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What happens when you dump the App Store? (techcrunch.com)
183 points by ColanR on Feb 13, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 123 comments

The value-add of the mac store is just not very good anymore.

There are only three reasons people might buy something from the mac store vs. from the developer directly:

1. To keep it getting updates through the app store vs. having to download from the developer when a new update comes out. 2. They found it in the mac store, and thus purchased it in the mac store. 3. They trust apple to reduce the risk of malware when using the mac store vs. a developers web page.

The mac store is getting really hard to navigate, and it doesn't give any useful search functionality, so #2 is disappearing as a reason people are buying from the apple store. #1 is nice, but with auto updates, it is disappearing as well. #3 isn't generally an issue for developers or "power users", so it is gone as well.

Honestly, I can't think of a reasonable reason to put something in the mac store that is oriented towards developers or power users. The hit in revenue just isn't worth the benefits. Though I would love to hear from someone who came to a different conclusion.

My #1 reason to use it is that it puts the purchase on my record so I can easily re-download it if I happen to lose it somehow. No more searching through ancient emails for activation codes.

That's not correct. Make sure you have backups because developers remove apps and then upload new versions under different application IDs, making you purchase them again.

So basically you're renting software from the AppStore. I think I paid 100 EUR for Abby FineReader and now I can't access it any more.

Agreed - I purchased Sketch 2 for 50EUR, moved to the US on a new computer as Sketch 3 came out - I can't get Sketch 2 now. I can't bring myself to pay for it again, so... Inkscape it is!

But if an app is not available on the app store, does that stop you from getting it? That's a consumer benefit but it has no corresponding benefit to the developer, so it's unlikely to be a good argument for a developer to stick with the app store.

If it's a well known application I will go out of my way and buy it outside the store if that's the only way to get it. But for some random app that I just found I have to wonder if it's worth getting it from outside the store (and frequently the answer is no). I need to a) give my credit card to a random website that will probably get hacked in the next 12 months, b) start getting unsolicited email campaigns in about 18 months when someone hires a growth hacker, c) remember how to install the damn thing when I upgrade my laptop, d) deal with the reduced security guarantees of an app that did not go through the Apple review process and is not subject to the sandboxing of the App Store.

For many apps where I wouldn't mind spending $10 to $20 in the App Store, I am probably not going to deal with all of the above to buy it directly from the developer.

I suspect you are a tiny minority though and that the cut the app store takes doesn't make up for losing a few folks like yourself.

However, I have no data to back up that claim, so I could very well be wrong.

I personally don't feel like you do because I use burner cards and emails to solve the hacking and spamming problems, and apps still have to be sandboxed unless you turn off that safeguard explicitly for the app.

Parent might be a tiny minority, but if so I'm right there with him.

> give my credit card to a random website that will probably get hacked in the next 12 months

Pretty much everyone takes PayPal which shields you from this

Or uses stripe which hides your real card number from the merchant. The annoyance of adding a card is one thing but fear of an app developer getting hacked and exposing your card doesn't strike me as a very strong reason.

they shouldnt be storing it anyways. thats not PCI compliant.

Dev logic, not how most of us are thinking

As an app developer, most users also seem to think developers are to blame for issues like the App Store failing to download apps, double-billing etc, so I don't think buying though Apple makes much of a difference there.

That's flawed logic. Your users are telling you they can't tell apart merchant/platform so you should build on top of that and assume they won't know that you're not PayPal

Wait a sec – consumer benefits absolutely affect the developer, because they affect whether or not the consumer buys the developer's app!

It's not necessarily a dealmaker or breaker; but if someone really cares about that and the market has many substitutes, it could be enough to sway them towards App Store purchase.

But that's my point. I think there is only a tiny number of people for whom that particular consumer benefit is a make or break deal.

Perhaps for now. I expect this to shift just as we saw mobile apps shift. Slowly at first then a mass migration of users towards the new model.

Example: Steam

I just don't think any implementation has really been that great yet. However as I think about Steam, it's rare I even consider a game I can't install via it - mostly due to it being an easy way to "back up" my games for later availability. That and they keep things up to date so it more or less Just Works.

The Mac App Store is now a full 5 years old. If 5 years in developers abandoning it see their revenue go up, that looks a lot more like persistent stagnation and decline for the store.

Mobile app stores post-iPhone just took off. There was no 'slowly at first' phase, in the sense that they had an uncertain future. They went gang busters from the start. But we're past theorising about how the first 5 years of the Mac App Store might go. They've gone. It really doesn't look good and I don't see any signs it might improve any time soon. A few people appreciate the convenience, but as this case study shows it's not enough to make an economic difference to developers. Steam killed it, but the Mac App Store is completely stalled.

It's a developer benefit if consumers feel averse to buying software that they can't re-download/update from a centralized software store (App Store, Steam, etc).

Right but that is my point. I don't think anyone would be averse to buying an app outside the app store just because it doesn't have that feature.

That could explain why someone chooses to buy it in the store if it is available both on and off the app store, but it's unlikely that there is many (any?) people out there who refuse to install an app that isn't in the app store.

I think you're looking at it the wrong way. It's not about refusal. It's not (primarily) a red line where crossing the line means you get no sales at all from the X% of people that care. It just incrementally raises the bar that customers' varying levels of desire/motivation to buy the app have to clear before they decide to go ahead. There are many other factors that probably have a greater influence on that bar, including price, convenience of the purchasing process, perceived quality of the product, etc. But that doesn't mean smaller factors don't matter at all. To get a sense of how much they matter, you'd have to measure it, but I doubt that things like license management convenience are completely irrelevant.

I buy my adobe software via Amazon for this exact reason. Meanwhile, I can't figure out how I can install Office 2011 on my new machine even though I have the key since MSFT doesn't even let me download the .dmg from their site anymore.

sir you are my hero.

I like how even thought I got windows 10 home with my laptop I can't install it from anywhere because the laptop didn't come with a recovery USB and the recovery partition got corrupted so basically I have to rely on downloading so-called "MSDN" images from torrents and hope for the best, verifying the hashes along the way...

That's simply untrue. You can download a copy of Windows 10 ISO from Microsoft. [0] It's the first search result if you Google Windows 10 ISO.

Plus, most laptops don't come with a recovery USB (neither do Macs) and IMO having a recovery partition is silly when installing it from scratch is cleaner/easier.

[0] https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10

Maybe on windows 7 or 8/8.1, but on 10 I see no download, how can I download an ISO without downloading a program? Plus let's say I have a metered connection (that I often do, when I'm away from home) and my windows 10 broke by itself as it often does? I can't go to a library or something and download the iso because I don't have admin permissions and microsoft's tool requires admin permissions. I'm not trying to criticize the OS for this, it already has been criticized enough for spyware, but seriously microsoft is just making it harder for me to use their software legally. Also the confusion about buying an OEM license and why there are no retail licenses in Serbia?

If you browse from windows, that page only shows Microsoft's special "Download Program".

If you browse from linux, it shows links to directly download the ISO files.

I'm not sure what it does if you browse from MacOS.

Maybe try changing your browser's useragent? Frankly, it is a bit annoying that Microsoft tries to push their download tool.

> I'm not sure what it does if you browse from MacOS.


Huh? Select Home/Pro. Select language. Download button appears for both 32/64 bit. No special software, just a download link.

Does 'More download options' reveal more options?


Nothing relevant:

>Sign in to the Volume Licensing Service Center to download Enterprise editions.

>Sign in to your subscription on the MSDN Portal for MSDN downloads.

> Visit the Windows Insider site to download Insider Preview builds

> Visit the Download Academic Products page for Education editions (product key required).

Jeez, just when I thought Microsoft was getting better about letting people...actually download their software... they go and create pages that display completely different things based on what OS you're running.

You have a good point. As a specific solution to that problem though, I would suggest Rufus. It runs without system privileges.

This is a hidden cost of non-open software.

Also, it's easier (and often cheaper) if you own multiple computers. No complex registration/deregistration of computers to ensure license compliance.

A huge problem with the Mac App Store is that it is not a service for listing “all Mac software that exists” but it NEEDS to be. I would argue that the potential benefits to the platform for listing all software are huge, even if many pages end up being little more than links to external web sites.

Sure, Apple wants a cut of sales but they’re already listing totally-free apps so they’ve shown that money isn’t everything.

If they made it dead-simple to list apps (e.g. free listing pages to all developers, where software storage/downloading/sales are clearly another tier), they’d soon have all Mac software in their list. They could then build on that repository to become the Google of software search. Search could be truly powerful.

Instead, search is not only pointless on the Mac App Store but it’s the opposite of that. I now EXPECT crap, I don’t even EXPECT a reasonable match. For every search for “software that does X”, I KNOW that the results will probably not include any well-known programs and will certainly contain cheap crap and clearly-misleading scam-ware. The rest of the list will be software that was last updated 3 years ago.

Users perceive the app store as giving a level of curation and security. If it became a list of "all Mac software that exists," and one of those turned out to be dodgy, Apple's image would take a real hit.

Also, what would listing software that hasn't been through the submissions process actually mean? That the app is verified by Apple? That going to the site and putting your credit card number into the shopping cart is guaranteed to be secure? That other things that haven't been listed yet are not as favoured in some way?

I'm not saying I like the app store model, or that they can't have a second tier of lower-scrutiny apps. I do think it would need a lot of thought and care, however.

Apple’s reputation is already taking a huge hit by allowing the Mac App Store to remain so broken for so long. And dodgy software does make it into their store.

They don’t need much of a warning for outside software sites. The page could have a banner at the top, or display one when you click the outside link.

> 1. To keep it getting updates through the app store vs. having to download from the developer when a new update comes out.

For me this is the number one reason for not buying via the Mac AppStore.

At this point almost every mac app uses the tried and tested Sparkle update mechanism [0], which is very fast and rather unobtrusive. I'm mostly done updating through sparkle before I even see the list of available updates in the App Store. It's slow as hell, requires my AppleID more often than I like and is overall simply a very cumbersome experience, that leads me to postpone updates endlessly.

[0] https://sparkle-project.org/

Sparkle is ahead of whats available on windows, but I still find it super annoying. I hate going to use a program and - just at that point I most want to get work done, I get annoying popups. "There's an update available! Quick - make some decisions about it! click" ugh wait for download "Restart the app to continue!" click "Heyyy, check out our new features! clickkkkkkk".

Its a total momentum killer. Like, imagine if randomly (every month or so) instead of loading immediately hackernews took 1 minute to load instead, and it required that you babysit it the whole time while you hit "next".

Personally I wish all apps used Chrome's update mechanism. Its unobtrusive, the patches are tiny compared to the size of Chrome and it works great. Most users don't even know the updates are happening.

Thats how I want all apps (and, frankly, my OS) to update. Just, silently and reliably. No annoying popups. No decisions to make when I'm trying to get work done. No waiting for the update to happen. Update yourself quickly in the background, and do it without bothering me.

Given how long chrome's updater has been out I'm surprised there's no embeddable Sparkle-like version for 3rd party apps to use.

> Personally I wish all apps used Chrome's update mechanism. Its unobtrusive, the patches are tiny compared to the size of Chrome and it works great. Most users don't even know the updates are happening.

You can accomplish by checking the "Automatically download updates like this in the future" box in Sparkle. The problem, though, is that you have to trust the software to handle these updates perfectly if you want them to happen in the background for critical software. Chrome can do that, because Google has some of the best developers around working on the project, and because they have absurdly good development practices. (Not perfect, but far better than any independent developer or small shop working on the majority of apps that we're talking about).

Automatic updating is hard. About a year ago, there was an update to iTerm2 that broke the software completely. The fix was to temporarily downgrade while waiting for the next point release - but for people who allowed automatic updates, they simply discovered one morning that they couldn't open their terminal[0].

Slack had an issue as well about a year ago as well, though that issue was with their auto-updater itself being broken, and preventing them from upgrading. In that case, they had to request that affected users uninstall and reinstall the application, just to get the new version of the automatic updater installed[1].

[0] I think this was the one: https://gitlab.com/gnachman/iterm2/issues/4699

[1] It's hard to push an update to your software automatically if your automatic updater is what's broken.

I’m really surprised that more automatic update systems don’t make a complete copy of the old image (and keep it in an obvious place) before trying to merge or overwrite changes. Disks are huge, and it would mean that users can simply run the previous version in the event of an unexpected breaking change after an update.

The only one I can think of that makes a copy is the one from Omni Group, which seems to leave an old version in the Trash. Plus, it renames the application so it has an exact “version” for clarity.

Check out https://github.com/Squirrel/Squirrel.Mac

I've never used the mac version, but Squirrel for windows works great and is unobtrusive. The Mac version promises the same: "Squirrel is an OS X framework focused on making application updates as safe and transparent as updates to a website.".

Also, there are apps that you use more often and apps that you use less often. By leaving the update to the app itself, you can basically make use of the update mechanism in proportion to how much you really need the app (you start it up, there is an update, you run it in 10-15s and you're done). You haven't used it in half a year, you open it, update to the most recent version, done.

With the appstore on the other hand, besides being horribly slow, it will always present you everything that is updateable, even if you only need that tool only 3-4 times a year. So I will always have to make that call per every app in the list, every time I open the updates panel.

Why do you have to make that decision at all though? I guess I'm spoiled by Linux's package managers which allow me to leave my computer on overnight and have everything updated automatically without me even noticing.

There are a few others:

Not having to enter payment information again.

Not having to trust a new third party with your payment information.

Trusted refund support.

Apple makes it seem scary to install software outside the app store.

#1 is not even true. I've bought ABBY FineReader and Patterns from the AppStore and both apps have been removed and replaced with newer versions.

I didn't have a backup of ABBY and the Patterns backup doesn't work because when run it complains that it doesn't work with the latest macOS and that I should update for 15+ EUR.

I would love the Mac App Store if it worked well, like Steam or the Play Store.

Unfortunately it's a piece of garbage.

#4: I get to use it on 5 computers.

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202152 seems to imply that there is no such limit.

Can I use apps from the Mac App Store on more than one computer?

Apps from the Mac App Store may be used on any Macs that you own or control for your personal use.

You can only have 10 devices (and only 5 of them computers) associated to a single Apple ID:


I hit the device limit constantly on iTunes and have to declare "bakruptcy" (unuauthorize all devices) to reset it. This is what happens when you have a laptop, a desktop and work and home, a gaming computer, and things like a media centre computer.

I have never once hit it on apps.

That does not make sense for the Mac App Store. Mac Apps will only run on a computer.

Can you get around that using family share?

4. Minor but: if you have more than one machine, the app installs across machines for you.

I'm not too sure 1 is a problem in the real world. Most popular outside-of-app-store apps I'm aware of have built in updating mechanisms. Think Sparkle and the like.

If you use iTerm, you know what I'm talking about.

Should be macOS App Store title seems to imply the iOS one .

Wow, yeah. This is heavily implied by the header image that's full of iOS app shapes. My first thought was, how do you even get an app on your iPhone without the App store? That's just for developers, right?

My next thought was that I generally don't discover things through the iOS App Store. I usually have to be told that they exist first, and even then the search doesn't always give me what I want since the App Store is full of knock-offs that should have been deleted for copyright infringement.

But the App Store on desktop? Most folks are still used to the old way of going to a website and downloading a DMG.

Agreed. Title is misleading and is clearly clickbait. Please admin switch this.

You need to email them.

Shouldn't flagging it be sufficient?

Flagging generally means the submission is inappropriate for HN. It affects ranking and, if flagged heavily enough, will kill the submission. Flagging isn't a "call" button for mods. I don't think they generally review a submission just because it's been flagged by a user.

I'm surprised that the mods still haven't done anything about the title.

Oh wow, I skimmed most of the article, mostly looking for how they got the app on iPhones, and did not even catch this. Misleading indeed.

I pulled my mac app http://www.ghostnoteapp.com from the appstore back in '15 only 5 months after launching it and haven't looked back since.

It's still a pretty profitable app for me and I actually enjoy the freedom of not having to have it go through review process.

For most mac apps people are googling rather than browsing the app store anyway.

As a cheapskate app buyer (a learned behavior from different app stores), I noticed that you had this priced at $4.99 while it was on the Mac App Store but have it at $9.99 on your own store now. That made me rethink if I really need this app because it "seems expensive" with this information in the background. This is just a buyer psychology observation, and not intended to devalue your app or your efforts in any way.

Pricing is a tricky thing. Start to high and go lower and people get mad for being tricked into buying the expensive version when a cheaper one comes out. I made that mistake with my first product and promised never to do that again.

I was also pricing it on my own website at $4.99 back then.

I realized that the value I was creating was more than $4.99 and I haven't seen a drop in revenue based on that.

So you have to find the sweet spot in order to afford keep developing it.

It's smart of you to still use the App Store logo though. ;) I'll give you that.

Interesting never thought about it like that.

To me the icon indicating it's app store is this: https://developer.apple.com/app-store/marketing/guidelines/#...

But now you actually got me wondering if I should change it.

Yeah, that's not the app store icon, it's the generic Apple icon for an application. I would leave it, it indicates a Mac app, but not a MAS app.

I think when coupled like this, "[logo] buy" it gives the impression of "something apple".

Personally I thought that it would either open the app store, or that is was something related to Apple pay (although that one needs "[logo] Pay").

It felt a bit misleading.

I think you are talking about the top right not the button?

Oh, yeah that's right.

Nah man, you got a nice looking button there. I'd stick with it unless you get a warning from Apple. Keep up the good work!

That icon means 'app' not app store.

You probably should. Your usage of the App Store logo is likely in contradiction with Apple's rules, and since it's their IP, they get to dictate how it's used.

People seem to be downvoting me. Was my comment incorrect? If so, I'd love to know.

The logo he's using is not the AppStore logo. It's the logo for a generic app with no custom icon on macOS. That said, apple still own that logo, and might have an issue with it.

It's literally the app store logo minus the circle. But you're right, the same icon is also used as part of the generic app placeholder icon. In either case, it does still belong to Apple.

Edit: In fact, thinking about it some more, it's very clearly much closer to the App Store logo than anything else. It's literally the white silhouette design from the logo (as opposed to the colored non-sillhouete version from generic app icons), placed on a blue button that's similar to the app store logo's blue background.

The app store button is the one with the app icon and saying available in the app store.

The folder on my mac uses that icon for Applications.

App review takes a day now. Was it really that much of a hassle to you?

It often took a week and yes it was a hassle also because of all the restrictions they put on what you are allowed to do.

I know they have improved a little but I frankly don't need them as the Mac appstore market is nothing like the iOS appstore market. There is no benefit really.

*What happens when you pull a well established app with an extremely well established (and very tech savvy) user base from the macOS App Store in a public fashion.

Piezo, Rogue Amoeba's app, was removed from the Mac App Store with "minimal publicity", according to their blog post:


That is quite correct. When we removed Piezo from the Mac App Store a year ago, we didn't send out a press release, nor seek publicity over this move in any way. We simply removed it and explained why on our blog (https://weblog.rogueamoeba.com/2016/02/12/piezo-1-5-arrives-...). That was it.

We can certainly debate how well-established or tech-savvy our users are (though I will note that Piezo is by far our simplest application, and used by the least technically savvy among our user base). But to say that we did this in a “public fashion” is just false.

True, but your own brand and storefront is very well established and respected for more than a decade. This makes the story entirely unrepresentative of what happens when developers in general quit the Mac App Store.

We started outside of the App Store because of its sandboxing restriction.

It's still 2nd to 3rd page of search results despite having some reviews and only a couple of competitors. So a considerable investment in SEO is required.

What percentage of your sales came from people discovering your app through the Mac App store vs. how many found your page and were linked to the Mac App Store?

At this point, we don't have any way of knowing for sure. But given the results in the year since we left the store, it appears that most people got to us, and then went to the Mac App Store to purchase. It would seem very few people found us directly via the Mac App Store, given the way sales shifted to direct when we were no longer there.

They're also a very savvy company that has their own store. They didn't have to do any work other than turn off the App Store listing.

Smaller developers may have to go through considerable pain and anguish in setting up their own store, or they can suffer through even more angusih and pain when the store they entrusted to do their sales goes down in flames, as with Kagi. https://tidbits.com/article/16665

Being self-hosted is obviously better if you can swing it, but it's more work and it's not for everyone.

We started small and with no obvious path for going from the app we'd made, to running a company. Nevertheless, we were able to figure it out back in 2002, and it's gotten easier since.

It's slightly more work to sell outside the App Store, yes, but it's really just not that difficult. If a developer plans to make a living, or even just side income, from app sales, it's work that's worth doing.

If you started in 2002, and particularly if you have been actively link-building since then, you have a huge advantage in terms of visibility SEO-wise.

It's quite simply much harder to build a link profile in 2017 than it was 15 years ago.

It's not impossible, but don't underestimate the difficulty of starting up now. I started things in 2002, I'm still starting things now, and building an independent web presence now - at least, one which anyone will find - is considerably more difficult.

(Technically it's much easier - getting the actual website serving to the Internet is easier. But that was never the hard part.)

Even if you're not the mighty Rogue Amoeba, services like FastSpring[1] seem to make it pretty easy.

[1] http://christiantietze.de/books/make-money-outside-mac-app-s... #noaffiliation

This is why I mention Kagi. When you go all-in on a third party service it might tank and then where are you?

Even when I was selling through Kagi, I had a backup payment service running simultaneously (Plimus, then later FastSpring). I could switch between them in just a couple of minutes by changing some if statements in my PHP code. I even had hidden 'coupons' I could give to customers to redirect to another provider, if Kagi wasn't accepting their card for some weird reason.

Don't hard-link to a third party service. Abstract everything through your own site that you have 100% control over, so you can swap out the underlying services whenever you want.

I know you know the answer to this (i.e. move to another vendor, as you would for any vendor that goes away), so my apologies in advance for not understanding the point you're trying to lead me to.

I guess I don't understand the alternative. Go out of business?

I think the choice is between using a solid platform like the App Store or something like it, or building your own using tools that won't go away either. Stripe, PayPal, things like that.

It takes a lot of effort to build out your own store and get it right, this is no small task, which is why the 30% fee charged by these stores is not necessarily the biggest obstacle.

These intermediaries add considerable risk.

I'm not even sure we can assume Stripe won't go away, and Paypal has shown itself to be anything but dependable (sure it'll accept a payment but will you definitely get the money?)

Edit: Sorry I know those were just two examples - I'm not trying to refute your point

They're bordering on "too big to fail" at this point, but if they did go, they are just a payment provider. Switching from Stripe to PayPal to Square or whatever for credit card processing is a heck of a lot easier than switching from the Apple App Store to your own hand-crafted store.

For example, you can bang together your own store with Magento, Spree, or any number of other ecommerce store kits and pick one or more back-ends without a whole lot of sweat. This presumes you know a thing or two about web development and security, which is not necesarily a given for any group of developers. If you do know that, the difference between Stripe or PayPal is a few lines of configuration and API keys, if that.

To mods: I flagged this to bring attention to the clickbait title: this is NOT referring to iOS.

The post title here is the same as the article title but I would still recommend changing it, even if just to "macOS App Store".

Small edit - I just realized "Mac App Store" could work as well, that's what I understand it's usually called.

I wonder if articles like this will hasten non-app-store-apps' demise. Apple has already appeared to be quite itchy to lock down everything and weld the hood shut, throwing vendor kexts out of the kernel left and right and introducing ChromeOS-like OS verification steps, making users jump through several hoops to run downloaded executables... Apple's going to eventually want to stem the outgoing tide before too many apps flee the walled sandbox and have a voice loud enough that they can't simply ignore. (It's only a matter of "when" really; they made the OS free because they fully intend to get their 30% cut on every app sold, moving the iOS model to the Desktop.)

If/when they do this, I'm gone from OSX.

This can fly on mobile because ultimately mobile devices are just dumb terms for accessing the cloud. I don't think it'll fly on real computers, especially for the pro market and developers.

I greatly dislike the osx app store. It's intrusive, slow (even over Google fiber), has an awful UI, and is generally annoying.

Evey single thing of those apple store is a gigantic shame.

Interface for browsing content ( itunes) : sucks, absolute disaster.

Interface for publishing content ( itunesconnect) : feels like the work of an intern

Review process : lottery. Never know for sure if your business isn't going to get killed by an eula update.

Development tools ( xcode ) : so bad it becomes embarrassing.

Commission : 30% is a total ripoff. Should be half of it, max.

Content indexing / discoverability : nonexistant. So bad they had to force developpers to remove working but non updated apps.

And I could go on and on, but really, the only reason it remains this bad is because apple is in a de facto monopoly position on everything related to their products.

I think that without knowing the y-axis of that chart it's hard to judge whether it's really not worth it to even be listed.

Mac apps are more niche than their mobile counterparts. Why is a discussion for a different time, but _selling_ niche products is very different than freemium or even paid mobile apps.

If sales are low on a daily basis I'd say the downloads came from users who knew what they wanted and just needed a way to get it, which is what I suspect is happening.

I'm not trying to defend the Mac App Store here, obviously it leaves a lot to be desired as it related to discovery. I'm not sure if we can blame Apple for that or not though. Desktop app stores never really took off with steam being the only exception. And steam isn't for apps.

The only real advantage I see the MAS could have is credibility when it gets to subscriptions. Let's see how Apple will handle that.

> Desktop app stores never really took off with steam being the only exception. And steam isn't for apps.

Mobile app stores aren't for apps (or at least paid apps) either. If you filter out all the games, the frontends for external services and all the other free apps, how much is left? How significant is it?

Apple should lower the fees for desktop apps. The developer license, while only 100$, is still a factor that prevents indie developers from considering the App Store. Perhaps make it free for free and open source apps. And only take a commission for paid apps. The mobile app store was different because that was the only option for developers at that time. Apple would ideally like to make it that way even on the desktops eventually, but that would suck.

home-brew is my App Store these days. I only go to the 'official' Mac App Store out of curiosity to see new releases - and then I wait until they show up in 'brew cask'. If they don't: meh. I don't care. If they do, then I happily use home-brew to install new apps.

The reason? home-brew is just such an elegant way of administering installed Apps without doing the 'download, mount, drag to ~/Applications, etc.' dance ..

Wonder if any of those three giant stores ( google, apple and especially amazon) aren't going to be facing the next wave of anti-trust lawsuits in tech.

From a user's point of view the App Store (on every Apple platform, from tvOS to the Watch) is an incredibly bad deal, with awesome offerings.

* The centralised payment really incentivises users to buy apps (myself included, I find myself thinking about buying something a lot less when only having to trust one source with my information, and that source ensures that their system works well for me).

* iCloud Sync is a really big bonus for most of the work-related apps I bought and it's painfully missing when you read that devs pulled their software from the store and you cannot access it anymore.

* The fact that I can comfortably download all the software I bought without keeping track of it is a bonus - if I ever have to reset a device, it's a giant bonus.

And the negatives:

* It stifles innovation -- content discovery is almost impossible! Within two clicks you can arrive at endless lists of shovel-ware - the top lists are almost completely unusable in my region as a way to find new and interesting apps. Same goes for categories (on stores that even have a somewhat OK system of categories). The Watch / TV stores are horrible! For some reason I always seem to run out of content to browse, even tho there are (possibly) hundreds of thousands of apps on that platform. The only half-acceptable way I found to look for new stuff is to browse Apple's curated collections (which almost always are very samey). Now I wouldn't say this is worse than Google Play, for example, I recently browsed through it and had a similar experience, however that should be enough to call attention to the issue, since the Apple app store is usually considered more sophisticated

* Search: it's not very good, from the App Store to Apple Music tolerance on misspelling names or searching for approximates is bad.

* You're forced to only use their system of delivery, unless you're on macOS (which's future is looking dubious on that front as well), so you're inherently forced to deal with the negatives, without having a choice of other ecosystems.

I love my Apple products, I've almost completely switched to their ecosystem within the last two years, but I am really hoping to see as much work on these issues as on the pull-up music player menu on the Control Center. Just because the competition is not on another, better level, it does not mean that having to constantly Google to discover great new apps is acceptable.

We should make a clear difference here between any App Store and a computer App store. Sure, people will not care much when it's a computer app store, since they have long experience in installing programs without it. But when it comes to smartphone/tablet app stores, not being in one of them means your program is dead.

I really really really wish amazon would just develop a vendor neutral app store already. Valve seems unwilling to branch into apps outside the sphere of the gaming community. Apple and Microsoft seem to not care about the features that would make their stores more attractive to both buyers and sellers.

They have a store on android, but I don't get the impression it's been a massive success.

It's been good enough to support their Kindle Fire ecosystem without using Google Play (I don't think anyone else has succeeded with something like that outside China), but they're still propping it up on non-Amazon devices by tying Amazon Video to it, so...

valve has tried with various creative tools like 3d modelers etc, but few seem to care.

If too many devs flee the app store, then chances are Apple makes the app-store mandatory for installing new apps.

Not really. This is about MAS not iOS appstore. There's no way Apple can require MAS-install, everybody would up and leave the ecosystem entirely (too many useful tools can't even fit in MAS's restrictions) and MAS has never had much value-add for the constraints and cost.

as a mac user, i always prefer to download the dmg directly. i only use the app store for OS updates, xcode and itunes updates.

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