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U.S. Commerce Department: Apple and Google’s app stores wield ‘gatekeeper’ power and should be reined in

Wednesday February 1, 2023. 04:05 PM , from Mac Daily News
A new 48-page U.S. Commerce Department report claims that Apple and Google “play a significant gatekeeping role by controlling (and restricting) how apps are distributed,” and that the various fees and rules they impose on app developers has created an uneven playing field.

Brian Fing for CNN:

“All of these factors translate to potential losses for consumers: prices that are inflated due to the fees collected by gatekeepers, innovation that is hampered by policy decisions to limit access to smartphone capabilities, and the loss of choice of apps that are not featured or even accessible for smartphone users,” the report said.
Google didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. In a statement, Apple said its app store has benefited developers and supports hundreds of thousands of jobs. In the past, Apple has argued that its control over iOS app distribution helps promote users’ privacy and security.
“We respectfully disagree with a number of conclusions reached in the report, which ignore the investments we make in innovation, privacy and security,” an Apple spokesperson said, “all of which contribute to why users love iPhone and create a level playing field for small developers to compete on a safe and trusted platform.”
Wednesday’s report… does not launch a regulatory process. Instead, it provides policy recommendations, such as limits on the apps Apple and Google can pre-install or set as defaults on their respective operating systems, or giving users the right to install apps from any source.

MacDailyNews Take: A new 48-page U.S. Commerce Department report (how much did that cost?) claims that “prices that are inflated due to the fees collected by gatekeepers.”
The average price of an iOS app in the Apple App Store is 80 cents.
The vast majority of developers who pay Apple an App Store commission, pay 15%. That amounts to 12 cents of “inflated prices” for non-free apps on average. So, if you bought 50 apps for your iPhone, it would cost you, on the average, a total of $40. Halving Apple’s commission would reduce that price to $37. Removing Apple’s commission entirely would reduce that price to $34.
Here you see the absolute horror of “inflated prices” caused by Apple trying to cover costs to run their App Store for 1.4+ billion iOS/iPadOS users. A total of $3-$6 per every 50 apps, on average. How can any app consumer survive such abject gouging?!!!
Two questions:
How much did it cost developers to have their apps burned onto CDs, boxed, shipped, displayed on store shelves prior to Apple remaking the world for the better for umpteenth time? Does Apple not have costs to store, review, organize, surface, and distribute apps to 1+ billion users? – MacDailyNews, July 30, 2021
Ultimately, the end user pays, regardless.
Either Apple continues to take App Store commissions to pay for their infrastructure costs or they increase hardware and/or subscription prices to pay for the government interference.
As usual, Big Government is a meddling middleman just attempting to move costs around in order to appeal to their base: “We fought the big, bad corporation meanies and saved you oh-so-much money on your apps (a whole 12 cents per). (We won’t talk about your other costs – hardware, subscription rates, etc. – that were increased in order to compensate for our meddling). We think you’re stupid. Vote for us.”
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