From “Apple, Big Tech and the Unpredictable March of History” mailed Saturday to subscribers to The Information.
It’s hard for me to see this as anything but significant and a precedent that will follow Apple as it deals with challenges to the App Store in the years ahead.
There’s been some commentary that the move is incremental. But here’s one thing those commentators are forgetting: History doesn’t change overnight. It evolves slowly and often imperceptibly, and the turning points are only clear in hindsight.
I still recall the day in 2007 that Steve Jobs first introduced the iPhone. I was covering BlackBerry at the time, so I was paying pretty close attention to the nascent smartphone industry.
Today, that day is marked in history as the dawn of a new era in technology. There are books written about that very moment. And yet I can tell you that at the time it didn’t feel like the world had changed. Yes, many Apple fans were ecstatic. But there were plenty of people wondering what the heck they would do with the phone besides call and text. Its true impact only became clear over time.
I believe Friday’s ruling is likely to be similar, one of these moments we look back on as consequential—as a crack in the economic power that makes the App Store—well, the App Store.
My take: Lessin — who left the Wall Street Journal in 2013 to found The Information ($399/year) — is no dummy.