a fair app store
why it matters
Apple owns the App Store, but it also competes on the App Store. That means it has major incentives (and easy access) to push its own apps and suffocate small developers. If Apple’s aggressive sherlocking approach continues, the innovation and richness of the App Store will meet its end.
A fair App Store means developers can innovate without the threat of being stifled by Apple. And when innovation can flourish, consumers can enjoy a rich app economy.
the latest news
- May 2021: “Apple and Epic Head to Court Over Their Slices of the App Pie” , The New York Times
- April 2021: “Apple and Google pressed in antitrust hearing on whether app stores share data with product development teams”, Tech Crunch
- March 2021: Apple, Google app store fights move to the states, Politico
- March 2021: Apple threatens North Dakota, suffers crushing loss in Arizona: “A lot of it is just fear”, Matt Stoller
terms to know
Anyone who uses the App Store as a marketplace to sell their software. In exchange, they give a percentage of sales to the platform provider (Apple).
Consumers rely on third-party developers to build apps that fill specific use cases.
Third-party developers are often small, scrappy teams (like Astropad – we’re a bootstrapped team of just a dozen people).
When a platform provider copies the product of a third-party developer and offers it as a free feature. This usually makes the third-party developer’s product obsolete, driving them out of business.
Platform providers often use sales data to determine which apps to sherlock, and rely on technological advantages (private APIs) to build a competing, native, free feature.
- “What does it mean when Apple “sherlocks” an app?”, How To Geek
“break up big tech”
Potential antitrust litigation that would break apart platform providers (e.g., separating the App Store from the rest of Apple’s business). It argues that if a company owns an online platform or marketplace, it should not be able to compete in that marketplace against third-party developers.
- “Here’s how we can break up Big Tech”, Elizabeth Warren
- “Amazon’s Antitrust Antagonist Has a Breakthrough Idea”, New York Times
our sherlocking story
A candid documentation of our sherlocking story, from mid-2019 to present.
What to Do When You Get Sherlocked by Apple
We give a candid retelling of the six tough lessons we learned the hard way; including how you can prevent getting sherlocked, and what to do if it happens to you. → Read
Dear Apple: Here’s How to Stop the Antitrust Investigations
To get ahead of the antitrust scrutiny, we suggest some proactive changes for the App Store that don’t require government regulation. → Read
The Catch-22 of Building a Business on Apple’s APIs
Apple has created an incredible platform with powerful APIs for us to build on, but as third-party developers, we need to be mindful of getting trapped. → Read
Why Getting Sherlocked by Apple Was a Blessing in Disguise
One year later, we reflect on the silver lining of getting sherlocked by Apple, and how it’s pushed our business to new growth. → Read
Apple Can’t Run From Antitrust in 2021
Antitrust concerns around Apple continue to grow. Astropad’s CEO Matt Ronge recaps recent legislation and how it affects third-party developers. → Read
Our Financials, Two Years After Getting Sherlocked
Until now, we’ve never shared the financial toll of getting sherlocked. We’re giving you a candid look at our finances from the past two years. → Read
more cases of
Tile vs AirTags
In 2015, Apple stopped selling Tile tracking devices in its stores. Then, Apple poached one of Tile’s engineers. This spring, Apple launched its own tracking device called AirTags. → Tile testifies against Apple in Congressional antitrust hearing
Clue vs Apple Health
For years, Clue filled a gap for people with periods by allowing them to track menstruation and fertility. In 2019, Apple announced it would copy Clue’s core functionality into its own Health app that comes pre-installed in every iPhone. → How Apple uses its App Store to copy the best ideas
Parental Control Apps
In 2018, Apple released an iPhone feature to track and limit children’s phone use. Then, Apple began removing third-party parental control apps from the App Store, claiming they “put users’ privacy and security at risk.” → Apple Cracks Down on Apps That Fight iPhone Addiction
against big tech
Although we still haven’t seen any sweeping change with the App Store, the antitrust case against Apple is building. Help keep the momentum going by taking action today.
1. spread the word
Help us to raise awareness about how Big Tech monopolies are bad for developers and consumers.
2. contact your rep
If you’re a developer, reach out to your state reps and let them know you back antitrust legislation and what it means for your business.