Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Proposed Japanese Law for Alternate App Stores

Andrew Orr (Hacker News, Reuters):

Japan is the next country to impose regulations on these companies, according to The Japan Times. It will require Apple and Google to let users download apps through services other than their app stores. The government aims to stimulate competition and believes it could reduce app prices.

The government will compile a list of prohibited actions for OS providers to prevent them from showing bias towards their services and payment platforms.


Furthermore, the two companies will be compelled to enable users to make payments through third-party platforms.


7 Comments RSS · Twitter · Mastodon

Kevin Schumacher

> believes it could reduce app prices.

Is anyone seriously arguing in 2023, where we've denigrated software engineering to such a point that people feel put out at having to spend $0.99 on a game, that APP PRICES are the problem here?

Like, of all the things to point to as a justification for alternate app stores/sideloading, that seems like the thing that should be the absolute last concern.

(After rereading, perhaps it meant reducing the commission paid to Apple and Google, not necessarily the charge to the end user. That would at least have a basis in reality.)

So instead of using Apple's App Store or Google's Play Store, where cancelling a subscription is just a few easy taps in a central location, governments want to force companies to allow whatever form of horrible clandestine dark pattern payment methods are employed in the belief it's pro-consumer. Ask anyone who's ever tried cancelling cable or a gym membership if it was a pro-consumer experience that offered lower prices. The premium for billing through Apple or Google, in my opinion is worth it to avoid scams and dark patterns.


Generally I think that companies should be compelled to open their platforms, however, I also think that simultaneously we should lobby governments to pass consumer protection laws to ensure:
- Easy cancellation
- Age restrictions for gambling
- Preventing predatory practices

I don't think the App Store has made for good games for example. Most iOS games on the app store use gambling mechanics and I think Apple has been such a bad steward of the App Store in this regard that they kind of lost all rights to claim they offer good consumer protections.

I agree with Cody. Developers may benefit from having multiple (or their own) app stores, but that doesn't mean it's good for consumers. Would developers lower their prices? Or switch from free-with-ads to free-with-different-ads? Would you then have to check all of these app stores for updates? Or turn them all loose to automatically update your apps? Does each one get access to your credit card info? Does this open up additional attack vectors for malware? (Click here for an important update to XYZ.). And how do you support all of this for your mom/dad/grandparents?

Old Unix Geek

I wonder how many people who fear software developers "getting access to their credit card info" avoid restaurants, gas stations, public transport, grocery stores, etc because the store vendor has access to their credit card info... Every time my credit card was replaced it was because some very large retailer had gotten hacked, not because I bought some third party software.

If software developers are evil incarnate, and can only be safely interacted with if kept in dungeons by the angelic largest corporations on the planet, perhaps you should reevaluate using their software entirely, and stick to dumb-phones.

So I guess my other 6 points are valid then? ;-)

Giving companies more power as a way to stop companies from abusing their power is such a s brain fart I can't believe it's being used as an argument.

Give government more power to protect consumers, end of story.

The incoming law that says cancelling must be as easy as signing up is a great idea.

Leaving it in the hands of Apple, Google and Amazon is a terrible idea.

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