John Gruber:

My basic theory is that what the EC has wanted all along is to force Apple not merely open up iOS to other methods of distribution, but to force Apple to allow apps to be distributed through those non-App-Store channels free of charge. But they don’t want to come out and say, flatly, that they seek to forbid Apple from monetizing its IP from all developers on the platform, because that’s so radically anti-capitalist.

The biggest flaw of the European Commission's stewardship of the Digital Markets Act is that the EC's flagship is to do with the fairness and openness of the internal market. The EC couches everything it does in terms of maintaining latitude for EU commercial actors, because that is its purview and purpose. Going back to its progenitor the European Coal and Steel Community, the market was the end goal.

(I am not an expert in trade policies, but I understand there are many such organizations who, in working towards fairer and freer trade in open markets, find exceptions and take actions in individual cases. I'm hopeful all such endeavors will be labelled as "radically anti-capitalist".)

The EC is not the ideal horse, and other multi-billion dollar technology firms are not the ideal cheerleaders. In a world where the phone is the dominant computing device for most people and nearly everything involves it, the case against monopolistic rent seeking and corporatist distribution restrictions should be to protect not only customers but individual freedoms. Nevertheless, the horse has been saddled and does work roughly towards the same goals.

The clumsiness of a legal mandate to force changes in an authoritarian system which itself dictates how millions of people are allowed to express themselves is regrettable, but the regret serves as a self-similar illustration of the discomfort. Apple's squirming, thrashing and whinnying paints a hypocrite's portrait, either incapable of seeing in its own new hardship the impact of its policies on others, or content to reject the notion and scurry off into a smug bubble of faux self-deprecation.

There are still ways Apple, say, in its approach to privacy and compared to some of its competitors, are exceptional. But dying on this hill, to squeeze out the same money that putatively is not the primary driver behind the company anyway, to maintain a ridiculous charade wherein no developers were successful before a distribution model that not uncommonly was a significant downgrade, is just exceptionally stupid.

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