Thursday, May 6, 2021

Whitelisted Developers

Tim Cook (starting at 2:00):

We treat every developer the same. We have open and transparent rules.

Leah Nylen:

Forrest is asking Fischer about an Oct 2018 email. “Hulu is part of the set of whitelisted developers with access to subscription cancel/refund API.” Fischer acknowledges that “whitelisted developers” have access to some APIs and features that other developers don’t

Nick Statt:

Here’s are the documents where Apple employees talks about white-listing companies like Hulu for privelaged use of App Store APIs, like the cancel/refund API.

Adi Robertson:

Are the rules for developers different for different developers? “The App Store review guidelines apply equally to all developers,” Fischer says. Nobody gets a special “dispensation” or “special” deal.

“Do whitelisted developers get to do what other developers don’t get to do?” No, says Fischer.

Fischer says from time to time, it wants to test a feature with a small group before rolling it out to all developers.

Tanner Bennet:

This is a clever way to make a blanket statement that gives you plausible deniability when accused of unfair treatment.

“We were just testing X with [Developer] before we made it available to everyone!”

Even if it takes years, and years 😒


Update (2021-05-07): Constantin Jacob:

For anybody interested in this, these are the APIs that Apple announced at last years WWDC stating that they’re available “now”.

Spoiler: they are absolutely not yet available to developers in any way

Ian Carlos Campbell (via Nilay Patel):

According to new emails revealed as part of Apple’s lawsuit with Epic Games, the company had given Hulu access to its subscription API but didn’t realize Hulu was using it to help people switch to Hulu’s billing system (and avoid Apple’s in-app purchases) until 2018 when the feature was mentioned in a tweet that caught the eye of a higher-up at Apple.

David Barnard:

Over dinner I told my wife one of my tweets ended up in a court case against Apple. Her first reaction, without even knowing what it said: “Is Apple going to retaliate?!” So yeah, for almost 13 years of making a living on the App Store, we‘ve lived in fear of Apple.

Nilay Patel:

The real risk of this trial to Apple all along has been that we will see how much of software economy on top of the iPhone is explicitly restricted so it can be monetized to Apple’s benefit. And the answer turns out to be: a lot!


Update (2021-05-10): Nick Heer:

Also of note, this presentation reveals that Netflix had access to the same subscription management APIs as Hulu and other “original [Apple TV] partners”. That suggests these APIs could date back as far as September 2010. Apple has simply been testing these APIs among a small group of developers for perhaps the last eleven years as it readies a wider rollout; there is no other way to interpret this situation.

Thomas Clement:

Another example: Apple refused us access to the APFS snapshots API for no good reason while still giving it to others. “We treat every developer the same” is a lie.


Update (2021-05-24): Bombich Software:

Apple has been pretty tight with APFS, don’t even get me started on their refusal to grant snapshot reversion entitlements… The most amazing aspect of snapshots isn’t available for macOS.

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Old Unix Geek

All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

Don't worry about poor old Boxer being dragged off to the knackers.

It's good to be Napoleon, drink whisky, and play cards with the other monopolists.

From an apparently small upstart, fighting the suffocating world of PC conformity, run by Old Major Steve, we now see Apple was always Manor farm.

( decoder ring: )

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