Apple’s Excessive Power


This post is by Continuations by Albert Wenger from Continuations by Albert Wenger


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In the last few days Apple suspended the enterprise certificates for first Facebook and then Google, rendering internal iOS apps instantly useless. Apple did so in response to revelations that both companies had used the enterprise certificates to distribute VPN apps to teenagers in order to better understand phone usage. This is apparently in violation of the enterprise certificate license.

Some people have cheered Apple’s actions as not only justified but appropriate sanctions on Facebook and Google. It would appear that Apple acted within its contractual rights and there are reasonable questions about these research efforts. In any case though Apple’s actions and their impact illustrates the extraordinary power Apple has over its devices.

I have written before that I believe this level of control is detrimental to innovation and is a source of excess rents. It has been interesting to see how the take rate in PC game stores is being driven towards 10% as a result of competition. So instead of celebrating Apple’s actions here we should see them as a reminder of a lack of competition and a disempowerment of endusers. An easy ability for consumers to directly load apps should be a legal requirement. This would allow competitive app stores to emerge.