Thursday, April 22, 2021

Examining Competition in App Stores

The video of the senate judiciary hearing is here and here.

Lauren Goode:

Daru, from Tile, says that when Apple made changes in iOS for the rollout of Find My, Apple started showing people prompts to turn Tile off but not turn off Find My. Also says new “magic onboarding flow” with AirTags isn’t available to third parties like Tile.

Match CLO says Google called Match last night asking why Match’s public testimony was different than what co said about the situation in earnings call earlier this year…Google sr director of public policy says this was not meant to be intimidation, just a standard biz call.

Sen. Lee is asking Tile’s Daru questions about Apple that she says she can’t answer because Apple required Tile to sign an NDA. Lee immediately turns to Apple counsel and asks co to waive NDA, on the spot. (I have a feeling this isn’t going to go very far.)

Juli Clover:

Tile has known about Apple’s work on the AirTag for some time now and has brought it up in prior legal proceedings as it is unhappy to have Apple as competition in the item tracking space. To avoid antitrust complaints, Apple waited to launch AirTags until it had already debuted the Find My Network accessory program, which allows third-party Bluetooth devices like item trackers to integrate into the Find My app alongside AirTags.

The Find My network is open to Tile, but it does require item trackers to work exclusively with Find My, and Tile already has an established item tracking app and its own network that uses smartphones for crowdsourced tracking purposes.


With the App Store competition hearing kicking off today, Fight for the Future launched an “Abolish the App Store” initiative that calls on people to sign a petition to demand that Congress “end the App Store monopoly.”

July Clover:

Match, meanwhile, complained that it had wanted to add ID verification rules to boost the app’s safety in Taiwan, but Apple would not allow it to do so. Match contacted an Apple executive, who allegedly told the company that it should be glad Apple was not taking all of its revenue. “You owe us every dime you’ve made,” the Apple executive reportedly said.


Update (2021-05-24): Lauren Feiner (via Amy Klobuchar):

Spotify Chief Legal Officer Horacio Gutierrez said he could think of “at least four clear examples of threats and retaliation” from Apple after Spotify decided to speak out about alleged anticompetitive behavior and Apple’s fees for developers on digital products purchased through its platform. That included threats of removing Spotify’s app, refusing to promote it, or waiting for months for minor app updates to be approved, he said.

“They’ve basically thrown the book at us in order to make it hard for us to continue to sustain our decision to speak up,” he said.

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Old Unix Geek

Russia just fined Apple for blocking 3rd party apps:

Not enough to matter though.

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