Apple announced stellar results last week, setting a new record for the quarter amid a global pandemic. This is great news for the company and sent its stock soaring again. Apple has now even passed Saudi Aramco to become the world’s most valuable company.
By all measures, Apple looks practically unstoppable. In fact, that’s one of the things the Macalope covers because many pundits inexplicably still like to think of the company as being as “beleaguered” as it was in the mid-1990s.
So it was weird to see Tim Cook try to paint Apple as beset by foes on all sides to Congress last week.
…our products face fierce competition. Companies like Samsung, LG, Huawei, and Google have built successful businesses with different approaches. … In fact, we don’t have a dominant share in any market or in any product category where we do business.
That’s all true, but Cook left out details like he was flipping a house he bought with credit cards.
There’s competition for developers just like there’s a competition for customers. And so competition for developers, they can write their apps for Android, or Windows, or Xbox, or PlayStation.
Sure, they could and while certain games are only written for game consoles, “apps” are really the place where Apple does have something approaching a monopoly. If you were building a consumer app today, would you skip the App Store? Not if you wanted to make any money off of it. Or wanted it to get mentioned. Or used. Or cared about in any way greater than “in some dark corner of the universe, a small meteorite struck a dead moon but no one was there to witness the event”.
We have fierce competition at the developer side and the customer side. Essentially, it’s so competitive I’d describe it as a street fight for market share in the smartphone business.
It’s barely a slap fight, let alone a street fight.
But that wasn’t the only place where Cook took liberties with the truth.
We treat every developer the same.
“Documents show Apple gave Amazon special treatment to get Prime Video into App Store.”
Oh, not the big ones! Psh. C’mon. Duh. Haha. I meant the little ones.
Cook continued to try to convince the Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law that he was the Lathe of Heaven.
When the App Store was created, the prevailing distribution options available to software developers at the time did not work well. Brick-and-mortar stores charged high fees and had limited reach. Physical media like CDs had to be shipped and were hard to update.
And those were the only options? Those are the only ones Cook mentions. This is a talking point Apple keeps repeating but the repetition does not make it true. First of all, downloading software was an actual thing that actually existed for years before the App Store. Second, if the App Store rules and deal are so great, why did the Macalope just see a tumbleweed blowing through the Mac App Store?
The horny one is pretty lenient when it comes to making grandiose claims in marketing. But this was Congressional testimony. Cook’s comments were so self-serving, in fact, that the Macalope will even point you to Rob Pegoraro at the Forbes contributor network for an accurate dissection. That’s how bad it’s gotten.
The Macalope still believes Apple is usually better behaved than its competitors and certainly that it makes better products. That doesn’t mean the company’s executives should be allowed to flout facts in public.