Thursday, October 1, 2020 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Epic v. Apple Hearing

Florian Mueller:

The Epic Games v. Apple preliminary injunction hearing took place this morning (Pacific Time) before Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers in the Northern District of California.

[…]

Toward the end of the hearing, Judge Gonzalez Rogers strongly recommended putting the factual questions here (and she categorized market definition as a question of fact as well) before a jury, given that appeals courts--in her observation--don’t afford district court judges much deference for their factual determinations.

Dan Moren:

Patrick McGee, a reporter for the Financial Times, live-tweeted yesterday’s hearing for the Epic v. Apple case in a lengthy thread that’s well worth reading if you’re interested in the case.

Highlights have been pulled out elsewhere, including from Kyle Orland at Ars Technica, but the upshot seems to be that while solid arguments were made on both sides, Epic definitely took the brunt of the judge’s attention yesterday.

There’s a video here. Transcripts are here.

James Vincent (Hacker News):

Judge [Rogers] expressed skepticism about Epic’s arguments, particularly its claim that it did not pose a security threat to Apple because it is a well-established company and partner.

“You did something, you lied about it by omission, by not being forthcoming. That’s the security issue. That’s the security issue!”

Epic certainly deceived Apple, but what’s the security issue? It’s been known since the beginning of the App Store that the review process can’t catch feature flags. That’s the real security issue. But Epic has no reason to use them to harm its own customers.

According to CNN, Judge Rogers said she was “not particularly persuaded” by Epic’s argument that Apple has bundled its App Store and in-app payment system together in violation of antitrust law. The judge also said she did not necessarily agree with Epic that Apple has harmed its ability to distribute Fortnite through its control of the App Store.

John Gruber:

She seems to take the angle I’ve taken all along: Apple runs iOS as an app console, and it doesn’t hold water for Epic to argue that the Xbox, PlayStation, and Switch game platforms are fine, but Apple’s app platform is not.

Juli Clover:

Apple and Epic Games do not want to have a jury trial in their ongoing legal dispute over Fortnite and Apple’s App Store policies, according to a filing submitted to the Northern California court handling the case today.

Florian Mueller:

It’s highly speculative why this surprising choice was made. While Apple’s in-house litigation department has hugely more experience with high-stakes commercial disputes than Epic, outside counsel for both parties is well-matched. It’s just a gut feeling, but this looks like one of the cases in which both parties believe very strongly they’re going to win--not the kind of case where a plaintiff has that strong belief but the defendant is trying a long shot and stalling, or where a plaintiff attempts a crapshoot (which often happens in patent cases).

Previously:

24 Comments

Gruber has been working the console angle for a while and it's a really bad take. Yes, Apple wants to run iOS as an app console, but I think it's flat out disingenuous to argue that modern phones are not in fact general purpose computing devices. People have an expectation that a Nintendo Switch plays games. They have a different expectation that phones, like PCs, do whatever they want them to and Apple's business plan is at odds with that.

Old Unix Geek

Gruber doesn't seem to get that 62 million Switch consoles, or even 150 million Playstation 2s are not comparable to 1.5 billion active iOS devices, and 2.5 billion Android devices. Apple and Google feel they have the right to downgrade the devices half the planet's population bought (4 billion devices) into "App Consoles" for their sole financial gain. Given that most people can only afford one computing device, this is abuse of gatekeeping power... and the legislature seems to feel that gatekeeping is a problem:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-10-01/house-antitrust-chair-says-big-tech-firms-abuse-gatekeeper-power

>Apple runs iOS as an app console, and it doesn’t hold
>water for Epic to argue that the Xbox, PlayStation,
>and Switch game platforms are fine, but Apple’s app
>platform is not.

This is so revealing. After a decade of claiming that iPads were just as good for productive tasks than desktop PCs, the Apple fanbase now takes the opposite tack: these devices are exactly the same as videogame consoles. You know, videogame consoles, the devices we famously use to do productive work, and run our lives.

These people don't believe in anything, other than trying to make Apple look good with whatever random argument currently fits.

This is so revealing. After a decade of claiming that iPads were just as good for productive tasks than desktop PCs, the Apple fanbase now takes the opposite tack: these devices are exactly the same as videogame consoles.

That presupposes that “app consoles” are somehow less productive than PCs that are more customizable.

Which is frankly a discussion as old as the Mac itself. The 128k didn’t have much in the way of expansion, and many looked down on it for that. Others looked at the end result and thought it was the most productive they’d ever been. It’s just a logical extension of the old Jobs-ian approach.

Video game consoles like the "Work Boy" (https://imgur.com/gallery/Erpib) or PlayStation Cluster (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PlayStation_3_cluster)?

Or the current generation's consoles? The XBox line is practically Windows and the Switch is a modified Nvidia Shield (a tablet).

What actually makes a device a "General Computing Device"?

My Wi-Fi access points run openWRT and dd-wrt, but that doesn't make them "General Computing Devices" does it? However, I would definitely consider my small collection of Raspberry Pis to be "General Computing Devices".

It certainly shouldn't be sales that define a General Computing Device, that seems wrong; but there should be some way to draw a line.

>That presupposes that “app consoles” are somehow
>less productive than PCs that are more customizable.

But that's the point I just made. Videogame consoles run apps. You can do productive work on a videogame console. Videogame consoles already *are* "app consoles." But who runs their lives on them? Nobody. They're toys. So why do you want to argue that your iPhone is the same as a toy? Who benefits from that argument? It's definitely not you!

This kind of self-defeating behavior from Apple's customers is what allows Apple to treat its own customers so badly. Honestly, I kind of can't believe that Apple's fanbase has collectively changed its mind from the anti-establisment feeling conveyed in "it’s better to be a pirate than join the navy" to "I want a trillion-dollar company to tell me what I'm allowed to run on my device."

This is such a disappointing development. I genuinely expected better.

>The 128k

My argument is not that "expansion equals productivity." My argument is that the restrictions Apple currently puts on iOS devices are extremely hostile towards its own customers, and that it is disappointing that the Apple fanbase went from "iOS is the future of computing" to "iOS is nothing more than a videogame console" merely because that argument currently suits Apple's bottom line.

@Lukas Agreed, but I think it’s far from clear that the current “app console” strategy is even better for Apple’s bottom line. To the extent that it degrades the app ecosystem by reducing the availability and quality of apps and making them less profitable, that makes Apple’s products less attractive to buy.

Lukas: one dude in Philly is now "the Apple fanbase"? There's 3 or 4 anti-"iOS as console" (and anti-Gruber) commenters on this page alone already.

> These people don't believe in anything, other than trying to make Apple look good with whatever random argument currently fits.

On the contrary, everyone commenting on this Mac blog is being critical of Apple. You're quoting a description of the judge's apparent position. "These people" is a strange collective noun to use for a judge and one blogger.

So why do you want to argue that your iPhone is the same as a toy?

Um. You’re the one arguing that. I’m arguing that, actually, a lot of people are productive despite “limitations” just fine.

Who benefits from that argument? It’s definitely not you!

Yeah, stupid me. Now I’m getting less of a cut from Tim Cook’s PR budget.

(How do I “benefit” from either “argument”?)

My argument is that the restrictions Apple currently puts on iOS devices are extremely hostile towards its own customers

Maybe.

What does that have to do with productivity?

Cause, remember, you’re the one who wrote: “After a decade of claiming that iPads were just as good for productive tasks than desktop PCs, the Apple fanbase now takes the opposite tack: these devices are exactly the same as videogame consoles.”

You implied that consoles are inherently “less good for productive tasks”. You have yet to support that argument, and are now pretending that I made the argument.

it is disappointing that the Apple fanbase went from “iOS is the future of computing” to “iOS is nothing more than a videogame console”

What video game console can run Pixelmator?

(Yeah, yeah, Deluxe Paint, whatever.)

Also, why is it relevant what “the Apple fanbase” “went from”? What do you think? Personally, I find the iPad too limiting. And yes, some of that has to do with sandboxing. I also find that the Mac is veering too much towards limitations.

And, wouldn’t you know it, Gruber for one agrees:

there should be a single switch for expert users to toggle to effectively say “I trust all of the software on my Mac”. Call it “Pro Mode”, call it “Developer Mode”, call it “Expert Mode”, whatever. But I don’t know a single expert Mac user who is not seriously annoyed by the heavy-handed security design of Catalina. Not one. Every single expert user I know is annoyed. That is a bad place for MacOS to be. MacOS 10.16 needs a serious course correction to fix this, and if 10.16 goes the opposite way — growing even more heavy-handed in restricting professional Mac users from just using their machines as they want and expect to — I genuinely fear for the future of the Mac as a platform for serious computer users.

Well, 10.16 (11.0) didn’t go the opposite way, but it also didn’t go Gruber’s proposed way. So, jury’s out, I guess.

What actually makes a device a “General Computing Device”?

The way it’s being actually used.

I’m not aware of any widespread serious use of the two-generations-ago PlayStation 3 for spreadsheets or science. I’m aware, however, of people using their iPad to help do their job.

Perhaps that’s not “general” enough, but I also don’t see why it matters. People don’t actually use their desktops and laptops for all computing any more anyway; a slice of that has shifted to the smartphone. And as far as computing as in computation goes, a ton now doesn’t happen on anyone’s physically-reachable computer, but on some virtual machine somewhere in a data center. So “general” is out of the window regardless, as a relic of the 1990s.

>"These people" is a strange collective noun to use
>for a judge and one blogger.

Read the comments on the Apple blogs.

>I think it’s far from clear that the current “app console”
>strategy is even better for Apple’s bottom line.

Yeah, of course, this is a very short-term way of thinking. It's better to make 30% next quarter than to have a healthy ecosystem in a decade.

>Now I’m getting less of a cut from Tim Cook’s PR budget.

If you got paid, I would at least understand your motivation for spending your time defending Apple to (by your own admission) your own detriment, since you apparently also find the iPad too limiting.

>What video game console can run Pixelmator?

Yeah, videogames can't run Pixelmator! That's exactly my point. Platform holders control videogame consoles even more tightly than Apple does, so you have a very limited selection of stuff you can do on them. So there's no Pixelmator. Why then do you want to make the argument that your iPad is exactly the same as a console?

Saying that iOS is an app console is not an objective statement. It's a way of framing the debate. There's obviously a continuum from completely locked down to completely open. On the completely locked down side of things, you have videogame consoles. On the completely open side, you have Windows. iOS falls somewhere between a console and Windows. Compared to a console, it's easier to develop and publish software. But unlike on a system like Windows, you can't just put something on github and have people compile and run it locally.

So iOS is better for productive work than a videogame console, but worse than a fully open desktop operating system.

By framing iOS as an app console, you're making the argument that iOS squarely belongs on the "console" side of of this spectrum.

That benefits Apple, because they want to make their 30%, but how does this framing benefit you?

>Gruber for one agrees

That's kind of the thing I'm pointing out: if he agrees, then why does he say things like "iOS is an app console"? That's a way of framing the narrative, and shifting iOS closer to the console side of the spectrum.

Gruber could just as well frame this differently, and say "iOS is a productivity tool - a platform where it is important for people to be able to control their data," thus shifting iOS closer to the Windows side of the spectrum. But he doesn't. He chooses a framing that benefits Apple, rather than Apple's customers.

Old Unix Geek

So “general” is out of the window regardless, as a relic of the 1990s.

There is a tool that pretty much everyone relies on to do their work, since most companies are becoming tech companies. It guarantees my privacy if I don't plug it into the internet, and works as long as I have electricity. It's "a relic of the 1990s".

Or I can rely on an ISP, some cloud computing provider, and a whole bunch of other contracts with third parties. It is basically impossible to ensure none of these pieces leak information, and that nothing gets hacked. But this "modern solution" is a better! I'm sure the lady who died from a ransomware attack on the Duesseldorf hospital computer system would agree!

Read the comments on the Apple blogs.

Anyone can start an Apple blog.

I used to run one.

Heck, you’re literally writing this comment on one?

If you got paid, I would at least understand your motivation for spending your time defending Apple to (by your own admission) your own detriment, since you apparently also find the iPad too limiting.

Or maybe it’s that my worldview is more nuanced than whatever you stereotypically think of “Apple blogs”?

Yeah, videogames can’t run Pixelmator! That’s exactly my point. Platform holders control videogame consoles even more tightly than Apple does, so you have a very limited selection of stuff you can do on them. So there’s no Pixelmator. Why then do you want to make the argument that your iPad is exactly the same as a console?

Because, like video game consoles, it has a central vendor through which most apps get reviewed. That’s not a value judgment, and it is a bit of an oddity, as most computers don’t work that way. But it’s an observation that makes sense to me.

Saying that iOS is an app console is not an objective statement. It’s a way of framing the debate.

Could be.

I just thought it was an astute observation.

So iOS is better for productive work than a videogame console, but worse than a fully open desktop operating system.

And, again, you’re making the claim that “more open” equals “more productive”, without actually specifying what that means, and with implying that productivity is some kind of linear scale.

By framing iOS as an app console, you’re making the argument that iOS squarely belongs on the “console” side of of this spectrum.

That benefits Apple, because they want to make their 30%, but how does this framing benefit you?

It benefits me as a starting point: iOS is more like a “console” than it is like ye ole’ 1990s desktop tower PC. Is it good that iOS is that way? I’m not sure. I get the sense that it made more sense on the iPhone than it does on the iPad.

That’s kind of the thing I’m pointing out: if he agrees, then why does he say things like “iOS is an app console”?

So, you’re both arguing that Gruber is framing the debate in a pro-Apple way, but also acknowledging that he doesn’t actually purely think pro-Apple?

Examine that, perhaps?

Gruber could just as well frame this differently, and say “iOS is a productivity tool - a platform where it is important for people to be able to control their data,”

That’s a completely orthogonal statement.

It’s like complaining when someone says a coffee maker is an appliance by responding they should’ve instead said it brews coffee and runs on electricity. Those are true, but it’s also an appliance.

There is a tool that pretty much everyone relies on to do their work, since most companies are becoming tech companies. It guarantees my privacy if I don’t plug it into the internet, and works as long as I have electricity. It’s “a relic of the 1990s”.

I’m assuming by this “tool”, you mean your PC. In which case: how many people do you actually know who don’t have their computers almost permanently connected to the Internet, in 2020?

Or I can rely on an ISP, some cloud computing provider, and a whole bunch of other contracts with third parties. It is basically impossible to ensure none of these pieces leak information, and that nothing gets hacked. But this “modern solution” is a better! I’m sure the lady who died from a ransomware attack on the Duesseldorf hospital computer system would agree!

Sure, malware definitely wasn’t a thing before cloud computing.

You could’ve chosen a plausible scenario where cloud computing’s privacy issues are creepy. For example, when Office 365 alerts me (as a company admin) that documents contain bank account numbers, they kind of achieve the opposite of what they were hoping for. Now I’m not scared that my colleagues’ documents contain bank account numbers (of course they do?? We have, like, invoices and stuff?), but that Microsoft is analyzing my data for no apparent reason.

But, yeah, go with your example instead?

Professor Plasma

The arguments over an app console and gaming console are prevalent here. Consider the Nintendo Switch, or ay other recent gaming handheld console which is almost entirely an android device. Now more than ever whether a device is a computer or a console is arbitrary. The better question is whether or not Apple should embrace the model for ios, and if it will be better for it long term. It certainly would be a major distinguishing feature between an ipad and a macbook.

In my opinion, whether or not a piece of technology should be subject to laws and regulations is less about what that piece of technology is, its intrinsic properties and capabilities, and more about how it's used, how people relate to it and integrate it into their lives. If millions of people used the aforementioned Work Boy to do the kinds of things people use a smartphone for, then the Work Boy should absolutely be subject to different "rules" than the Game Boy.

And insofar as labeling the iPhone an "app console" is an attempt to place it outside the sphere of proper regulation, or otherwise muddy the waters about our relationships to the different kinds of technology we use, then I must oppose that label.

>Anyone can start an Apple blog.

I'm often very confused by your statements. The argument was that it wasn't fair to generalize Apple's customers, since one person (Gruber, presumably) does not represent them. I pointed out that the majority opinion of Apple's fanbase, as represented by people commenting on Apple blog, seem to agree with the sentiment that iOS should be locked down.

How does "anyone can start an Apple blog" contradict that? Are you saying that Apple blogs are some kind of false-flag operation by people who aren't actually in Apple's fanbase? I'm genuinely unsure about what you're arguing for. I'm probably missing something.

>>Why then do you want to make the argument that your
>>iPad is exactly the same as a console?
>Because, like video game consoles, it has a central
>vendor through which most apps get reviewed.

Right, so you're picking that particular thing, and using it to frame the whole discussion. You could also pick another thing, and use it to frame the discussion in an entirely different way. But by picking that specific thing, you're adopting Apple's framing. You're arguing for Apple's benefit, rather than for Apple's customers' benefit.

>And, again, you’re making the claim that “more open”
>equals “more productive”,

Let me try to be as specific as I can.

Being able to run software on a computing device is what makes that device productive for you. That's literally how these devices work. If you have a computing device without any software on it, you can do nothing with that device. If you have a computing device that runs any software in the world, you have a device that maximizes its productivity potential.

This can be seen as a linear scale for the purpose of this dicussion. If a device can run Microsoft Office, for example, it immediately becomes a more viable tool for productive work. Not for everybody's productive work, since not everybody uses Office, but the productivity potential of the device itself increases.

Videogame console vendors drastically limit what software you can run on their devices. Therefore, they are very bad for productive work, simply because you have no access to the software you require to do productive work, apart from some very specialized edge cases.

Microsoft does not limit at all what software you can run on your Windows PC. Therefore, it's a very good tool for productive work, simply because if there is a task you need to perform that can be performed on a computing device, then it's almost guaranteed that there is also software available that you can run on your Windows PC to do that task.

iOS falls somewhere between these two. It's not as bad as a videogame console, since it does have productive software, but it's not as good as Windows, because a lot of productive software either isn't allowed (e.g. backup software), or isn't being built (perhaps because the economic investment into building the software isn't warranted, given Apple's rules), or can't be built for technical reasons.

So merely due to the fact that installing software is literally the thing that makes digital devices productive, "more open" when it comes to allowing software installation does indeed make a platform more productive.

This is borne out by the fact that if you look at how people actually use these devices, openness very closely correlates with productivity. Nobody (for almost all values of nobody) does productive work on consoles, some people do some productive work on iOS, and most people do most produtive work on desktop operating systems.

There are obviously other factors that influence this (the format of the device, for example - doing productive work on a phone is more difficult simply because of its form factor), but it's hard to deny that openness (again, when it comes to running software) correlates with the ability to use a device for productive work.

I pointed out that the majority opinion of Apple’s fanbase, as represented by people commenting on Apple blog, seem to agree with the sentiment that iOS should be locked down.

I think you’ll find that this is extremely hard to quantify.

How does “anyone can start an Apple blog” contradict that?

It doesn’t. My point is that “Apple blog” isn’t some kind of authority one way or another. Apple bloggers neither represent Apple Inc.’s PR, nor Apple’s entire customer base. They might represent the majority opinion of the customers, or they might not.

Right, so you’re picking that particular thing, and using it to frame the whole discussion. You could also pick another thing, and use it to frame the discussion in an entirely different way.

Like what, though?

I think “app console” is a pretty good analogy as a starting to point to explain the thinking behind the 2008 App Store launch: fairly locked down, single vendor, etc.

But by picking that specific thing, you’re adopting Apple’s framing. You’re arguing for Apple’s benefit, rather than for Apple’s customers’ benefit.

Again, I think you’re reading “they’re defending that it’s like a console” into “they’re stating that it’s like a console”.

Personally, I’ve long hoped (and I believe I’ve stated this before in these comments) that the introduction of Gatekeeper in 10.8 Mountain Lion would eventually lead to the opposite as well on iOS: that you can switch to a mode where more app sources are allowed. Alas, that has yet to happen, and maybe it never will.

Being able to run software on a computing device is what makes that device productive for you. That’s literally how these devices work. If you have a computing device without any software on it, you can do nothing with that device. If you have a computing device that runs any software in the world, you have a device that maximizes its productivity potential.

This makes no sense unless you pretend quality (in the scientific sense) doesn’t exist, and only quantity matters. More software doesn’t mean more productivity. Specific kinds of more software mean more productivity. At best, you could argue that, at an infinite scale, the former eventually implies the latter.

Or, let’s put that another way: you’re arguing that Windows is automatically more productive than the Mac.

It’s not as bad as a videogame console, since it does have productive software, but it’s not as good as Windows, because a lot of productive software either isn’t allowed (e.g. backup software), or isn’t being built (perhaps because the economic investment into building the software isn’t warranted, given Apple’s rules), or can’t be built for technical reasons.

Backups are productivity now? They seem like the antithesis of productivity. They’re busywork that in an ideal work wouldn’t be necessary at all.

Old Unix Geek

Sure, malware definitely wasn’t a thing before cloud computing.

What an embarrassing comment. Sharing a floppy disk, or placing one's computer on a network shared by pretty much every other computer on the planet are obviously anything but equivalent. And, oh my goodness, that observation is borne out by the figures too. Who'd have thunk?

https://blog.knowbe4.com/bid/382586/the-history-of-malware-samples-in-numbers

Ransomware would be rather hard to profit from without networks... Try to figure out why before responding. It might save you from further embarrassment.

And yes, Sören, I do know people who only own a smartphone and no computer. But then I guess I happen to know people from more than one age group, and more than one socio-economic background...

What an embarrassing comment. Sharing a floppy disk, or placing one’s computer on a network shared by pretty much every other computer on the planet are obviously anything but equivalent. And, oh my goodness, that observation is borne out by the figures too. Who’d have thunk?

I don’t know what you’re arguing.

If it’s that connecting a computer to the Internet adds an attack vector, well, yes, of course it does.

But you keep bringing up these absurd examples of “if I don’t plug it into the Internet” or “sharing a floppy disk”. How do you think a doctor will react if you tell them the convenient way of seeing MRTs on their computer doesn’t work any more, for security reasons? Do you think all of them will calmly respond, “ah, yes, that does seem reasonable and I’ll definitely honor that policy”?

“A-ha”, you say, “but I never said they can’t have a local network”. OK, sure. So now the MRT is on the same firewalled network as the doctor’s office computer. Only now the doctor needs to look up something on the Internet and can’t, due to firewalls. So they have a second computer that does have Internet, but… not access to the MRT images. Great! It’s secure. And colossally stupid. So what do they do? They get a USB stick and sneakernet the solution. And oh hey I got an e-mail let’s click that attachment link real quick and…

…congrats, the malware is spreading again.

(This is a thing that happens all the time. Because of course it does, because human nature.)

You can’t improve security by flat-out refusing to acknowledge technological change. People do use the Internet all the time. Both to research, and to watch cat videos. You can erect barriers, but unless you also educate users on why those are important and provide them with meaningful alternatives, they’ll just find creative ways around them, and regard you as the stereotypical out of touch nerd from the IT department.

@Sören
> The way it’s being actually used.

> I’m not aware of any widespread serious use of the two-generations-ago PlayStation 3 for spreadsheets or science. I’m aware, however, of people using their iPad to help do their job.

The US Air Force was running a super computing cluster on PlayStation 3s (until availability made that prohibitive to maintain). That makes it a General Computing Device by your definition.

The end use is determined by the applications available, but the applications available are limited by the sources allowed. Borad software availability seems to make a General Computing Device. This, for the time being, seems to make Apple's iPad, iPhone, and TV devices appliances.

Nintendo is a bit more guarded with Switch development accounts than Apple, so that could be part of the reason "meaningful work" is not accomplished on those particular Nvidia Shields.

Honestly, there are devices that aren't expansible (washing machines, microwaves, WiFi access points), there are devices that have limited expansibility (smart TVs, Video game consoles, non-Macintosh Apple devices, Fire tablets (if you are lazy), modern cash registers), and there are devices that have limitless expansiblity (*NIX and Windows based computers, Android devices).

Is there another way to explain it without disparaging the activity the device is used for ("it's just a toy" is disparaging and baseless, the WorkBoy shows that the original GameBoy was not "just a toy").

@sdf_iain
I do not think the Workboy was ever released so this is a bad comparison. As to the PS3 node computing comparison, that's a great one, to disprove your point unfortunately. The PS3 worked great for this until the game console company, pulled the OtherOS feature from newer models of the PS3, stopped making the older hardware, and even pulled the feature from existing supported models if you ever updated the firmware. This is exactly the doomsday scenario "app console" advocates are annoying. Not saying you are fully invested in that argument, but I meant others like John Gruber and people of his ilk.

@Sören
Oh my man, the Mac 128K was a barely functional device. This is about the worst example from the Mac line, even my old Compaq Portable with dual 5 1/4 floppies was more usable out of the box, unless you were really, really fond of swapping floppies or ponied up for an external drive. With the overhead of the GUI, it was a really interesting, but not terribly productive device and the single floppy, no hard drive, limited RAM design hurt it. In 1984, the Apple II was still the money maker for Apple, in sales and in productivity potential. Apple did learn from their initial limitations of the Mac and built a swell ecosystem with multiple models, expansion options, modular options, portable options, etc. The current iOS range in comparison is not growing at the same rate. It is sad actually.

Annoying? Nah, I meant ignoring. Oops. Words are hard. :)

@Sören:

My point is pretty simple. It seems to me that it would be reasonable for doctors to forego watching cat-videos and process my confidential patient data on a general purpose computer not attached to the internet, because that way they can choose the best software for the job without any gatekeeper. Alternatively, if there is a really good reason that tools manipulating confidential information have to be connected to the internet (no, watching cat videos isn't one), that processing can occur on an "app console" limited to medical apps on which malware does not thrive.

Instead, we're in this lunatic asylum world in which "app consoles" have no reason to exist other than the profit of corporations. Local general purpose computing is indeed at threat, and people find it normal to ship all their confidential data onto "cloud services", even if doing so requires complex infrastructure that can be wiped out for any of a myriad of reasons. For instance, if there is a natural disaster, working hospitals will be needed to treat its victims, but they likely won't be able to if they rely on "cloud services".

We're not doing things because they make sense in the real world, we're doing things because it suits rent-seekers. That is the sort of hubris that comes before a fall. We're in a decline, and I for one would like to see that change. The "collapse of complex societies" is a historical survey of the collapse of civilisations. It's worth a read.

Congress' Subcommittee on Antitrust has something to say about Apple today:

https://judiciary.house.gov/uploadedfiles/investigation_of_competition_in_digital_markets_majority_staff_report_and_recommendations.pdf

page 333 onwards:

Apple’s control over iOS provides it with gatekeeper power over software distribution on iOS devices

Apple’s position as the sole app store on iOS devices is unassailable. Apple fully controls how software can be installed on iOS devices

The former director of the app review team for the App Store observed that Apple is “not subject to any meaningful competitive constraint from alternative distribution channels.

Apple has not produced any evidence that it does not exert monopoly power over app distribution.

Apple’s monopoly power over software distribution on iOS devices appears to allow it to generate supra-normal profits from the App Store and its Services business. Apple CEO Tim Cook set a goal in 2017 to rapidly double the size of the Services business by the end of 2020. Apple met this goal by July 2020, six months ahead of schedule. The Services business accounted for nearly 18% of total revenue ($46.2 billion) in fiscal year 2019. Services grew faster than Products in recent years, increasing by more than 41% since 2017.2118 The Services category is also Apple’s highest margin business at 63.7% in fiscal year 2019 and 67.2% for Apple’s quarter ending in June 2020.

In an interview with Subcommittee staff , Phillip Shoemaker, former director of app review for the App Store, estimated that Apple’s costs for running the App Store is less than $100 million.

Apple’s monopoly power over app distribution on iPhones permits the App Store to generate supra-normal profits. These profits are derived by extracting rents from developers, who either pass on price increases to consumers, or reduce investments in innovative new services.

As a result, Apple exerts monopoly power in the mobile app store market, controlling access to more than 100 million iPhones and iPads in the U.S

Apple’s monopoly power over software distribution to iOS devices has resulted in harms to competitors and competition, reducing quality and innovation among app developers, and increasing prices and reducing choices for consumers.

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