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You are here: MacNN Forums > Community > MacNN Lounge > Apple gets slammed by US federal judge for antitrust regarding ebook prices

Apple gets slammed by US federal judge for antitrust regarding ebook prices (Page 4)
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Aug 20, 2013, 11:58 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
My impression was that whoever owns the store makes the rules.

I pay for the shelf space, the personnel, the curation, the storage, the delivery, and the billing, and I get to decide what I stock my store with, and I talk to the distributors/manufacturers of the products I wish to sell and see if they're willing to accept my terms.
This is why nobody has a problem with a commission on the initial sale of the product/App.

Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
If they aren't, either we negotiate some more, or they walk away, or I walk away. If either of us walk away, I risk not having enough products to sell, and my store failing. If I compromise too much, I may stand to lose money in the long term.

The App Store currently does not seem to lack products to sell, so they must be doing something right.
There's some great Apps. But a lot of junk, and a lot of stuff that's not on there. That's what the App Store is.

Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
You ask what you get for free from Apple.
As it looks, if you're building a book store and distributing it via the App Store, you're using Apple's own infrastructure to market a competitor to their own service at their own customers.
The only reason we're distributing via the App Store is because Apple has enforced a monopoly on the distribution of software for iOS. We're not on the Mac App Store...

Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Apple even allows this, but they set the same conditions as for everybody else. What do you expect?
Why are you building an App at all?
Good question. I think a lot of people who make Apps are wasting their time. There's so much junk laden with iAd crap... Web Apps can work just as well in some cases. In our case, we simply cannot do a Web App for our eReader and user library. The reason is because of the issues with local content. We can only tap into people's local storage via HTML5 up to a relatively small amount until things become messy. So you'd essentially need an Internet connection a chunk of the time to read your books/access your library. It's laden with a lot of issues doing this in HTML5 so it's better as a local, native App because of the requirement for local reading and storage without the need of an Internet connection.

Notice I haven't mentioned the store? That's the issue I have with Apple's monopolistic, in-perpetuity scheme post initial App Store transaction. Apple's policy on not linking to your own systems/site came well after the App Store launched. They change their rules to force everyone to use their 30%... this hit the eBook business big time. Apple doesn't negotiate at all. They don't give you any choice. So the consumer gets a worse customer experience in this case because they'd have to go online to buy eBooks from us because we can't sell them in our App because of Apple's 30% transaction fee. I'm telling you as someone who's in this business... who pay the bills... and has led the building of our publishing systems... as someone who's friends with other founders of eBook and publishing companies you probably use or have used in the past... you can't make money in this business like that. I know the costs. It's not happening.

Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
To phrase it bluntly:
If your earnings after the 30% cut aren't high enough, charge more, or charge less and sell more, or make a more compelling product, or don't distribute through the platform.
To put it bluntly, I don't think you have the business sense to save your life. What do you do for a living if you don't mind me asking? Do you have Apps or software you've built? Are you dealing with Apple's App Store? What's your experience like?

Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Also, since you've argued that web apps are in fact just apps, what's stopping you from just marketing through a web app, and allowing people to download ePub files to read in the iBooks reader?
Well... we have our own store and reader... our own deals with publishers... and there's DRM. Even if we wanted to do this, not happening. Publishers are stuck on DRM. And Apple doesn't open up their iBooks ecosystem with APIs that would allow you do to this in a way that would make sense for the end user. But we wouldn't do it anyway because we've got our own experience we're selling.

Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
The fact that you're building an app for iOS with the intent on distributing it through the App Store must mean that you see some benefit to doing so. What is it?
We're not intent on distributing through the App Store. We're forced to. Apple forcing everyone to distribute through their App Store is itself another legal question... and there's a suit that's been filed against them over having a monopoly on this. It's not going anywhere presently. But the swell of suits around the App Store is happening. Right now there's about 5 suits against the App Store related to these issues and others that I'm aware of.

I've heard that the DOJ has been talking and may be interested in breaking up the App Store... in filing an antitrust case against Apple for the App Store... for the issues that I've discussed here. Now that the eBook case is settled... although Apple will appeal, maybe the DOJ thinks they have some legs to continue.
( Last edited by theothersteve; Aug 20, 2013 at 01:12 PM. )
     
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Aug 20, 2013, 01:42 PM
 
I'd like to point out a good article on CNET. This interview with Dennis explains a lot of the issues with what's wrong with Apple and their draconian approach to partners and other business/developers.

Dennis was a great guy. Sadly, he died this year and he'll be missed.

Here's a snippet:

What people don't understand is that if you're selling an app on iOS, Apple hosts that app on their server. You upload it, the customer downloads it, it gets downloaded from their servers. OK. With In-App Purchase it doesn't work that way. You host everything. You ship it directly to the customer. All Apple does in the process is collect the money and basically give you a token that says it was collected and you do everything else. It's essentially doing exactly the same thing as a credit-card processing company for this 30 percent. Nothing more.
The bottom line is that if you buy a book through iBooks, Apple makes 30 percent on the sale. And if you buy a book through iFlow, Apple makes 30 percent on the sale. And I lose money.
On having to manually enter in each product into iTunes Connect because of In-App purchasing force feeding:

You can't just copy your database in there. You have to do this all manually. We have access to 250,000 titles, not counting public-domain titles. We're supposed to enter them all in manually?
The In-App Purchase system uses something called tiers. There's 99 cents, $1.99, and so on. There's something like 80 different tiers going all the way up to hundreds of dollars [BarMax is $999.99]. The "agency model" contract requires that you sell the book at exactly the price the publisher specifies. Not a penny more or a penny less, which is why the price is the same on every vendor's site. You are also required to update the price within 24 hours of a publisher making a price change--or update any information about the book within 24 hours. The In-App Purchase mechanism requires that Apple review and approve every submission. So the In-App Purchase model makes it impossible to comply with the requirements of the agency model, which was created by Apple.
iFlow Reader developer rages at Apple (Q&A) | Fully Equipped - CNET Reviews
     
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Aug 20, 2013, 05:49 PM
 
Originally Posted by theothersteve View Post
Since when is Apple entitled to make a dime off of developer's code? Folks like you just go along with this stuff. For decades we've been developing for the desktop and haven't had to pay Apple or Microsoft 30% of all of our software's revenues. Because its insane. Never in the history of retail has any of this perpetuity BS ever occurred.

When you look at the multiple sources that cite that over 50% of Apple developers make NO MONEY... estimates are as high as 90%...

Are you an Apple fan or are you a businessman? Screw Apple. Apple's a business. I don't care about them because they don't care about me. I have discussed how their aggressive, vehement pursuit of a 30% stake in every dime made inside every iOS App is potentially anti-competitive and illegal. They change their policies whenever someone finds a way to get around their 30%. They are aggressive at stopping anyone from making any money inside their App without them collecting 30% from it.
Since the day Apple designed, developed, and promoted the the platform it runs on. Since when is a developer entitled to make a dime off Apple's platform?

I'm a businessman, and when I build a platform, I expect to be able to set pricing on it. Other businessmen are free to take my offer, or build for other platforms that have terms/fees they like better. If my terms don't provide a good value, no one will build for my platform. You have no right to my platform if you don't agree to my terms.
     
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Aug 20, 2013, 07:33 PM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
Since when is a developer entitled to make a dime off Apple's platform?
Since the beginning of the PC industry. Since Apple marketed it as a place to develop for and make money. Since we each pay a membership every year to Apple to develop software and make money. Since we've been developing native applications for the desktop for decades without this 30% head tax and monopoly control.

Originally Posted by mduell View Post
I'm a businessman, and when I build a platform, I expect to be able to set pricing on it. Other businessmen are free to take my offer, or build for other platforms that have terms/fees they like better. If my terms don't provide a good value, no one will build for my platform. You have no right to my platform if you don't agree to my terms.
WE are building platforms, not Apple. Apple has an operating system that they promote to develop for. We own our software and platform, not Apple. Apple has no right or title to any our applications, systems, or company. Apple has no cost or responsibility for our customers or for our platform. If Apple doesn't like or expect developers to want control over their technology and be able to make enough money that it's worthwhile... if they expect that taking 30% of everyone's revenues no matter what and forever is what they want... then good luck to them. It's not sustainable. If developers aren't making money and it's a ponzi scheme, it won't last.

Steve had an interesting quote years ago, that if creators can't make a living, they'll stop creating. And he didn't want to see that. If Apple wants to thwart hate and a backlash, with the threat of anti-competitive lawsuits... they should stop their draconian policies or get out of making an operating system.

What you don't understand is that Apple can be challenged on this and could be forced to change their policies if it's deemed anticompetitive and damaging to markets. In other words, no, Apple can't do whatever they want just because they built it. Just because iOS is "theirs" doesn't make any sense. They have to follow the law. The fact that it's "theirs" makes them responsible to the rule of law for it. It's just like you can't build a building on land you own and do whatever you want on it. There're laws to protect people, companies... markets... from anticompetitive behaviour. If you don't follow the laws, you might not be in business anymore, regardless of whether it's "theirs".

As soon as Apple goes into business with something, they're liable to the law. And they're liable to their partners and customers. We're their partners. There's a legal contract in place. If those contracts are themselves "illegal", the contract could be changed on a challenge.

You may not know this, but a good example was just the other week... Apple had to remove the Most Favoured Nation clause from their iBookstore contract as it applies to the EU as the EU deemed it damaging to markets.

There're people and governments committed to this stuff and watching companies like Apple. They have the power to change the way Apple does business or put them out of business. To make sure the market is fair and clean. And thank god they exist...
     
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Aug 21, 2013, 03:57 AM
 
Originally Posted by theothersteve View Post
WE are building platforms, not Apple. Apple has an operating system that they promote to develop for. We own our software and platform, not Apple. Apple has no right or title to any our applications, systems, or company. Apple has no cost or responsibility for our customers or for our platform.
And right there, i think, is the rub. When you start out, you don't HAVE any customers. They're Apple's customers, not yours.

Publishing to the App Store gives you access to ALL of those customers, and a high likelihood of them actually purchasing content due to the perceived "security" of the curated content, compared to offering your stuff on the web.

This is tough if your only option to sell things at all is, as you say, to offer a native app due to client-side storage complexity.

I do understand your point. I just don't think it's Apple's problem.

FWIW, since you asked: I'm a freelance musician, studio owner, and music instructor. I make decisions every day about the value and long-term prospects of business propositions. If I don't consider the long-term gain to be worth the investment, or possibly even damaging, I set conditions, and if they cannot be met, I walk away from a deal.

(This of course includes non-material gains: contacts, credits, experience, new skills, etc.)
( Last edited by Spheric Harlot; Aug 21, 2013 at 10:26 AM. )
     
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Aug 21, 2013, 10:28 AM
 
Originally Posted by theothersteve View Post
Since when is Apple entitled to make a dime off of developer's code? Folks like you just go along with this stuff. For decades we've been developing for the desktop and haven't had to pay Apple or Microsoft 30% of all of our software's revenues. Because its insane. Never in the history of retail has any of this perpetuity BS ever occurred.
You're conflating many disparate issues here:
(1) Apple's app store model is a resounding success for users. Tablets and phones are not like traditional computers, the (relative) safety and ease of use of installing apps allows regular people to do something new with their machine.

Look no further than the fact that all other players are opening up app stores as well. For instance, can you guess how much Microsoft charges for every app they sell on the Windows Store? 30 % on up to $25k of per-app revenue and 20 % revenue exceeds $25k. And what about Google's Play store? They also take 30 %. I'm not familiar with the in-app purchase policies of these stores, though, but Apple taking a 30 % commission is industry standard.

(2) The rise of the app stores has had profound changes to the pricing structure, freemium apps are usually amongst the most profitable, and the average price of apps has gone down significantly.

Basically, the app store has disrupted the traditional software market. Prices have gone down, but also some new small players became very successful (I'm thinking of indie developers like Algoriddim, Pixelmator and the OmniGroup). On the flip side, it decreases the power of bigger developers like Adobe and Microsoft. I know the guys at Algoriddim, and they had had to invest tens of thousands of Euros in printing, stocking and shipping physical boxes (one for each country, Europe has many languages!). Despite selling their software internationally at Apple Stores (and others, of course), revenue truly exploded only after going to the App Stores. Cost of business has also gone down for them.

(3) Just because something is different from the way it has been before does not mean it's better or worse. You're right that there are services which handle transactions more cheaply or perhaps better in other ways (I noticed that you have included analytics a few times in your comments, I don't want companies to analyze my behavior as much as they do).

Certainly, it makes all businesses which insert middle men into the equation less viable to turn a profit (I presume your company's ebook store is among them). Since you did not explain how your company's business model actually works (you stated it was a company secret), I don't actually whether it makes sense in an app store world.
Originally Posted by theothersteve View Post
I have discussed how their aggressive, vehement pursuit of a 30% stake in every dime made inside every iOS App is potentially anti-competitive and illegal. They change their policies whenever someone finds a way to get around their 30%. They are aggressive at stopping anyone from making any money inside their App without them collecting 30% from it.
You have brought forth no evidence that Apple's 30 % cut is anti-competitive. In fact, in the ebook price fixing affair, it was ruled that the agency model with the 30 % cut by itself is not objectionable.

Yes, you're right that Apple has tweaked its app store rules over the years, but that's mostly because there has never been something like the app store. And while they do have used the app store rules to kill Flash apps on the iPhone in the crib, they have come around after a while (because many games are written in lua, for instance, and not directly in Objective C). Ditto for the loophole regarding in-app purchases: even if you object to it, it was completely obvious to me that Apple will not let that fly, because their objective is what you think it is: take a 30 % cut of all transactions in the app store. That was the spirit of the app store rules from the very beginning.
Originally Posted by theothersteve View Post
The App Store is a virtual retail shelf meant to replace boxed software. That's it. You pay for it and Apple, the store, processes your payment. They take a commission on the sale like any retail outlet would for your boxed software. Except Apple sits in your kitchen and like the mafia, skims 30% off of every dime made in your App AFTER its left the retail store.
That's certainly not it: it gives you access to over 575 million accounts (!) who can purchase your software and/or ebooks with a single click. For customers, they provide a safe platform to do business, Apple is vigilant to protects its customers from apps which violate the security and privacy of their customers.
Originally Posted by theothersteve View Post
Nobody ever said Apple was entitled to make any money off of other people's intellectual property. If Apple doesn't like it, they should stop developing iOS or stop providing an App Store.
Huh? Apple should close the app store, because you don't like its business model? On what planet does that make sense? If you don't like the app store, don't develop software for iOS and sell your software there. If you think the business model is illegal, sue Apple. (Although I suspect that if someone had found a hook for such a lawsuit, we would have heard of it already.)
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Aug 21, 2013, 10:54 AM
 
One point I forgot to address, but that Oreo mentioned: yes, Apple "changed" the rules and added the bit about a 30% cut of in-app purchases a couple years AFTER they opened the App Store. Makes sense, because in-app purchases didn't actually exist before then. Dur.
Ditto for in-app subscriptions.

If you threw yourself at development using a business model that was built upon in-app purchases before they were released, but didn't account for Apple's 30% cut, that really sucks, but frankly, you've built a business upon something that should have been obvious, or at least, a possible scenario that would need to be taken into account.
     
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Aug 21, 2013, 03:42 PM
 
Originally Posted by theothersteve View Post
What you don't understand is that Apple can be challenged on this and could be forced to change their policies if it's deemed anticompetitive and damaging to markets. In other words, no, Apple can't do whatever they want just because they built it. Just because iOS is "theirs" doesn't make any sense. They have to follow the law. The fact that it's "theirs" makes them responsible to the rule of law for it. It's just like you can't build a building on land you own and do whatever you want on it. There're laws to protect people, companies... markets... from anticompetitive behaviour. If you don't follow the laws, you might not be in business anymore, regardless of whether it's "theirs".
LOL... You can challenge, or even the government can challenge them, but all they have to say is you have a choice of other platforms. You can go to the android, Windows 8, or Blueberry platform if you want, you don't have to choose Apple's platform. Ie. there is lots of competition.

As well, Apple provides a full experience platform, they provide the marketting, storage space, server throughput (forgot the term for this), etc. Whether that cost 30% of your costs, is up for debate, but it costs.

Why do they charge for in-app purchases, because everyone (developers) would change to freemium apps with in-app purchases to avoid Apple's 30% charge. Apple closed that loophole.

Sorry, but I don't see developers having a reason to complain, Apple created a whole new ecosystem for you guys and you guys rake in the money with a commission to Apple. Yeah 30% is a bit high of a commission in my view, but it seems to be working.
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Aug 21, 2013, 05:28 PM
 
Originally Posted by Leonard View Post
LOL... You can challenge, or even the government can challenge them, but all they have to say is you have a choice of other platforms. You can go to the android, Windows 8, or Blueberry platform if you want, you don't have to choose Apple's platform. Ie. there is lots of competition.

As well, Apple provides a full experience platform, they provide the marketting, storage space, server throughput (forgot the term for this), etc. Whether that cost 30% of your costs, is up for debate, but it costs.

Why do they charge for in-app purchases, because everyone (developers) would change to freemium apps with in-app purchases to avoid Apple's 30% charge. Apple closed that loophole.

Sorry, but I don't see developers having a reason to complain, Apple created a whole new ecosystem for you guys and you guys rake in the money with a commission to Apple. Yeah 30% is a bit high of a commission in my view, but it seems to be working.
It has already been challenged and Apple could be forced to allow us to link to our sites and subsequently process our payments. It's part of the DOJ injunction against them in the eBooks case. You folks are just arguing amongst yourselves.

And rake in the money? Really? Estimates of developers not making any money/losing money are as high as 90% of all iOS developers. Where's your data that developers are "raking it in"? The data that shows the percentage of developers who actually make money... It's not enough to list an overall aggregate because of the over 1 million Apps that have cycled through over the years.
( Last edited by theothersteve; Aug 21, 2013 at 06:49 PM. )
     
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Aug 21, 2013, 05:51 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
You're conflating many disparate issues here:
(1) Apple's app store model is a resounding success for users. Tablets and phones are not like traditional computers, the (relative) safety and ease of use of installing apps allows regular people to do something new with their machine.
You're conflating the issues and are confused. Your comments make me think that you're either blinded by Apple because you really like them as a company or you have no practical business experience/sense. Or maybe you really do think that this 30% situation is really good, yet you have no data to back up that statement because you don't have the data that shows that most developers and companies like the 30% situation and that they're making money from all this.

What's your experience with it? Have you invested lots of money and time for this? What's your business? What bills are you paying? Can you sustain your business like this? Are you profitable?

And you're sort of arguing amongst yourself. The government has already stepped in and Apple may be forced to allow us to link to our site and subsequently process the payments of sales inside our App because this is part of the DOJ injunction against Apple in the eBooks case. And it goes even further about giving the consumer choice inside the App.

What I'm discussing here is... it's not enough to get us in the eBook business off of Apple's greedy, monopolistic hook. Every other developer should be entitled to having a choice in their App as well.

The DOJ has already seen merit in the complaints about this... they know the situation and they're rumored to be assembling another antitrust case against Apple over forcing everyone to use their In-App purchase and pay them 30% of revenues.

Let me get something else straight with you, because you clearly haven't read Apple's partnership agreement with its developers and/or you don't understand the nature of commerce. The customers we have are literally and legally not Apple's. They're ours.

They're ours because:

1. We have to heavily market to get them. We have a set CPA. With hundreds of thousands of Apps on the App Store, unless you market yourself, it's extremely difficult to build a customer base because of the discovery problem on the App Store. Putting an App on the App Store and not doing anything, thinking the App Store will get you customers and make you money is absurd and a recipe for failure.
2. Apple, legally, absolves itself of any responsibility to your customers. You effectively cease dealing with Apple legally as soon as you've have finished downloading the App. It's your responsibility now. Customer support, etc. Apple isn't liable for anything more than a $50 claim.
3. Apple doesn't support financially or otherwise the COGS associated with your business. As soon as the App is downloaded, everything rests on you. Hosting. Code. Development. Maintenance. Sales. Marketing. Support. Etc.

Apple's App Store is a retail store replacement. That's it. It's not an operating system. It's nothing more. Apple made the choice to move to virtual boxed software and removed them from Apple Stores. The operating system, iOS, is just like OS X. In fact, we use the very same developer tools and the same programming language and many of the same or similar libraries to create software programs (Apps) for the operating system iOS.

The difference between OS X and iOS is that OS X, while it has an App Store as well, we're not forced to use Apple's In-App purchase inside our applications. And we're not forced to use the Mac App Store to install software.

Apple's In-App purchase monopoly is damaging to businesses and damaging to consumers. It reduces choice and competition because in many cases companies can't make enough money with the 30% Apple head tax inside their Apps. So they're not able to offer things for sale inside Apps.

It's anti-competitive as well in that it helps eliminate competition against Apple's own businesses. The eBook case is an example, which is likely about to be changed.
     
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Aug 23, 2013, 04:30 PM
 
Breaking news today. DOJ publishes more info, Emails from Steve Jobs... Apple may have forced the policy change on In-App purchases as retaliation against Amazon, others in eBook industry.

I stand corrected: not all Apps actually end up paying Apple 30% for selling things: if it's physical goods you're selling, you're off the hook for the 30% tax. It's probably quite a small number... but the DOJ cites the Zappos App. Apple lied in court saying the 30% rule applies to everything in the App Store when in fact it doesn't.

The policy change they implemented about Apps not being able to link to their Websites does now appear to be very specifically the result of eBook businesses... their competition with the new evidence the DOJ made public. The policy is a result of anticompetitive behaviour to thwart their competition, knowing eBook competitors would pull out of selling books in their iOS Apps and destroying competition in the market even more.

REQUIRING APPLE TO ALLOW E-BOOK RETAILERS TO PROVIDEHYPERLINKS TO THEIR WEBSITES WITHOUT COMPENSATING APPLE ISNECESSARY FOR RESTORING PRICE COMPETITION
Section IV.C of Plaintiffs’ proposed injunction contains a provision requiring Apple, for two years only, to permit any e-book retailer to include in its e-book app a hyperlink to its own e- bookstore, without paying any fee or commission to Apple. This provision requires Apple toreturn to its pre-conspiracy policy of providing other retailers, like Amazon, Barnes & Noble andKobo, a simple, costless means for readers to purchase e-books from those retailers. The provision is intended, and is necessary, to restore and protect retail e-book price competition— key goals of injunctive relief in an antitrust case.
The DOJ published some Emails from Jobs, Schiller, etc. that's evidence of potentially implementing this policy change to retaliate against Amazon and others. And Jobs called the guy/his business from the eBook business I posted... the one who passed away this year... "roadkill".

Axxholes.

Citing Steve Jobs email, DOJ claims Apple changed in-app purchase to retaliate against Amazon — Tech News and Analysis
     
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Aug 24, 2013, 02:59 AM
 
So I figured it out, you're Ballmer!

Anyway, have you noticed how nobody but you is agreeing with you? You sound a lot like the record industry, and every other "industry" that was built in an unnecessary middle man.

The problem is that your gain isn't without consequence. As somebody who works for an ISP, I talk to customers that sometimes believe that the company I work for runs Hotmail and or Facebook. If you think that Apple doesn't get calls about how to work your book store, think again. If you don't think that they'll get phone calls about how people want refunds when they don't like what they got from your book store, think again.

From an ease of use point of view, Apple has every right to think their in App purchase platform is better ... because it is. The card is already on file, the charge is handled in a universal manner. And the credit card is never seen by the developer.

Under your situation Apple would have to track down countless complaints from seemingly fine fraudster apps. And every business that wants to make that extra 30% would be asking people for separate credit card credentials. There is a reason people like sites like Paypal and Amazon payments.

If Apple did allow non-apple in app purchases I think they'd probably have a standard warning graphic that said something like, "MAKE SURE YOU TRUST THIS DEVELOPER, THIS PAYMENT IS NOT PROCESSED BY APPLE YOU ARE GIVING YOUR CREDIT CARD TO SOMEBODY WHO MAY BE A FRAUDSTER" or something more professional and cryptic.

Anyway, you mentioned people creating. You're not creating. You're making a store. That's like saying that if I use a light table and trace someone else's drawing, it's mine. It's not my creation, it's something I made but it's not what Jobs was talking about. You're just building another thing that nobody wants.

And yes, 90% of developers aren't making money. Partly because a lot of Apps aren't to make money. I'm sure whoever developed TD Bank's iPhone app didn't make regular money from it. And yes, if you just made a fart app, you might have trouble getting noticed. But there are a lot of developers who make quality stuff who do get noticed.
     
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Aug 24, 2013, 04:00 AM
 
Originally Posted by Salty View Post
So I figured it out, you're Ballmer!

Anyway, have you noticed how nobody but you is agreeing with you? You sound a lot like the record industry, and every other "industry" that was built in an unnecessary middle man.

The problem is that your gain isn't without consequence. As somebody who works for an ISP, I talk to customers that sometimes believe that the company I work for runs Hotmail and or Facebook. If you think that Apple doesn't get calls about how to work your book store, think again. If you don't think that they'll get phone calls about how people want refunds when they don't like what they got from your book store, think again.
Should I think again? How many calls has Apple had about our App? Or anyone elses? How much of an expense is it to them? How many calls do we get because somebody's phone won't turn on and they were in the middle of reading a book? And they think it's our App that crashed their phone? And then we determine that it's a bug from a background process from an Apple event that has nothing to do with our App and can be reproduced while in other Apps. Think again!

Originally Posted by Salty View Post
From an ease of use point of view, Apple has every right to think their in App purchase platform is better ... because it is. The card is already on file, the charge is handled in a universal manner. And the credit card is never seen by the developer.
First, I don't care if anyone agrees with me. It makes no difference to facts or reality.

Anyway, if Apple's App Store is so shit hot, why don't people selling physical goods get forced to use it? And it's NOT good for us, or Dennis, or others with their own payment processor. It's a pain in the ass for so many reasons I could write a book about it.

And if we're talking about user accounts... people have their own user accounts with our business, just like you have a million user accounts with other people's businesses. Apple's In-App purchase does nothing for a business online or in other Apps. It's a gagglefest of different user accounts. How about people just sign up for an account with us and not have to worry about using yet another account to buy stuff from us in certain situations. It's not a good experience forcing someone to use 2 different accounts with a business. And don't say that's why just having an Apple ID is the answer. It's not. It adds to the problem because it's useless on your Website or Android App and it's useless when it comes to syncing customer data across different devices and platforms... and every other reason why you need your own user accounts for your platform.

And if you want to talk about someone's card already being on file... something that can span both desktop and online... and something that allows you to tap into millions of user accounts... for, wait for it... for FREE... there's Google Wallet.

Originally Posted by Salty View Post
Under your situation Apple would have to track down countless complaints from seemingly fine fraudster apps. And every business that wants to make that extra 30% would be asking people for separate credit card credentials. There is a reason people like sites like Paypal and Amazon payments.
You're not getting it. Apple isn't responsible for our customers of our App. They have legally absolved themselves of the responsibility. And should a claim be brought against them by a developer, they're not liable for anything over $50. And they will be able to seek recovery costs if a third party sues them because of a developer. Once you download the App, they're effectively gone and the company behind the App is responsible. Apple doesn't host the content. They don't build the App. They don't provide customer support for it other than an issue that would be related to the App not downloading or an In-App purchase that went sideways. They can't help the customer. But at the end of the day, aside from them being nice to customers and going out of their way in some cases, the developer is responsible. Read the developer agreement and this is the take away reality. It's also just the reality of business.

Originally Posted by Salty View Post
If Apple did allow non-apple in app purchases I think they'd probably have a standard warning graphic that said something like, "MAKE SURE YOU TRUST THIS DEVELOPER, THIS PAYMENT IS NOT PROCESSED BY APPLE YOU ARE GIVING YOUR CREDIT CARD TO SOMEBODY WHO MAY BE A FRAUDSTER" or something more professional and cryptic.
Well, someone hasn't read what I've posted today. It's not "if Apple allows", Apple does allow non-Apple In-App purchases.

Originally Posted by Salty View Post
Anyway, you mentioned people creating. You're not creating. You're making a store. That's like saying that if I use a light table and trace someone else's drawing, it's mine. It's not my creation, it's something I made but it's not what Jobs was talking about. You're just building another thing that nobody wants.
No, we are not primarily creating a store. Most of our platform has to do with creation and reading. But regardless, I can assure you that it was us, and only us, who created our store. Just like I'm pretty sure the Zappo guys created their store... and Apple wasn't involved in that. And I can also assure you that when it comes to our store, people want it very much. Because people want choice. They want competition. Jobs is a selfish bullshitter. He just says whatever to brainwash fanboys. Of course he probably doesn't want other eBookstores and platforms because it's competition for him.

Originally Posted by Salty View Post
And yes, 90% of developers aren't making money. Partly because a lot of Apps aren't to make money. I'm sure whoever developed TD Bank's iPhone app didn't make regular money from it. And yes, if you just made a fart app, you might have trouble getting noticed. But there are a lot of developers who make quality stuff who do get noticed.
I'm not so sure that most developers make Apps to not make money. But anyway...

There's a final draft waiting for Judge Cote's signature. This will likely get signed and we'll be able to link to our site. And then we'll be able to avoid the 30% Apple Head tax. And then competition in the eBook market will heat up. If you read the new DOJ injunction documentation I posted yesterday, it's pretty damning. It looks like Apple changed its App Store policy about linking to external websites because of the eBook competition. That folks in the eBook industry were singled out and Apple engaged in anti-competitive behaviour. The DOJ, as they rightfully state, aren't interested in changing the way the App Store business works. They're restoring the App Store to the way it was before Larry, Curly and Moe (Steve, Phil, and Eddie) conspired to stamp out competition.
( Last edited by theothersteve; Aug 24, 2013 at 04:15 AM. )
     
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Aug 25, 2013, 02:20 PM
 
You're an idiot, and Amazon is going to destroy you in the eBook market. You're going to go down in history as the guy who spent all his time trying to convince a bunch of people who were smarter than him, on the internet that he was right, while Amazon ate his entire user base.
     
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Aug 25, 2013, 06:03 PM
 
Originally Posted by Salty View Post
You're an idiot, and Amazon is going to destroy you in the eBook market. You're going to go down in history as the guy who spent all his time trying to convince a bunch of people who were smarter than him, on the internet that he was right, while Amazon ate his entire user base.
Whoa big fella... you're not going to hurt my feelings or discourage me. I want competition. I like it. I guess you've reduced yourself to this because you simply don't have the experience or knowledge to have a conversation about this industry and what's happening.

Here's something to make that little brain hurt: Imagine if Microsoft charged Apple 30% on every iTunes transaction on the iTunes Store on Windows...
     
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Aug 25, 2013, 11:39 PM
 
Google wallet and Paypal are what I use online now, most of the time. Sure beats having 1000 different accounts. Why should I give Elvira's House of Latex (don't judge me!) my personal info?
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Aug 26, 2013, 02:53 AM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
Google wallet and Paypal are what I use online now, most of the time. Sure beats having 1000 different accounts. Why should I give Elvira's House of Latex (don't judge me!) my personal info?
That's why we're integrating Google Wallet into our payment options. But honestly, your better off using our main payment processing system which is Moneris. Moneris is the industry standard in Canada. It's a real merchant account and gives you and us more protection. Paypal and Google Wallet aren't as secure... but anyway.
     
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Aug 26, 2013, 10:24 AM
 
Google and Amazon are very US-centric companies, and Google Wallet, for instance is AFAIK US-only. Isn't this balkanization creating much more friction even though each service on its own may be cheaper?
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Aug 27, 2013, 01:18 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Google and Amazon are very US-centric companies, and Google Wallet, for instance is AFAIK US-only. Isn't this balkanization creating much more friction even though each service on its own may be cheaper?
Ya... Google and Amazon are definitely very US-centric. But Google Wallet, from a business perspective, is international in that it enables businesses who may not be in the US to make it as a payment option.

Aside from this, PayPal is the stubborn old mule that won't go away. I just noticed that BestBuy and FutureShop just started really pushing PayPal payments. They must have struck a deal.

PayPal truly did revolutionize online payments, allowing a business to start accepting all major credit cards in multiple currencies across the world. But their terms and seller protection suck. With a real merchant account like we have, we don't get dinged from chargebacks and money is deposited into our account in near real time.
     
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Aug 27, 2013, 02:31 PM
 
Apple could have negotiated better, but I think didn't need to. When apple started itunes, it was great to buy music at a better price. Albums were upwards of $24 dollars in some stores, so $9.99 was a deal and made sense, lacking physical media/shipping costs, even offset by new digital costs. One would presume that the artist cut would be the same either way.

However, ebook prices don't seem much cheaper at all. If I'm paying the same price, I'd usually rather have the physical book, to share, donate, sell, etc. Unfortunately, lots of people don't agree with me and buy tons of ebooks, so the ebook market has set itself pretty high.
     
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Aug 27, 2013, 10:33 PM
 
Originally Posted by theothersteve View Post
Ya... Google and Amazon are definitely very US-centric. But Google Wallet, from a business perspective, is international in that it enables businesses who may not be in the US to make it as a payment option.
I don't see how that makes Google Wallet very appealing, you just have a solution to sell to one particular country. Its US centricity is the reason many of their technologies don't truly take off.
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Aug 28, 2013, 04:19 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
I don't see how that makes Google Wallet very appealing, you just have a solution to sell to one particular country. Its US centricity is the reason many of their technologies don't truly take off.
Ya... this isn't some binary thing where you have one or something else. Google Wallet is just an add on to your existing framework as an option for the consumer.

It's absolutely increased our conversion rates in the US. It's great for non-US companies trying to penetrate the US market. In this market, the US market is very large and lucrative.
     
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Aug 29, 2013, 01:01 AM
 
Originally Posted by theothersteve View Post
Whoa big fella... you're not going to hurt my feelings or discourage me. I want competition. I like it. I guess you've reduced yourself to this because you simply don't have the experience or knowledge to have a conversation about this industry and what's happening.

Here's something to make that little brain hurt: Imagine if Microsoft charged Apple 30% on every iTunes transaction on the iTunes Store on Windows...
I haven't reduced myself to anything. Simply put, this court case hasn't been about opening up the market for new comers, it's been about hamstringing Apple to convince them to grease the palms of more government officials. This case won't end up in the eBook market becoming more competitive, it will just result in things recentralizing around Amazon.

Apple will survive it because they don't need to have iBooks really make any money to justify it. It just quashes one of their smallest revenue streams. Your company on the other hand sounds like it's better it's whole future on book sales, and the DOJ just took the restraints off one of the most viciously competitive companies since Walmart.
     
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Aug 30, 2013, 02:29 PM
 
So I just received an email stating that I'm going to get a whopping $3 credit as part of the McMillan and Penguin publishing settlement with the DOJ. And now the DOJ has basically handed the keys of the e-book market back over to Amazon. Gee thanks.

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Aug 30, 2013, 03:30 PM
 
I'm pretty sure that scales accordingly, I'm curious to see what we get back. Not that I read more, but we buy a metric ****-ton of ebooks, a lot of them for a local childrens' home.
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Aug 30, 2013, 03:46 PM
 
Be on the lookout in your email. Like I said, mine arrive earlier today.

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