Mar 9 2024

The facts on the ground

An Icelandic take on how the European Union sees industrial monopolies:

What should surprise you is how accommodating and outright gentle the EU has been with Apple’s shenanigans over the years, whether it was about exploiting loopholes to avoid phone plug standardisation, or their violations of EU antitrust regulation that pre-date the new Digital Markets Act.

That’s because the EU is manifestly pro-business, but it feels forced to act because the single market is the EU and the EU is the single market. To Apple, the App Store is a side line. To the EU, the single market is the foundation of its existence.

Any time you see two entities of similar size fight, bet on the one that thinks it’s fighting for its life.

Remember, Steve Jobs initially presented the iPhone as having a modern web browser called Safari, [So…] you can write amazing Web 2.0 and Ajax apps that look exactly and behave exactly like apps on the iPhone.”. Jobs allegedly had to be pressed by insiders to open up the platform with an SDK that allowed third parties to get into the App development game on the iPhone. Or was all that Jobs, knowing the SDK wasn’t ready for release yet, spinning a tale to cover Apple until the App Store was ready for the world?

In the years following 2008’s opening of the App Store income from the store was a pleasant bonus for Apple, arising from the way the smartphone market exploded in those first few years with Apple’s products representing the premium-priced end of that market (both because of Apple’s pricing and because Apple customers supposedly exhibited a greater willingness to pay for third-party apps.) Apple got lucky, to the point where nowadays the App Store is arguably much less of a side line” for the company than it started out being.1

[Via Links for the Aboard Newsletter]

  1. Will the story of the App Store two decades from now be seen as most important for the money it brought in - not just from app purchases but sweet, sweet recurring revenue from in-app subscriptions? Or will the story be seen to be about the way control of the App Store lets Apple control what software runs on their platform? My suspicion is that the latter will be more important to Apple’s future. We’ll see.↩︎