APPLE STOCK

Coinbase App Store policy provides evidence of antitrust issues


A description of the Coinbase App Store policy makes very clear the disproportionate power Apple holds over the tech sector, argues a new piece today.

The company’s CEO says that whatever Apple wants, it gets – which doesn’t exactly help Apple’s antitrust argument that its App Store is simply one platform…

The Verge deputy editor Elizabeth Lopatto drew attention to a recent Coinbase blog post in which CEO Brian Armstrong said that Apple and Google had more power over them than even payment providers.

Every company works with other companies that have their own set of moderation and deplatforming policies. For instance, for any app to be listed in the Apple and Google App Stores, it needs to play by the rules of those two companies […]

For payment providers, we can simply disable functionality related to that partner if there is a problem with a specific user, while continuing to offer Coinbase services. But getting kicked out of the app stores wouldn’t help anyone. So when working with partners, our approach is to be free speech supporters, but not free speech martyrs, and to make accommodations if it is essential for us to function as a business.

Lopatto also points out Apple’s blocking of apps it considers offensive or sexualized.

Also during the trial, Apple’s highly paid attorneys suggested that a naked banana should not appear in court due to nudity. (The judge in the case later ruled that naked bananas are courtroom-appropriate.)

Plus the most notable example of Apple’s treatment of competitors to its own apps and services.

The time Apple rejected Google search from its App Store in 2012 because “these apps need to give you the ability to use your choice of maps, not their version only.” Apple had released its competitor Apple Maps less than four months ago. (In fact, Apple feels strongly about not featuring its competitors in the App Store.)

Antitrust regulators are concerned not just about the payment taken by Apple from app sales, but also its role as a gatekeeper of what apps can and can’t do.

Photo: Jeremy Bezanger / Unsplash

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Naveen Kumar

Friendly communicator. Music maven. Explorer. Pop culture trailblazer. Social media practitioner.

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