The Macalope has given The Washington Post a hardtime lately for its excessively neener-neener coverage of Apple so it’s only fair that he also criticizes the paper for falling for Apple’s PR spin about its settlement with developers.
Congratulations, developers! You won! What did you win? Oh, it was monumental, to be sure!
Apple announced it would make major changes to its App Store as part of a proposed lawsuit settlement with developers, following years of mounting regulatory scrutiny and legal challenges.
Factually true! Apple did announce that. And it was a load of hogwash.
That’s right, hogwash! The stuff they wash the hogs with!
Okay, what exactly did Apple agree to? Well, it’s paying $100 million to developers. That’s probably a lot for you, it’s certainly a lot for this mythical beast. But for a company that made a $21.7 billion profit last quarter, it’s more like the change they found in Johny Srouji’s spare pants. Not his main pants, mind you, his spare pants. Developers are also allowed to use additional price points, which, okay. Fine.
Lastly, the company said it will not ban developers who email customers about other methods of payment than the App Store. Is that a big deal? Well, that’s technically something they were already allowed to do, Apple just didn’t like it. So, the concession there is not banning you for a thing you’re allowed to do.
You’re welcome, developers. Don’t say Apple never did anything for you.
Or you’ll get banned.
And that’s it. That’s all. Those are the “major concessions” and how big they are, too. The end.
The Post says:
The move would be the biggest change Apple has made in response to accusations that it has monopoly powers.
That may also be true, but it doesn’t make it “big” and if it is the “biggest”, phew, that’s kinda the problem. The Macalope would argue the Small Developer Program is bigger, but neither changes the big, systemic problems with the App Store. This last change also just points to the fact that Apple can interpret the rules the way it wants to and there’s nothing developers can do about it.
“We can’t ban you for being in compliance” isn’t quite the concession it’s being made to to be.
You have to get to the tenth paragraph before The Post seems to wake up from the press release spell.
The proposed changes could be relatively minimal for Apple.
They’re major. But also minimal. Okay.
(You were right the second time.)
You could argue that the changes, while minimal for Apple are major for developers but they’re not. Sure, the money means more to developers than Apple, but promising to play fair with certain App Store rules is not.
Apple seems content to try to litigate this in the court of public relations. It certainly won this round, but it remains to be seen if that’s a great strategy in the long term.