MBW 773: The Swelling Has Gone Down

Beep boop - this is a robot. A new show has been posted to TWiT…

What are your thoughts about today’s show? We’d love to hear from you!

I am very much with Andy on the subject of regulation and control.

Alex gets very defensive at the idea that Apple, or Big Tech in general might not be doing everything right. I think it is good when they are subjected to oversight and have to justify some of their decisions. I like some of the things Apple does, but not all of it.

I just switched to an iPad from an Android tablet and half of the apps I use are “broken”. In Audible, if I finished a book, I could just pop over to the store, within the app, and buy a book using my free book credit or purchasing a book. The same with Kindle. On the iPad, both apps are broken, if I finish a book, I have to go to my Android device and order a new book there (or waste time opening Safari, opening the relevant website, logging on and buying a book), then go back to the iPad, refresh my library and download the newly purchased book.

That is supposed to be the “better” experience that Apple offers? This is where some oversight is needed.

Likewise, Alex’s answer to the Xbox debacle on iOS, “I don’t care, I don’t play Xbox games on my iPhone.” :man_facepalming: Because it doesn’t interest him, he doesn’t even consider that this might be a problem for other people and it might be a genuine complaint against the way Apple does things.

In general, I find Alex’s input good and knowledgeable, but as soon as it comes to Apple doing something wrong, he slaps his hands, metaphorically, over his ears and starts chanting “la, la, la, I can’t hear you, la, la, la!”


I think that oversight is great, but I don’t want Congress designing the operating systems I use. The same legislative body that asks Mark Zuckerberg how Facebook makes money is going to decide whether I should be able to sideload or not? No thanks. If I want to sideload, I can get an Android device. Apple as made a lot of changes due to consumer pressure - allowing third-party keyboards, setting another browser or email app as your default, etc. I am fine with that approach.

Yep. That’s why it’s good to have more than one guest on the show :slight_smile:


All I can say is Heaven forbid Congress impinge on the user experience of Apple users. I mean - if you want to rein in Facebook or Google and impinge on how they work - that’s okay. But if you want to keep the way of life you’ve become accustomed to as an Apple user - then you have to take action.

Holy cow - what a privileged and elite position to take. If only we all had that kind of friend making $50,000 a month on the App Store.

What no one has ever been able to adequately explain to me is - how my sideloading an app on my phone harms anyone else? How would me sideloading Fortnite (for example) compromise the entire system?

If the system is that fragile - then perhaps the problem isn’t sideloading.


I’m not defending Apple (because I am not an Apple fan) but I gather the thinking is: If we unlock the ability to sideload, someone (who is not Apple) will make a sideloading system that competes with the Apple system, and that will be more successful because it won’t have the overhead of Apple inspecting and deciding on every minute detail. Now that the competition is more successful, there will be mal-actors who will target this newly successful thing (as always happens… the bad guys are very good at following the money and trends) and now you will have all sorts of garbage coming at the platform, which devalues the platform and slags Apple’s reputation for not allowing “garbage” on the platform.


Thus far I’ve only watched the first 45 minutes, but it certainly was a fabulous and thought provoking debate; absolutely fantastic stuff, chaps!! :smiley:


Right now, you can download pretty much anything on your iPhone that’s in the store and not worry about malware. That is a minor miracle. I don’t want to deal with multiple different stores and sources for apps - that is one of the reasons I went with iOS to begin with. I also don’t want to have to deal with tech support calls from friends and family who are duped into downloading something they shouldn’t and now have an inoperable device.

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Not everyone agrees with that position either. I also don’t see how they have been “reigned in” at all. Yelled at? Sure. Actual repercussions that impact them in any meaningful way? Not really.

I do want Apple to change a lot about how they run their store - so called “anti-steering” mechanisms, allowing third-party rendering engines, etc. I just don’t want that to be legislated.


There have been enough cases of malware getting into both Google Play Store and the Apple App Store lately. They both do a reasonable job, but neither is anywhere near perfect.

Regarding Alex’s statement of he just installs apps from the Store, whereas he is wary about installing them on a computer, sorry, I am wary when installing on my iPad, iPhone or Android phone. I always double check the author and if it doesn’t look right, I’ll leave it.

I switched to 1Password and their iPhone app comes from another company. I actually left the store and went to the 1Password site to double check, they sent me back to the same 3rd party app in the store.


That is the problem, if they don’t do it themselves, they will eventually be made to do something, which could be worse than sorting it out themselves.

For example the stupid 30% for virtual goods and subscriptions that have nothing to do with Apple. They just make the experience worse for users of those apps (E.g. Audible, Kindle etc.). It is seamless on Android and Windows, you just tap the store icon in the app, make your purchase and carry on. Because the 30% vig on Apple, you have to leave the app, goto the website (or in my case, grab my Android phone) and make your purchase there, then go back to the app.

The Google Play Store works on the same basis as the App Store, but the app developers there can complete transactions without having to pay Google the 30% (and, yes, big apps only 15%). So, why can’t Apple do the same thing? It makes for more satisfied app developers and more satisfied users and Google can still make a profit out of the store, without that vig.

And the Google Play Store isn’t really an example of best practice either, but better than Apple in this case.

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You’re correct - they haven’t been reined in. My point is that Alex seems to find it acceptable to say Google and Facebook need to be stopped, but not Apple - because he likes what Apple does.


So why couldn’t Apple do something like Microsoft is doing with the Windows 11 app store: Have a central app store that shows everything available, but allows for 3rd party content delivery networks and alternate payment systems?


They could for sure. I think that they should just allow apps to link out to Safari where you can go ahead and complete your transaction there.

I can see two reasons why Apple wouldn’t do that:

  1. Money
  2. Ease of use. IAP is undoubtedly easier than having users worry about multiple payment methods for multiple apps. Unfortunately, as @big_D pointed out, what we have now for Audible, Spotify, and other apps is less than ideal.

Given the choice, I will still opt for IAP. It is more secure and easier than managing multiple touchpoints. I like the fact that if I want to cancel Disney+, I can just go to settings and do it there. I don’t have to email, call, or look for a hidden page or setting in an app.


Let the market via the users push them to make changes, not a government. They have already made a lot of changes, let’s keep pressuring them to do so.

I disagree. History has shown, especially in the tech industry, that user pushback is not enough to really effect substantial change. People don’t like being tracked - yet Google and Facebook still do it. Apple has the same problems with App Store approval today that it did 8 years ago - with no real change in sight. Same thing with Uber, YouTube (itself owned by Google), and any other big player you can name. Businesses will do the minimum necessary if left to their own devices, and there’s no guarantee that they won’t revert back to the behaviors that got people upset in the first place - unless there is government intervention in the form of regulation and, if necessary, legal action.

The one tech company that has truly faced antitrust issues is Microsoft - and they are today an example of how antitrust can truly reform a company. And their antitrust ruling was overturned. But Microsoft’s revolution came at the cost of the ‘lost decade’ when they didn’t have the power they once wielded to force OEMS to do what they wanted. One could make an argument that the problems with Windows Vista were due to OEMS bullying Microsoft into lowering the requirements for 'Vista-capable" hardware - and we all know how that turned out. But Microsoft persevered and the company today is unquestionably better than it was during the 2000’s

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People enjoy not paying for stuff more than they enjoy not being tracked. There is a lot of press around anti-tracking measures and some PR from Apple, but do people actually care?

If there is truly a market for a completely “open” device, someone will capitalize on that. If people want to sideload, they can buy Android devices. There is a market for people who don’t want to have to deal with any of that. If people get upset, they can take their business elsewhere. Apple has made a lot of changes over the years to iOS - support for external storage, third-party keyboards, setting a default mail app, web browsers, etc. Could Apple take that away? Absolutely. Will they? Probably not, but time will tell. There are other options and ecosystems out there.


Yes, very much. My wife is not a very technical person. I have to install and set up all the apps on her phone and iPad.

Without me saying anything, she started saying at parties and family gatherings that nobody had her permission to upload photos of her - that is legally binding in Germany.

A couple of years ago, she came to me and asked me to de-Google her Android phone.

My daughters independently stopped using Facebook and WhatsApp.

I have many friends that have similar feelings.

Im happy to pay for services, if it means I am not being tracked. I’ll look at adverts, if they exclude tracking.

Tracking and advertising don’t have to go hand in hand, as the last couple of centuries have proven.


You are basing that on a handful of people. My understanding is that Germany is more privacy conscious than most countries. I question how many users care and how many of them care enough to change their usage in any meaningful way.

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The number of daily active users of Facebook has gone up over the last few years - they’ve seen an 8% increase YoY.