Whose backyard?

“Rules change when you play in someone else’s backyard — it sucks, but if you are smart you can still be wildly successful. The 30% cut isn’t great (though it does look great from a strict consumers view), but it isn’t the end of the App Store — I bet it only makes the App Store better by ridding it of more junk apps.”

Ben Brooks

Ben, and a lot of other bloggers and anonymous commenters, seem to interiorize every new restriction put on the iOS app store with the same basic idea: “It’s Apple’s backyard” “they are the ones who build and maintain the app store…” “A lot of blood sweat and tears (not the song) went into these wonderful devices. ((yep. someone actually said this. you can check that in the comments section of the current Apple Pravda )) ((I actually waste an incredible amount of time reading the comments on most news sites. It gives me insight on the “horde” thinking. Sometimes there is actually a commenter who has something of value to be said, but usually is just a incredible window on what the “real masses” outside of my circle are saying. ))

But the point is that is not Apple’s backyard. It’s my backyard! I paid for the iPad, or the iPhone or other iOS device. ((For the argument sake let’s just assume that i actually have paid for one and possess one ok?)) Apple didn’t subsidised it, didn’t gave it away for free. No! They made the consumer pay for it. And a significant amount of money ((which amazingly still is a lot cheaper than all of the iPad killers out there.)) too.

So Apple sells a device to consumers and restricts consumers from installing apps from other sources than her own store. OK. I can live with that. As long as Apple then surrenders any kind of “moral” control or censorship. Because there should only be only two options on the table.

  • a) Apple allows other sources in a sub-sub menu hidden in Settings and as such she can restrict and control what she wants in the App Store.
  • b) Apple doesn’t allow other sources and as such doesn’t restrict, beside the technical and security issues, what apps can i buy.

Right? No. There is also a third option which shouldn’t exist:

  • c) Apple doesn’t allow other sources of apps and heavily restricts what i can or can’t install on my device, including issues of moral (my personal issue not Apple’s), dubious legal issues (wikileaks anyone?) or “where’s my cut?!” issues (the current 30% issue).

And this third option is where we are standing today. Does it make sense that I, the consumer, am not allowed to watch porn ((Freedom from porn they say. I’ll take my liberty with a little of racy flavour thank you so much.)) on my device when i already pay my taxes, live my life alone and am usually considered by everyone else an adult?

Or that I can’t buy magazines and other in-app purchases at the price that the publish or developer believes is right? Hasn’t he already paid an Apple iOS subscription? Is he not selling to me, the consumer who already paid for his iOS device, an extra content, whatever that may be, that doesn’t involve Apple service or servers? So why should Apple get a cut on this? Their cut was the 499€ the ipad costs here. (( A quick guess: is that more or less than 499$?))

Apple is going on a wrong path here. A path that it already had started before when the Single App Store model was implemented but which has been turning for the worse every day. Why should wikileaks app be banished but Le Monde, El Mundo, the NY Times, Der Spiegel and every other major newspaper that publishes and treats the wikileaks data not? And why should it be banished at all if no legal action has been put by the US government on the wikileaks org? And why should i, an european, living in europe, be subject to “abide” by american laws to which i have no contact?

I’m not sure if this is a matter of anti-monopoly regulation but it definitely should be looked upon by the consumer rights regulator authority. Because that’s Apple focus right? The consumers?

I agree with most of the advantages Ben and others indicate. The privacy, the convenience, the quality control of Apple Store. That’s all ok and i would probably prefer it anyway. I just don’t consider the loss of options ((freedom was a too strong word here.)) as an advantage.

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