The Orange View (on hiatus) Because Apple is great but it isn't perfect


Apple’s change of heart and the Heisenberg uncertainty principle of blogging

Back in February, when Apple unveiled its new iOS subscription rules, the implications seemed pretty dire. The rules required that sellers of digital content fork over 30% of revenues to Apple, prohibited them from charging a lower price anywhere else and required an in-app sales feature.

But the economics didn't add up for many services which only get to keep 30% of their revenue after paying copyright holders. A video service like Netflix, a music service like Rhapsody or an ebook service like Amazon Kindle could not longer offer an iPhone or iPad app and abide by Apple's new rules.

TOV was certainly among those complaining that these specific aspects of the new rules were bad for Apple's own customers and hurt competition by disadvantaging companies that competed with Apple. Some of those aspects also brought complaints from publishers and scrutiny from regulators.

Some Apple pundits urged calm, defending the new rules as fully justified and preaching that it would all work out fine in the end.

But now that it has worked out fine, or pretty close to fine, were those Apple pundits right all along and the rest of us deserving of a steaming helping of claim chowder for needlessly sounding the alarm?

I would argue no. The complainers and critics helped force today's change. By making a ruckus, they upped the pressure on Apple to back down. Absent the resistance, Apple would have carried out the original plan. And the fact that Apple backed down on the very aspects of the plan that got most of us so riled up in the first place seems like a vindication of the criticism.

It's sort of like the famed Heisenberg uncertainty principle in which the very act of determining a electron's position alters that position so it cannot be known with certainty. Entering the debate changed the outcome of the debate. And thank goodness for that!

Posted by Aaron Pressman

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