If you remember the first versions of the App Store, most of the apps were hosted and delivered by Apple, and the in app purchases were also hosted, secured and delivered by Apple. You just uploaded the content and had zero cost from that point on - like writing a book and giving it to a publisher. There the 30% cut made sense. If I sleep on the beach all day and receive 70% royalties for my stuff without having to do any other work, great. Sounds reasonable.
Not so if I’m running a service or a backend for the app I’m selling. If I’m selling consultations, or running perpetual servers or jobs or bandwidth for each new sale, there’s absolutely no way 30% is a sensible cut, because the value is not being provided by Apple the publisher.
Apple has failed to make this distinction, and the more they dig their heels in and refuse to, the bigger the fall is going to be.
I don't disagree with you, but you do have to draw a line somewhere, or every traditionally paid-for app will convert to external registration. Why wouldn't they? It's free money. Still, it's hard to ignore the hypocrisy of allowing Dropbox, Netflix, Kindle, etc without a pathway for sub-billion-dollar companies to follow in their footsteps.
How about a model where the developer pays per logged in user? You'd still have to shake out how much Apple "deserved" for its part in the transaction, eg do subscription apps and top ups get warrant more money?
Edit: Didn't expect to be downvoted, just trying to find models that work for everybody.
In the scenarios where a user is paying for something that is delivered or executed by the app developer’s infrastructure, digital or not, Apple is a payment gateway, not a publisher. They can either match Stripe or go to Paddle’s rate of 5% because they handle taxes and VAT etc. But either way they are and should act as payment gateway and merchant of record, not publisher.
This distinction already exists for on digital goods. No one expects to pay 30% when selling food or groceries, for example. But digital services are the same thing.
I don't think we're talking about drastically different things when we're comparing the Amazon app, or some client application for SaaS. Apple doesn't force Amazon to use it as a card processor, does it? It seems the only distinguishing feature is that Amazon is massive. You could say that there's a distinguishing digital delivery divide here but Amazon gets out of that too these days.
Your product and associated costs might have changed, but your relationship with Apple hasn't. You aren't paying them for payment processing, you're paying for access to the user base that is magnitudes bigger than when the App Store launched.
And the distinction is even weirder for hardware - this is like Tesla allowing you to only carry passengers that also own Teslas or pay Musk a fee.
If a store is a enforced monopoly, then it seems like there’s a moral and ethical requirement for it to operate at cost / not for profit. If the government required you to file all your taxes on a portal with a fee, for example, this fee would have to be not for profit to be ethical and moral.
I don’t think Apple is stuck on these grounds, because Spotify and Netflix are on the App Store and don’t pay 30%. They need to formalise the rules under which these apps exist, and let others freely exist under those rules as well.
I don't understand how the comparison to government makes any sense. This is a private business and you want to sell on their marketplace. You agreed to their terms in order to do so. If those terms suck you can avoid the platform altogether, as many people do.
This is more like, back when Ma Bell made you pay rent to use a handset and there was no way that you could own one.
If enough people/companies don’t like the situation we can change it. If there’s no law to make things happen the way we want, we’ll make one.
As a person who hates being forced to create an account, I'm all for this. As a person who builds stuff, I don't know that you could create a viable revenue model around this.
At any rate it'd certainly be interesting and we'd see more people thinking about PG's recent point re: account-less functionality as a competitive advantage.
What really triggers me was with their Rules being selectively enforced. Fastmail, and a few others being exactly the same as Hey; a mail client, passed the review for years with no IAP. But not Hey.
And that is not right in my book. ( Or they could force other email client to have IAP )
The new Tim Cook's Apple has a different sort of arrogance. And very different to Steve Jobs Apple. Qualcomm's case being one. This is another.
What the market will bear is made up of lots of people's opinions on whether the price is justified, and the person you're replying to is giving one argument that it isn't.
Like residential internet in the USA, mobile app stores are not a healthy market place.
If you use iOS, Apple has a monopoly, and there is no scope for any other market places by design.
If you use Android, Google has a monopoly. There is scope for other market places, but Google has a dominant monopoly that is unlikely to go anywhere else.
There are no other mobile appstores of consequence.
There's little reason for the incumbents to reduce their prices, as there is little-to-no scope for any competition that requires it.
The platform is essentially a boundled product. E.g. Apple can hurt Spotify or bully to 30% fee, using rejections so their inferior service can be more competitive.
Once you get monopolistic network effort your platform needs to be an utility. Imagine electric or water company refusing to sell you services or increasing price way beyond the costs.
I believe once you become a platform there should be an independent nano-courthouse where you can appeal. Today being rejected or having listing hijacked on Apple, Amazon, or Google platform is equivalent to the economical death penalty for many businesses.
It should be possible to pay $100 by individuals or $1000 by businesses and appeal to an independent nano-courthouse if the original platform rejects or blocks you. If you win, the appeal fee is refunded and the platform has to cover the cost. If you lose, your $100 or $1000 is gone.
It should be required, by law, for platforms this widespread to allow installing apps without platform owner involvement. Let there be many scary warnings like there actually are on Android when you install an apk file, but it has to be possible. It's the only way. Adding more bureaucracy on top of existing bureaucracy won't help much because you'll still have to play by the platform owners' arbitrary nonsense rules.
Android is slightly better, since you can install alternative app stores, or apps from websites.
I have been an Apple user for 34 years and was a huge advocate for Apple in the 2000s. However, when it was clear that Apple was going to tightly control the software you could run on your iPhone, I knew it couldn't be the computer I wanted in my pocket. I've been a Mac/Android user for the last 10 years. Despite the neglect of the Mac during this time, I've had a difficult time quitting it.
That future is here. All macOS desktop apps must be signed with an $99 developer certificate from Apple. All Windows apps must be signed with a $300-ish developer certificate otherwise Windows scare away 99% of users from running the installer. I can't comment for Linux but I see snapcraft.io is getting some pretty big usage numbers...
I really can't put what I want on my Android phone. I briefly read I need to 'unlock' my bootloader using some procedure which implies getting approval from Xiaomi and/or doing a factory reset of my phone which means losing everything. Seems designed to be as inconvenient as possible.
From what I've seen, on the contrary most non-tech users simply click on "accept the risk" every single time there's one of those "scary" screens. They just do, just like they bypass HTTPS warnings in browsers. After all, most informed users us included do the same, maybe after a 5-10s pause in front of the screen to read the company name.
The number of people "scared away" seems way less than 50%, and I'd imagine it is probably around or even less than 15%.
Notice that "more info" in a slightly different shade is actually a link. When you click it you get the option to bypass the security block.
How could you possibly know this, other than anecdotally?
To be fair, that is only valid at face value. Yes, you yourself might not be able to do that technically, but it is quite easy and flat out possible compared to an iPhone.
This is due to Ubuntu pushing it, but the community mostly hates it. Ubuntu drives m derivates like Mint actually completely rip it out.
> All macOS desktop apps must be signed with an $99 developer certificate from Apple
Can't you just uncheck an option in the settings?
> All Windows apps must be signed with a $300-ish developer certificate otherwise Windows scare away 99% of users
The significant difference to iOS is that you can tell your user what to do to get the app running anyway. No such (reasonably expectable) way on iOS.
> The significant difference to iOS is that you can tell your user what to do to get the app running anyway. No such (reasonably expectable) way on iOS.
Even these aren't "reasonably expectable" for most users. Those hoops and warnings will scare away a lot of people that technically could have ran the app.
Then don't buy Apple?
The fact is that it costs money to develop and maintain the OS on the phone, and that money has to come from somewhere. Apple pays for this maintenance by charging a tax on app developers that use their ecosystem; Google pays for it by spying on you.
Right now, we can both choose: You can buy a phone that pays for the software by spying on you, I can buy a phone that pays for the software by charging a toll for applications.
You haven't explicitly advocated using monopoly sanctions to make Apple's business model illegal, but lots of people have. If those efforts are successful, that will remove my choice to pay more for no spying.
Android, if you don't login to Google, and use a more ethical app store, get's much less data.
Obvious disclaimer: The entire of iOS, and parts of Android factory builds are closed source (e.g. the bootloaders), so we can't really know for sure what more they collect.
Apple have been pulling this kind of thing for the entire lifetime of iOS at least, which is now at ~15 years. So it's less of an evolution and more of a constant.
Nothing has changed, nothing will change. Apple will make arbitrary and unfair rules that suit it, and people will complain but ultimately stick with Apple, and the cycle will repeat.
Also, buying a Kindle seems like a surefire way to be vendor locked-in, because Amazon is so big, it can afford to not care about anything.
While Kindle is locked in, it seems to be a love child of Amazon and works extremely well. The difference between Kindle and iPhone is that Kindle is a single-purpose device, and iPhone is a general computing platform.
(Snark aside, the Apple is rightfully famous for their tight integration, high-quality user experience, and that basically requires a walled garden. And it's easy to find edge cases.)
And you're forced to because they are not a charity and because they can get away with it. (Both in a legal and market forces aspect.)
For 200-400 bucks you could have a great Android phone.
Not sure where fashion enters into it?
i've been using android phones for the better part of the decade. last year (2019) i've inherited an iphone 6s and the reason i've upgraded this year (to an inherited 8) is that i managed to crack the screen. show me an android phone that has 5 years of support.
Day of reckoning is coming. Monopolistic per se or not I think it's their greed and hubris that will be their downfall (on the matter).
But from a pure business perspective, if they're charging on an annual basis, if the average subscription length is say, 4 years, after the first year the rate is 15% not 30%. Additionally, Apple pays all the transaction costs, which on a $99 charge would be ~3.3%. That means if they go with Apple's system they'll effectively pay 18.75% versus 3.3%. Do they really think they won't achieve 19%  more subscriptions with a native signup flow and payment option compared to only recruiting customers outside Apple's ecosystem? That's what they need to break even on Apple's cut here. If they do think that, I'd be tempted to claim they don't really understand the power of App Store distribution.
 96.7% revenue cut / 81.25% revenue cut
Btw I researched the Hey App, it is such a scam app. Its basically a dumbified e-mail service, that they are charging $99 per year, trying to create this buzz from this marketing and having "exclusive beta keys" and then having lots of fake reviews on their website and YouTube.
I worked for a music streaming company.
We never had any problem with Google (admittedly, Google does not care about Google Music and does not know what to do with it, which is a shame) but oh boy, getting an update to come out on iOS was a pretty big challenge.
We were sometimes even months without being able to push an update.
Apple if it continues with the decision to be a rent seeking company, needs to be investigated for anti trust AND criminal behavior. Including the executives at Apple for making decisions in bad faith that stifle innovation just so Apple can continue to be a rent seeker, hurting the development and progress of the software ecosystem and wasting valuable time of the populace.
In the name of Jian Yang - Apple is a sad man. He is very fat.
But... no accounting for Apple's practices here is complete without an evaluation of how they have kept their thumb on the web on iOS - no other engines, meaning they alone get to control what APIs are available to web developers for a huge chunk of mobile computing.
It doesn’t matter if the censorship platforms have fair rules. The rules, one day, will change. The one constant is that they can censor you at will.
It’s “their platform”, so even breaking their own rules, or applying them inconsistently, is legal and permissible.
We as a society must build tools that do not support centralized censorship control.
Imagine if cars came with gas cap DRM that only allowed fuel purchased from one vendor...
Recently I pulled the app off the store altogether because I can't be asked to deal with this things on every update.
I feel like a viable alternative would be to push for, and educate the end users about progressive web apps. But then again, that might just be about moving the monopoly from the app stores to the browser vendors, as in the end it's them who have the last word about PWA compatibility. If I'm not wrong lately Safari already made some changes to the storage policy that undermines PWA capabilities.
How hard is it really to allow flutter apps to run on the Linux phone? If Flutter could officially support WebAssembly, then all we'd need to do is provide bindings into the hardware. This can't be so hard.
The most egregious thing is that they don't inform you about this beforehand, event when they could easily stop this on the first review. They will let you on the store, get users, and then sneak up on you and hang your users over your head to get you to comply.
I really hope dhh sticks to his guns and starts up a revolution against Apple.
The EU is investigating it now though https://www.macrumors.com/2020/06/16/eu-opens-investigations...