Application Developers Are Caught In Big Tech’s “Squid Game”

Lately, app stores have functioned more like a contest in Netflix’s “Squid Game” than a fair market. In other words, developers must obey Big Tech’s rules or be “kicked out” from their app stores.

Application developers are, in effect, limited to using two companies – Apple and Google – if they wish to market their applications. The two companies control nearly 99.64% of app stores in the United States. So if Apple and Google deny or remove an app, that means death for that app company.

Additionally, most developers don’t file complaints lest Google or Apple take revenge on them, either by removing their app or by imposing more severe restrictions. As Ida Tin, CEO of Health App Clue, put it, “You don’t want to bore the milkman when you only have one milkman. So, for now, it’s Apple and Google’s game, and there’s nothing realistic the developers can do about it without some action from Capitol Hill.

These dominant platforms know that they are in a dual position with external application developers, both as platform providers and direct competitors, and they are taking full advantage of that.

For example, Apple allows its AirTags – keychain devices to help consumers find lost items – access to its iPhone’s ultra-wideband detection capabilities while prohibiting third-party competitors from doing so. This put the lost item tracker app Tile at a disadvantage, as it had to work with much more degraded data to provide the same service as Apple’s local service. Worse yet, Apple inundated its iPhone users with a spurious pop-up ad campaign against Tile. Apple claimed that Tile was surreptitiously tracking its users in a way that AirTags did not, which was wrong.

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About Donald J. Beadle

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