Friday, December 8, 2017

App Store Blocks Use of Templates

New rules for Apple’s App Store state that “apps created from a commercialized template or app generation service will be rejected.” That, some argue, is going to affect many small business apps that use lawful templates to create features from app assembly suites or app-creation tools.

Apple has the right to create its own rules. The point is simply that, increasingly, we see new examples of app, device or commerce providers acting as content gatekeepers. That is not a particular issue of somehow restricting “internet freedom,” but simply business decisions those firms are free to make.

Bits are not “treated equally,” anywhere in the internet supplier ecosystem. Almost nothing in the app, content, platform or device parts of the ecosystem actually treat bits or any other parts of their business practices and business models “equally.”

There are all sorts of reasons for that, including the drive to create distinctiveness and uniqueness, create new features and capabilities.

That is simply to point out that breathless warnings about the “end of the internet” because “all bits are not going to be treated equally” misses the point, badly. There are all sorts of practical ways content, apps and devices are not “treated equally.”

There are some elements of internet access policy that do make sense. Ensuring that consumers have access to all lawful apps is fundamental. But most claimed violations of network neutrality are misplaced. How Apple wants to run its app store is its own business.

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