Monday, May 24, 2021

Apple Execs on the Mac App Store

Tim Cook, in 2015:

I think the lack of gaming (along with lack of native productivity apps) are the main reason the Mac App Store is dormant.

Phil Schiller:

The Mac App Store matters for distribution of Apple software and 3rd parties that can’t create their own download store. Other than that what should it be? I think trying to make it the same as the iOS store (the best place for all software from all developers) can’t work…


We know all the developers, we know the tools they use. We could invest more in being the go-to place for all your development needs. It isn’t a giant market, and there might not be a ton of revenue in it, but it should be growing and worth investing it for the Mac platform.

I could see focusing on a strong developer category (there already is one) and making it better known as the place for all developers to go to for everything they need and even things they didn’t know they need.

Nathan Anderson:

It “wasn’t really working” because UNlike the iOS App Store, it had to compete on its own merits. And apparently was found wanting.

Steve Troughton-Smith:

This is kinda bonkers. Ask any Mac dev and they’ll give you plenty of reasons why they’re not on the Mac App Store. Tim thinks the MAS’ problem is a lack of games. Not sandboxing. Not payment model. Not upgrade model. Not App Store restrictions defining out categories of apps

The Mac App Store is dormant because Apple built a system that excludes almost all of the existing big and indie developers from participating. I feel like if you cared about the Mac app ecosystem you would know this. And you would know this before 2015.


6 Comments RSS · Twitter

It wasn't like this when Mac App Store started, many developers have good faith that Apple will improve their App Store experience, ( not just developers but also consumers ). But they didn't. Just like the iOS App Store. The operation side of it sucks. Remember when developers had to wait 3 days and in some cases 7 days just to release an update on MAS? It wasn't until someone ran to the press before Apple did something about it.

Tim Cook's Response basically sums up pretty much everything that is wrong with today's Apple. They dont care. Nor do they know what is good and what is not. Without an Editor like Steve Jobs there are no intuition. Everything are just numbers.

Unfortunately they are so far ahead in many departments it will be a long while before we see their downfall.

@Ed Only 7 days? I had to wait more than a month several times, and once for 61 days (ending only when mentioned on Daring Fireball). That’s just for review, for bug fix updates, none of which had any actual problems detected. Another time it took multiple months to ship an update due to a bug in the store’s binary processing (which wasn't fixed, but which DTS eventually helped me figure out how to work around). And I’m probably far from the only one.

I see that Silicon Valley “smart employee syndrome” has morphed into “smart exec syndrome.”

It’s not that people like Cook and Schiller “don’t know and don’t care” it’s that they dare not acknowledge the hole that they have dug for themselves and for Apple. Everything has to be for Apple first and everyone else last.

I’ve never seen a company go more that way. Sun did back in the day, Microsoft had their turn, but it’s reaching a new level at Apple and there’s no Steve Ballmer around to scream Developers Developers Developers nor will there be, because it that was done Apple would be admiting that they’re wrong.

If Google is “don’t be evil” then Apple is “Apple is never wrong.” (insert bitter laugh here)


On the one hand, Phil's analysis isn't too terrible. It does show that both Phil and Tim are underwhelmed by the state of the MAS, as of 2015. On the other hand, to Steve's point, it's… strange that neither thinks aspects like sandboxing and upgrade models could be among the reasons why.

Tim's mail seems fine. He's dissatisfied with games and productivity apps. But Phil's mail goes into much more detail, and… some aspects are just oddly absent.

Was Phil flat-out not aware in 2015 that sandboxing prevented (and continues to prevent) entire categories of apps to make it to the MAS? Three years later, they went on to make some adjustments to at least let BBEdit and Transmit back in, but… Phil had to know this was a problem, no?

@Sören Cook’s e-mail seems weird to me. Aren’t games and productivity the top app categories in general? Utilities are mostly forbidden by the rules of the store. So his analysis is that it’s dormant because of a lack of apps, which is circular.

Schiller then suggests focusing on getting more apps for developers into the store, which is also weird because these are among the kinds of apps that sandboxing inhibits and developers are probably the group of customers who least need what the store offers. Other than, say, low-level disk utilities, is there another category of software that’s a worse fit for the store than developer tools? (Xcode is only in the Mac App Store due to special treatment.)

Ed: "Remember when developers had to wait 3 days and in some cases 7 days just to release an update on MAS?"

I remember when it was 1-2 months.

In some ways, it was kind of nice. There was no big rush to complete anything today (or even this week) because there's no way it was going to get in front of users before the middle of next month, anyway.

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