US v. Apple Inc.

Read the complaint here.

Good rid- I mean, here’s my data point.

The whole app store mentality feels like a cartel. As a small(er) business you can try bargaining with the richest publicly traded company on the planet. Arbitrary rules, whatever works for them forget whatever works for you.

DOJ has been working on this for some years so it shouldn’t be a surprise. Certainly not a surprise to me given how Apple App Store worked as a developer who tried to bring new tools and products to market. We had no idea what Apple was doing, it was opaque and generally uncooperative, and treated you like nothing. Rules for them are meant to be just cover, even if you follow all of them they’ll make up new ones and arbitrary nonsense. In retrospect, at least you can bribe the Cartel, so App Store is worse in some ways.

My current employer, years ago, tried to make some new business using our mobile knowhow in-house. Both of them ended up basically dead due to different reasons. One of them died due to the App Store. It couldn’t survive the review process. We literally had the most advanced geofence/tracking child monitoring app at the time (this was around the iPhone 4 era). It didn’t even do anything dangerous, at least no more than very basic geofencing tools did.

There’s a whole bag of bones with that use case which is nowadays kind of a side car to the countless things you can do with a smartphone, as parents to young children. The irony is not lost on me when Apple launched the AirTag, which they’re facing a class action lawsuit on by stalking victims. This is always the societal ill Apple has to balance. I really don’t buy it from people who now have an easier time to track things, especially those people who have medical-grade level of forgetfulness. Like, there are other tools not AirTag long in existence but you couldn’t use those?

These $20-a-pop things are not very loud and it’s only been about a year since they baked in the anti-stalking stuff in there. The two-sided-ness of it all is galling. If there’s no profit they will protect the law and their consumer to death. If there is money to be made, here’s the health and safety of our users on a silver platter.

You can also sign up for the other complaints from the DOJ like the green bubble thing (here is another case where selling more phones is more important than anxiety of teenagers on Android devices). Or the Epic third party app store thing. Or the annoying smart watch lock in thing. Anyways, there are myriad sins for such a major entity in the market, and it’s about time a liberal western government did something.

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