page 4 of 4
Avoiding Apple Ecosystem Lock-In Prevents an Apple Monopoly
There’s quite a few advantages to avoiding Apple ecosystem lock-in. As previously stated, it keeps your options open in terms of devices. It’s much less painful to switch to another smartphone if you aren’t walking away from hundreds or thousands of dollars worth of apps and content. Beyond the obvious advantage, there’s also a macroeconomic benefit to avoiding Apple ecosystem lock-in. You’re making it harder for Apple to become a monopoly.
Every public corporation wants to rule the world. Their end game is to become a monopoly. Apple is no more bent on domination than any other company. The excellence of certain products has propelled the corporation into a powerful position. They can now use the App Store to engage in anti-competitive behavior. For example, Apple has notoriously rejected Spotify app updates as the music service continues to thwart in-app purchasing. Amazon and Google do the same thing, however, a long, drawn out legal battle with another tech titan would be a Pyrrhic victory, at best. Instead, Apple chooses to pick on the small startup that delivers a superior music subscription service.
Apple can’t compete on merit, so they use dirty tricks. It’s reasonable for Spotify to pay Apple for hosting their app in the App Store. It’s unreasonable for them to take 1/3 of monthly subscription fees, in perpetuity, for simply hosting an app download. Spotify can only distribute their app to Apple devices using the App Store.
Apple is not hosting Spotify’s service. Apple doesn’t steam Spotify’s music from their data center. They still want 1/3 of Spotify’s revenues, in perpetuity. Apple only incurs the minute one-time cost of data center operations when a user downloads Spotify. This gross abuse of the App Store monopoly has garnered attention from politicians and business leaders.
This type of monopolistic abuse harkens back to the robber barons. An infamous robber baron acquired a railroad monopoly and abused it to put farmers out of business. He purchased land from bankrupt farmers at a deep discount. If you want your app to run on any of the billion or so Apple devices, you can only do this through the App Store. Apple can place extreme financial stress on companies like Spotify by charging an exorbitant fee for hosting their app. They have no other way to distribute their app to one billion Apple devices.
Unlike every other device or computer, iPhones, iPads, iPods and Apple TVs cannot side load apps. Apps can only come from Apple’s App Store. Apple has abused this power to the detriment of free market competition and consumer choice. Every time you buy an app or content from Apple, you enable this behavior.
It’s a tough call. I really like Apple’s hardware. I love the way their operating systems are tightly integrated with hardware, for a seamless, tight and robust user experience. This comes at the cost of having only one option for apps. But for other content, you do have a choice.
Don’t be the guy with jeans, a denim shirt, denim cap, denim socks and denim underwear. You can use an iPhone and buy content from Google, Amazon or other vendors. You don’t have to use Apple Music. It’s vastly inferior to competing music subscription services. Get your e-books from Amazon, and you’ll save money and be able to read them on virtually any device.
Just because you bought an iPhone or iPad doesn’t mean you have to default to Apple’s restricted ecosystem or lame stock apps. Get the best of both worlds — excellent Apple devices and superior services from Google, Amazon, Spotify and others.