair pricing of those apps, because Apple takes a 30% commission.
As someone who sells an app through the App Store, I have to say that I find this accusation not only ludicrous, but the argument and remedy more than a bit dangerous to the end user. And we should all be careful what we wish for, as we just might get it.
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Hope this helps!
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This is a knotty subject, particularly in the current socioeconomic movement. I don’t think it is the subject that anti-capitalists or even the Capitalist Reform movement should use as a bellwether. Folks today have no idea what a real monopoly is—although they soon may, if current political forces proceed unchecked.
The closest to this legal theory I can come to is the ages old case against the monolith AT&T brought by upstart Phonemate in the late ’60s. That was back when there was only one phone company and it was lovingly called Ma Bell. AT&T had resisted the answering machine for years—in fact Bell Labs had invented a perfectly serviceable machine in the early 1900s.
Ma Bell was nothing like a mother, except when it came to protecting her child, AT&T. She was fierce. She couched her monopolistic fervor as protection of the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN.) She refused to allow connection of any device (which usually meant answering machines,) to the system—claiming they could damage it.
They were right about one thing, Phonemate sued and the Supremes came down hard on AT&T. Phone mate won and started no only a new industry, but paved the way for dial-up modems and unfettered public access to the Internet. The PSTN has never been the same.
That debacle caught the attention of congress and soon after, Ma Bell was was gone.
In a time when the majority of users actually want Google to be more like Apple, at least in this department, I hope this suit dies an ignominious death in the lower courts.