Much is being said (on podcasts) and written (on blogs) about EU Regulations and tech companies. As is often the case, tech companies are pushing a narrative about how desperate they are to comply if they can only understand what is being asked of them. It’s all terribly opaque, goes the cry.

First, I recommend the reader take a pensive moment here to consider.

That narrative is utter bollocks. It’s not disingenuous, clever or slippery. It’s a flat-out lie. Whatever EU regulation is or isn’t, it is immensely readable and comprehensible. If I can understand it, then I’m certain that companies which engage the best legal minds in the world wholly comprehend it, too.

Second, I have read many commentaries on how the Digital Markets Act targets giant technology firms. Yes. It does. THAT’S WHAT IT’S FOR! To steal tech terminology, that targeting is "a feature, not a bug".

Apple appears to pride itself on devising schemes that appear to comply with regulation while simultaneously undermining the intention of that regulation. What clever dicks.

The play seems to be that, ultimately, this comes down to popularity. Apple et al. can turn the market and consumers against the EU. They can build such rage in Europe’s Apple users that they will rise as one, march on Brussels, and tear down the Commission. The Apple narrative will appeal to fair play, simple (albeit untrue) commonsense, and win in the court of public opinion.

This overlooks a vitally important element.

The European Commission doesn’t care.

EU regulations are written to be understood both in detail and intent. Tim Cook and the Executives at Apple are far from stupid. They completely understand what the Commission is looking for. They just don't agree with it. So they're dragging their feet and trying to be clever. Not only are they behaving like dicks, they're coming across as behaving like dicks.

If they feel Apple is being “smart”, they’ll fine it until it stops.

If Apple withholds functionality from the EU, the Commission will celebrate its own effectiveness, and fine it.

If Apple threatens to withdraw from the EU, the Commission will trumpet “the real difference” effective regulation makes, wave Apple goodbye and fine it.

It’s tempting to believe that Apple is making all the noise because it has a flawed strategy and will suffer a bloody nose.

But really? No. I don’t think so.

Apple’s legal outriders will be hammering out exactly what the EU wants and determining what compromises can be made in which areas to reach an agreement. We may not ever know the details of what accommodations are reached.

Apple is making all this noise in order to control the narrative.

Why? I don’t know, but I know corporate distraction when I see it.

I hope they know what they're doing because they are spending huge amounts of reputational capital.

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