twobit wrote on Aug 22, 2020, 09:32:
Nobody is asking Apple to host a competing storefront at Apple's expense.
Well Epic did. Epic asked Apple to let it load a competing storefront on the App Store. It is also fact that Epic has tried repeatedly to end run the payment systems of Apple and Google. They tried to bypass them entirely making that revenue split zero. Epic tried this in the past with Google in 2018, it tried to force its users to sideload Fortnite so it could garner more revenue. Users largely rejected that choice and Epic was forced to cave. It is also worth noting that Epic is suing Apple AND Google. Google allows users to choose for themselves and install their own apps and even entire storefronts if they want, you just can't do it through
the Play Store. And despite that openness, they are also being sued. Epic wants the discoverability of the platform holders stores to install its own storefront but it doesn't want to pay any revenue back to them, it is pretty much that simple. We can talk about what other critics of Apple/Google want and fair enough but that's what Epic wants and Epic brought this suit.
We can debate about whether Apple or Google should get to control the platforms they built at great time and expense. To me, Apple designs and develops it's own devices, which runs it's own software. It's well within it's right to say what can and cannot be done on that platform. These platforms require multi billion dollar reinvestment annually just in hardware offerings to keep consumers interested, they require massive software teams to maintain, constantly reinvestment in software development for the OS itself and associated apps, the list goes on and on. Given that these platforms are designed and regulated from the ground up a certain way, I don't know how people expect them to be easily decoupled either. It's an inherently different product at that point.
We can also discuss whether its good or bad for consumers and the marketplace as a whole. To me, it's up to consumers to choose what platform they want. Do they want an Apple device? Then they are fully aware of what that entails. Do they want an Android device? Again, they know what comes with it. Some have argued that there is a "duopoly" and that users are somehow being harmed by lack of choice. I would note that the market already had several players and naturally chose this path, for better or for worse. Developers could not support 5 different phone platforms and consumers were confused by the offerings. Apple and Google put the rest to pasture with better offerings, not anti-competitive actions. Despite all of that, it remains a market open to innovation and new entrants as both companies are lacking for new ideas.
We can discuss what is a fair revenue split and I'm sure everyone has an opinion on that. People like to point to how profitable both companies are as if it's somehow evidence of unfairness but I don't agree that they are related. Apple and Google have a mountain cash from tax dodging and other shitty practices I don't approve of. Many, many other industries have significantly worse revenue splits. In fact 70/30 seems fairly standard on the software side of things. Epic does business with the big console makers for example and is largely silent on this front despite them charging the same split.
Regardless though, should these companies and platforms be decoupled because of a revenue squabble? That seems to be what a few are proposing here. Speaking as a user of these platforms myself, I have no desire for that outcome and it's not because I am rooting for any particular party, I speak entirely out of self interest. I don't want a third party hosting an application store that is not regulated by the platform holder in some way. Like it or not phones have become central to society and carry a lot of personal info and provide a lot of functionality now. I don't want 10 app stores to worry about, each with its own set of permissions, rules and etc. I like knowing there is a process involved and a privilege that can be revoked by a central platform holder. People can argue more competition is better but I don't have any issue finding useful apps and paying reasonable prices for them, it is a market full of abundant choice right now even if you only get the apps themselves at a few locations.
I can see there being an argument for some sort of objective third party for dispute resolutions like revenue sharing for example. That I could get behind. I just don't know how you come up with something that is fair to everyone, someone is always going to be unhappy.
Playing: Xenoblade Chronicles DE, Ys IX, God of War
Watching: Lupin, You me and the Apocalypse, Days of Thunder