Friday, June 19, 2020

Have You Contributed Any Revenue?

App Review Board (also: Hacker News, 9to5Mac):

Thank you for being an iOS app developer. We understand that Basecamp has developed a number of apps and many subsequent versions for the App Store for many years, and that the App Store has distributed millions of these apps to iOS users. These apps do not offer in-app purchase — and, consequently, have not contributed any revenue to the App Store over the last eight years. We are happy to continue to support you in your app business and offer you the solutions to provide your services for free — so long as you follow and respect the same App Store Review Guidelines and terms that all developers must follow.

Once again, they sent the verdict to the press before sending it to the developer.

Wil Shipley:

This sounds a little too close to a threat for my liking.

Daniel Jalkut:

cracks knuckles ... your ... contribution ... has been a little light lately. It would be a real shame if ... something were to happen to your apps.

Brent Simmons:

That bit about “not contributed any revenue to the App Store over the last eight years” is supposed to make the Basecamp folks say “Oh, yeah, you’re right, we forgot, so please go ahead and screw us because we deserve it”?

Loren Brichter:

How about you compete with letting folks have a direct relationship with their customers (on hardware they bought) and offer a compelling reason to go through your dollar store.

Nick Heer:

Apple’s email is an extraordinarily condescending series of statements that seems to emphasize that third-party developers are allowed to develop for Apple’s products through the grace and generosity of the company. But how many people would buy an iPhone if there were no ecosystem of third-party apps, or if free apps were not allowed? The App Store’s policies have incentivized business models that do not require customers to pay money for downloading apps. How many Macs has Apple sold because that’s the only platform supported by the company’s developer tools?

This is the kind of thing a company writes because it can — because anyone who wishes to have an audience for their product or service on about half of Americans’ smartphones has no choice but to tolerate whatever inconsistent hell they are put through.

Daniel Jalkut:

If I worked in Apple Developer Relations, engineering, product marketing, or App Store editorial, I’d be FURIOUS at whoever in the company is fomenting a developer-hostile public image the week before WWDC.

Marco Arment:

Whoever at Apple wrote this — a few days before WWDC! — should never be allowed to communicate with developers again.

Troy Swanson:

Imagine curating an ecosystem of high quality applications that are a value add to your billion dollar hardware market and saying some shit like this

Steve Troughton-Smith:

That passive-aggressive bullshit ‘you’re not worth anything to us’ paragraph in writing, from Apple. Oof

Marc Edwards:

A few days out from WWDC, and this is Apple’s message to developers. It reads as “you have no value to us unless you’re earning us tons of cash”.

“We are happy to continue to support you in your app business” is a hell of a quote. That’s going to echo through the heads of developers as they weigh up the pros and cons of supporting Apple’s next platform.

Will Cosgrove:

Apple loves to point out ‘free loaders’ on the App Store that don’t charge for apps. But if these apps didn’t exist on iOS, users would leave the platform and they’d get zero dollars from them.

Michael Love:

iPhone succeeded because of our apps. The notion that Apple did this amazing thing that we’re all lucky to be part of is total BS; developers had every bit as much to do with the success of the iPhone as Apple and yet they have the audacity to keep extorting us.

Russell Ivanovic:

This whole “has generated no revenue for the App Store” line holds no water. If Apple removed all third party apps from their iOS store today, what would iPhone sales look like for the next 2 years?


App Store ecosystem is why I bought a $1000+ phone. If Apple ruins it I might as well buy Android

Chuq Von Rospach:

Recruiting developers to consider the [Palm] platform was simple: we promised to be “not Apple” as much as we possibly could.


Investing in a more balanced set of policies for the App Store could have avoided this fight, but Apple seems to believe it’s invulnerable.

Jeff Johnson:

If you think of Apple’s cut as the cost of running the App Store, then how in the world is it fair that paid indie apps are subsidizing the cost of running the App Store for free apps by megacorps such as Facebook, Google, and Twitter?


8 Comments RSS · Twitter

Just unbelievable. This attitude is a large reason why I haven't released my app in the Mac App Store, and why I haven't released anything in the iOS app store.

We as developers should show our outrage by boycotting WWDC.

Or submit an update with an updated app icon that includes some form of unified protest (I don’t have the graphic skills).

Or do a #noupdates month where we include our own customers in some anti Apple PR. Get some mainstream media attention on this.

We do have a lot of power if we join forces!

To let them know how serious this is and what harm is does to their foundation.

[…] ← Previous Post Have You Contributed Any Revenue? […]


> “It’s disappointing the European Commission is advancing baseless complaints from a handful of companies who simply want a free ride, and don’t want to play by the same rules as everyone else,” says an Apple spokesperson in a statement to The Verge. “We don’t think that’s right — we want to maintain a level playing field where anyone with determination and a great idea can succeed.”

I find this statement enlightening and concerning. It shows the level of contempt Apple hold for anyone that challenges them.

It's amazing how many people are drinking the Apple Kool-Aid around this issue, defending the indefensible, acting like the App Store is some haven of amazing quality software. I'm too lazy to look up the details, but I am nearly certain there have been stories in the past few years of malicious apps that made it into the App Store that stole people's data (uploading Contacts and Location Tracking without consent, maybe?). And there are MANY that use super sketchy IAP subscription traps to trick users into paying insane fees for the most basic types of services (I think some of the most popular are no-name weather apps that place high in search results). Wasn't there some scandal just a few weeks (months?) ago about a third party API that many apps were using that was doing bad things?

But wait, isn't this what the App Store is supposed to protect us from?

Apple doesn't curate anything like they want us to believe. And many of the supposed "benefits" that the App Store provides such as being a central place to find and download software / updates has already been solved elsewhere. Just look at the jailbreak community, they have their own ecosystem that manages payments and updates. It's not elegant, but for the types of people who are interested in alternative software, it works fine.

Apple's App Store is nothing special. It's just the only one that exists. For most users it's probably the only one they'll ever need. But there should be alternatives for those of us who want other options. At minimum, they should start with side-loading. Most people with the desire and technical know-how to do sideloading would be aware of the "risks" anyway. It's no different than loading an un-signed app on my Mac. It's my device, it should be my choice.

If you are not paying you are the product.

According to this logic developers of free apps are not paying, and enjoying this "free ride" and thus are the product that is being sold as value proposition bonus to Apple devices buyers.

Seriously, I’m not going to pay these losers US$99/year if they're going to consider me a “deadbeat” for not giving them something to “tax”. Oh, and they’ll “curate” my app if I don’t agree with their wacky politics. Oh please, sign me up. /sarc

This is about as tolerable as a credit card company that treats you like dirt for not piling on debt.

Apple ATP is a worse experience than the California DMV, they want to be the only game in town and it’s high time they were slapped down for anti-trust. MSFT never did anything this egregious.

A developers boycott sounds great, but I think it’d be better to just “stay away for a year or two” from buying any AAPL hardware or media. And tell them why in feedback. Apple is not worried about developers. But attack them as *consumers* or enterprise buyers and watch them notice.

[…] third-party developers. It has the same condescending vibe as the letter sent to Basecamp in 2020 amidst the Hey app fiasco. At the time, the App Review Board wrote “[t]hese apps do not offer in-app purchase […]

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