The App Store and Google Play Store Limit Consumer Freedom
At the dawn of the personal computer revolution, software was something you bought in a store, and as long as the operating system matched, it would work on any computer.
That’s why today’s computer software is widely available across the web for every operating system. The idea that a consumer could only use software sold through the same manufacturer as their laptop seems ludicrous. Except that’s exactly the rule Apple and Google have imposed on the personal devices in billions of pockets.
iPhone apps (aka software) are only available via the Apple App Store, and the same is true of smartphones that run on Android software. If consumers want an app to work on their mobile device, the app developer needs to follow Apple’s or Google’s rules, taxes, and requirements. Yet, if consumers want to run that same app from their computer, the rules, taxes and requirements don’t apply. It’s a crazy house of cards.
Here’s an example of how this problem manifests itself: Epic produces once of the most popular video games of all time, Fortnite. If a Fortnite player were to buy an upgrade in the App Store, that individual might be charged $9.99. However, that same upgrade costs only $7.99 when purchased directly through Epic.
So why is it more expensive for gamers to purchase a Fortnite upgrade through the App Store? One reason: the app tax. When consumers pay for a Fortnite upgrade through their mobile device, Apple collects its arbitrary app tax. When the service is paid for through Epic directly, however, Epic is able to pass the savings back to customers – but here’s the rub: Apple specifically tells developers that they are not allowed to inform their customers about less expensive options, or they risk being banned from the App Store.
Think about this a little differently: A box of Cheerios costs about $3.00 at Kroger, but sometimes Cheerios offers a coupon which lowers the price to $2.50 at any store that offers Cheerios. What Apple is doing is basically like Kroger telling Cheerios that they’re not allowed to offer coupons, and if they do, Cheerios is at risk of being kicked out of the cereal aisle. Consumers wouldn’t stand for this type of monopolistic behavior over their cereal, so why should they allow it for the apps used on their mobile devices?
Whether it’s their personal computer or mobile device, consumers deserve and should expect unlimited choice when it comes to where, when, and how they purchase apps or software.
Tidal (Music Streaming)
The App Store and Google Play Store are Ruled by Anti-Competitive Policies
Apple and Google use their control over the iOS and Android operating systems to favor themselves by controlling the products and features that are available to consumers. The companies require equipment manufacturers to limit options, force developers to sell through their App Store and Google Play Store, and even steal ideas from competitors.