Former App Store boss says Apple creates 'arbitrary' rules to hurt rivals

Former App Store review boss says Apple creates ‘arbitrary’ rules to hurt rivals


Apple Arcade game icons
Apple Arcade gets preferential treatment. Allegedly.
Photo: Apple

Ex-App Store review boss Phil Shoemaker told the congressional antitrust subcommittee that Apple creates “arbitrary” rules which it uses as a “weapon” against competitors. One such example is allowing Apple Arcade, while blocking Xbox Game Pass.

Shoemaker’s testimony appears in the antitrust subcommittee’s 449-page report published this week.

“Apple’s gaming service, Apple Arcade, is a type of app that was ‘consistently disallowed from the store,’ when offered by third-party developers, but Apple allowed its own app in the store ‘even though it violates existing [App Store] guidelines,'” reads the report, recounting Shoemaker’s statements to the subcommittee.

Shoemaker worked as senior director of App Store review from 2009 through April 2016. During that time, one of his jobs involved designing the “policies and methods: for automating the App Review process.

Previously, Apple said it does not allow services if it cannot review every game in their libraries. If publishers want to submit every game for review by Apple, they can.

“The App Store was created to be a safe and trusted place for customers to discover and download apps, and a great business opportunity for all developers,” an Apple spokesperson told Business Insider in August. “Before they go on our store, all apps are reviewed against the same set of guidelines that are intended to protect customers and provide a fair and level playing field to developers.”

Apple Arcade, for its part, bundles more than 100 games together for a monthly subscription fee.

Apple and the antitrust allegations

In the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee report, lawmakers claim that Apple uses its operating systems and App Store to “create and enforce barriers to competition and discriminate against and exclude rivals while preferencing its own offerings.”

Possible solutions put forward include breaking up tech giants or making the companies prove that they are not monopolies. Whether any of this comes to pass is another question, of course. Anyone who followed this investigation shouldn’t be surprised by lawmakers’ conclusions about the alleged infractions of tech giants. But whether this results in any significant legislature remains to be seen.

What are your predictions for the end of this antitrust case? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Source: Business Insider


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