The Talk Show

321: ‘Just a Standard Bird’, With MG Siegler


00:00:00   Let me start by asking you this. Did you watch any of the Little League World series?

00:00:03   I didn't, though I know that was interesting to me because I know it was Ohio versus Michigan.

00:00:11   And as you may recall, that's something that's near and dear to my heart as I grew up in Ohio,

00:00:16   and then I went to University of Michigan and I defected, which is a big point of consternation amongst many in my immediate sort of childhood vicinity who are all big Ohio State fans.

00:00:26   So there's this rivalry that exists between Ohio and Michigan, dating pretty much to that college football rivalry.

00:00:32   But I didn't watch the Little League World Series, but I do know Michigan won.

00:00:36   I did not watch a lot of it. I mean, you know, it's a Little League World Series.

00:00:39   But I do enjoy watching it, and I'd had it on during the afternoon, like watching lunch a couple times last week.

00:00:45   And it's a fun thing to just pop on and just watch for a little bit. But the Michigan-Ohio angle was interesting.

00:00:52   And as always, I believe—I'm not a big college football fan—but Michigan won, beat Ohio for the Little League World Series, and I believe Michigan always beats Ohio.

00:01:00   Is that the way it's been going lately?

00:01:04   Yeah, that's a little bit of salt in the wound there, John.

00:01:07   But I mean, it was that way when I was in college 400 years ago.

00:01:11   It hasn't been that way in the past 20 years or whatever.

00:01:16   But yeah, we'll see if they right the ship. I mean, it's always optimistic, but who knows?

00:01:25   It's a weird year. I mean, last year they had an awful year. You know, COVID was sort of the excuse for everyone, but they were two and four.

00:01:34   They only played six games. So anything will be better than that this year. So there's very low expectations.

00:01:41   You can feel free to make as many Dallas Cowboys jokes as you would like.

00:01:46   They're opening the season, right? I actually just looked, because I was looking at who was playing.

00:01:51   And it's a tough one, too, right? Are they playing the Bucks?

00:01:54   Tampa Bay, and they're a big underdog. Seven and a half points less I looked, which seems fair.

00:02:00   I mean, to be honest, I mean, you know me, I'll take the points.

00:02:08   Yeah, that's—I don't know how to feel about Dallas. I mean, they're going to win their division at least, right, this year?

00:02:15   Well, they should. They're small favorites. But I mean, you know, I think Washington won it last year, or whoever won it.

00:02:23   It was seven and nine. I mean, geez, it's the most embarrassing division in my opinion in all pro sports.

00:02:28   But we shall see. Pro football's weird, especially lately. It's like the NFL's decades-long goal to sort of steer the rules towards—what do they call it?

00:02:40   To get teams equal. Parity has been successful, you know, and at least they stayed it, right?

00:02:50   It's like one of the things about that parity goal is at least it's not like, oh, they don't say that that's the goal.

00:02:55   They've been very explicit that their goal is to achieve parity. They want all teams to be competitive.

00:03:01   In a sport that doesn't naturally lean that way, right? Like, baseball does lean towards parity.

00:03:09   The best teams in pro baseball win like 70% of the games, and the worst still win 30%.

00:03:17   Whereas in football, it's really easy to be bad like the Jets and threaten to go 0-16, and harder to go 16-0, but you get 14-2 and 13-3 teams all the time.

00:03:33   Yeah, I mean, I definitely think that that's one of the strengths of football. Obviously, television is like the biggest strength.

00:03:39   That football has going for it, to the point that it negates the biggest pain point and literal one and weakness of how dangerous it is.

00:03:47   And it's sort of surprising, right, that it still is popular, given how many very real and very serious injuries we now know that result from the game.

00:03:54   But they do benefit, of course, from television. It's like the perfect televised sport.

00:03:58   And then the fact—what you're talking about, like the parity. Some people would say, oh, well, it's great to have dynasties.

00:04:05   And certainly that's true, like when the Patriots are winning, you know, they're a good villain.

00:04:09   And when the Cowboys, 40 years ago or whenever, were winning, they were a great villain.

00:04:14   But the fact that anyone who roosts for any of these teams now thinks that they have a legitimate shot almost any year—I mean, in some cases, it's not.

00:04:21   But like, take for example, I'm a Cleveland Browns fan.

00:04:24   I was about to cite them, right?

00:04:27   Yeah, that's a great example. Like I was listening to one of Bill Simmons' pods the other day, and it's, you know, they legitimately think that the Browns and the Cowboys are going to win.

00:04:35   And the Browns and the Bills are going to be two of the best teams in the AFC, and I think that's warranted for sure.

00:04:39   And, you know, we'll see how it plays out, but they were good last year.

00:04:42   And, you know, they should be better this year with Odell Beckham coming back and everything.

00:04:46   And that's wild, like, right? Cleveland has been historically the laughingstock, even, you know, ahead of the Jets in many regards, right?

00:04:54   And they've been one of the old school teams. They were great in the, you know, bygone era of Jim Brown, and they won championships.

00:05:00   They've never been to a Super Bowl, never even been to it.

00:05:03   And, you know, the fact that they've been able to put together a good team now after years and years of being awful since coming back in '99 gives you hope.

00:05:14   Totally. The hard part about being an NFL, the optimistic part is before the preseason, there's always trades, players have short careers.

00:05:25   Hope springs eternal, and a team like the Browns can seemingly come out of nowhere, and you think, like, are they lucky, are they not?

00:05:32   A month into the season, you're like, no, this team is good. This is for real.

00:05:37   The problem is you can get a month into the season and realize, oh, this is going to be a long one. Yeah, yeah, totally.

00:05:45   It's still warm outside on the East Coast. It hasn't even gotten cold yet, and my team is not going to win.

00:05:52   But, yeah, yeah. But they're still, you know, the games are still entertaining because there's only 16 of them.

00:05:58   It's like, so you still want to watch, you want to see if there's any, like, promise, you know, who you keep on the team for later in the year, who you keep on the team for next year.

00:06:06   There's still reasons to watch, even if the teams are not great.

00:06:09   Yeah. On the Little League baseball front, the thing that occurred to me watching, I watched the end of the final game.

00:06:17   And it's funny because I think the, I don't even know the exact rules, like, what the age limit is.

00:06:23   I think it's 11, maybe it's 12. At the very oldest, it's like 12-year-old kids.

00:06:29   And the catcher on the Michigan team has a mustache. I mean, it's not like a Tom Selleck, but he's a big kid and he has a mustache.

00:06:41   And they were talking about it, ESPN, you know, the announcers were talking about it, that, you know, maybe he keeps it just to be a little intimidating because he clearly looks bigger than the other kids.

00:06:50   That's just what it's like to be 11 years old. I remember playing sports around that age, and I was a very late bloomer, you know.

00:06:58   I ended up being 6'2", somewhat tall. But when I was in, like, ninth grade, I was the shortest kid on the basketball team, and I was about as thick as a strand of spaghetti.

00:07:11   You know, I'd go up for a rebounder, get in the paint, and I would just go bouncing back to half court. I mean, I remember what it was like being, like, 10 or 11 and thinking, like, all these kids are a head taller than me. This is not fair.

00:07:25   But it's, the pitcher who was on the mound for Michigan looked like he had to win the game, looked like he was, like, 9. I mean, it's like, you know, it's kind of fun.

00:07:38   And I like the thing about baseball that's really interesting. I mean, real little league, when you're just watching your kids play, can get rough because the game can get really out of control.

00:07:48   Because it's a hard game to play and kids are scared. But when you see the teams that are really good but play in a very simplified fashion, it's a very fun game to watch, you know, where nobody's really throwing that hard and nobody can hit the ball that hard.

00:08:07   Whereas, like, Major League Baseball is dominated by pitchers who throw near or even over 100 miles an hour, which is terrifying, and guys who can hit the ball 100 to 110 miles an hour off the bat.

00:08:22   Whereas, you watch this, it's just small ball, right? Lots of ground balls.

00:08:25   Yeah, it's much more pure. I totally agree. Yeah, it's, in a way, it's also why I like watching, I, you know, obviously people go one way or the other. I like watching college football more than I like watching the NFL.

00:08:36   Sort of for similar reasons. Because you have players who you know, there's going to, even on the best teams, maybe not Alabama, but sort of everyone else, there's going to be players who don't make the NFL.

00:08:46   And, you know, they're good, but they're not obscenely good and, you know, the best necessarily at their position in the entire world. And that's often the case with the NFL.

00:08:56   And, you know, it's sort of like, I was talking the other day with a friend about, like, the quarterbacks at Ohio State who have struggled in the NFL, right? Like, Dwayne Haskins is the most recent example. He was on the Redskins, right?

00:09:10   Or sorry, the Washington team. I really shouldn't say that. And now he's on the Steelers, I think he's maybe the backup or something like that.

00:09:19   But, yeah, Ohio State always has these quarterbacks who are amazing in college and then just do not translate into the pros for whatever reason.

00:09:27   And again, it's sort of like, it's a weird dichotomy to watch them in college and they're so, so good. And, you know, of course beating Michigan and whatnot.

00:09:36   But like, then they go to the pros and they're just sort of another, not maybe not average, certainly above average, but still, they get, you know, killed by these defenses.

00:09:45   Because these defenses feature the best players in the world.

00:09:48   Yeah, just absolutely, just amazing athletes. Anyway, let me take a break here up front and thank our first sponsor, my very dear friends at Linode.

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00:12:00   So you mentioned the Washington football team. I guess they're going to stick with that as their name at this point?

00:12:09   So I actually looked this up recently because, as you probably are well aware also, my hometown baseball team, the Cleveland Indians, still right now, but they will be changing their name to the Guardians, right?

00:12:21   Starting next season. And so I was actually looking up what the status was on Washington, because it's sort of sad, right? They've been playing under the no-name guys of the Washington football team for a couple years now.

00:12:34   The word is, at least a few weeks ago, was that they are going to change it some point next year still. So I do think that they are going to have to team.

00:12:43   I mean, I think the way that they've done it, while it was obviously very clumsy and way overdue, it sort of sticks now. They maintain the colors.

00:12:54   And everyone knows to say that, even though I dropped the old name earlier.

00:13:00   I do too. I do too. It's hard not to.

00:13:04   What do you think they should do, though? Should they change it to an official thing beyond the Washington football team?

00:13:10   I think they should. And I know that soccer, aka English football clubs, I know that all over Europe, that something like "Team Name Football Club" is, you know, "Town Name Football Club."

00:13:27   I think that's, you know, like even like here in the US, it's NYFC, New York Football Club, is common.

00:13:35   I think the problem with trying to make that stick in the NFL is it's too common to say, it's just not how people talk about the teams.

00:13:45   Like, you know, like you were saying, like, who did the Cowboys play on the opening night, which is Thursday night game coming up soon? The Bucks, right?

00:13:53   You just want to say, "Oh, man, I think..."

00:13:55   Something simple, something quick. Yeah, yeah.

00:13:57   We just want to have a nickname and always using... And sometimes you say, you know, like, you know, here in Philly, they'll chant, guaranteed, when the Cowboys come to town, "Dallas sucks. Dallas sucks." Or worse, right?

00:14:14   But they'll call them Dallas. You do use the town name, but it's tough.

00:14:21   Right, it's de-emphasized, for sure.

00:14:23   And the other element of that is, so Washington's former name, this, I, so I grew up, like I said, in Ohio, and a lot of my high school actually went to, friends went to the university, the Miami University in Ohio, which is not the University of Miami in Florida, it's the Ohio version, right? And sort of like Ben Roethlisberger famously went to school and played quarterback.

00:14:46   So they were formally, they had the same name as what Washington formerly had, and they changed their name, I think in the early '90s to the Red Hawks. It's an awful name, right? It's just like, it's sort of like trying to maintain continuity with the former name, but it sort of doesn't make sense. It's sort of, you know, cutesy. I don't, do not like it. Whereas I do like what the Indians did, and I think you did too.

00:15:10   Oh, I love it.

00:15:10   I think I was linked to it, you know, when that happened. Because it's like, and honestly, I didn't think I would like it. It didn't, and when I first heard it, I thought it was sort of like, that seems weird, it seems a little bit too close to Guardians of the Galaxy, it's just like a Mighty Ducks situation with Disney type thing.

00:15:24   But now it really did grow on me quickly because it has great continuity just in the way that it looks, right? Like the IANS ending, and you know, they have some real issues with apparently, I think an indoor roller derby team, which apparently filed a trademark ahead of them, which is sort of a humorous situation, and hopefully they can resolve that.

00:15:47   But I do think that they did a good job, yeah, picking something that maintains a great continuity and the look is sort of, you know, similar, the colors are going to be the same, obviously, and so they did a good job with that. I don't know what Washington can do beyond, like I said, the Red Hawks, like that, hopefully they don't do that, but would they do something like that, you know?

00:16:03   I think I've mentioned this years ago, I seem to recall talking about it somewhere on a podcast, but one of the ones that I like is the Red Tails, which was the name of the Tuskegee Airmen, which was a bunch of black pilots, I think in World War II.

00:16:20   Yeah, Tuskegee. And you know, Washington, DC has the highest percentage of black citizens of any city in North America. To me, that works. I don't know, they got to do something, but there's got to be a way, I don't know, going two years like this with a no name, it just seems so ham-fisted communications wise,

00:16:49   whereas what the Indians did to me as a comms issue, which is going to be a big part of what we talk about going forward on the show, they handled it. So, A, I think Guardians is a great choice, and I didn't even realize this, I'm not as familiar with Greater Cleveland, but that there already are these Guardian statues on a bridge.

00:17:12   Famous statues on the bridge. I honestly did not know their official name, which is another reason why when I first heard it, I didn't fully understand it. But yes, the Guardians of, is it of traffic?

00:17:25   Something like that, yeah.

00:17:26   Something along those lines, yeah. They are really cool statues, they look sort of, I equated them to those statues in Lord of the Rings, you know, like where they're the Argonaut type statues that sort of guard that one entryway, they sort of look like that, they're pretty cool.

00:17:41   Yeah, very cool. So it's a great name, I love, a couple people after I posted that, you know, give my thumbs up to it, you know, posted a picture, a recent picture of some Cleveland Indians players standing before a game or accepting a trophy or something, and because only the IANS was visible on their jerseys, it already looked like they could have been wearing Guardian.

00:18:05   It just rolls off the tongue, it's a great choice. But they timed it well, they didn't wait until the Indians name was too hot, right? Like the Washington team waited until way past the time when everybody agreed that, hey, maybe, who knows if all of these names related to Native Americans, like the Kansas City Chiefs and the Atlanta Braves, who knows if they all should go or not?

00:18:34   There's a lot of Native Americans who are fine with all the names, there were Native Americans, a lot of them who were like, no, no, we're fine with the Washington name, you know, it was people who, you know, I don't want to get into the politics of it, but there was a majority, there was a consensus that that name had to go.

00:18:54   And a big problem with the Indians one was actually the logo, right, Chief Wahoo, which they retired a while ago, and, you know, well overdue there because it was a really bad caricature that, yeah, maintained, you know, throughout, I think, you know, started probably in the 70s, 70s, something like that, they had an earlier version of it.

00:19:17   And then it got even more pronounced and everyone, of course, remembers it, I think, from Major League, the great baseball movie about the Indians and yeah, so they phased it out, right, they got rid of that, and they moved to the C and that allowed them, you know, to sort of more gracefully, I think, make this transition because, you know, while the C is going to be different, slightly different under the Guardians, it's still going to be a C, you know, so it's like the C became the focal point of the team.

00:19:40   And that's what you see, like, my current Indians hat is the C one, it's not, you know, a Chief Wahoo one, obviously. And so I think they did a good job with that. Whereas, yeah, Washington, maybe unsurprising, given the sort of Daniel Snyder tenure of the team has been just, you know, very, very slow to do anything.

00:20:00   Just ham-fisted. Anyway. Oh, the other thing, too, about the Chief Wahoo logo is it was a terrible logo for a serious sport. Right? It was comical, right?

00:20:10   Yeah, it was cartoony.

00:20:11   It's cartoony, and baseball is, like I said, it's top athletes throwing hard little balls around at 100 miles an hour, and I don't think, I don't know what they would have done for Major League if it wasn't the logo, but I feel like it had to be Cleveland, right? Because it's a comedy, it's a comical logo. Like, no other team in baseball had a logo that was funny.

00:20:35   It was a very strange choice, really branding-wise. The racial, racism aspects aside.

00:20:44   Right, cartoony-like logos had long felt, I mean, has there ever been one? Like, that's, I'm sure there was in the, you know, 70s or 80s, I'm sure there have been other ones, but it's hard to remember.

00:20:55   But like, imagine if the St. Louis Cardinals, instead of having, they have a very serious looking cardinal, that cardinal looks like it could hurt you, but imagine if instead it was like Woody Woodpecker with like a googly eye, you know?

00:21:08   And the Cardinals is the perfect one, because do you remember when the, in the NFL, the Arizona team, when they changed, they had to change their cardinal at one point to be a more menacing looking cardinal because it was too, it was just a cute looking bird before, and that obviously didn't fit with the sort of, what they were trying to project as a real serious football team.

00:21:31   It looked like a bird that was just ready to get.

00:21:35   Just a standard bird. Just bird watching out here, looking at those, these pretty cardinals.

00:21:40   I know it wasn't a cardinal, it was a pigeon, but like, it sort of like was getting ready to be steamrolled like that poor bird who got hit by a Randy Johnson fastball back in the day.

00:21:50   Oh, that's funny. Yeah, God, that video is still amazing to watch.

00:21:55   I know this is a digression on a digression, but it still amazes me that of all the thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of pitches thrown in Major League Baseball in the televised era, no bird ever got hit by a pitch until once.

00:22:10   And then of all the pitchers to do it.

00:22:13   Right, the most menacing, and oh, and I have a perfect way to bring it back around and we're really going to make people earn listening to some, some of this, this story before we go into the apple bread and butter that I think they want to hear but so you mentioned when you were a little, a little kid playing sports that you were sort of undersized.

00:22:31   I was the opposite. I was, I'm right now about 5'10" and I was 5'10" when I was like 12 years old. And so that meant that I was one of the largest kids in my grade, and as a result, I was also a pitcher on our baseball team, and I was huge.

00:22:44   And so I was like, sort of compared, you know, I would say, a little bit over favorably, probably to Randy Johnson, but I actually grew my hair out as a result of that.

00:22:54   So I had a long hair kid, I was super tall, and I was trying to be menacing and intimidating like Randy Johnson on the mound and you know to some degree I think it worked. I think it was more my, my probably launch angle because I was so much taller but, but yeah, that brings it around to Randy Johnson then exploding a bird I never got a chance to do that but that video is, is, is just insane that that that actually happened.

00:23:15   There was a kid in my league, when it towards the end of Little League on another team, and he was sort of like a town bully. His name was Alex, I, you know, I don't want to name his last name I don't want to slide but I still don't like the guy but he was so big, I mean just unbelievably big.

00:23:30   He was the one who like parents would be like come on he's got to be too old. He was, he was a pitcher. And it was a known fact that he would try to hit the first, the first batter of the game, just to terrify the team, which is smart to win it dastardly.

00:23:48   And I remember, I was newly armed, I could not hit the ball hard but I was, I could catch really well I played shortstop I played first base which is super important in Little League. And I could bunt, I could never hit the ball out of the infield but I could make contact so I'd get lucky sometimes in a ball would just find a hole.

00:24:07   I think I hit like two balls to the outfield in my entire Little League career I, but I could make contact and I could, oh and I could get walks, I had a good eye. So I was a reasonable leadoff batter but I remember my friend James's dad was the coach and he said to me he said,

00:24:23   I'm going to bat you lead off this game, and I think he's going to hit you, are you okay with that? And I was like, yeah, I could take it. And son of a bitch the guy hit me. But I, I was ready. I had the temperament as a kid that I could do it and not cry. I mean that's, it's super common.

00:24:38   I coached my kids Little League for a while. Kids get hit they cry, even like the best kid in the team you know you because it's scary it's terrifying baseballs are hard.

00:24:46   Anyway, let's talk Apple. The big story. They've earned it now so we've got this Apple on this is so such a strange way to release it, in my opinion, on Thursday night last week, late.

00:25:03   Apple issued a press release, and with about two hours notice notified some reporters of a conference call where they were going to announce I don't know what they said they were going to announce I was not invited.

00:25:18   I actually none of the my friends who are fellow Apple journalists were on the call, either. And it's unclear whether they were invited and just didn't couldn't make it I mean two hours notice is bizarre.

00:25:33   Yeah, at night on Thursday night and on the East Coast it was nice.

00:25:36   Yeah, really late and simo and then as the call started they released the press release, and, and there's, you know, what happened is the initial coverage came out with a sort of decided.

00:25:53   Apple see you know can made concessions law, you know, on this App Store bent.

00:26:00   Yeah, yeah.

00:26:02   Class action lawsuit. And then they had this call. And it, it's just the timing is so weird because there are things that can happen that have to be released at odd hours right like when Steve Jobs resigned I specifically remember finding out about it.

00:26:23   It was in August, it was actually like 10 years ago. Last week it's or a week or two ago you know, literally a 10 year anniversary and I remember I was on vacation with my family at the Jersey Shore with my parents and my sister and her family.

00:26:38   And, you know, it's with my parents and we're at the shore and we have there's a bunch of little kids so we were going to dinner early like on a boardwalk or something you know like probably like five, five o'clock at night six maybe six o'clock at night on the East Coast, and that's when the news dropped that Steve Jobs was resigning and I was like, I can't go to dinner I'm gonna have to write, and there.

00:27:00   There have been many times in my, you know, family life where I've said I have to drop out of x, because I have to work, where I've gotten like an eye roll or a. Come on. And when I said it was because Steve Jobs is resigning for his health, everybody you know and it's not like my family are diehard

00:27:17   Apple people like me but they you know they knew they were like oh, oh my god, you know, do it, you know, go. I wrote, I remember that well I think I was actually in the UK so it was even weirder time because I thought I was off the clock and then it came in and it was, it was like a weird time there too but I also distinctly remember, you'll remember this too, you know, I was I was still sort of a reporter back then and covering Apple and when they disclosed the liver transplant.

00:27:43   Yeah. And I don't remember exactly, I assume that they sort of did it because the Wall Street Journal if I remember right had broke had gotten the news somehow and so I think that they were either trying to get ahead of it or doing it concurrently with that but that was like also a really late at night on a weekend I think it was like a Friday night literally. Friday or Saturday night I have been when they when they disclose that.

00:28:06   Yeah, and I forget if it was the Wall Street Journal or Bloomberg or somebody, somebody got wind of it. I think it was the Journal but somebody got wind of it. Yeah, that was a weird one too. A lot of the Steve Jobs health issues came out at weird times because it was all, he was so mercurial and Steve Jobsie and wanted to be private and maybe was sort of semi in denial about aspects of it and it all of that stuff came out at weird times but I remember the transplant was a weird one too and that's another one where I remember exactly

00:28:35   where I was. I was with my wife and son at a great place here in Philadelphia called the Please Touch Museum which is just a great place to take kids because everything is literally meant for them to play with and touch and nothing is hands off.

00:28:50   And, you know, again, I was like, I, you know, I guess I didn't leave, you know, I was at the museum. I was like, I don't know, you know, but I'll start thinking about what this is why I carry a notebook with me wherever it goes start thinking about what I'm going to write, and I didn't really have much to add to that one right like, what do you say?

00:29:09   Right, that's a tough, that was a tough one to write about. Maybe I just linked up the news from my phone actually at the museum, I forget, but I remember that's where I was when it broke and it was like a Saturday afternoon or something.

00:29:20   So the Steve Jobs stuff leaked, I think, I think those things came out at weird hours just because they came out when reporters got wind of it.

00:29:31   Someone was digging around. Somebody forced Apple's hand. Whereas this settlement, it didn't seem like there was no news that forced their hand, right? Like this was.

00:29:39   I still don't fully understand it. So like, I think you, so the two hour thing, which was reported, I think by Jack Nick, if I'm saying his name right in the New York Times, right?

00:29:52   That was the first I had heard of that because I didn't talk to anyone who had sort of gotten the call and I also don't know anyone who got the call about the pre-brief that was happening.

00:29:59   But basically, per that reporting, and you and I have been around long enough that I'm sure that this is accurate, that they basically gave a two hour heads up that they were going to announce something.

00:30:10   And they basically said, it sounds like to some of these reporters behind the scenes, like, look, someone's going to be giving a statement. You can't quote it.

00:30:18   You can't even say who it was, who's giving it. But if you want to listen in, we're going to be doing it in two hours. And, you know, it's probably going to be worth your time type thing.

00:30:27   And so the reason, yeah, but what you're getting at is why at that hour, especially because the weirdest thing, one of the weirdest things to me is they had done a press release earlier that day at normal press release time to talk about the news, the Apple news deal that they struck with some publishers to allow them to cut the rate from 30 to 15% if they agree to include their content in Apple news.

00:30:53   And so that was a standard press release, which is sort of in line and related to what this this ended up being about. So why would they just not bucket them together unless there was something specific about the lawsuit?

00:31:04   But again, it's after sort of working hours. Did they have to wait until like the legal offices or the court shut down at 6pm or something on the West Coast time?

00:31:13   I don't really understand why they did it other than the sort of cynical view that this was totally manipulated to try to get the headlines that they got off of the press.

00:31:23   Bingo. Ding, ding, ding. So the next segment of the show, Ben Thompson and I did dithering last night instead of tonight for reasons. The next segment of the show is I'm going to repeat a bit of what I said on dithering, but I've got so much, I can breathe. Look, I can just take a moment and just take a breath.

00:31:43   You've got so much room to run.

00:31:45   Go for it. Give it 20 minutes of liquid.

00:31:47   I think that's exactly it. I think that Apple strategized a somewhat complex like pool shot. Like, we're going to bank this in. We're going to bank this the seven ball in off this the rail over there and it's going to go in the corner pocket and they nailed it.

00:32:07   But we still don't know. Nick has reported that two hour heads up thing, which is weird. Usually what they'll say is, and what they'll say on, sometimes they'll have, if there are externalities that are forcing their hand, they will, I've been on calls with Apple that are short notice.

00:32:30   And, and, but when the call is short notice, they'll say something like, we're going to do a press release tomorrow at 7am Eastern Time.

00:32:40   Right. Not the very moment that you're getting on the call.

00:32:43   So to be on this call, you're agreeing to the following terms. You're not going to quote the call. And everything we tell you is under embargo until we release a press release tomorrow at 7am.

00:32:54   And sometimes they'll even give you the press release in advance, you know, and say, and they might say this is a draft. But they've, they've done that too. I can't remember specific instances. They don't matter. But there's, you know, there is like a, an overnight embargo from the thing.

00:33:12   We don't even know who the executive was. And Nick has even said, I forget the exact terms.

00:33:17   I have a guess. My guess would be the obvious one of, of, of who is quoted in the actual press release. But I don't know, like, would they, would they, would they bring out Schiller to give that that sort of statement verbally when he already is going to be in the press release? Like, I don't know. But that would be, that would be sort of my guess as a way at least to entice some reporters to get on this call.

00:33:40   That's my guess too, honestly, but it is truly a guess. I really have no idea. And it is Schiller who's quoted in the press release. And, you know, who Apple quotes in the press releases is, is not random. It usually is, it's very strategic, you know, like in the Apple news partner program, whatever they call it, that was announced earlier in the day on the same day. It was Eddie Q, who is in charge of that services division.

00:34:09   Which is not surprising. It's, you know, and it's often, it's the same sort of thinking that goes by who gets to be on stage. It's, you know, like somebody told me, said years ago about the Beatles.

00:34:24   And all their songs were credited to Lennon McCartney, but everybody knows that there were Lennon songs that McCartney helped them with and McCartney songs that Lennon helped them with, and that the way to know is whoever read it, spit it. Right? Whoever sung the song, that was their song.

00:34:41   And whoever is on stage is, on an Apple event or, you know, on camera in the recent ones, is responsible, maybe not the point person for it because they've expanded to, to lower ranked people to get more, more employees there.

00:34:59   But whoever the person is, they're, they are, they have been hands on with whatever it is they're talking about.

00:35:05   Yes. And they, they're likely the final sign off, you know, like, because Tim Cook, you know, obviously can veto anything, but he's probably not going to get into the weeds over, you know, Schiller or Eddie Q who have been around just as long as him who, who knows.

00:35:18   Right. Like a couple of recent events, like when they announced the, the first retina MacBook Air, which was like the big, finally a retina MacBook Air, Laura Legros was the person announcing it. And she's since been back to announce, I forget if she was there for the M1s, but you know, she, she is, she's like a, she's in charge of the consumer, you know, like the MacBook Airs, you know, that, that, that is her thing, you know.

00:35:47   Right.

00:35:48   And so quoting Schiller, he is he is still his, his retitling to Apple fellow and, and I love that promotion of JAWS to Schiller's longtime title of Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing.

00:36:04   He is still in charge of the App Store. And it's not just like a titular thing. He really is. So it's not surprising he was quoted. So I guess he was the one and it seems like that is what would entice them and he would be very good.

00:36:22   You know, like it's so whoever was on the call really did paint a story that that got published. He'd be good at that. So my guess is Schiller, but I have no idea. And

00:36:36   yeah, and so I actually so I wrote something about it a couple days ago, which I think you know, and then I actually wrote something again last night based off the two hour thing just trying to, you know, have fun with an extrapolate out how I think that call would have went down, basically along the lines of what we're talking about where it's like, okay, so the reporters get on the Apple executive joins, you know, Apple PR is obviously on the line.

00:37:00   And the executive basically reads the statements, which is exactly in line with the press release. Again, the press not knowing that the press release is about to be dropped. And then you know, ends it. And then someone you can imagine, like wants to jump in with a question and then Apple PR instead sort of interjecting saying like, well, that's all for today.

00:37:19   You know, we're happy to try to set something up, you know, if you have more questions about it, but right now the the news is actually out there. It's just been released on the websites. And so you should, you should go read that and let us know if you have any questions and thanks and good night. And then basically, that's it. And it's putting all the pressure in the world on the reporters to basically get their stories up because they have to compete now with Apple's actual released press release, again, to the points that you were making earlier, which is a little bit abnormal to release it while you're in the middle of a call.

00:37:48   And so time was of the essence and it's it just puts immense pressure. And that's why you get the stories. And even I was I was fooled by, you know, I sent a tweet immediately when I saw the press release said it's like, wow, was this a Thursday night news dump or what?

00:38:01   And it, you know, but it looked like it was going to be Apple conceding, you know, because that's what the initial headlines basically made it seem like that Apple was was giving in on some of their longstanding things.

00:38:13   You know, the App Store cut and everything else. And instead, and we'll talk about it. I mean, it ended up being a big nothing burger.

00:38:20   Here are the headlines, the initial headlines. Washington Post, who I think really shit the bed the most on this. Apple loosens rules for developers in major concession amid antitrust pressure.

00:38:32   That that that is a shit the pants headline right there. I mean, there's just no argument about Wall Street Journal. Apple set to let app developers alert users to alternate payment methods. Not bad, but actually, it's a little bit.

00:38:49   Yeah, it's not it's not direct. It's it can be it can be correct. Technically, but it's not directional. It's not what the doesn't give you. Tell me this. Tell me the basic gist in one sentence. That's not it.

00:39:03   Wall Street Journal I did that Financial Times Apple makes App Store concession on payments. No, they did not. False. The Verge Apple finally agrees to let app developers communicate with their customers. Sorry.

00:39:19   And I mean, that's a little bit gray, right? Because like, and we can get into this, like how, how much of that the most interesting part of that press release is the fact that they use the word clarification, right? It was about clarifying. It wasn't about changing anything. It was literally clarifying, indicating that you could we always thought you could do this. Okay, that's interesting. Not everyone knew that.

00:39:44   CNET in major policy change, Apple will allow developers to email customers about alternatives to App Store billing. That's not a major policy change. So, so who here's who got it right. Mark Bloomberg, reporting for for Mark Gurman reporting for Bloomberg.

00:40:05   Tim Apple. Mark Gurman got it right. The headline at Bloomberg was Apple settles with developers without making major concessions. Well, that, that gets it. That's the story. What's the one sentence summary? Apple settles with app developers without making major concessions. That's the story.

00:40:25   And so it'd be with that, it would be fascinating to know if Gurman was on the call, presumably not. I think he has like a sort of a love hate relationship right with Apple, given all the news he breaks. And I'm assuming they don't love that. But I don't know, we could ask him, obviously, if he was if he was on that, but presumably he wasn't because all you had to do if you weren't on that call, you actually were at an advantage in a way, right? Because you just read the press release. And if you're in if you're versed enough in Apple as Gurman is, as you are, as hopefully I still am in some regard, because again, that's what I did.

00:40:54   I read the press release after that initial tweet. And I'm like, what? This is nothing. This is this is literally not any different than than what has been going on. And so yeah, again, the people who were not on the call were at an advantage.

00:41:05   So I think what Apple strategy was here, and like I said, there's a it's not it's devilish in its effectiveness. It worked. I mean, it worked unbelievably well. But it's it's like it is sort of a Rube Goldbergian. There's four or five aspects to it. But I think the largest part of it hinges on using the major media's biases and proclivities against

00:41:35   them, like Judo. One of them is knowing that they would be in a rush to get something up. And so they would they they might be susceptible to taking the top line spin. But like I said, I'm dithering, you know, there's this, this thing that's annoyed me, they've and a couple of I think I even saw the New York Times start doing it. But I know the post does it to where they they're they're referring to big tech with a capital B and a capital T, right? Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft,

00:42:05   Amazon. And I don't know who else I guess they're counting. Twitter gets in there somehow because Twitter's in the media's, you know, financially, Twitter is an up and muzzling and all that, you know, but they're important for speech. Yeah, I think that's all in the day, I miss any of them.

00:42:22   I'm sure you know, there's the ones that get thrown in there every once in a while, but I think those are the major ones. So they call it big tech. And they're on an anti big tech crusade, which I truly believe truly colors their their news coverage in in a biased way, that these companies are too influential that they should be broken up. That that sort of thinking and and the thing I'm going to try to make this the thing at least

00:42:52   on Daring Fireball, but the the outlets that are in that charge, I'm calling big press. Okay, and like that, I think that I think that's only who they invited on the call. I think they they and one thing that you and I know that Apple PR does is, and to to a certain degree with big press with like the New York Times and Washington Post, etc, the Wall Street Journal for sure. Apple has less influence on on one of

00:43:21   them, what I'm about to say, but but they don't really pick outlets so much as they are. There are individual orders. Yep. Right. And so like, Panzareno has a better relationship with Apple than TechCrunch as a whole, right? You did when you were at TechCrunch. Right. And that was actually, that was a very key point, because TechCrunch had a horrible relationship with Apple, you know, before I had started, I think Harrington maybe had broken some

00:43:51   of the things, sorry about an iPad prototype or something like that, that they were all pissed off about. And so, yeah, it took it took a, you know, a bunch of time to sort of establish, you know, being okay with each other once again. And yeah, Panzareno now carries that torch, obviously.

00:44:08   I don't know how that works with exactly with like the Times, like, I don't think the Times would be so amenable to, you know, Brian is like that one person. But even there, they, you know, they they'd still, you know, even like the New York Times doesn't get like unlimited invitations to press events. But whoever they reached out to, I think they hand selected, I think, and I think that the reporters and and the editors involved, were

00:44:37   open to a Apple concedes, you know, major concessions from Apple amid antitrust concerns, that sort of slant played into what they wanted to be true. And, and doing it late at night, all of a sudden, in a seemingly embarrassed way, with a press release that at a glance, seemed like it had a bunch of concessions, all made it seem

00:45:07   like bingo, we got them.

00:45:09   You're right, we did our jobs. And now we get to report on it, that, you know, that we were victorious in some regard, right? I totally agree with that. And the fascinating, I mean, if that is the case, if that is the way that this played out, it really is sort of ingenious by Apple. And, you know, we can talk about whether it's ethically right or not to do it this way. And I and I have a hard time with sort of this this level of PR manipulation. But I do think

00:45:36   it was rather ingenious in that it worked. Because it also what their audience really was here is is the court system is that judge who's who's also good, the one who's presiding over the epic case, right, and the lawmakers. And you saw tweets from Amy Klobuchar and on down right about like, this is a great first step, like is it really is it any step? It's it's nothing.

00:45:59   Senator Blumenthal, who I believe is from Connecticut, who I think co-wrote some of the legislation with Klobuchar. He, he had a very similar take that this is just, you know, see the our pressure is working. This is a good first step. We're not done yet. There's more to come. But, you know, this is a good first step, that sort of thing. And it didn't take long. I mean, and one thing that was for sure is instantly my the Apple to third party developer Twitter, for lack of

00:46:29   a better term, instantly got it right. You got, you got such a better reaction right off the bat from I in fact, I didn't see any I, I follow so many, some of them friends, some of them people who I just know who they are, but I don't know him personally. I didn't see one who who thought this was a victory. I every single one of them looked at course, because they live and breathe this stuff. They are in such the minutia and the details that they know that like what, you know, Apple's major concession

00:46:59   here wasn't they didn't even in the press release. They don't even say it's a concession. They say it's a clarification. It's ridiculous.

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00:49:00   Got one of their shirts on right now. Just great. So developers were pissed and are pissed.

00:49:07   Yeah. And feel insulted. And that is sort of your take. I don't want to regurgitate your initial blog post.

00:49:13   But you summed up, I thought, "Oh my God, I got to see if I can get MG on the show because this is the attitude." It was insulting, right?

00:49:27   Yeah. It's bullshit because they are trying to manipulate the situation knowing that they're in a position of strength, which is a $2.5 trillion company ever not in a position of strength.

00:49:48   But here, they know with this Clash Action lawsuit, they're probably even still in a position of

00:49:55   strength. They don't need to do anything. But this goes back to something you and I have talked about

00:49:59   for, I think, years at this point. It comes down to still reading the room, right? And like,

00:50:04   Apple is just not very good for whatever reason in the later stages of their transition to Goliath

00:50:12   from the David position. And I'm sure that that's related to it. They're just not good at sort of

00:50:18   taking the temperature and reading the room and knowing what ultimately the reaction will be

00:50:23   amongst the people who should matter, if not the most. I would say maybe the customers matter the

00:50:28   most. But the developers are at least right up there in line with the customers because

00:50:33   it's all part of the same system that makes the entire thing work and hum. And if they keep losing

00:50:38   and keep sort of pissing off the developer community, eventually that has ramifications

00:50:43   with the customers and with everything else and with legislation and all the stuff going on now.

00:50:48   It's like Apple is not doing themselves any favors. And you understand why at a high level,

00:50:53   of course, it's like it does, unfortunately, seem to come down to the bottom line for some of these

00:50:58   decisions that they make. But you would hope and you and I know are both in the same camp that we

00:51:04   hope where ultimately, you know, product decisions should be what's driving Apple. And in this case,

00:51:11   what I boil this down to is basically, look, we can argue about like what the cut should be,

00:51:16   it was always made up to begin with sort of dating, you know, some of it dates to video games,

00:51:19   some of it dates to iTunes, you know, sort of pulling numbers out of the sky and not thinking

00:51:23   that the App Store would ever be a massive business. Famously, Jobs talking about running

00:51:27   it as break even and obviously it's no longer that by many orders of magnitude. Ultimately,

00:51:32   the cut is less important, whatever it ends up being. I do think that they need to reduce it and

00:51:37   they will reduce it. I think they're going to do more deals like they're doing with publishers and

00:51:40   like they do with some of the video streamers to basically give something and take something. So

00:51:45   if you put your wares on this store, then we'll give you a cut, a better cut or whatever. I think

00:51:49   that's ultimately how it plays out. But I do think at the end of the day, what it really should be,

00:51:54   it should be about more than the cut. It should be that basically my viewpoint very strongly now is

00:52:00   that Apple should compete on the product side and allow other payment processors within their own

00:52:05   apps and just say, look, you can have your payment processor in here. We're going to compete by

00:52:11   offering the best one. Even if we have access to APIs that you don't have access to necessarily yet,

00:52:17   we're going to let your payment processor be here and you can have your customers use it if they

00:52:23   choose to do that. But we're going to compete by saying it's so much more seamless to use Apple

00:52:27   Pay. So why wouldn't you do that? And I'm in the boat. I love Apple Pay. I would probably use it

00:52:31   over another payment processor. And I think a lot of Apple's customers would be in that boat. And

00:52:36   you should leave it on whoever else, the other payment processors or the developers of that app

00:52:42   to sort of entice whatever sort of reasons they want people to use that other service.

00:52:47   Leave it up to them. But at the end of the day, if it's just easier to use Apple Pay,

00:52:53   a lot of people are going to use Apple Pay. That's the way it should be.

00:52:58   Let's put a—I want to come back to that point on the payment processors in particular. But the galling

00:53:06   part of the announcement is—and I think culturally it's twofold. I think, one, it's always hard

00:53:13   for the Goliath to have sympathy for the Davids, even if they're not the company on top, the

00:53:23   favorite. Apple, to me, has always been at its best when it's the underdog. And even in—I'm trying to

00:53:33   think of a good example. But Apple TV+ is a good example. Apple TV+ is doing pretty well. And it's

00:53:40   a pretty—five bucks a month and put it in with the bundle with Apple One. It really is a legitimately

00:53:49   good value. And the shows are really good. And they're the underdog, right? They're not HBO.

00:53:56   You and I, that's what we talked about last year, HBO and Netflix.

00:53:59   Can they become HBO? Yeah, exactly.

00:54:01   Right. And Disney+, right? I mean, Disney+ is kicking ass, in my opinion. But Disney's core

00:54:12   competency is making entertainment, family-friendly entertainment with memorable characters and content

00:54:21   that will last for decades. That's Disney. That's been Disney since like 1927 or whenever Steamboat

00:54:29   Willie appeared. That's their core compet—Apple TV+ is new to Apple. They're the underdog. And

00:54:37   it's, to me, one of the best things they've done in recent years. And it's hard to do that when

00:54:43   you're on top, right? And when were Apple's developer relations the best? Well, they've

00:54:47   always been contentious, right? There's never been a time when developers didn't have serious,

00:54:51   legitimate complaints about Apple developer relations. I know this. I've been part of the

00:54:56   Apple developer community. And I wanted to be part of it even before I was part of it in the

00:55:02   '90s. I just craved it. I followed it. It's always—and I do think that that is part of it, too,

00:55:08   that inside Apple, they're like, "Eh, developers are always bellyaching." They've always been

00:55:12   bellyaching since the first WWDC— This won't matter because they've always done this.

00:55:17   But it was different when they needed developers to hustle, right? And Apple's developer relations

00:55:25   and their making developers say, "Hey, this is actually pretty cool and exciting, and I'm enjoying

00:55:31   my work. I'm enjoying making this," was when they really needed them. Like the early days of Mac OS

00:55:38   10, when they needed all developers to rewrite their apps because you either, A, had a big,

00:55:46   well-known app or any app, like a carbon app. But you were Adobe, you were Microsoft, you had

00:55:51   Photoshop, you had Microsoft Office, and Apple needed those apps to be on Mac OS 10.

00:55:55   That's what led to Bill Gates' Big Brother icon. Yeah. Absolutely, Mac OS 10 would not have worked

00:56:02   without Photoshop and Office. It would have been dead on arrival, and everybody would have stuck

00:56:07   with Mac OS 9. And that's why Apple didn't just cancel classic Mac OS. There was a four-year

00:56:14   overlap of both of them being supported, and you could buy new machines and reinstall the OS and

00:56:21   switch from Mac OS 10 to Mac OS 9 because they knew that it was a really hard transition.

00:56:28   So they needed carbon apps or classic Mac OS apps to be rewritten significantly, not like

00:56:37   rewritten from scratch, but it was a lot of work for classic Mac OS apps to be native carbon apps

00:56:44   on Mac OS 10. As opposed to, if you're not a longtime Mac user 20 years ago, there was a classic

00:56:52   environment where you could run unaltered apps, and they ran side by side. It wasn't like they

00:56:58   ran in a separate window or you had to use screens to go over to a different desktop to get to them.

00:57:05   You could command tab to them, and their windows would be interleaved, but they looked like old

00:57:11   apps. They had the old style classic Mac OS look. To get the new look and to take advantage of the

00:57:18   features, developers had to do a lot of work, and Apple did a lot to make that happen.

00:57:23   It was a next person, Scott Forstall, who made carbon happen. And everybody thinks like, "Oh,

00:57:33   the next crew wanted everybody to just rewrite everything in Cocoa," which was their initial plan

00:57:37   because it would have been a lot less work and they would have shipped sooner. And they loved

00:57:40   Cocoa, and they knew Cocoa and those APIs were awesome. And they knew that that's the whole

00:57:45   reason Apple bought Next is that this framework was just so good and enabled developers to do so

00:57:52   much, so much faster, and to have one person teams create apps that would have taken dozens of people

00:57:59   before. They knew that and they thought, "Oh, everybody will just love it." And you know what

00:58:05   developers don't like being told is you have to rewrite your app using an entirely new language,

00:58:10   entirely new frameworks. It didn't work. Scott Forstall led the way to make carbon happen. It

00:58:15   was a ton of work, but they also still wanted to... They didn't say, "Okay, we'll throw Cocoa out and

00:58:21   we'll just use this carbon thing." They still wanted everybody to go eventually to Cocoa. And

00:58:26   for years, it was arguably a 10-year transition. Apple was great at that. And yes, there were parts

00:58:34   that were terrible. This is way out in the weeds, but there was a time when 64-bit carbon was a

00:58:42   thing and Adobe for one was counting on it. And all of a sudden, one WWDC Apple said, "You know

00:58:48   what? That 64-bit carbon thing we promised, that's not going to happen. Carbon is officially

00:58:54   deprecated and it will only be 32-bit. And eventually the OS is going to go 64-bit only.

00:59:03   So get your shit together." And so I'm not saying, again, developers have had complaints, right?

00:59:09   And that's a legit complaint. You told us 64-bit carbon was going to be a thing. We made years-long

00:59:15   plans about it and now you're yanking the carbon. It happened. But overall, developers, they'd get

00:59:21   into Cocoa and they'd say, "This is great. I really love it. This is making me happy. I enjoy my days

00:59:27   as a programmer writing this thing." Apple was the underdog. They needed developers. Now that they

00:59:33   don't need them, the attitude is a little different. And I think the other thing that

00:59:38   hurts Apple culturally is a thing that is overall a tremendous strength for the company is that

00:59:44   people who succeed at Apple stay there for their careers, and largely, right? Jaws has been there

00:59:54   since he was like 10 years old. Pretty much. Another Michigan guy. I like Jaws.

01:00:01   Yeah, definitely a Michigan guy.

01:00:03   No, but you're Brian. And this is maybe an aside, but these are the people that you're talking about

01:00:14   now are the ones—I don't know if you happen to see Gurman's newsletter. He's talking about the

01:00:17   succession planning of when Cook retires, if he does in five years or whatever or less. And it's

01:00:24   exactly the people you're talking about, right? Because it's basically the lifers. It's the people

01:00:27   who've been there 20, 30 years. Eddie Q, Phil Schiller. Phil Schiller was arguably a latecomer

01:00:34   because he was at Macromedia for a while. But he was there by the time Steve Jobs got there. He

01:00:40   was still predates the next reunification. These people have been there for 25 to 30 years. And

01:00:50   the underdog mentality is sort of infused in them, right? I think they do still see themselves as

01:00:57   underdogs. Yep. I think that that's totally right. And the problem is the company is so much bigger

01:01:04   now than it was then. I don't know how many employees they have, but I mean, not including

01:01:09   Apple Store employees. They still must have 80, 90, 100,000 people who work there. And it's just

01:01:17   the vast majority, 99% say, don't remember that world sort of—well, the key executives do. The

01:01:24   vast majority of the company, the memory, and Apple University tries to instill some of this

01:01:30   stuff, but it's not a lived experience. Right. Even with retail, it's like the early days of

01:01:36   retail. I still remember going to the mall, the Rockingham Mall, and I think it's in New Hampshire.

01:01:43   I was living at the border of Massachusetts and New Hampshire at the time. And hearing over and

01:01:49   over and over again, people saying that they're going to the iPod store. Yeah. And it's like,

01:01:55   yeah, they were the underdog, but it doesn't suit them well now when handling something like this

01:02:03   suit. And on the other hand, too, even if Apple had more of a better ability to read the room,

01:02:12   as you say, and to see how this would play with everybody, I do also see and sympathize to some

01:02:19   degree with the fact that their priorities always have been Apple first, users second,

01:02:27   developers third. Always. And I am friends with developers. I have been a developer. I have had

01:02:35   an app and I've worked at Apple developers. I sympathize. But it is the right order. The company

01:02:42   needs to look out for itself first. That's the nature of capitalism. But you kind of have to

01:02:49   remember the developers, right? Because it's like if that's your priorities, company first,

01:02:59   users second, developers third, you have to be cognizant of that fact and bend over backwards.

01:03:05   Because they all tie into each other. Yeah. And I totally agree. And another point that is often

01:03:10   brought up and I think is accurate is that more so than maybe any other company, certainly any

01:03:15   of the big ones that we know today, Apple did almost die. And there are some people who are

01:03:20   still there who were there when they almost died. And so when you talk about, it sounds selfish to

01:03:25   say that a company needs to look after itself first, but that's really where that comes from,

01:03:29   right? Like they know that they can't put themselves in the precarious situations that they did

01:03:33   back in the 90s that put them almost on the doorstep of death. And so it's even more ingrained

01:03:39   from that leadership group, I think. Yeah. But boy, the optics, I do think that it could have

01:03:46   been played better, right? And so I do see how Apple wanted to use this settlement, which is just

01:03:56   a proposal. Like, Judge, I do forget her name. I don't have it off the top of my head, but it's the

01:04:02   same one who's presiding over the Epic trial, right? Yep. It's just a proposal. I do believe

01:04:10   it will be accepted. It seems like it has to be, unless some of the backlash to exactly what we're

01:04:17   talking about now persuades them. I don't really know if that even would be viable. Like, it's not—

01:04:23   legally, it seems like Apple was in a good footing, again, in this case, as it seems like they are in

01:04:29   the Epic side, too. But it's more than just like the legal side is not their issue, right? It's the

01:04:34   perception side. Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, and she goes by Gonzalez Rogers without a hyphen.

01:04:41   I do understand how they wanted to take this settlement. And because I think the truth—here's

01:04:48   the truth of it. The truth of it—and this is the other aspect that I cannot believe that the

01:04:52   reporters who fell for this as major concessions did not get—class action lawsuits are at least 90%

01:04:59   bullshit. Maybe I'm underestimating what percentage. The idea is great. And there are cases

01:05:09   where class action lawsuits are totally legitimate, and the victims do get a reasonable or appropriate

01:05:16   or just compensation. And that's what you want, right? It's called the justice system. You want

01:05:22   the right thing to happen when wrongdoing has been proven in court and class action lawsuits

01:05:29   on paper and in theory. And this is where developers go wrong, because developers are

01:05:33   so logical, right? And that's what makes them my friends, and that's why they're developers,

01:05:38   and that's why their code can compile and run is they are good at logic. And the logic is,

01:05:44   if there's this thing called class action lawsuits, where a bunch of small guys can

01:05:50   band together and collectively sue a large company who has done them wrong and then get compensation

01:05:58   from it, it should work out in a just way, and the right thing should be the outcome. 90% of the time,

01:06:06   class action lawsuits are just nonsense, and it's just a racket run by lawyers. And I'm not

01:06:12   anti-lawyer. My wife is a lawyer. I'm not somebody who just rants that all lawyers are bogus. But

01:06:17   class action lawsuits are run by the sort of, typically run by the type of lawyers who give

01:06:22   lawyers a bad name in the general public and make people think bad of lawyers in general.

01:06:27   And they're in it for the money. And maybe not nonsense nonsense, like out of thin air,

01:06:31   but like the stupid battery gate thing where there's class action lawsuit where Apple,

01:06:38   you know, it sounds good on the surface. The basis of all class action lawsuits,

01:06:42   even the nonsense ones, is something that sounds good on purpose, right? Like, oh,

01:06:46   Apple slows down four-year-old iPhones to get people to buy new iPhones with software updates.

01:06:55   You install a software update, and then they slow down your iPhone to trick you into buying

01:06:59   a new iPhone. Well, that sounds dastardly. We should sue them. But the truth of the matter was

01:07:03   they were literally doing the opposite. They were trying, they did this to extend the life of,

01:07:08   to keep phones running. And if they ran them at the full speed, the battery couldn't supply

01:07:14   sufficient power to run it at full speed. The phone would shut down. It wasn't just like, oh,

01:07:19   you know, they were trying to give you eight hours of battery life by slowing it down. You would have

01:07:24   got seven. It wasn't like you'd get seven. It was phones were literally, iPhones were shutting down

01:07:29   early because if they ran it full throttle, the battery was no longer, it had, let's say the

01:07:35   battery says it's at 78%, but the battery was so old that it no longer could provide the full

01:07:40   voltage, wattage, whatever the electrical engineering term was, to run the CPU at full

01:07:46   speed. And the phone would just shut down. And so they tried, you know, they had software update.

01:07:50   It was nonsense. The suit was based on the misconception. That's just one example. That's

01:07:56   a nonsense suit. This suit, I don't think they were going to win. And I think reading between

01:08:01   the lines, it was, we were going to, this, this suit had no legs. We were going to win.

01:08:05   So here's, here's a hundred million dollars. That would make you feel good.

01:08:09   Brian Kardell Enjoy. Let me ask you this. Why do you think,

01:08:13   what is it from Apple's perspective that they don't, this is a bit of an extreme one,

01:08:18   but it's still, it's, it's maybe illustrative of the situation. Why don't they do something that's

01:08:24   a more, more proactive, major change, not all of them, not, not conceding on every point,

01:08:29   but just doing something that's a, that's a major change to try to placate some groups, whether it's

01:08:36   developers, whether it's the legislative, like get out ahead of this stuff. Right. And like, again,

01:08:40   is it because it's the slippery slope and they're, then they're going to have to change other things

01:08:44   and they just like, what is it from your point of view that they don't do that?

01:08:47   Brian Kardell I don't know. I really don't. To me,

01:08:50   you know, and I also think one of the other things, I think Apple would have won this lawsuit.

01:08:54   So they don't want to like concede for something that they know that they were going to,

01:08:59   they're going to win. Right. Because they were, they were going to win. I now, I wonder how much

01:09:06   their, their Epic lawsuit, which is very, you know, it's still open. It hasn't been decided,

01:09:12   supposedly coming soon, but you know, all of the unpleasant emails that have come out as evidence

01:09:20   and they don't like testifying. I mean, they looked miserable. I mean,

01:09:24   Brian Kardell That's the most insane thing about this Epic lawsuit is the fact that Apple let it

01:09:27   go forward. Like what are they thinking? Brian Kardell I have never seen Craig Federighi

01:09:32   look anything other than upbeat and optimistic. And when he, you know, him wearing a suit, he

01:09:38   looked like he was going to a funeral. I mean, you know, pictures of him entering the courtroom.

01:09:43   And I think he even said in an interview, somebody, you know, it's, it's unpleasant.

01:09:47   Nobody, nobody wants to testify in court about this stuff. They all have, and they all have

01:09:52   better stuff to do. It's, it's terrible, but I can't help but think that that's part of it is

01:09:56   that they just wanted to settle this to get it over with. I think they knew they were going to

01:10:00   win. There's no real legal grounds for this stuff. You can say on some sort of moral ethical,

01:10:07   right way to do capitalism, right way to do by your developer community that Apple isn't doing

01:10:12   the right thing, but I don't think any of it comes close to being illegal. I think some of the

01:10:16   steering stuff maybe, which is why that got some attention. I'm not trying to say that with a

01:10:22   blanket for everything, but on the whole, Apple was on very good ground with this, but I think

01:10:28   rather than fight it and pay nothing and say, here we go, wash our hands, we blew them away.

01:10:33   They might have done it even without the lawsuit, but it's sort of like if the varsity team is

01:10:40   playing the eighth grade team, you don't play as hard as you can. You know what I mean? You don't,

01:10:45   you know, you let up a little bit. You don't start knocking the kids around. It's a bad look.

01:10:51   It's a great point because it's basically exactly what we're talking about.

01:10:56   It seems like they have strong legal footing on all of these cases that are major.

01:11:03   The issue is no longer legal though. It's becoming a perception issue and it ultimately doesn't

01:11:08   matter if they are going to be legislated in some ways. As we talked about earlier, all of these

01:11:16   different parties have the will and desire to do so, and they think their constituents want them to

01:11:21   do this. We're going down that path, whether or not it's legally viable. They're going to change

01:11:26   the laws if it's not legally viable. Apple has to recognize that, and obviously they do. They have

01:11:32   smart people, but they just don't want to make the first move proactively because they view that as a

01:11:40   sign of weakness and because it's a slippery slope that they worry that if you give them as a cookie,

01:11:46   we're going to end up with all sorts of stuff that they don't want. But they really run a real risk

01:11:52   on the legislation side and of course the perception side that we've been talking about.

01:11:58   Well, as an outside observer, I have to say I love the Apple Epic lawsuit because of all the

01:12:03   stuff that came out. Right? It's amazing content. It's amazing stuff. I mean, you had Eddy Cue

01:12:08   pushing for iMessage for Android and admitting that iMessage at the time, at 2013 or whenever

01:12:16   it was, didn't really cost the company that much. And then Federighi saying, "Well, I'm not quite

01:12:24   sure what iMessage for Android would do other than make it easier for parents to buy Android

01:12:28   phones for their kids and keep them in the group." You know, not surprising, but it's the sort of

01:12:33   discussions you presume they've had. It's amazing to see it in writing, yeah. The most extraordinary

01:12:39   thing to come out of it, and I wrote a whole column about it, was the Schiller memo about the

01:12:43   30% cut and saying, "Do we expect 30%?" Just saying. It was just like, paraphrasing, but like,

01:12:51   "Hey, just a spitball. I'm just saying, do we expect 30% to last forever? And if not, what do

01:12:57   we do? Why don't we get this to where we're profiting at a billion dollar run rate and keep

01:13:03   it at a billion a year and just keep, you know, go to 25 and then maybe go to..." Because it's

01:13:08   acknowledging what we were talking about. It's not like these are the commandments handed down from

01:13:13   above. These are all things that are just pulled out of thin air that they just put their finger in

01:13:17   the wind and decided one day that this was the cut. And the billion dollar thing, that's like

01:13:21   just drawing a line that's an easy marker. It's like all of these things are just man-made by

01:13:26   people at Apple. Like, what on earth are they holding them so dearly for?

01:13:30   I really don't get it, and I know I've said this before, but I'll keep repeating it because it's

01:13:34   one of my core thoughts about the whole thing that I don't get is, I am not familiar—and

01:13:41   I've been saying this for months, and nobody's pointed to a good counter example to disprove it.

01:13:47   I am not aware of any company, major corporations—I mean, to be in antitrust

01:13:53   trouble, you have to be a major company, right? Like, nobody is going to accuse

01:13:58   Daring Fireball of having a monopoly on John Gruber's opinions, right? That's not a thing.

01:14:03   Although it is somewhat the same logic of the iPhone having monopoly on iPhone apps,

01:14:11   but you have to be a major company. I am not aware of any major company getting in antitrust trouble

01:14:19   over a side business, ever. It's always the core business. AT&T got broken up for long-distance

01:14:26   phone calls. That was their core business. People didn't even realize—you could be a nerd and

01:14:31   realize AT&T Bell Labs invented Unix and the C programming language and actually laid the

01:14:36   foundation for the internet and did this amazing computer science work and all sorts of other

01:14:40   research. Everybody thought AT&T was the phone company, and they got broken up over their policies

01:14:45   on long-distance phone calls. That was it. Microsoft, when Microsoft got in antitrust

01:14:49   trouble in the '90s, it was over Windows and Office. That's what Microsoft was, right?

01:14:54   The only one example I can think of, which you'll find humorous and you'll remember well,

01:15:01   but it's not exactly right, but it's sort of at least directionally right, when Apple lost that

01:15:06   lawsuit to Amazon about books. Remember that? Yeah, right, right, right. Which

01:15:10   was the ebook price-fixing case, which was so curious because the monopolists, clearly,

01:15:17   by any definition of monopoly, Amazon already had a monopoly on ebooks with the Kindle.

01:15:22   It was very strange. Ben Thompson and I argue this all the time because he always says, "Well,

01:15:26   they were price-fixing, and it is illegal, and you can't collaborate with the book publishers."

01:15:31   But yeah, that is— Sure, but that was one where it's like a side, but that obviously was not

01:15:35   Apple's core business. It still is not Apple's—I'm sort of surprised it's still in that business. But

01:15:39   yes, that's one where it's not a core. Right. Well, and the other thing about the

01:15:44   ebook thing was it wasn't just a side business. Even the lawsuit was not really important to them.

01:15:49   Apple could have just said, "Well, then, you know, F this."

01:15:53   "Let's just get rid of this." "Screw this. We won't sell ebooks. Fine.

01:15:56   Screw you. You're on your own." And it wouldn't have mattered, whereas saying, "Screw you. We're

01:16:00   getting out of the App Store business" isn't going to happen, right? It is important. You know what I

01:16:04   mean? It's a side business, but it's a notable, important side business. And services has been

01:16:11   their message. Right, and the future, right?

01:16:13   Potentially, yeah. The future of growth for the stock, at the very least, is tied into that.

01:16:19   But like, you know, Apple generally—like clockwork, it's freakishly so, given the way—especially

01:16:28   the way the world has gone over the last few years with COVID and anything else you can imagine.

01:16:34   And just the way that hardware components, prices go up, they go down, and there are trends,

01:16:40   and there are iPhones that seemingly sell better than Apple expected. And then there's other years

01:16:46   where they sold fewer than expected, and the reports are that they're cutting orders, blah,

01:16:50   blah, blah. Yet, meanwhile, quarter after quarter after quarter, they run company-wide

01:16:56   profit margins of 38 or 39%. Right.

01:17:00   It's like clockwork. So I understand why Apple doesn't—like Tim Cook doesn't decide,

01:17:06   "We're making enough money. Let's go company-wide to 34% profit margins, and in a few years,

01:17:13   we'll go to 30% profit margin company-wide." I understand that. 38, 39% profit margins is

01:17:21   very generous. It's good in the businesses that they're in, and it's very healthy for Apple to

01:17:26   be profitable, and it suits, like you said before, their decade-long institutional mentality of,

01:17:32   "We once almost went out of business because we ran out of money." Right? And it's like

01:17:37   grandparents who grew up in the Depression. You know, it's—

01:17:41   You're going to save those pennies. Yeah, totally.

01:17:44   My God, my dad's aunt, Aunt Kitty, my great-aunt Kitty, reused cellophane. She reused pieces of

01:17:52   cellophane to wrap stuff. She was well off. She was successful. She worked at a jewelry store and

01:17:58   had a successful career and was very well off later in life. She reused cellophane. You know,

01:18:04   you don't forget stuff like that. I don't understand it because they can go to 25% or

01:18:13   could have gone years ago to 25, be it 20% by now, and yes, they would be making less money, I guess.

01:18:22   In some ways, though, it's like the argument about tax rates that you can, to some degree—I'm not

01:18:27   saying that the Laffer curve is actually legit—but there is some argument that it's like the basics

01:18:34   of calculus, right? Like, you can't increase taxes to 100% to increase government revenue,

01:18:40   because if you literally increased income tax to 100%, literally people would not work. And I know

01:18:45   that there are arguments that, "Oh, you know, you can't increase taxes because the earners are going

01:18:50   to lose interest in working." But it's a calculus, right? And you can't decrease them to zero

01:18:56   to get workers the most enthused because they're keeping the most money, because then literally the

01:19:01   government makes no money. So the optimal tax rate for encouraging people to work hard and making

01:19:08   them happy and feel like they're keeping their fair share, but also keeping the government afloat

01:19:13   is somewhere between zero and 100. And you can argue about it and where it should be. And it's

01:19:19   the optimal rate for the App Store is some number between zero and 100, but it's not 30 as it's

01:19:27   grown, right? It's just, it is, it's too much, and it looks bad. It's a bad look.

01:19:31   The other interesting point that brings sort of tangential to what you're talking about,

01:19:36   but it's that the reason why you would do it now is because, so if you believe that the App Store

01:19:42   and services revenue are going to continue to increase at a greater rate than the iPhone revenue

01:19:47   will and become a bigger part of the business, obviously services and software have a much higher

01:19:52   margin. And so you could actually do it now in a way that maintains their overall margin, because

01:19:59   you're basically, you can cut it on the software side a bit, and it's still so much higher than it

01:20:05   is on the hardware side where you can maintain that. But if you wait to do it until, I don't

01:20:09   know, five years down the road where services are a much bigger thing, you know, the Wall Street's

01:20:13   going to look at that and being like, "Why are the margins dropping all of a sudden?" Like, "Oh,

01:20:16   because you had to cut the App Store revenue from 30 to 15 percent or whatever, and that had a huge

01:20:23   impact on the business, and then it would have a huge impact on the stock." Does anyone think that

01:20:26   30 percent is always going to hold up forever? I don't think anyone does. It's just a matter of

01:20:31   time and the way in which it gets degraded. And like we were talking about earlier, my guess is

01:20:36   that they do things like exactly what they did with the news publishers and that they've done

01:20:40   with Amazon and others who put their services on the Apple TV, for example. They basically say,

01:20:46   "If you're willing to put your content here, we will agree to do a 15 percent cut instead of a 30

01:20:51   percent cut." And I think that they start to do that on a more granular level with all sorts of

01:20:57   different type of developers. Like, "If you agree to this type of thing within the App Store to be

01:21:02   featured in this area, we will allow you to do the 15 percent cut." I think that's how they're

01:21:06   going to back into it, but I don't think that they're always going to stay with 30 percent.

01:21:10   It's just not tenable. I do think, though, I have heard that. My best argument other

01:21:15   than pure greed is—and like a mentality that they just want every dollar they can,

01:21:21   and they really feel entitled to it and really feel like going to 25 percent would be losing,

01:21:26   they'd be losing five percent. Five percent of every sale through the App Store is being stolen

01:21:31   from Apple. Is the idea that it is that hardware margins have been trending down,

01:21:37   and to keep the company's margins where they are, they need services to grow, and that is a large

01:21:45   story as the basic gist of why they're trying to cling to this. When it seems obvious to everybody

01:21:51   outside, those who really are against the company and don't like them, and even people like me,

01:21:58   who are largely in favor of the company and fans of the company and want them to do well,

01:22:05   see as untenable. It's very strange. But the Schiller memo that came out was exactly what

01:22:12   I thought. And he even said, "We should think about doing this sooner rather than later from

01:22:18   a position of strength." And I feel like Apple is still in a position of strength, and this

01:22:23   settlement was an opportunity to do it. Why not?

01:22:27   I totally agree. That's actually why it's more frustrating. When you read that, it's like,

01:22:32   beyond the hoodwinking and everything, it's the fact that this was the perfect opportunity to do

01:22:40   something magnanimous. Not to pretend like you're doing something magnanimous, but to actually do it

01:22:45   and have all the cover in the world from this lawsuit and everything else going on.

01:22:50   And that's in the piece that I wrote. I wrote what I wish Apple would have said in a press release,

01:22:57   obviously a much succinct and shorter version of it. But it's basically along those lines.

01:23:02   It's like, look, we understand the situation that's currently going on. We think it's now

01:23:08   in everyone's best interest, both in Apple's, in the developer community, and in our customers'

01:23:13   best interest to make some changes right now. And here's what we're going to do. It's sort of like

01:23:16   how I envision almost like Steve Jobs types saying it, because he's done those types of very blunt,

01:23:22   very straightforward memos. Obviously, he had his own agenda, and he was his master manipulator of

01:23:26   things. But he was very good at taking stock of the situation and coming down in a way that was

01:23:34   at least on the surface straightforward and plain speaking. Right? Right. Right. And it's a good

01:23:41   point. And again, I'm like you, I really, really like to hold my Steve Jobs cards very close and

01:23:50   use them very seldomly. But you can't help but feel that it would have been, how do we cut this

01:23:56   off? How do we make this go away? That was like the whole thing with thoughts on Flash. How do

01:24:01   we just make this whole stupid debate about getting Flash on iPhones go away? Let's just

01:24:06   make it go away. And DRM. Remember that? Yep. Same idea. Yep. Music. Thoughts on music. Right. And

01:24:12   here, you know what we're going to do? We're going to just get rid of the DRM. We're going to get

01:24:14   rid of it. Okay. Here you go. It's gone. We're going to just put MP3s or unencrypted AA3 files

01:24:22   on that iTunes store. There you go. Yep. Let me take another break here. Thank our next sponsor,

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01:26:21   It's frustrating. I don't know. Details of the settlement, it's really nothing. It's like you

01:26:31   said. I don't even think it's worth going apart. Your blog post sort of goes in. I'm going to put

01:26:36   Ryan Jones, a developer of the great app, Flighty, Weatherline, which they recently sold.

01:26:45   Right. Weatherline, which is great. He had a great summary of it, going through it line by line and

01:26:51   sort of deconstructing how it was a nothing burger, which is just a great phrase for it.

01:26:58   The email thing is sort of a slight clarification, but basically, you don't really get to...

01:27:03   It's like if you have the customer's email and they opted in to receive marketing message

01:27:13   from you explicitly, then you can email them and tell them things like, "Hey, you can come to our

01:27:18   website and buy our stuff at a different price and you don't have to go through Apple." But you can't

01:27:24   do it through the app. And I said I wanted to come back to this. What can you do in the app? None of

01:27:30   that has changed. What I would like to see happen for sure, and I cannot believe Apple hasn't agreed

01:27:36   to this. I really can't, is I just want them to get rid of the rule that prevents developers from

01:27:42   telling you in the app. It's so stupid. It's so stupid. And no one thinks that it's... I mean,

01:27:48   there's nothing you could say with a straight face. It's literally stifling speech in a way,

01:27:53   right? What on earth? You can't say in your app where to go? That's ridiculous.

01:27:58   Including Netflix. You download the Netflix app and it doesn't tell you what to do if you don't

01:28:05   have a Netflix account. And yes, there are people who still don't have Netflix accounts. And maybe

01:28:10   they finally heard about a show they want to watch and they download the Netflix app and they don't

01:28:14   have an account. All there is, it says sign in. But I don't have a sign in. Beyond the legality

01:28:19   of it and whatever, being able to say or not say something is just ridiculous from Apple's

01:28:23   perspective because it's an awful consumer experience. If someone loads up an app and

01:28:27   they don't know what to do with it, and they won't let you as a developer tell them where to go,

01:28:32   that is a shitty consumer experience. And Apple is allowing that app still in the app store.

01:28:38   And yet, it's just a dead end. It's so stupid. There was an app a couple months ago over the

01:28:44   mid-summer. I forget the name of the app. I don't have it off the top of my head. But it was sort of

01:28:48   like OnlyFans, but definitely not porn. And again, that's a whole other issue with OnlyFans that I

01:28:57   don't want to get into. But it was a place where you could follow your favorite influencers who

01:29:01   could sign up through the thing and then you could pay them $5 a month or whatever and get special

01:29:06   messages or have direct messages with them. And they were taking all the money on their website.

01:29:11   I think they made a mistake by having the web view in their app for a while where you could actually

01:29:17   be in the app and it would open a web view to do the payment. And I think that by the rules, they

01:29:22   definitely had to take that out. But then they took it so far. And I got curious about the app.

01:29:26   I remember downloading it and just to try it out, kick the tires and tried to follow somebody. And

01:29:32   I couldn't even follow. I was like, "This app is really poorly made. I don't even know how to

01:29:36   follow somebody." And it turned out... And I went to the help and the help didn't explain it. And

01:29:42   then I went to their website and went to the help on the website. And the help on the website said,

01:29:46   "You can only follow people on the website and then they'll show up in the app." And that wasn't

01:29:51   strategic on their part. It was like they were in a panic because of the, "Hey, you need to change

01:29:56   this or you're out of the app store in a month," email they got from the app store. And in a panic,

01:30:01   they just sort of took everything down that they could from the app. But it's a terrible experience.

01:30:07   It is a terrible objectively, a terrible experience that you download the Netflix app

01:30:12   to your phone or your iPad or your Apple TV. And your only option is to sign in.

01:30:18   Right. It's ridiculous.

01:30:21   If you need to sign up, it literally not only doesn't let you sign up, it doesn't tell you

01:30:26   how to sign up. And all I'm saying as a minimum is let apps tell you how to sign up, even if they're

01:30:33   not allowed to let you sign up in the app. Even if that's going to be the rule that you can't allow

01:30:39   people to sign up if they're going to pay with an external thing, external credit card. Just say,

01:30:45   "Go to Netflix.com. If you don't have an account, go to Netflix.com and sign up there. If you don't

01:30:51   have a Hey account, go to Hey.com and you can sign up there." Just let people say that.

01:30:58   Obviously, obviously they should do that. And it's ridiculous that they don't. And that's such an

01:31:05   argument against them too, right? Because it is such an easy argument. It's ridiculous to everyone.

01:31:09   It's ridiculous to end users, to developers. And Apple's the only one who views it as not

01:31:14   ridiculous for their stated reasons of, "We can go into security and all of this other stuff that

01:31:22   they'll use as an excuse." And in some cases it's true. In this case, it's just an excuse.

01:31:26   But I took a hard line earlier when we were talking of saying, "You should be able to put

01:31:32   in any payment processor you want and let Apple win by having the best product." And I do believe

01:31:37   that. But I do think there's also a more granular level that they'll probably try or should at least

01:31:41   try before that, which is just say, again, like you're saying, say where you can go to actually

01:31:48   sign up for an account and ideally have a URL, God forbid, have a URL. And maybe if you don't let

01:31:56   them pay right through the app itself using all the regular APIs, you just open up a web view and

01:32:02   let them do it that way. And that alone is a degraded experience because you have to open up

01:32:07   new views and you have to load things. That alone should be enough for Apple to win with a playing

01:32:13   field stack to their advantage, and yet they won't even do that. Here's where I'm... What I see,

01:32:20   and I feel like people espousing your viewpoint aren't acknowledging, is that there is a win for

01:32:25   normal users, the sort of people who are confused as to whether they're in the app or on a website

01:32:31   right now. There is a huge win to the idea that if you sign up for something and make an in-app

01:32:39   purchase in the app, you are always and only going through Apple and Apple has your back on. And

01:32:46   again, you start saying safety and people start thinking 1997 online safety where there was...

01:32:53   Is it safe to type your credit card into a web page? I don't know. It doesn't seem safe to me,

01:33:00   says somebody eating lunch with a friend handing their card to the waiter to pay the bill, right?

01:33:05   But that was the thing. It seemed weird and terrifying to just type your credit card number

01:33:11   into a form on this thing that you don't really understand and it goes off and it comes back and

01:33:16   it says you bought it. Not that type of safety that your credit card is going to get jacked

01:33:21   just by typing it in if Stripe were allowed. But the type of safety I'm talking about is...

01:33:25   And I always go to the New York Times because the New York Times is a credible organization.

01:33:29   Many people argue the best newspaper in the world. Canceling a New York Times subscription that you

01:33:36   make with the New York Times requires you to call an 800 number and talk to somebody whose

01:33:42   full-time job is talking people out of canceling their New York Times subscriptions. And that is

01:33:48   bullshit. And that's the New York Times. Imagine how bad subscriptions could be.

01:33:54   That is a great point though, but that's a great point that points to what I think Apple should do

01:33:58   to reconcile those two things of what you're talking about. Apple already reviews all these

01:34:03   apps. They do that famously. They've hired all these people. They have the infrastructure now

01:34:06   to do it and they seem to do it. There's obviously mistakes and all the stuff that we read about, but

01:34:10   it's overall a pretty effective system. Why don't they just turn that vision also to then these types

01:34:16   of things? So you say like, okay, so if you sign up through the New York Times and you don't sign up

01:34:21   with Apple, you sign up through the New York Times itself. Look, the way you guys handle unsubscribe,

01:34:28   like that's just not going to fly with our user base. You got to make it more simplified if you

01:34:32   want this to be approved in there with that. And Apple could use their power for good in that

01:34:36   regard. Right. And make it so that if you do, if you use Stripe in your app and they sign up,

01:34:43   take signups in the app, you have to comply with an API that still puts your app in the list for

01:34:51   your subscriptions, right? You go to- Yes, and it's one click unsubscribe. Yes. Just make them

01:34:57   adhere to these standard principles of how iOS runs. Yes. Right. And even if they had like a set

01:35:05   of trusted payment providers, Stripe, PayPal, you know, the list could go on. Right. Cash, Amazon,

01:35:16   the list could be quite long, but they, you know, it could be you have to use a trusted provider.

01:35:21   And then when you go to your list of subscriptions, any and all subscriptions you've made

01:35:26   through an app that you got from the app store, all of those would be listed. And they could even say

01:35:32   subscribed through Apple, subscribed through Apple, subscribed through Stripe, subscribed through

01:35:40   PayPal, something like that. But it's again, one tap, then a confirm, and you're unsubscribed,

01:35:45   no questions asked. And if you have any funny business with that, your app, they should pull

01:35:49   your app out of the app store, which gets to the whole other side topic of scams and confusion and

01:35:55   things that Apple should be policing that I think they are policing, but that they're not policing

01:35:59   enough, you know, like that they have released some numbers on how many scam developers they kick out

01:36:04   every year. And it is a shockingly high number, which is interesting because of all the scams that

01:36:09   do get through. And my analogy would be, my analogy would be to like Times Square, New York,

01:36:14   1976. And the police are like, we're arresting 500 people a night. And yet other people are like,

01:36:22   yeah, but there's still muggers out in the street, right? Like, both things are true. Like,

01:36:27   the police are arresting a bunch of criminals. And there's still a lot of crime. And it could be,

01:36:33   I think it is the truth that Apple is catching a lot of scammers. And yet there's still too many

01:36:38   scams. And so you know, and I don't think it's excusable. I think there's too much, they have

01:36:42   too much money. And it's, it's too possible that they could catch them. I think they could make

01:36:47   that work. But if anything where they they expand the list of payment providers outside,

01:36:52   it should be along those lines. And that's the problem that the read the room problem that Apple

01:37:00   has is the cynical take is nope, Apple is just in it for the money. They don't care about the user

01:37:07   experience. They're not doing this to protect people like my parents who trust a purchase they

01:37:15   make on their phone in an app or in the App Store. If my mom buys like a new word game,

01:37:20   and she just feels like I, you know, I've been doing this for she's been doing this for 10 years

01:37:24   now on her iPad, she feels like she's not going to get ripped off by buying a $4 word game or

01:37:30   something like that. That sort of thing could could stay. But it is important. But the cynical take,

01:37:38   I mean, Amy Klobuchar has led the way on it. She's like, I don't believe it. They're in it for the

01:37:42   money. Right. And it's hard. I don't think that's true. I think both are true. I think Apple is in

01:37:47   it for the money. And that's why they're clinging to 30%. But I think Apple is very, very serious

01:37:51   about the trusted aspect of if you make a purchase in an app, we've got your back that it's not a

01:37:57   scam. I totally agree with that. I just like, again, you just have to zoom out and know that

01:38:03   ultimately, it's going to change. It's not tenable. We're already talking about look at

01:38:06   what's going on. And I think it's South Korea, right? Where they're basically I have that on

01:38:10   the list. Yeah, they're gonna force them to let you install third party app store. It's just

01:38:15   gonna happen by the you know, the in that country. Yeah, I thought that the I thought the Korean

01:38:21   legislation was about payment processing, not app stores. Oh, is it? I could be confused. I'll put

01:38:27   it in either way. But whichever way it is, it's the same argument, right? It's basically, there's

01:38:32   going to be at some point down the road, some sort of legislation in some country, even if it's not

01:38:38   the US that forces these types of changes that they don't want to make at a fundamental level.

01:38:44   And, you know, do they want to go down that path on their own terms? Or do they want to have those,

01:38:49   those paths dictated to them? And well, yeah, I would say mandating legally third party app stores

01:38:57   is a step further and more disruptive. I think it's a terrible idea. And like I've described it,

01:39:04   it seems to me like the Klobuchar Blumenthal legislation boils down to Apple, Apple and Andrew,

01:39:10   Apple and Google should be forced to run their mobile platforms like Mac and Windows PC platforms

01:39:15   in terms of being able to install any and all software you want if you click a button or two.

01:39:20   And, and I know I say that and then some people out there like Yes, exactly. That is what you

01:39:26   know, I've been wanted for my iPhone ever since it came out is I want it to be just like my Mac. I

01:39:30   want that. I think it's a disaster will be I don't I wouldn't I'm not saying guaranteed. I think but

01:39:37   I I think ultimately it would be and I think that most people out there agree people general iPhone

01:39:43   users aren't unhappy about the fact that they get all their apps from the App Store. Most of them,

01:39:47   I think have no strong opinion about it. I think they like the clarity of finding it there. And I

01:39:52   think there's a lot of them who thrive on it because they feel like they know that nothing

01:39:56   they install on their phone is going to mess up their phone. And that is actually true.

01:40:00   I totally and I'm with you there. And by the way, you're right. Sorry, I misspoke. It is all about

01:40:06   the payment, third party payment methods within the thing, which is exactly what we're talking

01:40:10   about. And so that makes a ton of sense. And it seems like that they delayed it or whatever it

01:40:13   looks like the other day, but it is it is likely it seems like to pass right. And so what Apple

01:40:17   does, it will be fascinating. Do they pull out of Korea? Or do they say that this is sandboxed away?

01:40:24   And this is just different? That's probably right. What they're going to do, they're going to say,

01:40:27   like, we will operate differently in Korea than we operate everywhere else. But it opens up,

01:40:32   at least in people's minds, you know, like, look, Apple can do this because they are doing it

01:40:36   somewhere else. Right. I think it was Montana had some proposed state legislature last summer.

01:40:42   Yeah, yeah. To mandate, I don't forget if it was payments or app stores or whatever. But

01:40:47   I remember thinking, hmm, state by state probably isn't the way and Montana certainly isn't the

01:40:53   state and it wound up it was a proposal and people testified and it got a little bit of press and

01:40:59   it never even went to a vote on the state senate floor or whatever it you know, fizzled out but

01:41:04   if it had passed, Montana is a market Apple could say, well, we're sorry, but your

01:41:10   past a law we're not, you know, that makes the iPhone unsafe. So, you know, we're out.

01:41:15   Yeah, and I think Apple might be, you know, as a, as a political strategy, probably on the right

01:41:22   side that iPhone, every iPhone user calling up their state senator to say, what the hell did

01:41:26   you just do? Now my iPhone can't get apps is, would get the law repealed, right? It's like,

01:41:33   now if California passed a law like that, hmm, I don't know. But anyway, if mandating third,

01:41:41   having laws passed around the world that tries to get them to say you have to have third party app

01:41:46   stores and sideloading and or sideloading, whatever you want to say is worse and displeasureable and

01:41:52   would truly disrupt the iPhone platform as we know it. Bending on the payment stuff, the 30%

01:42:01   fee for Apple, the, the when and where can you just take credit card numbers on your own in the app

01:42:08   would alleviate that pressure because the whole thing about the app store thing is all about the,

01:42:15   you're just in it for the money. You're just in it for the money. And if you could say, no,

01:42:18   we're not just in it for the money. Look here, we'll cut it to 20%. We love our developers.

01:42:22   And you know, there's some way that they could spin it, you know, and make it seem like, you know,

01:42:27   less of a, well, you really, you know, we're beaten and bloodied and we're, we're really up,

01:42:32   up against the wall. So we're here, we'll give in. They could make it seem like it's win-win somehow.

01:42:36   Like we just love our developers so much. And we realize, you know, we've been listening. We hear

01:42:40   you. And so we're cutting it to 20% because we want you to do well. And we love you, you know,

01:42:45   again, I guess that they view that as a slippery slope, like how, you know, if it's 20%, then when

01:42:50   does it go to 15 and when does it go to 10 and when does it go to five and so on and so forth.

01:42:54   And so I don't know, 2010, 15, five, I don't know. But, you know, and, and why not just go 2010? Just,

01:43:03   just take, take everything that's at 30, go to 20, take everything that's at 15, go to 10. And,

01:43:09   and just say, this is this and this covers, you know, this, this is much closer to, you know,

01:43:15   this is great for developers. What covers the cost and yeah, all that. Right. Anyway, I got it. I

01:43:20   got to interrupt. I have to interrupt. I have one more sponsor. I got to fit it in. Oh, it's a new

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01:44:48   15% off your first order. All right, let's wrap it up. What else you got? Just one last thing. I

01:44:55   remember what I was conflating now. So, the South Korea thing is absolutely about the payments. What

01:44:59   we were talking about earlier, the Richard Blumenthal and Amy Klobuchar bill is actually

01:45:02   the Open App Markets Act. That's the thing that's trying to get them to do the side-loading of third

01:45:07   party apps or third party app stores. Right, and again, if they want to make that go away,

01:45:12   giving in on the payments is the way to do it. It's a conflict of interest to say that we're both

01:45:24   trying to—that Apple's argument is that their utmost concern is the user experience and

01:45:30   trustworthiness of the platform, and that you know when you download an app, it at a technical level

01:45:35   isn't going to do anything bad. It's not going to install system agents that run invisibly in

01:45:41   the background, and that when you delete the app, they're still there running in the background.

01:45:45   You can't just—everything gets—when you uninstall an app, everything gets deleted,

01:45:49   which is fantastic. It is great. When you purchase stuff, you know it's not a scam. That's great.

01:46:00   It—but it's a conflict of interest to be making billions of dollars and growing and enforce these

01:46:09   truly—some of the terms like the anti-steering stuff, where you can't even tell them without

01:46:15   even a tappable link to go to our website to sign up. There's no argument for that in terms of making

01:46:21   the platform better or—it's worse. It's confusing, and it can only be explained by being about the

01:46:28   money. So it's a conflict of interest, and if they just make that—do whatever they can to make that

01:46:33   conflict of interest lessened, you know, it's not going to go away unless they actually said, "We're

01:46:39   not going to collect—we're not going to take any money," which they're not going to do, and which

01:46:42   they shouldn't have to do. One—I would like your thoughts on the one last thing which you brought up

01:46:46   sort of earlier, which was Gurman's thing today about the succession planning at Apple, because I

01:46:51   thought that that was interesting. The four people that he named—and I pulled it up so I could just

01:46:55   rattle them off, or maybe it was four or five—but he basically goes over all the key executives right

01:46:59   now and gives a sort of a yay or nay if he thinks it's feasible that they could be potentially the

01:47:06   next in line given all the stock option stuff with Cook, just given how long he's obviously just

01:47:11   past the 10-year mark running the company, and he's getting a little bit up there in age, right?

01:47:17   Not too old. But—

01:47:17   - Sixty-one years old.

01:47:19   - So he's pretty young. But still, it seems likely that some points, certainly in the next decade,

01:47:25   that he's going to take a step back and could be as soon as 2025 as they're reporting via the

01:47:31   stock options and sort of the handcuffs that he has in place right now. And so the key list that

01:47:39   he goes over is basically Jeff Williams, which everyone knows is sort of top of mind right now,

01:47:44   because he is basically in the same position that Cook was in when he got elevated, right?

01:47:48   - Right.

01:47:49   - He's a COO now, and he was also running a lot of the logistics which Cook previously ran,

01:47:57   and so that's a very obvious choice. The weird thing there is that he is very close in age to

01:48:02   Cook. And I also think that there is something to be said, and this is sort of an interesting

01:48:06   debate to be had, about is he enough of a showman to sort of be the person who's on stage? And then

01:48:11   we should argue, like, is that necessary, right? Because Cook is obviously not Steve Jobs, but he's

01:48:16   done a good job sort of coming into his own skin, right, as the sort of person who emcees these

01:48:22   events. But if you're looking just at the MC level, it would obviously be Craig Federighi,

01:48:28   right, who would be the person who is like the most sort of charismatic MC-type person who would

01:48:34   be the one to run that. - Right.

01:48:36   - Germin doesn't think that he's actually sort of one of the ones that would be necessarily in the

01:48:40   top sort of five in line to run it, and I thought that that was interesting, because I would have

01:48:44   assumed that he was sort of one of those people. - I feel like this is such a black box and such

01:48:51   a mystery. Like, did Tim Cook get the job because that's what Apple institutionally saw as the

01:49:00   natural way to go, to go from the operations person to CEO, you know, the next in line?

01:49:06   And Jeff Williams has absolutely taken on what was Tim Cook's role as COO, occasionally on stage to

01:49:12   sort of prep him for it. He is lower key, and I think that the bigger problem is the age thing,

01:49:20   right? Like, I compare it to when they recast James Bond with Roger Moore.

01:49:27   - Right, that's very good, yeah. - Because Roger Moore was actually—they're

01:49:32   both dead now, unfortunately—but he was actually a couple of years older than Sean Connery.

01:49:36   - Right, right. - Right? And so his entire run as James Bond,

01:49:40   which was set in films, was as an older, middle-aged James Bond. Even at the beginning,

01:49:46   he was sort of leather-faced. - He didn't have to wear a wig, though, to his—

01:49:50   - No, that is true. But when Connery did, it was always—it was a nice—he always had a nice wig.

01:49:55   So I don't know. You gotta—Jeff Williams is on the list. And, you know, obviously,

01:49:58   if Tim Cook leaves sooner rather than later, I think it would definitely be Williams. I think.

01:50:04   I don't think Tim Cook is—I think the 2025 thing is an un-Apple-like and un-Tim

01:50:11   Cook-like way of acting about it. Yes. - Tim Cook has something because of the

01:50:15   stock options or whatever you mean? - There's—yeah, there's—I think he'd be

01:50:19   more likely to—if he's thinking about retiring, I swear to God, I mean this—I think Tim Cook would

01:50:24   be more likely to retire before they all vest and leave—walk away from them than—

01:50:29   - It's a better—I agree. I agree with that. - Yeah, and by all accounts, he lives very

01:50:34   humbly. He's like a Warren Buffett and doesn't live in a mansion. Yeah, he's already—he doesn't need

01:50:40   it. And it would be a better look. The least likely thing possible would be for Tim Cook to

01:50:46   let those—let all that vest in 2025 and then quit and then walk away. - Then walk away, yeah.

01:50:51   And the very Apple-like thing to do would be actually to do it around a product cadence,

01:50:54   right? To say, like, look, we just shipped this AR glasses, and that was—I drew a line in the

01:51:00   sand and said, "This is the thing that I'm going to get out the door." And then I stepped out.

01:51:03   - And that's—German even said that that's actually being talked about within Apple. He doesn't say by

01:51:08   whom, but, you know, he's obviously got sources that Cook is thinking one more major product,

01:51:13   which, you know, the next thing is going to be glasses, if and when they ever do do a car that's

01:51:18   clearly further out. - Too far out, yeah. - I don't know. Federe—you know, I think it's up to Federe,

01:51:27   maybe? I don't know. I mean, he mentions Jaws, too. - Yeah, he mentions Jaws, which is sort of

01:51:32   a wild card, because he was just elevated, right? To his VP level. He's been at the company,

01:51:36   obviously, forever. But he is an interesting choice. The Deidre O'Brien one, I think,

01:51:41   is maybe the most interesting one of the ones that he mentioned, because she has done so many

01:51:46   different roles. But she's also relatively new to being elevated to this level after Angela Arends

01:51:52   left, and so now she has this bifurcated role. - And, you know, before she left, I know a lot

01:52:00   of people would email me—it was like a super common email—people speculating about the CEO

01:52:04   succession thing, who thought Angela Arends was a lock for it. And I was like, "No, no way."

01:52:09   - Yeah, that's pretty surprising. - Yeah, she hasn't been there long enough, and retail is not

01:52:16   the direction that it would come from. I mean, I think she was fine running retail, and she has a

01:52:21   terrific presence on stage. But I don't think that was— - I guess the idea there, though, was that

01:52:26   she had been CEO of Burberry, right? And so the idea that she was a CEO before and she was the

01:52:31   only one maybe with that experience could lead to that. - Yeah, but that's not how Apple thinks.

01:52:34   - But it's a totally different world, yeah. - Right, that's not how Apple thinks.

01:52:38   - The John Turnest one is really interesting, because he has been definitely getting elevated

01:52:43   more in these events, especially the virtual ones that we've been having, and it does seem

01:52:46   like he is stepping into something. And he is very young relative to the other folks.

01:52:51   So I do think that that's an interesting one that I hadn't really considered before.

01:52:55   - Yeah, I mean, he's definitely a comer, right? He is up and coming, and he's, you know,

01:53:03   by all the people mentioned, the youngest. But there's also, like, with Federighi and Turnest

01:53:09   in particular, there's like maybe a self-awareness of the Pareto principle, right? Which is the idea

01:53:15   that people tend to get promoted until the point where they're no longer good at their job, right?

01:53:20   You're great at your job. Here's a promotion. Oh, you did great with your promotion. Here's

01:53:24   a promotion. And when does that stop? When you get promoted to a position you're not good at.

01:53:28   It's a fascinating idea, and it kind of makes very intuitive sense. There's a notion there that

01:53:34   Federighi is maybe self-aware that leading software engineering at Apple is the peak of

01:53:42   what he's good at. And for Turnest, Turnest is truly, I mean, I've had, you know, private

01:53:48   briefings with him. He's brilliant, and he really is. He's not like some kind of, oh,

01:53:54   put a pretty face on the hardware or whatever. He knows his shit. I mean, he knows the hardware

01:53:58   stuff down. He knows everything about Apple hardware. Is that good for the CEO, right?

01:54:05   Right. It's a very good question. It points to, I mean, the answer ultimately probably comes down

01:54:12   to, because we're in, it's a totally different position than we were a decade ago when Cook took

01:54:16   over, and everyone knew of Jobs' health issues, and it was a very unfortunate situation. And in a way,

01:54:21   you know, Cook ended up being the perfect choice. Obviously, it was a bit controversial just because

01:54:25   he wasn't a product guy like Jobs was, but it ended up being the perfect choice for Apple for

01:54:29   the next 10 years, and that's proven itself in many ways, right? Certainly, it's the most valuable

01:54:34   company in the world and the stock and everything else. What does the next 10 years, you know,

01:54:38   so say it's like 2024, so it's before he vests all those shares, and they have the AR product

01:54:44   out there, and it's 2024, let's say. And so what does 2024 to 2034 look like for Apple? And that's

01:54:52   like sort of, you know, trying to figure out what that is and what those product lines are and what

01:54:56   the mix of the company is sort of is probably what the answer ends up being. I don't know what that

01:55:02   is, though, right now, right? Yeah, I say, I think the best clue looking forward is to keep track of

01:55:09   stage time, you know, and by all accounts, when Steve Jobs, like when Steve Jobs went on medical

01:55:13   leaves, it was always Tim Cook as interim CEO. Right, right. So that was an obvious, right,

01:55:18   tipping of the head. And when he stepped down, he said, "I'm recommending to the board that they

01:55:23   promote Tim Cook, it seems like," and that was the succession plan. I think it's a real mystery

01:55:31   what it is now, but I would keep an eye— But you bring up one great point just directly off of that,

01:55:37   because at a board level, you know, I've been lucky enough to be on boards at this point and

01:55:41   not at a public company, though, but I would say that there are always discussions about succession

01:55:45   planning, right? And that was famously, you know, a level of divisiveness within the Apple board

01:55:51   because of Jobs. But at some point, he recognized that, you know, needed to happen. This is a

01:55:57   fiduciary responsibility to do that for the company as a public company. And so they're

01:56:01   obviously having those discussions, not because Cook is sick, thank God, but like because, you

01:56:06   know, it's a natural thing that you have to do. And so they're having these discussions, and it's

01:56:10   a matter of how far along are they? And it would seem like probably not that far along if nothing

01:56:15   is sort of leaking out as an obvious one, except for the Jeff Williams thing. Absolutely what you're

01:56:20   saying and what Gherman says has to be true that if something were to happen, you know, out of the

01:56:25   blue tomorrow and Cook had to step down for some reason, it would definitely be Jeff Williams,

01:56:29   but it's unlikely to be in five years, which is interesting. No. My gut feeling is that Tim Cook

01:56:34   is going to be here closer to 10 years than not, and that the succession planning, I think, would

01:56:40   start five years from now, and that there's surely a sealed envelope with an emergency succession

01:56:45   plan right now in case Tim Cook gets hit by a bus. Yes, and I think it's, and I think it says,

01:56:50   it just says Jeff Williams. That's what I think. So I think it's a better question for five years

01:56:54   down the road. But your stage time point points directly to Federighi. I mean, he gets all the

01:57:00   stage time in the world because he's so good at it, right? He's such a natural charismatic person.

01:57:04   But on the other hand, Phil Schiller seemingly was never mentioned 10 years ago. It was always Tim

01:57:09   Cook. That's a good point. Yep. And Schiller by far and away has had the most stage time other than

01:57:13   Steve Jobs. Yep. But that's different. But that's different now. So I would say that the stage time

01:57:19   thing would be what to keep an eye on over the next few years. And again, yes, definitely. It's

01:57:24   maybe less about the actual stage time and more about the trend over time, right? It's like,

01:57:28   how much does it rise or fall? And that's like, that's what you're watching to see who is currying

01:57:34   favor. Yeah. Anyway, MG, thank you for your time. This is a fantastic episode. Everybody can read

01:57:40   all of your stuff, your great columns, which are coming out on a great regularity at 500ishf00ish.com.

01:57:48   There will be several links to your columns in the show notes. Talk to you soon. Yeah. Go Michigan,

01:57:54   Go Blue!

01:57:56   [