Apple and anti-trust (or a multi-billion dollar company is mad at some multi-trillion dollar companies)_

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August 21, 2020 @20:28

There has been much written about the Epic / Apple / Google love triangle currently happening wherein Epic Games (a ~17.3 billion USD valued private company) has purposefully broken the terms of service of Apple (a 2.13 trillion USD valued public company) and Google (a subsidiary of a 1.07 trillion USD valued public company) to create cause to sue Apple and Google over the size of the cut they take under the guise of the app stores being anti-competitive.

Even though I believe that Apple's App Store implementation is in fact very much anti-consumer and anti-competitive I just don't see how any of this is going to help. At the end of the day this is essentially a contract dispute wherein Epic violated the terms of their agreements with Apple and Google and to no surprise to anyone Apple and Google have both terminated the availability of Epic's Fortnite game on their App Stores. In the Google case one can still get the install file from other sources and install the app on Android powered devices whereas as I have written about previously that is not possible in the case of Apple's iOS powered devices. I have a hard time believing that Epic is going to get anywhere, given that Google can reasonably argue that their Play Store is not the only source of software for their platform (my Samsung Galaxy S10+ has Samsung's alternative store installed by default, and I don't even have a Google account) and Apple can argue that while they control their product they have less that 20% of the market (at least presently according to IDC) which seems to deflate the monopoly claim. Leonard French has an early reaction video on the topic.

Now, I'd very much like Apple to allow side loading on their phones so that, for example I could run software that I wrote for myself on the devices I own without having to pay Apple additional money but I don't think there is any moral or legal basis where they have to allow that. In fact I knew that the limitation existed and chose the platform over Google's Android anyway. At the end of the day this whole dispute seems to me like it will end up going no-where. In my opinion, if anything is going to change it is going to have to come through legislation and this is a distraction from where meaningful legislation is needed. We need better, stronger, and clearer data protection and privacy legislation to battle the truly egregious anti-consumer, anti-citizen, anti-democracy actions happening in the big tech space long before we need to screw around so a multi-billion dollar company can keep more margin from their micro-transaction laden kids game.

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