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Apple’s grudging, punitive compliance with regulatory bodies will burnish its political will and the goodwill of its developers

Apple is under fire when it comes to forcing governments and regulatory bodies: alternative payment methods, removing features from existing hardware, allowing alternative app stores and the browser’s true default competition—everywhere you turn, it seems to be meeting some twists and turns, either from court rulings that don’t run their course or from lawmakers regulating its preferred way of doing business that doesn’t exist.

Apple doesn’t enjoy it, which shouldn’t surprise anyone. What should be a little more surprising is how willing Apple is to whine and grumble to its customers about how much it doesn’t like this and how it thinks it will be bad for them — users whom Apple seems to consider its weaklings. will in some respects.

«With each change, Apple introduces new safeguards that reduce – but do not eliminate – the new risks that DMA poses to users in the EU,» text taken from Apple’s own press release announces changes it is introducing in iOS 17.4 that are in line with the newly introduced Digital Markets Act in Europe. The release even includes, «For users, the changes include new controls and disclosures, and expanded protections to reduce the privacy and security risks that DMA creates» directly as a second subheading in large, bold font.

Third-party app installation vectors and things like sideloading, which is currently available on Android, can indeed pose additional risks to users who are uninformed and don’t take the proper precautions or responsibility themselves to ensure good software hygiene and install reputable software from trusted sources. source. But Apple’s scaremongering probably exaggerates the problem, since Android, as mentioned, has exposed users to this risk for a long time – and Macs and Windows devices have always done the same. Somehow, despite this, society remains intact and people mostly make good use of these platforms with reasonable success.

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Earlier this month, Apple also announced that developers will be able to connect to the web to tell them about alternative subscription methods for content available as digital in-app purchases. However, there were a few snags, including that how and where that link appears is strictly controlled, and Apple has to grant specific permissions to apps to allow them to do so at all. Also, the real kick is that Apple says anyone who buys through that link owes a 27% cut.and it opens up a sheet of intimidation because the user is about to follow your link as well.

It’s very understandable why Apple doesn’t want to make these changes; Apple’s control of the App Store and its cut of purchases (typically 30%, with some exceptions) represents a significant portion of its service revenue, which could have a significant impact on earnings if it declines over time. What’s not so understandable is how grumpy the company is about sticking open fingers into its tightly clenched fist when it comes to compliance here.

Lawmakers are already trying to poke holes in Apple’s monolithic business in various places to see if it’s trespassing into antitrust territory — or, as in Europe, they’re already passing laws to limit their control and power. Acting like a battered puppy when it comes to actually putting these things into practice won’t convince regulators of Apple’s arguments that these measures are unnecessary and actually hostile to users.

At best, it seems short-sighted: Yes, if you do that, it will mean that Apple’s revenue picture won’t change much in the short term. But it also means it looks like a company extremely unwilling to work in the spirit of lawmakers’ efforts to increase competition and reduce the influence that multi-trillion-dollar companies like Apple have on the world. And developers are increasingly angry at Apple’s antics. Those bad feelings probably won’t mean much for platforms like iOS, which have an unmatched install base and are therefore inevitable if you’re building a mobile consumer software business, but they will mean a lot for any future efforts to take emerging platforms off the market. ground – like Apple Vision Pro.

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It also means Apple could be more vulnerable to competitors among its core businesses; at this point it may seem impossible that iOS could ever lose its powerful position in the mobile market, but stranger things have happened, and developers who feel scorned and insulted enough are more likely to give up helping replicate the iPhone lightning strike for someone else if things get bad enough.

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