Steve Troughton-Smith on Apple, App Store, developers and government meddling
Steve calls it "an incredibly-delicate, calculated 'truce' that relied on Apple not overstepping into abuse" and now thinks "Apple’s behavior has been so offensive over past few years that, at this point, all I’m thinking is ‘damn the consequences’".
I've never understood why people have been so bewitched about the positive potential outcomes. Purely by making the operating system, defining the APIs, bundling its own software, manufacturing its own hardware, tying the operating system to its hardware and vice versa and selling even more of its own software, Apple has plenty of opportunity to set good examples and draw people to the combined value proposition. Why the hell does it need any more control than that?
I have been against the App Store from day one on a philosophical standpoint but also from a practical, realistic standpoint. The ability for a developer to be a great developer is hampered, frustratingly and undeniably. The likelihood that a user will find a great app is lowered dramatically.
Mac OS has always had less apps than Windows, but they've also had great applications, sometimes good enough to keep people on the platform, earlier good enough to keep people enduring an unstable foundation. Applications developed by small teams of people who nevertheless made great things, in some cases still for longer than there's even been an App Store.
iOS and the App Store has not been a truce. It has been a destructive, abusive, lopsided, mistrustful relationship; a relationship that has allowed access to a platform advantageous enough to make you close your eyes and think of multi-touch. It has been an insult to history, an exercise in attempting to redefine away the fundamental facts of the market and of their existing user base and developer ecosystem in a puff of malevolent marketing.
I don't see governments as the best arbitrators of required features in hardware or software, but they sometimes have a strong connection to what's fair for the customer, and ain't nothing about the App Store that's fair.
Like Steve, I resent the muddling connection to "industry interests", whose involvement just serves to hide the real issues. I am reluctantly interested in what's going on as a forcing function, knowing the lopsided unfairness could simply slide over to yet another party beyond end user, developer and Apple. That could happen.
If that happens, I will blame the Apple that woke up every morning since 2008 and chose to worship Mammon. I will blame the Apple that took the easy way out and chose the clammy, desperate grip of control. I will blame the Apple cowardly enough and uninspired enough to keep to its own, rather than to lead in the sense of empowering other people.
I will blame the Apple that, through this mismanagement, craps on the legacy of the people and divisions within the company that have done groundbreaking, innovative and empowering work in their own areas over the years, all the while it reaps the profits of their advancements and discards their spent husks when they're done.
And I will blame the Apple that, when people naturally react to their mismanagement, acts surprised, as if we don't know that they know best, because didn't we know that pure intent scrubs away all consequences?
The word "gaslighting" is thrown around a lot these days and in its original form it seems to require a malicious intent to deceive. I really don't know what's there. I believe people at all ranks at Apple to be intelligent people and think very few of them have ill-intent, so I really can't describe what motivates what they're doing. But they seem to have a radically different idea of what's going on than literally everyone else. And so maybe the idea of the "Cult of Apple", long brought out to explain why people would even use those smelly Macs and iPhones, just had it backwards; it is the company that is the cult.