The ethics of Apple’s closed ecosystem app store

Michael A. Cowling, James R. Birt

Research output: Contribution to journalOnline ResourceResearch


The App Store originally launched alongside the release of the 3G model – 12 months after the original iPhone. The store gave developers the opportunity to write third party native apps for the iPhone, as long as they paid the 30% commission to Apple. Unlike competing android devices, however, you can’t load apps onto an iPhone unless you get them from the official App Store. Installing apps from unofficial sources is known as “sideloading”. This might be about to change. A recent court case has the potential to require Apple to open their device to sideloading of apps from outside of the App Store, overturning 10 years of precedent. Could Apple finally be losing their control over the way apps are installed on their platform? And was it ethical to have such a closed “ecosystem” in the first place?
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Conversation
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2018


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