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Phil Schiller will be Apple's ecosystem defender for quite some time

Phil Schiller, Apple Fellow

Phil Schiller is Apple's biggest defender of Apple's ecosystem, a profile into the Apple Fellow declares, with the executive publicly beating the drum to maintain the vision of co-founder Steve Jobs.

Apple's many regulatory and legal scrapes about the App Store, including its long-running battle against Epic Games and having to deal with the EU's Digital Markets Act, often had the company defending its policies and ways of working. At the forefront of that has been Phil Schiller, who is painted as a long-time defender of the ecosystem.

In a profile by the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, Schiller is described as the man who delivers the message that Apple won't back down on matters such as ecosystem control and commission fees.

"I have no qualms in saying that our goal is going to always be to make the App Store the safest, best place for users to get apps," Schiller is quoted in a recent interview. "I think users - and the whole developer ecosystem - have benefited from that work that we've done together with them. And we're going to keep doing that."

Schiller's role in defending Apple's App Store practices includes being a key company witness during the 2021 courtroom battle with Epic Games. He insisted to the court that Apple had invested in the store, avoided charging for some types of apps, and tried to make the storefront as fair as it could.

He has also struck back against Epic Games in relation to the EU Digital Markets Act, with one email published in February accusing Epic of not intending to follow the new rules the regulations were implementing. Schiller also insists that third-party app stores the DMA would allow could result in objectionable content being seen by users, as well as security risks Apple worked to minimize.

Steve Jobs' Mini-Me

Part of Schiller's defensiveness of the App Store is down to his early involvement in it. He was an early supporter of allowing third-party apps into the store, and was one of the executives that convinced Steve Jobs that it could be viable if a review process was used to monitor software within it.

Steve Jobs in black and white
Phil Schiller carries the torch for Steve Jobs' vision

Following the passing of Jobs in 2011, Schiller attempted to maintain the former CEO's philosophy, sometimes mirroring Jobs' competitiveness and tendency to disparage rival firms. Internally, Apple employees likened him to a Jobs "mini-me."

"Of the people still at Apple, he is one of the few that still carry the torch of Steve Jobs' vision," according to Apple analyst Tim Bajarin who has known Schiller for years.

Claimed to still be working nearly 80 hours a week, Schiller is also continuing his legacy at Apple. After being involved in the development and marketing of many major Apple products, he is part of the history of the company, and is still deeply involved in his nebulous Apple Fellow position.

Even now, it seems Schiller will continue to be an ardent defender of Apple and its App Store.

"He's a brick wall when it comes to these matters," said Phillip Shoemaker, who ran the App Store Review group until 2016 under Schiller's leadership. "I just don't think he's ever going to leave."