M.G. Siegler: Apple still doesn't get it

"Apple should just take a look around, see which way the wind is blowing."

From Siegler's "Apple Won a Battle to Lose the War" posted Saturday on 500ish:

Apple may think that they’re doing enough in a piecemeal fashion to stave off major change, but they’re not. If anything, they need to make a major change to stanch the bleeding. But they won’t do that. They’re both too proud and too arrogant. They’re so sure that they’re in the right here that they don’t see that it actually doesn’t matter...

I mean, someone inside Apple must see all of this. It’s obvious. But hubris is blinding those in the position to do something about it, clearly. Apple should just take a look around, see which way the wind is blowing, and make some major changes to appease the courts and to please their developers. End this.

They should open things up to win these arguments on the product side of the equation — something which they’re uniquely situated to do thanks to about two dozen aspects of the iPhone. They should compete on the playing field in which they already have home field advantage.

And that’s the craziest part of all of this. They would undoubtedly still win far more often than not. Both because of those inherent iPhone advantages, but also because their product offerings on the in-app and Apple Pay side are very good! Let them stand on their merits! That, in turn would also likely help Apple in a number of ways!

But they don’t see it that way. And the bigger fear is that they don’t see it at all. Instead, we’re about to battle about what the definition of a link is. And if that doesn’t work, we’ll get into the weeds of MFNs [most-favored-nation pricing rules]. Appeal after appeal. Delay after delay. Buy time for other revenue to fill in the inevitable gaps. Meanwhile, all of this will just continue the appearance that a $2.5T company is nickel and diming their developers to death. Not a great look.

My take: Siegler speaks for the chattering classes. Apple is focused on the main body of its customer base.


  1. Robert Paul Leitao said:
    On the whole, Apple offers the world’s best technology, privacy and security matched by no other vendor on the planet and a deep commitment to customer satisfaction. In my view, there’s too much profit envy unrelated to the realities of the market and profit envy doesn’t justify consternation. Apple is successful because the company is amazing at satisfying the desires of its customers. What’s wrong with that?

    September 12, 2021
  2. Fred Stein said:
    M. G. Siegler provides an example of bad writing.

    September 12, 2021
  3. David Emery said:
    It’s true that ‘the chattering class,’ politicians, and those who want to profit by selling stuff on the iPhone without paying Apple are making a lot of noise. But of course, “cui bono?” – the claims of problems -for consumers- are not demonstrated, and I think even Judge Gonzales Rogers had to stretch to find actual harm as opposed to ‘potential harm.’ Apple does have to rework some aspects of the App Store, and probably should be willing to write off a lot of the previous gaming revenue just to get rid of those bad developers.

    But the actual ruling on this is very narrow, and in particular the clear defeat of the monopoly claims, even after the judge redefined the market, should be an object lesson to legislators. It is certainly legal precedent for courts. As the court noted, “Success is not illegal,” even if many wish to cast it as -immoral- somewhow.

    September 12, 2021
  4. Adam Stein said:
    American media loves a David vs Goliath story. American politicians love to be seen standing up to big corporations. So Apple continues to have a problem. Success may not be illegal, but it continues to be a target on Apple’s back. Even if they win in court they still could lose in Congress, and even if they don’t they’ll still get hammered in the media. That has other costs, for example losing control of the media narrative on their biggest media week of the year (iPhone introduction).

    September 12, 2021
  5. Robert Paul Leitao said:
    In my view, Epic’s claim of a victory is akin to a couple overpaying for a $1,000 per plate dinner party, having everyone else at the table show up with flu, the celebrated honorees choosing to forego the event and while walking away with a shiny piece of $10 swag, claiming it was an enchanted evening. Only pundits could spin the story differently.

    September 12, 2021
  6. Gregg Thurman said:
    Apple should just take a look around, see which way the wind is blowing

    IF Apple had stepped back to see which way the wind is blowing:
    We wouldn’t have got the Graphical User Interface in 1984.
    We wouldn’t have got OSX in 2001.
    We wouldn’t have got the iPod in 2001.
    We wouldn’t have got the iTMS in 2001.
    We wouldn’t have got the iPhone in 2007.
    We wouldn’t have got heterogeneous computing in 2007, resulting in “A” Series SoCs containing:
    Central processing unit (CPU)
    Graphics processing unit (GPU)
    Image processing unit (ISP)
    Digital signal processor ((DSP)
    Neural processing unit (NPU)
    Video encoder/decoder
    Secure Enclave
    Unified memory
    We wouldn’t have got the App Store in 2008.
    We wouldn’t have got the iPad in 2010.
    We wouldn’t have got the Apple Watch in 2015.
    We wouldn’t have got the Air Pod in 2016.
    We wouldn’t have got the M Series SoC in 2020.

    But we’d still have ignoramus’ like M G Sieglar (employed by Apple competitor Google) telling us what Apple needed to do to avoid ultimate failure.

    September 12, 2021
    • Steven Philips said:
      You don’t “look” to see which way the wind is blowing! When it’s at your back you feel it – and just hang on!

      September 12, 2021
  7. Rodney Avilla said:
    A whiner among whiners. And because whiners is all he listens to, he thinks that’s the way the wind is blowing.

    “ They’re so sure that they’re in the right here that they don’t see that it actually doesn’t matter…”

    And what is worse, is that he feels that those with the loudest social media megaphones, should get their way.

    September 12, 2021
    • Robert Stack said:
      @Gregg: I upvoted – thx for sharing this article! Although there are many parts that I didn’t fully understand, I got enough of it to conclude as you did: Apple’s future is very bright because they control the entire widget. However, despite the advantages inherent in Apple’s approach, the author still states that many will resist switching because of platform lock-in, inertia, etc.

      September 12, 2021
  8. Gregg Thurman said:
    I seem to remember that IBM was found guilty of anti-trust violations over its main frame OS. It was those violations that led IBM to seek out a third party OS for its new PC business. Does anyone remember that case, and can they educate us on how that may ultimately harm Apple?

    September 12, 2021
    • David Emery said:
      It was not the OS, but rather the lock on the computer market as a whole that got IBM into trouble. My sense was that IBM didn’t have the expertise for a small computer OS, and wanted to run the PC project separate from the mainframe business.

      September 12, 2021
  9. Jerry Doyle said:
    When the 30% issue first surfaced I gave attention to Developers’ complaints because there were those in the media advocating similarly on behalf of Developers’ voiced discontent with Apple’s payment system. After two years of intense scrutiny of Developers’ complaints with Apple’s App Store 30/15% fee, I now see clearly Developers’ complaints lack merit. That revelation left me puzzled, grappling with why some media types through their own readings, studying and investigations of Developers faultfinding with Apple also did not arrive at the same conclusion as I and others on this chat board.

    I have come to the realization that there is a dependency relationship between these media types taking up the cause of Developers. Each needs the other and consequently uses the other for advancement of their respective objective. The media needs a following in the Developers and the Developers need the media to push their public agenda against Apple. Consequently, the media are Developers’ advocates and Developers are stakeholders of these media types. Politicians inserting themselves into the mix along with young upstart regulators in the Executive Branch all hope to bolster their respective careers. It never is about the merits and seeking the truth.

    September 12, 2021

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