30% is a bargain. In physical retail we'd pay 50% pretty consistently. We were also at the mercy of the retailer to send things back to us if they didn't sell, without paying. So they would buy 20,000 units, sell 5,000, and a few months later send us back the remainder and call it even.
If we wanted promotion in their stores, circulars, or websites we had to pay for the privilege.
Considering Apple puts you in the pocket of hundreds of millions of people, puts you a password or fingerprint away from their credit card, and provides the opportunity for massive exposure in their store, it feels like a super fair deal.
I'm more troubled by the fact that they essentially have driven the price of discrete software to zero, but fortunately there are more and more ways to monetize via SaaS, IAP, Hardware, etc.
There have been many similar rants:
The cost of selling software is almost zero. Unlike retail's cut of your selling price, Apple's cut is completely arbitrary and rather unjustified.
If you sell software directly to users, the cost can be something like 3%, depending on which payment processor you want to use.
What additional service does Apple provide for that additional 27% cut? The buying experience is easier, but this doesn't seem to translate into additional sales. You mention "massive exposure," but there's pretty much universal agreement among developers in the Apple world that the App Store's "marketing" bump is pretty much zero unless you're extremely lucky and get featured.
But hey, if it's worth it, then you should be able to let developers choose and they'll still go for it. On iOS, there is no choice. If you want to sell, it's either Apple's 30% or nothing. On the Mac, there is a choice (for now) and the trend now seems to be to choose not to use the App Store there.
>> The buying experience is easier, but this doesn't seem to translate into additional sales.
I'd like to see a source for this assertion. In my anecdotal experience of selling software on the App Store and not on the App Store, it's 10x harder to do it yourself (so for me worth the 30%). Reducing friction increases purchases -- that's why Apple, Amazon, and even Stripe now store consumer credit cards. That's not even taking into account how valuable being featured is.
Maybe 30% is not the right number, and I totally agree that the OS should not insist that your apps be procured through a blessed channel, but there's a huge difference in effort between setting up your own store using Stripe and selling on the App Store.
Having done both, in terms of effort I'd much rather set up my own store.
Selling on the App Store is a horrible mess. Code signing, provisioning, verification, review, they do not make it easy at all. And good luck if you want to actually test the build you submit to the store.
Any competent programmer should be able to set up a web store without a great deal of pain.
I think there's a big disconnect here in terms of how different people approach and prioritize things. You're pointing to the submission process as an advantage. A sibling poster actually pointed to app review as an advantage. To me, they are both horrible disadvantages that make the App Store a terrible place for developers.
Beyond the 3% in transactions you're paying for the review process, which while imperfect, makes parents pretty comfortable letting their kids pay $1M/day to the Clash of Clans/Angry Birds folks.
While getting featured is rare, you still need to pay the salaries of the editors who pick the best apps, the graphics artists who merchandise the collections, etc.
I also look at it as the subsidy that helps offset the cost of developing Objective-C, Swift, etc. You might argue that it's in Apple's best interest to develop that anyway, but I don't fault them for trying to recoup the cost.
Look at it this way, it's a progressive 30% tax that you pay if your successful, while keeping the cost of development low for beginners.
Really, I think the big thing you're paying for is access to a customer base that is much more likely to pay you.
I've had a couple products featured in the iTunes store despite not being super connected and had great success. I understand the frustration, but it's not like you're not getting anything in return.
Apple is making billions from the App Store. It doesn't cost anything close to that much for Apple to build their developer tools. They were giving those tools away for free long before anyone had even heard of iOS.
While it might be argued that it doesn't work as well as it should, or that it shouldn't be forced, it's certainly a feature. It's a mechanism that improves user confidence in unknown apps, making them more likely to make a purchase when they are uncertain. No different than having your business certified under some ISO standard, which also costs money, but is essential to getting some clients.
Apparently there are people out there who genuinely believe that app review is not an anti-developer requirement that Apple uses to further its own goals, but rather a pro-developer feature that's worth paying for. I don't know that I can usefully continue the discussion without spending some time thinking about this state of affairs first.
You claim they are making "billions" off their cut. So show it. Most sources show that the revenues are about at the same level as their costs. If you have something different, please feel free to show.
I'm sure the App Store is breathtakingly expensive in absolute terms. But there's no reason it has to cost anything like 30% of sales. This stuff scales up sub-linearly, not super-linearly.
If that's not good enough for you, that's certainly your right, but it's a bit ridiculous of you to complain when you've offered no more support for your side.
I would also say that by far the main reason for the App Store's popularity is simply that it is the only channel for third-party apps on a massively popular platform. Apple could do nothing beyond making it available as an icon on the home screen and it would still be enormously popular.
And that's part of what you're paying for.
But the person above was comparing Apple's 30% to retail's 50%, which is a bad comparison because retail's cut is largely based on the actual costs of selling.
How does anyone in the world know when a new item shows up in the app store? For 99.99% of apps, it's either word of mouth or marketing activities undertaken by the developer. Apple's own marketing is great if you're one of the favored few, but for everybody else it does nothing.
The value of software creation is something else, though, and ages ago the one was tied directly to the other.
But even that wasn't truly the case. Shareware gave away part of the software for free, and relied on goodwill from the users for them to pay for the rest rather than sharing the full versions.
As you've pointed out, continuous services are another area where money can be made, but then the software isn't the value proposition, just the enabler of those services.
I'm having trouble following the logic. How can a new distribution channel for potential customers that didn't exist until 2011 bankrupt you?
If Feeder is 10 years old, what's significant about 2011-2015 of the Mac App Store existence that causes financial insolvency?
For a niche app like Feeder, which typically only manages to cover the cost of supporting and maintaining it, doesn’t need any Mac App Store-only features like iCloud,..., it hardly makes sense for me to sell it there from a financial perspective… and yet if I don’t, many people might not even know it exists.
How did people find out Feeder existed before 2011? Did Mac App Store remove that option of reaching the public?
We're not talking about the iOS App Store. The authors complaint is about the Mac App Store. It's a software store that Mac desktop/laptop users don't even bother to click on.
I'm still having trouble connecting the dots here. How exactly has a distribution channel that has gained very little traction over the last 4 years "dramatically obscured" other distribution options for a 10-year old app? Has there been an explosion of demand for sandboxed apps? It doesn't look like it.
"An alarming number of customers who already have Macs have absolutely no idea that the Mac App Store exists, even though the blue icon sits in many an unchanged Dock."
One way around this would be if apple reserved a portion of sales, but with the number of 'free' apps out there this would probably not work. And for near breakeven apps it would probably result in similar numbers. (EX: 100% of the first 10k, 10% after that.)
I can't link directly to the answer, but it's the last FAQ, 'Can you explain the UDK commercial license terms'. https://www.unrealengine.com/previous-versions/udk-licensing...
But why would Apple cut their rev share take when they have no reason to do so? It's not like there's competitive pressure, and if app developers want to get more revenue, they can raise prices.
The Mac App Store Still Needs Paid Upgrades
If 30% is too expensive -- if the added benefits of promotion through the App Store and other services don't make up for the loss -- why is it even a question? Don't sell through the Mac App Store. The presumption is that it's more profitable not to. So don't.
- put your app or iap 1 click away from an already loaded credit card; seems highly valuable to me.
It may, nevertheless, be too expensive for many people. The article author, for example.