OneZero is partnering with Big Technology, a newsletter and podcast by Alex Kantrowitz, to bring readers exclusive access to interviews with notable figures in and around the tech industry.
This week, Kantrowitz sits down with M.G. Siegler, a partner at the investment firm GV. (Siegler is also an investor in Medium.) This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
For years, Apple had a clear identity: It was the world’s best devices maker. Today, the company is trying to balance that identity with a new emphasis on software and services.
This new approach has helped Apple surge to a $2 trillion valuation — investors now value it as a software versus hardware company — and caused considerable drama over recent weeks.
The company is currently fighting hard with Fortnite-maker Epic Games to keep the 30% cut of revenue it gets from purchases inside its App Store. Fees from customers and developers are now core to Apple’s business, so it can’t let up easy — even if it risks losing some of its brand luster.
To discuss this shift and what it means for Apple’s future, I sat down with my favorite Apple writer, GV Partner M.G. Siegler, who once covered the company for TechCrunch and continues to write about it here on Medium while still working his day job.
Alex Kantrowitz: One of the things that I wonder about with Apple is their identity. Companies operate in two different phases. One is they invent. Two is when they’ve built a big enough product portfolio, they start to milk their assets and get every dollar they can out of them. Apple is putting everything it has into making much money as it can from the iPhone. Does that eventually come back to bite them?
M.G. Siegler: I think the reality is we’re recognizing now that nothing is going to be as big as the iPhone was as a product category. That’s what’s driven Apple to become a $2…