On the eve of Apple CEO Tim Cook’s testimony to the House Judiciary Committee as part of an antitrust probe, Apple VP Phil Schiller has defended the App Store in a new interview with Reuters. The Apple exec touted that the App Store has successfully flipped how the entire software industry works.
Schiller, who serves as Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, explained that the goal of the App Store is to “treat all apps in the App Store the same.” Unlike PC software, the idea is that the App Store treats all developers the same with no special deals or terms for the larger creators. Schiller said:
“One of the things we came up with is, we’re going to treat all apps in the App Store the same – one set of rules for everybody, no special deals, no special terms, no special code, everything applies to all developers the same. That was not the case in PC software. Nobody thought like that. It was a complete flip around of how the whole system was going to work.”
On the flip side, Schiller acknowledged that the App Store has had to adjust its policy for instances where the user had purchased a subscription or account somewhere else. In these situations, developers can allow users to sign in with an account created elsewhere, so long as the games also offer in-app payments through Apple’s system:
“As we were talking to some of the biggest game developers, for example, Minecraft, they said, ‘I totally get why you want the user to be able to pay for it on device. But we have a lot of users coming who bought their subscription or their account somewhere else – on an Xbox, on a PC, on the web. And it’s a big barrier to getting onto your store,’” Schiller said. “So we created this exception to our own rule.”
These comments from Schiller are interesting and raise questions about some of what Apple has said in the past. Whereas Schiller emphasized that all apps are treated the same, Apple said earlier this year that it has an “established program for premium subscription video entertainment providers” that allows customers to buy or rent movies and TV shows using the payment method tied to their existing video subscription.
Schiller’s comments come just one day before Tim Cook will face questioning from the House Judiciary Committee alongside Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Apple’s Tim Cook, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, and Google’s Sundar Pichai. In Apple’s case, the concerns generally center on the cut the company takes from App Store sales and in-app payments and subscriptions.
A separate report earlier today shed new light on disagreements between Apple and companies such as ClassPass and Airbnb.
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