Apple: The New King of ‘Embrace, Extend, Extinguish’

Apple is taking a page from Microsoft's old playbook, becoming the new king of "embrace, extend, extinguish" (EEE)....
Apple: The New King of ‘Embrace, Extend, Extinguish’
Written by Staff
  • Apple is taking a page from Microsoft’s old playbook, becoming the new king of “embrace, extend, extinguish” (EEE).

    Microsoft popularized the EEE model decades ago when the company was feared by rivals and startups alike. EEE refers to Microsoft’s practice of embracing an open source or standards-compliant technology, extending its functionality beyond the standard, then extinguishing the open, standards-complaint product because users gravitated to Microsoft’s “superior” option.

    Apple appears to be fully adopting EEE with its Game Porting Toolkit. First, a little background.

    At WWDC, Apple introduced a way for Direct X 12 Windows games to run on the Mac, something that had been impossible for years. Interestingly, CodeWeavers had announced a similar product shortly before WWDC. For the unaware, CodeWeavers is the company behind CrossOver, which allows Linux and Mac users to run Windows software. The company is also one of the driving forces behind WINE (Wine Is Not Emulation), the compatibility layer that is widely used in the Linux community to run Windows software.

    Keen-eyed individuals immediately noted that Apple’s Game Porting Toolkit is using WINE under the hood…but with a big caveat: Apple makes not mention of this, nor does the company give any credit to the compatibility giant on whose shoulders it is standing.

    What’s more, as the excellent Andrew Tsai points out in a YouTube video, Apple has added its own proprietary layer to Game Porting Toolkit, D3DMetal, that essentially allows the company to avoid being a good open source citizen. Because all of Apple’s improvements are done to the D3DMetal layer, and not the WINE layer directly, the company is able to avoid the requirement to upstream improvements to the WINE code base so everyone else can benefit from them.

    As if all of that wasn’t bad enough, Apple has bundled D3DMetal with a license that precludes using it on any non-Apple products:

    Subject to the terms and conditions of this License, you are granted a limited, non-exclusive, non-transferable, personally copyright license to (i) install, internally use, and test the Apple Software for the sole purpose of developing, testing, or evaluating video games for use on Apple-branded products.

    The license also prohibits reverse engineering:

    You may not, and you agree not to or to enable others to, copy (except ot the extent expressly permitted by this Agreement), decompile, reverse engineer, disassemble, attempt to derive the source code of, decrypt, modify, or create derivative works of the Apple Software…

    Why does this matter in the grand scheme of things? Because WINE depends largely on the financial support CodeWeavers provides, financial support that is driven by sales of CrossOver, many of which are to Mac users. Because Apple is choosing to embrace and extend the underlying technology behind WINE, the end result could well be an extinguishing of CrossOver on the Mac and even a threat to WINE itself.

    Andrew Tsai’s video goes into more detail, but suffice it to say that Apple’s handling of this matter is truly despicable and reminiscent of the behavior that got Microsoft in antitrust trouble. Antics like this are one of the reasons this writer — despite being an Apple user for 22+ years and a Mac developer — has since moved to Linux and has no plans of ever going back.

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