Users should have the fi­nal say on what apps are on their de­vices

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT - BEI­JING-BASED DARE&SURE LAW FIRM

has brought the first anti-mo­nop­oly case against Ap­ple in China. Bei­jing-based news­pa­per The Mir­ror com­ments:

The iOS op­er­at­ing sys­tem Ap­ple in­stalls on its prod­ucts such as iPhone and iPad is a closed-source one and its users have no other chan­nel but the vir­tual Ap­ple store to down­load and in­stall ap­pli­ca­tions.

Such a tech­no­log­i­cal bar­rier is jok­ingly known as “jail” among iPhone and iPad users. There used to be a group of hack­ers who de­vel­oped spe­cial soft­ware to help users “jail­break” iPhones and iPads, but Ap­ple has de­feated most of them by clos­ing in the loop­holes in the iOS op­er­at­ing sys­tem.

Yet Ap­ple has been abus­ing its dom­i­nant po­si­tion. This June alone, Ap­ple with­drew 89,205 apps from its Ap­ple Store within 20 days. Al­though the process ac­tu­ally be­gan in 2013, since then as many as 60 very pop­u­lar apps de­vel­oped by about 30 com­pa­nies in China have been with­drawn. And Ap­ple with­drew these apps be­cause they refuse to pay Ap­ple a 30-per­cent ser­vice fee as the lat­ter re­quires.

Ap­ple has de­rived quite huge prof­its from the move. In the fourth fi­nan­cial quar­ter of 2016, Ap­ple had

de­rived 92 per­cent of the prof­its of the whole in­dus­try, and the Ap­ple Store mo­nop­oly is a cash cow for the com­pany.

But for con­sumers, that’s bad news be­cause iPhone and iPad users only have part of the us­age right over the prod­ucts they buy. Smart­phones are sup­posed to be a bridge that con­nects app de­vel­op­ers and users, but iPhone has failed in this re­gard.

That’s why Ap­ple has been fined many times in many coun­tries, in­clud­ing the United States. Now lawyers have re­ported it to Chi­nese au­thor­i­ties and we ex­pect the lat­ter to launch in­ves­ti­ga­tions. Ap­ple should also learn a les­son from the case.

The case of Ap­ple is not alone. On July 1, a reg­u­la­tion of the Min­istry of In­dus­try and In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy came into ef­fect, which re­quires smart­phone pro­duc­ers to make sure users can unin­stall any app on their smart­phones. That has hit the right point — Users that buy smart­phones should have the fi­nal say on what apps should stay on their smart­phones.

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