Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Schiller Interview Before the App Store Hearing

Stephen Nellis (via MacRumors):

But when the App Store launched in 2008 with 500 apps, Apple executives viewed it as an experiment in offering a compellingly low commission rate to attract developers, Philip W. Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing and top executive for the App Store, told Reuters in an interview.

“One of the things we came up with is, we’re going to treat all apps in the App Store the same - one set of rules for everybody, no special deals, no special terms, no special code, everything applies to all developers the same. […]” Schiller said.

Repeating this doesn’t make it so. It was a high rate compared with the alternatives at the time, and there most definitely are different rules, different ways of enforcing the rules, and special deals.


Update (2020-07-30): See also: Nick Heer.

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A recent MacRumors article said this, which is Apples preferred way of viewing the App Store:

“The ‌App Store‌ generated $32.8 billion in the first half of 2020 for developers”



Developers generated $46.8 billion through their own hard work and risk, then Apple stole $14 billion of it from ONLY SOME OF THEM (mostly indie devs: not Facebook, not Amazon, not Uber, not Google, not Airbnb).

Apple us getting away with lying if articles continue to be written as if Apple is generating the money “for” developers. This is only maybe true for the very lucky few (less than 0.001%) of devs whose apps are featured by Apple. For everyone else, the risk is 100% their own so the reward should be as well.

The service I get from Apple for 30% is way less than I get from FastSpring and my $9 hosting plan over at Linode. At least FastSpring and Linode don't put sticks and stones in your way when you want to release an update.

To be fair, it used to be true. During the gold rush, people earned a lot of money that they would never have gotten with their own distribution.

The App Store made buying apps an easy choice versus entering credit card data on some random site of some small developer.

Getting shelf space in a boutique can generate profits, even though they take a good share. But the App Store is like Walmart now; they cant charge boutique markups anymore.

Yeah, good point Peter. I remember many, many stories in the first 5 years of the App Store of indie devs making great money -- some making millions in a year. What apps from indie devs created in the past 5 years that are 1) not a game and 2) only on iOS (e.g. not an external service like Spotify) and 3) not developed by a company that makes their profits elsewhere, are earning their makers a take-home pay of more than $100,000/year? Where's the "guy in a garage" making a living solely from an app in the iOS store? I haven't heard any of those stories in years. I'm guessing Ryan Jones is doing it with Weather Line and Flighty, but even then I don't get the impression that he's making a killing.

@ben g, well i'm the guy. my application is about to make $200k this year. but then again it's a boring mac app and 70% of my revenue comes from direct sales over the app store.

Wow, that's awesome! Do you mind saying what your app is?

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