Developers say that Apple has been poaching features in their apps and co-opting them for the iOS.
In a report from The Washington Post, developers detail their struggle with Apple and its App Store, and how the company incorporating ideas into its ecosystems has unintentionally gutted developers’ creations.
One recent feature to be commandeered by Apple was popularized through an app designed to track menstruation, called Clue, which the tech giant plans to incorporate into its Health app this month reports The Post.
Likewise, an app that turns iPads into second computer screens is also getting an iOS copy cat, reports the Post.
‘It’s a love-hate relationship, of course. You don’t want to annoy the milkman when you only have one milkman,’ Ida Tin, Clue’s CEO, told the Post.
Once those features or app ideas are borrowed, Apple has a track-record of locking the developers that popularized them out of critical functionality with its iOS.
For instance, Apple Music is the only music-streaming service allowed to access some of the iOS’ built-in functionality, like Siri, and ‘walkie-talkie’ style apps that allow users to send instant voice-messages via the Apple Watch have been barred from its platform.
While the tech industry has long piggy-backed off of each other, developers say that Apple’s unique access and power over data in its App Store makes its practice particularly concerning.
The Post reports that Apple, using metrics on which apps are popular and how much time users spend using them, is able to predict trends in the space, allowing the brand to direct the future of its products.
The data can also be used to ‘identify nascent threats’ according to one expert interviewed by The Post.
This ability would allow Apple to either acquire an app before it becomes big enough to compete or close developers out of the market.
When Apple takes features, developers say it usually leads to a stark decline in an app’s usage, if not an outright dissolution of the app.
The Post reports that developers have little recourse in those cases.
The App Store is responsible for 71 percent of revenue generated by app purchased according to Sensor Tower, a market research firm, making it somewhat monopolistic control over the ecosystem.
Though most developers continue to play by Apple’s rules, some creators — at least those with enough resources — have begun to fight back against what they allege is tantamount to anti-trust behavior.
Earlier this year, music-streaming service, Spotify, filed a complaint with the European Union that alleges Apple has treated the platform unfairly by giving its own service a competitive edge.