Archive for the 'Apple Browser Ban' Category

Apple’s new Core Technology Fee is a Core Technology Fleece

At the recent EU-organised workshop, Apple explained its proposals for its compliance with the Digital Markets Act, and took questions from developers. One developer, Riley Testut of AltStore (which has announced it will be a third-party app store in the EU) asked an interesting question about Apple’s new Core Technology Fee. He noted that the free open-source app he made and released while at High School would have put him in 5 million Euros of debt to Apple under their new fee structure, even though it was not distributed through its AppStore.

Apple’s lawyer made soothing noises about Apple wanting to support “the dreamers” and to “stay tuned”, presumably for any exceptions Apple may graciously bestow on such developers.

But it made me wonder: what is the Core Technology Fee actually for, if a developer makes an app and distributes it outside the AppStore? So, I asked:

A developer who wants to make an iOS app must do it on a Mac; these are not cheap, and only available from Apple. You’ll need an iPhone to test it (the xcode simulator won’t allow you to check accessibility with Voiceover). You’ll probably want an iPad, too – bafflingly, apps can work on iPads too, even though iOS and iPadOS are completely different operating systems (according to Apple).

A developer license costs $99 per year (although it’s unclear to me if you actually need one if you’re not uploading your app to the AppStore). And if a consumer wants to download your app, they will need a shiny iThing, which they’ve bought from Apple at a premium price, precisely to reimburse Apple for the core technology it contains. Would anyone buy an iPhone if there were no apps available?

So I don’t buy Apple’s argument that developers must pay them for the core technology that the iPhone user has already paid them for. And I wonder if the EU believe it, either; EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager said after the workshop

There are things that we take a keen interest in, for instance, if the new Apple fee structure will de facto not make it in any way attractive to use the benefits of the DMA. That kind of thing is what we will be investigating.

To quote Apple’s legal team: stay tuned.

Happy DMA day to all! Where we are, and what comes next

Yesterday was a momentous day for tech in the European Union; the Digital Markets Act came into enforcement on 7 March. It’s been the law for 6 months already, but affected companies (Apple, Google, Microsoft, Meta, the usual colossi) were given a grace period to prepare themselves.

Apple spent their time playing silly buggers. They hilariously tried to claim that Safari is a different product on each OS, successfully (but ridiculously) claimed that iOS on tablets is different from iOS on phones.

Then they tried to sneak in a change in Safari that crippled Progressive Web Apps (aka Home Screen Apps) on iOS, presumably concluding that if they hobbled their own browser before the enforcement began, they wouldn’t be on the hook for denying those capabilities to other browser engines they’re required to allow.

Yup, that’s right; they were prepared to throw their own WebKit and Safari teams under the bus and remove Web Push, the Badging API, and all the other work those teams had done. They were happy to destroy many EU businesses that relied on PWAs, and harm those users. They were fine with sneaking in anti-competitive behaviour while blaming the very legislation that is designed to open competition.

As the Financial Times reported, ‘”Contrary to Apple’s public representation, the removal of Home Screen Web Apps on iOS in the EU was neither required, nor justified, under the Digital Markets Act,” a commission spokesperson added.’

Luckily, we managed to organise an open letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook, which was signed by 483 organisations and 4640 individuals (including two Members of the European Parliament), the EU swiftly started investigating, and Apple backed off. To all those who signed: know that your voices were heard, loudly, in Brussels and Cupertino and you made a difference. Thank you.

So where are we now? Apple has revised its statement on killing Web Apps, saying instead

We have received requests to continue to offer support for Home Screen web apps in iOS, therefore we will continue to offer the existing Home Screen web apps capability in the EU. This support means Home Screen web apps continue to be built directly on WebKit and its security architecture, and align with the security and privacy model for native apps on iOS.

This is not a victory; Apple says iOS will still only be able to run Web Apps on the WebKit that it provides, with all its bugs and restrictions.

But a stated compliance plan from an organisation that only four days ago was fined over €1.8 billion for restricting competition in Music apps is not necessarily what everyone else agrees to be compliance. And the EU has already experienced Apple’s complex relationship with ‘facts’ and ‘truth’:

In setting the level of the fine, the Commission took into account the duration and gravity of the infringement as well as Apple’s total turnover and market capitalization. It also factored in that Apple submitted incorrect information in the framework of the administrative procedure.

So I’d be willing to bet that the EU is not okay with Apple’s PWA WebKit restriction. Apple imposes WebKit as the engine for PWAs, yet Recital 43 of the DMA is clear:

When gatekeepers operate and impose web browser engines, they are in a position to determine the functionality and standards that will apply not only to their own web browsers, but also to competing web browsers and, in turn, to web software applications.

An apple with a halloween face, and the acronym 'iANAL'

I am not a lawyer, merely a Lawson. But I’d also be willing to bet that Apple’s proposed deeply onerous terms for third party browsers are anti-competitive too.

On Monday 18 March, the EU is holding an Apple DMA compliance workshop

to provide interested parties with the possibility to ask for clarifications and to give feedback on the proposed compliance solutions.

It will be interesting to see whether EU developers and businesses believe Apple is fully complying with the Digital Markets Act’s intention and requirements. As Commissioner for Internal Market of the European Union, Thierry Breton, tweeted

🚨Under the #DMA, there is no room for threats by gatekeepers to silence developers… To all developers in 🇪🇺 & 🌍: now is the time to have your say on gatekeepers’ compliance solutions!

Mr Breton told Reuters:

The DMA will open the gates of the internet to competition so that digital markets are fair and open. Change is already happening. As from March 7 we will assess companies’ proposals, with the feedback of third parties. If the proposed solutions are not good enough, we will not hesitate to take strong action.

Under the DMA, the Commission can impose fines up to 10% of the company’s total worldwide turnover, which can go up to 20% in case of repeated infringement.

Read more

Is Apple breaking PWAs out of malicious compliance?

Update 16 Feb: Yes. Apple are indeed breaking PWAs out of malicious compliance.

As the showdown between the European Union and Your Best Friend Apple looms (27 days, according to OWA’s Digital Markets Act Countdown), it appears that Apple is intending to break PWAs in iOS 17.4 beta 2:

Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are still disabled for EU users in #iOS 17.4 beta 2. But now there’s a new pop-up. The pop-up somehow indicates that PWAs are disabled intentionally, rather than being a bug

Open 'PWA Todayooo' in Safari. 'PWA Todayooo' will open in your default browser from now on.

… It will be a major blow for EU users if iOS 17.4 is released without PWA support. Many major European companies have already converted their native iOS apps into PWAs, mainly to skip the unnecessary overhead imposed by the App Store, such as app distribution and the App Review.

As Thomas Steiner reported “Newly installed apps always open in the browser. There doesn’t appear to be a standalone mode anymore”, thereby robbing PWAs of their central UI feature: the ability to open full-screen and appear identical to a Native app.

Presumably Apple doesn’t want PWAs to open in third-party browsers that have more powerful features than Safari, because those would directly compete with native apps in its own App Store. However, in the EU, it can’t privilege PWAs in Safari with its own private APIs any more. And so its solution, in its spirit of malicious compliance, seems to be “if we can’t have them, nobody can!”. This contradicts Apple’s messaging that web apps are a viable alternative to native:

If the App Store model and guidelines are not best for your app or business idea that’s okay, we provide Safari for a great web experience too.

Has Apple the Good Shepherd turned into a sheepdog in the manger? Perhaps people are reading too much into this; perhaps it’s a bug in the beta – but the appearance of the pop-up message suggests it’s by design.

Whatever it is, it demonstrates the lack of trust in the web development world that Apple even cares about doing the right thing, and only wants to make it as hard as possible for developers and their businesses to take advantage of the new freedoms under the DMA.

I’m no lawyer, but it seems to me that this contravenes the DMA’s anti-circumvention articles:

The gatekeeper shall not degrade the conditions or quality of any of the core platform services provided to business users or end users who avail themselves of the rights or choices laid down in Articles 5, 6 and 7, or make the exercise of those rights or choices unduly difficult, including by offering choices to the end-user in a non-neutral manner, or by subverting end users’ or business users’ autonomy, decision-making, or free choice via the structure, design, function or manner of operation of a user interface or a part thereof.

Let’s see what the EU says.

Apple, the DMA, and malicious compliance

If you’re the kind of gorgeous funbundle who reads my blog, you’ve doubtless heard that Apple will finally allow full versions of Chrome and Firefox to run on the iPhone, but only in the European Union. This geo-fencing is because Apple has been dragged kicking and screaming into ending its browser monopoly by the European Union’s Digital Markets Act.

Of course, Apple isn’t giving in without some petulant whining in its announcement. Whatever. But more important than its sadness that “the new options for developers’ EU apps create new risks to Apple users and their devices” (conveniently forgetting that WebKit consistently has the poorest record of shipping bug fixes to users) are the restrictive terms under which competition is allowed.

Here’s a video explainer, if video explainers are your thing:

Call me “Brucestradamus”, but I predicted legal shenanigans from Apple as it began to wriggle. I don’t know what the EU can do about Apple’s malicious compliance; the Commission asked us to brief them several times to understand the technical ramifications of the WebKit monopoly (before we turned up, there was nothing in the drafts about PWAs or the restrictions on browser engines). Quite rightly, it didn’t ask us to draft legislation or its enforcement procedures. This is as it should be.

Cleverer people than me, who know about law, have said that Apple is taking the European Commission for fools:

my initial reaction to Apple’s announcement (and related documentation) is that Apple is not seriously complying with the DMA. The objectives of the DMA are to bring contestability and fairness in digital markets, and this is not achieved here. Apple shows disdain for both the DMA and app developers. Its approach to DMA implementation appears to do little for users, other than to deprive them from meaningful choice on the need for protection.

We at Open Web Advocacy didn’t only talk to the European Union. We’ve briefed the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (whose investigation restarted on 24 January after Apple did some more silliness with lawyers), as well as the Japanese and Australian regulators – and another huge regulator which has asked not to be named. You can bet that all of these will be watching Apple’s malicious compliance very closely, and making notes for when they draft their rules.

Apple continues to find innovative ways to stifle competition, deny consumers meaningful choice, and damage the Web. But its days of doing this are numbered.


In the meantime, I am going out in a few hours to celebrate the fact that Stuart Langridge, co-conspirator and friend, did not die in the year since his last birthday. While we carouse until the second cock, it is plausible that we may raise a glass to celebrate how our little ragtag gang of web developers scattered across the globe is forcing the world’s largest company to begin to behave itself.

(Needless to say, this is my take on the situation and I speak for nobody else. Our “official” Open Web Advocacy blogpost is “Apple’s plan to allow browser competition dubbed unworkable“. Read that, too!)

Apple’s EU legal shenanigans

Well, I flipping told you to expect EU legal wrangling as Apple tries to avoid the EU’s Digital Markets Act, which comes into force in May 2024.

This week, I’ve had the pleasure to read the post-modernist triumph that is CASES DMA.100013 Apple – online intermediation services – app stores, DMA.100025 Apple – operating systems and DMA.100027 Apple – web browsers (PDF), which details some of Apple’s attempts to avoid being regulated. I call it a “post-modernist triumph” because its prose is almost as incomprehensible as James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake, and it is so full of preposterous lies and contradictions that it can only be sanely read as a metatextual joke like the Illuminatus! Trilogy.

In order to avoid having Safari being deemed a Core Platform Service (and thus falling under the remit of DMA), Apple argues “Look, those Safaris on iOS, iPadOS, MacOS, TvOS, WatchOS are TOTALLY DIFFERENT PRODUCTS and none of them have enough users in the EU for you to even think about regulating us, alright? We’re a tiny start-up! Will nobody think of the children?!?”. (I paraphrase somewhat).

This is despite the DMA stating

An undertaking providing core platform services shall not segment, divide, subdivide, fragment or split those services through contractual, commercial, technical or any other means in order to circumvent the quantitative thresholds laid down in Article 3(2). No such practice of an undertaking shall prevent the Commission from designating it as a gatekeeper pursuant to Article 3(4).

The commission counters this claim (page 25, paragraph 115) rather deliciously. It notes that the argument put forward by the celebrated law partnership of Messrs Wriggle, Squirm and Weasel Esq. contradicts Apple’s own claims in 64px type: “Same Safari. Different device”.

Same Safari.Different device. Safari works seamlessly and syncs your passwords, bookmarks, history, tabs, and more across Mac, iPad, iPhone, and Apple Watch. And when your Mac, iOS, or iPadOS devices are near each other, they can automatically pass what you’re doing in Safari from one device to another using Handoff. You can even copy images, video, or text from Safari on your iPhone or iPad, then paste into another app on your nearby Mac — or vice versa.

Stay tuned for more exciting fun, brought to you by Apple’s billion dollar legal fiction fund.

Apple Browser Ban: expect EU legal wrangling

Whatever Apple’s real reason for requiring all iOS and iPad browsers to use its own WebKit engine (and therefore be little more than a branded whitelabelled Safari), they claim it’s done to protect customer privacy.

Two days ago, news of another serious WebKit vulnerability became public. Ars Technica quote researchers as saying

we demonstrate how Safari allows a malicious webpage to recover secrets from popular high-value targets, such as Gmail inbox content. Finally, we demonstrate the recovery of passwords, in case these are autofilled by credential managers.

and notes

While iLeakage works against Macs only when running Safari, iPhones and iPads can be attacked when running any browser because they’re all based on Apple’s WebKit browser engine.

So if the iOS WebKit monopoly is for your comfort and security™, it isn’t working very well; the iLeakage bug was disclosed to Apple more than a year ago in September 2022. Another effect of this rendering engine monopoly (AKA #appleBrowserBan) is to inhibit the utility of Web Apps on iOS, because WebKit doesn’t implement certain vital APIs, and users can’t use a different engine.

This had led to the EU’s Digital Markets Act requiring that companies it deems “gatekeepers” can no longer do this:

43: In particular, each browser is built on a web browser engine, which is responsible for key browser functionality such as speed, reliability and web compatibility. When gatekeepers operate and impose web browser engines, they are in a position to determine the functionality and standards that will apply not only to their own web browsers, but also to competing web browsers and, in turn, to web software applications. Gatekeepers should therefore not use their position to require their dependent business users to use any of the services provided together with, or in support of, core platform services by the gatekeeper itself as part of the provision of services or products by those business users.

In September, the EU announced Apple is a gatekeeper, and iOS is a Core Platform Service. The law will come into force in March 2024. We can expect Apple to attempt to wriggle out of anything other than malicious compliance via endless legal wrangling. Here’s a fascinating insight into the legal culture inside Apple, from an interview with Apple’s former General Counsel, Bruce Sewell:

At 28m19s, Sewell describes Apple legal:

with 600 people in my department it’s like a mid-sized law firm. But we still would spend, you know my budget was just shy of a billion dollars a year

At 37m22s, Sewell talks of a previous legal case:

If you can figure out how to get closer to a particular risk, but be prepared to manage it if it does go nuclear, then your company, think of it as a sailing metaphor, your company is able to sail closer to the wind than its competitors are. And that’s a real advantage … The reaction from Tim [Cook] was that’s the right choice. You made the best choice that you could with the information that you had. You didn’t know about these other things. Don’t let that scare you. I don’t want you to stop pushing the envelope because that’s why legal is an important function in the company.

Big Tech is already attempting to water down UK legislation. I don’t expect them to roll over in the much larger EU market.

Japan’s report on mobile ecosystems is published

The Japanese government’s competition regulator (Secretariat of the Headquarters for Digital Market Competition) has been investigating the competitiveness of the mobile ecosystem (so, in reality, the entrenched duopoly of iOS and Android). As part of Open Web Advocacy, I was invited to two briefings with a panel of regulators. It seems they listened to us, as the report talks extensively of browser engines, thereby preventing Apple muddying the water by their usual tactic of clutching their pearls, swooning onto the nearest diamond-encrusted chaise longue while sobbing “other browsers are available in the App Store”, avoiding mentioning that all those “other browsers” are compelled to be branded skins of WebKit.

The report was published on 16 June 2023, and is now available in English: Competition Assessment of the Mobile Ecosystem. Final Report : Summary (PDF).

Some key conclusions:

Mandatory use of WebKit impedes fair and equitable competition between Safari and third-party browsers … Hindering the development of web apps …adversely affecting the competitive environment in entire mobile ecosystem.

Safari or WebKit has many unavailable features and poor performance … On iOS, some features are available only for Safari, and are/were not available for 3rd party browsers … Safari lags behind web app support.

Hence, the Japanese regulator proposes an end to the #appleBrowserBan:

Platform operators that provide OS of a certain size or larger shall be prohibited from requiring app developers to use OS providers’ own browser engines.

The next steps:

based on this final report, to consider the legal framework necessary to ensure a fair and equitable competition environment in the mobile ecosystem, while assessing the situation in other countries such as Europe and the United States.

Open Web Advocacy were invited to meet the regulators on 11 July to give our response, the gist of which is that we’re delighted with the spirit of the report, but suggested some wording changes to reduce the risk of malicious compliance by those entities which would be affected.

So now we have a law in the EU –the Digital Markets Act– prohibiting the Apple Browser Ban, a UK government Bill to legislate to give statutory powers to the Competition and Markets Agency which has already ruled against Apple, and positive reports from the Japanese and Australian regulators. What about the USA? Lol. Political bullshit and corruption has paralysed any action, of course.

“Whose web is it, anyway?” My axe-con talk

The nice people at Deque systems asked me to kick off the developer track of their Axe Conference 2023. You can view the design glory of my slides (and download the PDF for links etc). Here’s the subtitled video.

(We’ll ignore the false accusation in the closed captions that I was speaking *American* English.)

I generated the transcript using the jaw-droppingly accurate open-source Whisper AI. Eric Meyer has instructions on installing it from the command line. Mac users can buy a lifetime of updates to MacWhisper for less than £20, which I’ve switched to because the UI is better for checking, correcting and exporting (un-timestamped) transcripts like we use for our F-word podcast (full of technical jargon, with a Englishman, a Russian and even an American speaking English with their own accents). This is what Machine Learning is great for: doing mundane tasks fast and better, not pirating other people’s art to produce weird uncanny valley imagery. I’m happy to welcome my robot overlords if they do drudgery for me.

The NTIA report on mobile app ecosystems

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (part of US Dept of Commerce) Mobile App Competition Report came out yesterday (1 Feb). Along with fellow Open Web Advocacy chums, I briefed them and also personally commented.

Key Policy Issue #1

Consumers largely cant get apps outside of the app store model, controlled by Apple and Google. This means innovators have very limited avenues for reaching consumers.

Key Policy Issue #2

Apple and Google create hurdles for developers to compete for consumers by imposing technical limits, such as restricting how apps can function or requiring developers to go through slow and opaque review processes.

The report

I’m very glad that, like other regulators, we’ve helped them understand that there’s not a binary choice between single-platform iOS and Android “native” apps, but Web Apps (AKA “PWA”, Progressive Web Apps) offer a cheaper to produce alternative, as they use universal, mature web technologies:

Web apps can be optimized for design, with artfully crafted animations and widgets; they can also be optimized for unique connectivity constraints, offering users either a download-as-you go experience for low-bandwidth environments, or an offline mode if needed.

However, the mobile duopoly restrict the installation of web apps, favouring their own default browsers:

commenters contend that the major mobile operating system platformsboth of which derive revenue from native app downloads through their mobile app stores & whose own browsers derive significant advertising revenuehave acted to stifle implementation & distribution of web apps

NTIA recognises that this is a deliberate choice by Apple and (to a lesser extent) by Google:

developers face significant hurdles to get a chance to compete for users in the ecosystem, and these hurdles are due to corporate choices rather than technical necessities

NTIA explicitly calls out the Apple Browser Ban:

any web browser downloaded from Apples mobile app store runs on WebKit. This means that the browsers that users recognize elsewhereon Android and on desktop computersdo not have the same functionality that they do on those other platforms.

It notes that WebKit has implemented fewer features that allow Web Apps to have similar capabilities as its iOS single-platform Apps, and lists some of the most important with the dates they were available in Gecko and Blink, continuing

According to commenters, lack of support for these features would be a more acceptable condition if Apple allowed other, more robust, and full-featured browser engines on its operating system. Then, iOS users would be free to choose between Safaris less feature-rich experience (which might have other benefits, such as privacy and security features), and the broader capabilities of competing browsers (which might have other borrowers costs, such as greater drain on system resources and need to adjust more settings). Instead, iOS users are never given the opportunity to choose meaningfully differentiated browsers and experience features that are common for Android userssome of which have been available for over a decade.

Regardless of Apple’s claims that the Apple Browser Ban is to protect their users,

Multiple commenters note that the only obvious beneficiary of Apples WebKit restrictions is Apple itself, which derives significant revenue from its mobile app store commissions

The report concludes that

Congress should enact laws and relevant agencies should consider measures [aimed at] Getting platforms to allow installation and full functionality of third-party web browsers. To allow web browsers to be competitive, as discussed above, the platforms would need to allow installation and full functionality of the third-party web browsers. This would require platforms to permit third-party browsers a comparable level of integration with device and operating system functionality. As with other measures, it would be important to construct this to allow platform providers to implement reasonable restrictions in order to protect user privacy, security, and safety.

The NTIA joins the Australian, EU, and UK regulators in suggesting that the Apple Browser Ban stifles competition and must be curtailed.

The question now is whether Apple will do the right thing, or seek to hurl lawyers with procedural arguments at it instead, as they’re doing in the UK now. It’s rumoured that Apple might be contemplating about thinking about speculating about considering opening up iOS to alternate browsers for when the EU Digital Markets Act comes into force in 2024. But for every month they delay, they earn a fortune; it’s estimated that Google pays Apple $20 Billion to be the default search engine in Safari, and the App Store earned Apple $72.3 Billion in 2020 – sums which easily pay for snazzy lawyers, iPads for influencers, salaries for Safari shills, and Kool Aid for WebKit wafflers.

Place your bets!

Apple: we’re so great for consumers we want to block investigation that could vindicate us

Regular readers to this chucklefest will recall that I’ve been involved with briefing competition regulators in UK, US, Australia, Japan and EU about the Apple Browser Ban – Apple’s anti-competitive requirement that anything that can browse the web on iOS/iPad must use its WebKit engine. This allows Apple to stop web apps becoming as feature-rich as its iOS apps, for which it can charge a massive fee for listing in its monopoly App Store.

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority recently announced a market investigation reference (MIR) into the markets for mobile browsers (particularly browser engines). The CMA may decide to make a MIR when it has reasonable grounds for suspecting that a feature or combination of features of a market or markets in the UK prevents, restricts, or distorts competition (PDF).

You would imagine that Apple would welcome this opportunity to be scrutinised, given that Apple told CMA (PDF) that

By integrating WebKit into iOS, Apple is able to guarantee robust user privacy protections for every browsing experience on iOS device . WebKit has also been carefully designed and optimized for use on iOS devices. This allows iOS devices to outperform competitors on web-based browsing benchmarks Mandating Apple to allow apps to use third-party rendering engines on iOS, as proposed by the IR, would break the integrated security model of iOS devices, reduce their privacy and performance, and ultimately harm competition between iOS and Android devices.

Yet despite Apple’s assertion that it is simply the best, better than all the rest, it is weirdly reluctant to see the CMA investigate it. You would assume that Apple are confident that it would be vindicated by CMA as better than anyone, anyone they’ve ever met. Yet Apple applied to the Competition Appeal Tribunal (PDF, of course), seeking

1. An Order that the MIR Decision is quashed.
2. A declaration that the MIR Decision and market investigation purportedly launched by
reference to it are invalid and of no legal effect.
In its Notice of Application, Apple also seeks interim relief in the form of a stay of the market investigation pending determination of the application.

Why would this be? I don’t know (I seem no longer to be on not-Steve’s Xmas card list). But it’s interesting to note that a CMA Market Investigation can have real teeth. It has previously forced forced the sale of airports and hospitals (gosh! A PDF) in other sectors.

FOSSpatents has a theory:

A market investigation lowers the hurdle for the CMA: it doesn’t have to prove wrongdoing, just adverse effects on competition (abbreviated as AEC, which in other antitrust jurisdictions, however, stands for “as efficient competitor”) and has greater powers to impose remedies. Otherwise a conventional antitrust investigation of Apple’s conduct would be required, and Apple would have to be shown to have abused a dominant position in the relevant market. Apple would like to deprive the CMA of its more powerful tool, and essentially argues that the CMA has deprived itself of that tool by failing to abide by the applicable statute.

It’s rumoured that Apple might be contemplating about thinking about speculating about considering opening up iOS to alternate browsers for when the EU Digital Markets Act comes into force in 2024. But for every month they delay, they earn a fortune; it’s estimated that Google pays Apple $20 Billion to be the default search engine in Safari, and the App Store earned Apple $72.3 Billion in 2020 – sums which easily pay for snazzy lawyers, iPads for influencers, salaries for Safari shills, and Kool Aid for WebKit wafflers.