I also find it incredibly disingenuous every time Tim Cook comes out at WWDC and announces how many billions of dollars Apple has paid out to developers, when the vast majority of that money is going to big organizations skimming gambling style microtransactions through massive mobile games.
It just feels like they're not being honest and selling luxury pickaxes to gold miners a decade after the California gold rush.
You might be more charitable than me with the microtransaction models in games like Clash of Clans, Clash Royale, and Candy Crush, but you don't even need to drop 20 places to get Slotomania, then DoudbleDown Casino, Slots Casino, World Series of Poker, 8 Ball Pool.
Hardly "big organizations skimming gambling style microtransactions through massive mobile games" -- assuming even all those casino apps are from "big organizations" to begin with. "miniclip.com", for example, is not exactly EA.
But if you include the monetization models of the most popular games such as Clash of Clans, Candy Crush, Kim Kardashian: Hollywood and the other games at the top, they are doing the same thing with a top layer of misderection. Drill down and their top sellers $99 IAPs of 'gems' or what have you in games aimed at children.
That is where the bulk of the app money is coming from, and it's not new or a secret, it is just not emphasized by Apple. They've gotten rid of Top Grossing lists to obfuscate this on the platform, but here, look at Jack Black explaining the tactic of app store games years ago.
It hasn't changed.
If you're spending more in developer fees than you're making from the apps it might make sense to make them free/ad-free so you can qualify as non-profit. You would lose the possibility of turning a profit in the future, though.
Edit: Just realised it's not available to individuals/non-profit businesses, which is a shame. If it was it could increase the number of free/ad-free apps and maybe the quality of the app store as a whole. Plus, who says one person can't run a non-profit. Surely they have to start somewhere like any other organisation?
That's not how you form a non-profit ; not deriving revenue from products is neither necessary nor sufficient to establish non-profit status.
> Plus, who says one person can't run a non-profit
One person can run a non-profit, but it still probably needs to be incorporated as a separate legal entity, and may (in some states) need a three-member board.
> Surely they have to start somewhere like any other organisation
Yes, they have to start somewhere, but that “somewhere”, in some jurisdictions, involves more than one person overseeing operations.
 as a starting point, see: https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/form-nonprofit-eight...
I'm guessing: the IRS. A non-profit is a specific type of entity, not a business model.
Like an LLC -- one person can run one, it doesn't take 2.
Not-for-profits are also sometimes conflated with Charities. In Australia they are two different things, a not-for-profit can be a charity and vica-versa but they don't need to be both.
Honestly, this has been kind of a bummer for me when I've thought about trying mobile development.
I don't know why advanced users use Apple products...
I'm pretty sure they didn't make the iOS API, nor the iOS App Store, nor it's documentation, etc, all of which they're getting access to.
>I don't know why advanced users use Apple products...
Because they're not knee-jerk reacting to a company, but value the product. And most of them are not against "capitalism" and "profit" themselves either.
It's a tough game.
If they later want to publish to the App store, I think it's completely okay to ask them to pay $99 then.
But now between tablets, smartphones, ChromeOS, and a clear intention by both Apple and Microsoft to phase out their open OS for a locked down version (iOS, Win10 S), new generations will not have much opportunity to tinker with their device, create their own executables. Of course a minority will always get into linux or whatever will be left of Windows and MacOS in 10 years, and go around that. But for the overall population, isn’t it going to dumb down users, and reduce the pool of future software developers (while the demand for more software is only ever increasing)?
The car analogy is an interesting argument against: you needed to be an engineer to operate early cars, but not anymore, and that didn’t reduce the supply of engineers and mechanics expert on cars. But I would argue that cars is an extreme in term of standardisation, where few engineers are required to design a fleet that satisfies the whole market. While software is highly specific to many different applications, and you need tons of software designers for each corner case (even if we reinvent the wheel way too often).
Actually, yes, I want to control what I run on a game console, a smartphone, a router, a computer and even my refrigerator.
Vote with your dollars.
I hate this saying. It's such a bullshit saying. a) There is no viable competition and b) It's incredibly profitable to lock people into an ecosystem, so even if you do "vote" with your dollars (hint: you're not voting) every company that you've now "voted" for has an interest in locking you into their ecosystem. The very act of "voting with your dollars" is part of the problem. This requires a principled stand and a demand, not more consumerism.
There are but a precious few of these that allow you to unlock your bootloader or acquire root access.
They are horrible.
- Constantly hijacking HDMI from other sources
- Remote has a sticky down button
- Voice turns on and off for no reason and starts operating.
Switch off CEC (this should stop the HDMI jacking). The supplied remote is truly awful. I use either my home cinema amp remote and/or TV remote (but this requires CEC enabled) and have no problems. Check the r/ShieldAndroidTV/ there's lots of good/cheap remote recommendations in there.
Sure, just like Linux distributions charge developers before allowing them to enrich the Linux ecosystem while getting little in return. No, wait...
Hell people shell out $1000+ for a Mac for the sole purpose of developing iOS apps. If anything Apple is probably under-pricing this 'service'.
1 - Bob wants tax deductions. Bob decides to sell pencils for $50k each. Bob discounts them to $0 for non-profits. Can Bob deduct $50k per pencil, for each sold to a non-profit?? Maybe Bob can only deduct his cost, or something?
So in your example, yes, Bob could only deduct the cost of the pencils, not his inflated "value".
Could be interesting if an “app archive” nonprofit starts up to bring back abandoned indie projects (assuming the original developer decides to open source)
I feel most people aren't so upset about the idea or reasons behind a yearly fee so much as the yearly fee being so high.
Oh wait I'm sorry that would be good design. Apple doesn't do that.
The opportunity cost of having developers NOT sign up because of the fee seems negligible. People still come flocking to Apple because they think they need to build an iOS app (and because of Apple's lackluster adoption of progressive web app support, that's still the only good way to get iOS users on board).
EDIT: Also, as others have mentioned, having a lower or zero fee would lower the bar, potentially flooding the App Store with even more low quality apps.
It's what a developer would need to create in sales for Apple to make 99 bucks from their 30% cut.
Oh wait that was dumb, the 30% tax means the breakeven point is $141.43.
Also it seems possible now that the GP was speaking from Apple's perspective, not the developer's.
Oh wait, you're the GP. Sorry, I was confused about the point of the discussion.
For Apple to make $99 of your sales (not accounting for taxes etc), you'd need to generate a volume of sales of which 30% would amount to $99, i.e. $99 / 0.3 = $330.
If you're asking "how much does a developer need to make in sales every year to recoup their membership fee" that's different: $99 / 0.7 ≈ $142 (rounded up). But that's kinda orthogonal to Apple's interests.
$99 your cut used to cover the program fee
$42.42 Apple’s cut
The ratio of the two is almost exactly 70:30
It's also an easy way to fight spam by reducing to serious accounts and allowing manual review.
Have the fee when people submit an app for review, not before.
Best of both worlds. Lots of developers, rich ecosystem, high hurdle for spam.
Paternalism: the policy or practice on the part of people in positions of authority of restricting the freedom and responsibilities of those subordinate to them in the subordinates' supposed best interest.
Would this also extend to students of said institutions wishing to distribute free apps that they create in, say, an iOS development course?
As an example I would think that a University teacher would release his/her app with the classroom material thus free app, mainly for the students - no point charging as the whole effort is not a "for profit".
Same for various orgs/NGOs who would need to reach out to provide news (e.g. United Nations).
This for me (who pays the $99) is honorable and shows that apple does indeed separate the for-profit efforts from the non-profit efforts.
Since last summer's WWDC, Apple's policy regarding "templated" or white-labeled apps has bounced around quite a bit. At one point they suggested that cities (for example) would be required to develop their own "custom" app rather than purchase an appropriate white-labled app from a vendor. They imagined that the functionality could be provided via an SDK that the city would use to build their own custom app. Pretty much a non-starter for all but a very few large cities with a significant IT department.
In any case, they have landed on a policy that requires the apps to be published by the municipalities directly rather than via the vendor. This isn't entirely unreasonable as it provides a strong signal to users that the app is "official" and lets the city promote their own brand rather than the vendor's brand.
So apparently as a concession to the administrative overhead that this change introduces for thousands of apps and organizations, they have introduced this fee waiver.
All in all, I think they ended up in a reasonable place but the last six months have been pretty frustrating as Apple figured this all out.
But they have the fee probably as a slight deterrent to just anyone uploading anything or abusing many accounts/company setups as there is a cost.
Unless you're a non-US non-profit. Thanks a bunch Apple.