2022年1月17日

China’s app store has been removed from the market

Unknown reasons for freezing manufacturers into nearly a year large area off the shelves of domestic applications

Apple’s App Store has been challenged over monopoly

Getting a new mobile phone should have been something to be happy about, but for Han, who works in Beijing west Second Banner, it’s not. The reason is that Han has recently changed to the latest iPhone, but the games that were installed in the old phone can not be installed again.

“Before the epidemic, my colleagues and I used to have dinner together after work. Now, in response to the call of epidemic prevention and control, we go home after work and play games and chat online in the evening.” “But since my old iPhone broke down, my new iPhone couldn’t install the game we were playing. Now everyone is playing and chatting as usual, and I’m the only one out of the ‘team’,” Han told reporters.

“I have spent more than 1,000 yuan in the iPhone payment system since the COVID-19 outbreak, and now I can’t even install new mobile games. Am I wasting my money?”

Applications have been removed from shelves and frozen

Domestic manufacturers are suffering from Apple’s App Store

The game that Han and her colleagues are playing is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game, The Times has learned. The reason why Han couldn’t install the game, which was normally played before, was that the game was removed from apple’s App Store. Meanwhile, since the App Store is the only App Store available on Apple’s mobile OS, Han may not be able to return to his team until the game is back on the market.

With han put forward when to be able to install the game in the new mobile phone question, the reporter contacted the game of gold hill game of this game. A person in charge of Jinshan Games gao Manager told reporters that the game mentioned by user Xiao Han was indeed “removed” from apple App Store, which caused a lot of inconvenience to users who need to replace a new iPhone; At present, the team is still actively communicating with Apple App Store, but the effect is very limited. Kingsoft Also hopes that Apple App Store can give a clear reply and solution.

“As early as early April 2021, we received an email from The Apple App Store about the suspension of payment until the game was removed in mid-June 2021. We have been trying to communicate with apple officials. However, Apple has not given us a specific reason for the termination or removal of the game.”

It is reported that kingsoft communicated with Apple App Store nearly 30 times, including emails and developer accounts, from the termination settlement in April 2021 to the final “removal” in June 2021, but most of the replies were “I will contact you again if there is further information”, and there was no other substantial progress.

It’s important to note that, according to Apple’s “N+3” billing period, the game’s billing on apple’s App Store effectively stopped at the end of January 2021. This means that over the past year or so, the game has made virtually no revenue on Apple’s App Store, but at the same time has to pay a high cost to maintain the normal promotion and operation of the game on Apple’s system — which is a huge pressure on domestic game developers.

What is more worrying for kingsoft game team is that in the 30-day appeal period stipulated by Apple, according to the communication with Apple App Store, the reason for the game being removed and frozen settlement is still unknown. Whether the game can be “put on the shelves” again in the future, when it will be “put on the shelves” and when the settlement freeze will be lifted are all uncertain. This situation is not good news for such players as Xiao Han.

The rights and interests of local developers must be protected

Apple is suspected of abusing its dominant market position

What happened to the game and its user, Xiao Han, also raises the issue of protecting the rights of local developers on Apple’s App Store. Recently, more and more Chinese apps have been removed from Apple’s App Store, which also raises the question of whether Apple is suspected of abusing its dominant market position.

More than 16,000 games were removed from Apple’s App Store in China in the last quarter of 2021, with more than 5,000 apps removed every month, a significant increase from the third quarter, according to 7Mai Data’s App Removal Monitor. In a large number of removed game applications, in addition to involving the game version number, active removal and other reasons, such as Jinshan game was “removed” and actively strive for “shelves” game developers or promotion operators, it is not uncommon.

The reporter learned, besides this game, jinshan game promotion and operation of another game actually also experienced Apple App Store “off the shelf” processing. The game was removed from apple’s App Store in late March 2021, according to a team leader.

“So our team started a self-audit, and after submitting multiple self-audit packages, the Feedback from the App Store was that the review failed, but they still didn’t tell us why.” “But somehow, it wasn’t until mid-June that we suddenly got the game back on the shelves, and we didn’t know the details of why it was on the shelves.”

Li Jie (pseudonym) from Fujian province also has many questions about the removal of Apple’s App Store. In the second half of 2021, the card ventilation casual game developed by Li Jie’s team became very popular on Apple App Store, with more than 2,000 downloads per day. But the sudden “off frame” or troubled to Li Jie, and eventually affect the operation of this small game.

“I wasn’t really nervous when I got the ‘take down’ notice at first, because our type of game has fewer problems, so we could just find the problems and fix them.” “But in the following communication with the Apple App Store, we found that apple’s official reply was very subtle. Every time there was a reply, but it was like a robot. It was the same, and it did not help us to rectify the problem.”

What made Li Jie even more uncomfortable was that as a developer of Apple’s App Store in China, li jie’s development team had to use English when communicating with Apple officials, which was very difficult for a small team of ten developers. “We can all read normal English, but on key issues, such as apple’s Developer agreement, there are multiple versions in English and Chinese. Although there is a Chinese version of the official website, it is not in accordance with the Chinese custom, the wording is difficult to understand, this design is very unfriendly to us Chinese developers, we can not understand the Chinese version, so if we read the original English, without professional English translation.”

In response, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), an Internet freedom advocacy group, has criticized some of Apple’s developer agreements, saying the terms are biased in favor of the company and threaten competition and innovation. In addition, Apple’s App Store has been criticized by many Chinese developers for its “commissions”.

A relatively top game developer in China told the reporter that apple’s App Store usually takes 30% of the revenue from domestic game manufacturers, but the actual cost of the development team is often much higher than this figure. “When Chinese developers negotiate with Apple’s App Store, they have to follow apple’s official data, which is actually very unscientific.” “There are promotions, discounts and other deals that are part of the game business, so when it comes time to check out, you can often find that your billing numbers don’t match apple’s billing numbers, and sometimes the App Store will deduct several percentage points from your billing numbers,” the company said. “From the perspective of the domestic game industry, this is definitely a very large number.”

Domestic anti – monopoly harvest substantial progress

The industry called on Chinese developers to unite to protect their rights

Lin Wei, director of Daxiao Law Firm in Beijing, told Us that Apple’s practice of removing Chinese developers’ apps from the App Store and billing is suspected of abusing its dominant market position.

When talking about “monopoly”, we often talk about “anti-monopoly”. Generally speaking, anti-monopoly refers to a means of intervention taken by the relevant departments of the national government when a company’s marketing is monopolistic or monopolistic. The essence of anti-monopoly is to promote the benign operation of the market mechanism and ensure a fair market environment.

In 2017, Lin wei represented dozens of Chinese developers in filing a complaint to the State Administration for Industry and Commerce and the National Development and Reform Commission over Apple’s alleged monopoly of the App Store. Lin Wei, a lawyer, called on Chinese developers to protect their rights and interests through legal reports and other means by making good use of the powerful weapon of domestic anti-monopoly.

Lin Wei believes that in front of the developer agreement, Apple App Store has the power of life and death, but at the same time makes vague remarks, completely ignores developers’ concerns about the content of clear rules, removes products without justified reasons, does not directly face domestic developers in the official language and operation level, and does not give reasonable explanations to our developers. This is often seen in apple’s App Store review process. “So what Apple is doing with the App Store is engaging in monopolistic behavior that abuses its dominant market position.”

In Lin Wei’s opinion, Apple App Store’s services in China are typical operational Internet information services. According to the Measures for the Administration of Internet Information Services issued by The State Council, those engaged in operational Internet information services should obtain the Value-added Telecom Business Operation License from their operating entities in China. However, Apple has not set up any entity to operate an App Store in China since it started offering App sales platform services to Chinese developers and Internet users in 2008, nor has it obtained a value-added telecom business license in accordance with the law.

“A good news is that the 2021 national anti-monopoly bureau reported 118” antitrust “administrative punishment cases, this is almost the sum of reported six years from 2015 to 2020,” antitrust “topic has received the unprecedented attention, this is a very positive signal, it means that the domestic in antitrust path more walk more firmly.” “As a matter of fact, the National Anti-monopoly Bureau has the power and capability to collect and prosecute such monopolistic practices suspected of abusing its dominant market position,” Lin wei told reporters. “It is not a central ‘referee’ but a ‘regulatory’ role.”

While apple’s App Store has yet to face a formal antitrust investigation in China, it has faced legal challenges internationally. Back in 2019, U.S. Supreme Court justices ruled 5-4 against Apple in an antitrust case over its App Store. On April 30 last year, the European Union formally launched its first antitrust complaint against Apple. Around the same time, Japan formally opened an antitrust investigation into Apple. In the future, apple’s IOS system and the so-called closed-loop ecosystem of apple’s App Store may be tested more. This publication depth report group

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