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Take this question for what it is-- I'm not blaming the victim here-- but how much responsibility do small and nameless developers bear for making a deal with the devil to begin with? Don't they go into this knowing that Apple can at any time capriciously cut them off from the sole means of distribution of their product at will?

I get that there is money to be made on the iOS app store-- but why is there a willingness to set up shop in a town where if one of the local officials doesn't like you-- for any reason-- he or she can effectively confiscate your hard-made product so you can't sell it anywhere else and kick you outside the walls?




You act like there's a choice -- customers get apps through the app store, so that's where developers have to be if they want to eat.


The choice is that if you're going to develop software for sale to the public, you can choose to develop software for sale in another market which is not so restrictive and oppressive. Other platforms and marketplaces exist, and money can be made there. To contemplate the actual possibility of sweating for years building a business, slaving over software, creating marketing campaigns, and a brand and fighting to beat out the competition, all while knowing that at any point for any reason Apple may decide to pull the plug and leave me with absolutely nothing-- no sellable product and no other avenue to sell it-- sounds like a pretty obvious choice: Don't ever get in business under circumstances like that unless there truly is no other choice.

Stories like this from Dash (and others) is a real-living and breathing worst-case scenario... it makes the choice to not participate in this marketplace all the more obvious to me.


"The choice is that if you're going to develop software for sale to the public, you can choose to develop software for sale in another market which is not so restrictive and oppressive."

The smartphone 'market' is an oligarchy, ergo, it's not really a free market, and those kinds of principled positions just don't hold.

It's pretty reasonable to argue that Apple's arbitrary control of the AppStore is an anti-competitive practice.

If the market were commoditized, like, the choice you have for where you want to 'eat lunch' or 'buy a car' - it would be different.


Just goes to show that selling App's in a walled ecosystem is NOT the exact same as building a software business. You lose so much control over your product, you essentially become commission-only contract software developers. Publishers have been pushing for this kind of control for a long time.


You trade that loss of control for the convenience of not having to distribute/host/manage money or returns/etc.


People work and go into business and otherwise partner with people who can capriciously screw them over all the time, that's how businesses work. You can put a certain amount of things in contracts and internal procedures but ultimately you need to trust your partners/boss/employees not to screw you over. The App Store is no different and many people build their businesses around it because it is a huge market and Apple has built up a lot of trust that mistakes (presumably like this) are corrected and AFAIK they do not go around wantonly destroying people's businesses.


Can we drop the whole "need to eat" language when talking about software development? We're talking about people with abundant opportunity to make tons of money. Tugging on the heartstrings with "they need to eat" or "feed their families" is preposterously over the top rhetoric.


I can't speak for you, but my family needs to eat.

Can I choose my opportunities? To some extent.


Yes of course, your family needs to eat and you need to eat. If you're most concerned with just making enough money to eat, you have a huge number of jobs available. If your app's failure vs. success is the difference between eating and not eating, you've made that decision consciously, knowing that you (necessarily) have the skills to get other jobs without such dire consequences.

The point I was making is that this rhetorical device of "I need to eat" is used way too often as a euphemism for "I want to make a lot of money". It's used that way because the former statement elicits sympathy and the latter statement attracts derision.

In the context of the original comment, the "need to eat" phrase was used in the context of an app developer. You don't create an app on the app store as a last ditch attempt to feed your family. You do it to make money, and you do it knowing the risk that it won't be successful and you won't make any money. Apple's inscrutable opaque approval process is another annoying risk on top of that, but whether you're going to eat shouldn't be a part of the equation here.



I was going to say something clever and snarky here, but then I realized that I am an "at will" employee for a single company that could ruin me financially with one arbitrary decision, and they would have no obligation whatsoever to justify it to me in any way.

At least Apple only takes ~1/3 of the value of the work you put into in the App Store.


It is not the case that all developers have easy access to abundant income. It is at least as wrong to assume that is true as to assume that they are living hand to mouth.


For those developers, it makes even less sense to pony up for a Macbook and an Apple Developer license and spend all their time on an app that's going into someone else's environment - especially someone who has a history of treating developers on their platform as second-class citizens.


They're told they'll make money. That is not only Apple's rhetoric but the press's.


It is fairly easy to assume that there are other routes to food than publishing apps in Apple's App Store. No one is guaranteed abundant income in general, never mind via some third-party business.


If a particular practice is acceptable for Apple, then it is presumptively okay for other software companies to do, too. And conversely, if everyone in the market for software-development labor wouldn't be allowed to do something, we shouldn't allow Apple to do it, either.

If a particular bit of conduct would be a poor idea if everyone were to do it, that's a pretty good idea it shouldn't be allowed at all.


Sorry, I don't understand how your conversation is relevant to the conversation.


Yes, developers have multiple opportunities, but often they don't choose what actually works. I did many things over my career, the only one that was truly successful financially was in a closed, proprietary environment. My open-source projects are all semi-failures. So where I spend my time is not my choice, it's my customers'.


There is a choice - and it is the right choice. Just make your software browser-based.


That's not a choice. Browser technology is still a long way from native performance.


So much this. There are also weird quirks to deal with when dealing with browsers vs. native. On iOS, native scrolling 'just works,' but within our app (Cordova-based) it took a bunch of hand-holding to make it a decent experience.'

One example, on iOS WebKit if you flick to scroll, and then "click" (touch) on the screen while the scroll animation is still running, the click event will report a position on the webpage that was as if the scroll had never happened (e.g. you had clicked on the same place on the screen without having scrolled in the first place).


That is Apple's fault, not the web's or browsers' in general.


Well, then all browser vendors are to blame, because the experience with Apple browsers is no better or worse than any other browser for serious web-based apps.


That may be true for 3D games. But for things like Dash, a documentation standard, I doubt it matters.


It's true for a lot of applications other than gaming.


The whole point of Dash was to make documentation offline.


When people say "there is no choice" it usually means there is a choice. A better way to have the discussion is to avoid the binary framing and talk about the tradeoffs.

Here is one key tradeoff I see: the App Store brings more visibility in exchange for a cost. This situation accentuates another downside: plug-pulling for intentional or unintentional reasons.

FWIW, I use plenty of apps not on the app store.




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