First cracks appear in Apple's "walled garden"

First cracks appear in Apple's
Are cracks appearing in Apple's walled garden? According to Bloomberg, Apple plans on disseminating a software update that will allow third-party messaging apps to work better with Siri. Currently, when an iPhone user tells Siri that he or she wants to make a call or send a text, the virtual assistant turns to Apple's own Phone or Messages apps by default. But once Apple releases the update, Siri will turn to the apps that a particular user relies on more often. For example, if an iPhone user typically texts using WhatsApp and he asks Siri to send a text, the virtual assistant will use WhatsApp instead of Messages. And third party apps for phone calls will also get the same treatment down the road.

This won't work by magic. Developers will have to allow Siri's new functionality to work with their apps. But the cracks in Apple's walled garden aren't appearing solely out of the goodness of the company's heart. With Congress investigating possible antitrust law violations by Apple related to the App Store, members of the House antitrust panel have reportedly asked Apple to explain its current policy about Siri defaulting to the company's own messaging apps.


Apple points out that its own apps pre-loaded on the iPhone make up only 0.00002% of the two million apps in the App Store. The company also points out that its apps show up only 1% of the time on App Store Stories. The latter is a feature that points out interesting apps to those sporting an iOS powered device.

Apple says that it deserves the 30% cut of in-app purchases because it helps promote developers' apps through the App Store


The fact that iOS users are not allowed to sideload apps like Android users can have led some iOS users to file a class-action lawsuit. Apple takes a 30% cut of revenue generated from in-app purchases and first year-subscriptions (dropping down to 15% after the first year). The plaintiffs in the class action allege that this so-called "Apple Tax" is making them pay more for apps in the App Store. Since iPhone users are stuck with the tech giant's app storefront, they do not have a choice. Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Apple's role in the App Store is more than that of an intermediary. In fact, the Court stated that because Apple is the company that sells apps and games directly to iOS users, the plaintiffs in the class-action can continue with their suit against the manufacturer.


Apple defends its 30% cut of in-app revenue by noting that through the App Store, developers are able to promote their apps and games to hundreds of millions of people in 155 countries. Apple claims that it is giving developers free marketing in the App Store and through social-media.

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11 Comments

1. darkkjedii

Posts: 31290; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Good job Apple, choice rocks.

2. Vokilam

Posts: 1273; Member since: Mar 15, 2018

Switching back and forth between android and iOS all the time - you don’t feel this “walled garden” thing that everyone keeps talking about. I mean - I buy iOS devices specifically for what/how Apple designs their products, features and services. I mean, I haven’t seen any benefit to switching from iMessage to any other texting or money transfer service, for example.

5. Cyberchum

Posts: 1093; Member since: Oct 24, 2012

I get your point, but, In the last couple of years, unlike before, I have been seeing quite some people using third party keyboards on their iPhones; do you know why that is? If you don't see why it's called a walled garden and/or doesn't like it that Siri is going to work better with third party messaging apps, simply don't use it. Where I come from, iPhone users I know of use whatsapp.

11. liteon163

Posts: 60; Member since: Jan 24, 2017

Walled Garden = having to use iTunes instead of dragging and dropping files Walled Garden = having to use ONLY Apple's App Store and not alternatives equivalent to F-Droid Walled Garden = APPLE'S WAY OR NO WAY

13. Vokilam

Posts: 1273; Member since: Mar 15, 2018

I had an iPhone for almsost two years now - I don’t have iTunes installed on my PC. And I have no trouble downloading and uploading full ripped movies, all my photos, and files all wirelessly and even remotely. For photos and videos upload and offload I use PhotoSync App. For files: I use different file managers depending if it’s for work, or hobby use. Everything else is automatic using cloud to insure all my devices have files I need there regardless which device it was created on. There are alternatives to AppStore on iOS and they’re just as unsafe to install from as they are on google play alternatives. When I was using Samsung, I agree - i looked for alternative apps to install, on iOS - AppStore apps are pretty darn good especially for tablets. Walled garden = something anti-apple sheep keep saying because they don’t understand iOS ecosystem. I love iOS approach to a lot of things - and it trumps my inability to change icons and fonts!

24. liteon163

Posts: 60; Member since: Jan 24, 2017

I'm glad for you. :-) Just because I don't like Apple doesn't mean I'm an "anti-apple sheep," I just prefer not to purchase a product from a company that so grossly over-inflates their prices and attempts to lock in all but the most advanced users into their single-minded approach to interacting with their devices. I'll freely recommend iPhones to friends that don't care about how their devices work, so long as they work. I just won't purchase an iPhone because there are other devices that suit my needs and budget much better than Apple's products do.

25. superguy

Posts: 464; Member since: Jul 15, 2011

"There are alternatives to AppStore on iOS and they’re just as unsafe to install from as they are on google play alternatives." So Amazon's AppStore is an unsafe alternative to Google Play? Good to know. :rolleyes: There are several reputable 3rd party stores to get apps on Android. Additionally, the whole "eco system" thing has been litigated already in both the US and the EU. If you were around in the 90s, you may remember the whole Netscape suit where Netscape claimed MS's tight integration of Windows and Internet Explorer was anticompetitive. Netscape was doing quite well when browsers were an add-on app that had to be bought before Windows 95 came out. Microsoft was purposely trying to kill off its competitors by preventing access to software APIs and forcing OEMs to use only MS products if it wanted a good deal on licensing. In order to avoid a break up, MS opened up its ecosystem so competitors could compete on even terms. In other words, MS knew a lot of people wouldn't bother to look for alternatives if the system came with the capability built in, and then enforced that with a stick. The EU went further and required IE and other MS apps to be decoupled from Windows. If you look at Windows versions for sale, you'll see N versions that are EU compliant. Bottom line is MS used to tightly control its ecosystem and essentially force people to use their products. They didn't own the hardware or restrict access to people loading apps, but they didn't share the full APIs so competing apps could work better. Sound familiar?

29. Vokilam

Posts: 1273; Member since: Mar 15, 2018

What do you install from amazon App Store? Examples? Bet you there are planets of apps or even better apps than that selection. Face it - the only reason you want third party is to pirate games or their IAP which is theft and wrong (that’s why lots of developers don’t put much state in android ecosystem). The whole mimbo jumbo about Netscape - anyone who cared to install it - installed it! Bring it back to modern scenario - The rest are 90% of users either on android or iOS - really don’t care or even want to install third party apps for browsing. Apple does not force you to use their products, features or services - if you feel you want to use something else - you buy android or install competitors app! Like I mentioned above first post - people don’t buy iPhones to use it like android or want it to be like android - they buy to use the iOS and its “walled garden” as you all seem to point out. It’s like buying a sports car and complaining it doesn’t have a truck bed! You need a truck bed - you buy a truck. You want a sports car - you buy a sports car. Seems like you believe that people are forced to buy iOS products at gun point. I bought an iPhone because it has iMessage, Apple Cash, face to face support at brick and mortar stores, Face ID, 3D (or now haptic) touch, great apps. Near perfect integration with my iPad (lets face it - even android users buy iPads instead of android versions). It allowed me to watch over and track everything my kids do digitally - built in! And I can still get all the google apps and services if I want! I mean my old iPhone 5s that I barely use anymore just got another update! That’s what I call support.

3. Poptart2828

Posts: 422; Member since: Jan 23, 2018

That's how you should approach a device running ios and one running Android. Ios is great to keep up with social media and friends, family etc. Android is great for downloading movies, TV shows, running emulators and using an iptv service, etc.

4. ZEUS.the.thunder.god

Posts: 1134; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

Choice is always good. Kudos to Apple if they implement it. It'll result in better user experience for Apple users.

10. tokuzumi

Posts: 1925; Member since: Aug 27, 2009

The comment about "our apps only make up .00002% of all apps and apple apps only show 1% of the time in the app store" is a great way to answer a question that wasn't asked. Congress asked why Siri was defaulting to native apple applications.

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