In How to Destroy Surveillance Capitalism, Cory Doctorow asks the question, if Apple is so gosh darn awesome with keeping their software safe, and keeping your hardware safe with their repair facilities…why do they make it so hard for competitors[1]?

Apple doesn’t do this to “keep you safe” as the often claim, they do this to keep their bottom line safe. We regularly get stories about malicious applications on the AppStore. While I have sympathy for those tasked with keeping scams off the AppStore[2] I don’t have any sympathy when I hear the company trot out it’s pony of “we keep you safe” as they try to argue that an alternative AppStore shouldn’t be allowed on their devices.

Developers only put up with the AppStore’s Sisyphean approval process because Apple has locked down all other ways to get access to users of iPhones. They claim to be surprised by frustrated developers in what can only be an act of wilful blindness, because developer have been complaining for over a decade.

I agreed that most users are likely to stick with whatever default AppStore is available and they’ll be mostly happy with it. I do like that all my subscriptions are found in a single place for me to manage. Despite these thin good points about the AppStore, I don’t think that Apple should be allowed to lock all other competitors out of the devices these users ostensibly own.

Louis Rossmann has been doing excellent work for yours showing us that what Apple claims is “not repairable” is in fact repairable.. Yes it takes some specialty tools and an experienced hand, but it’s entirely possible. Doctorow also talks about DMCA 1201[3] making it illegal to unlock anything with any type of digital lock. This is how Apple makes it harder to repair devices unless you go directly and only to someone Apple approves of.

Overall, the longer I deal with tech the more I agree with ideas like Doctorow presents. Big tech isn’t here to save us. More tech faster under the current regime where tech firms have captured most regulators, won’t solve anything. Only putting tech firms on notice via laws and regulation that they can’t exploit everyone for shareholder profits will make any real change happen.

I talk more about this book tomorrow for members. Join to read it.

  • [1] Page 112
  • [2] I’m sure they get so many submissions it’s a hard job
  • [3] Page 37

Related Content