>Apple needs to decide if it wants to be “right,” or if it wants to be happy.
I think Siracusa is referencing a line from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, spoken by Slartibartfast as part of an exchange with Arthur Dent:
>"I'd far rather be happy than right any day."
>"And are you?"
>"No, that's where it all falls down, of course."
>"Pity," said Arthur with sympathy. "It sounded like quite a good lifestyle otherwise."
I love the book, but that particular line has stuck with me for quite a while. I try to use it as a guide whenever I start to lean toward being right over happiness. Works for relationships, code reviews, whatever you like.
In college a lecturer said, “would you rather be right, or get what you want?” He wasn’t a professor because he knew the steps required would make him unhappy. And completing them would only get him “prestige.” As he said, that’s what they give you when they don’t have anything valuable to offer.
Also, Slartibartfast is pretty melancholy.
Hey is the latest flavor of the controversy, but from the start I’m bitter I can’t buy Amazon ebooks directly from the amazon app. And it’s not like these rule give me more security, provide for the stability of the platform, or help me in any indirect ways. The kindle app still makes no revenue for Apple either way.
Everyone loses, and that doesn’t help Apple’s image as it’s slowly crawling out of the laptop keyboard fiasco and this string of pretty flaky macos versions.
In the case of Amazon, probably not. In the case of nearly all other apps, they definitely do. Having every fly-by-night game accepting credit cards to buy more tokens or whatever would be a usability and security nightmare. Even respectable apps I don’t want to give my credit card info to: I let Apple sit in the middle, handle security, and provide me a place to cancel with one tap.
I understand why companies, especially big and responsible ones like Amazon or Basecamp, don’t want to use IAP. But a free-for-all would be terrible for iOS users.
Apple is passing credit cards cost on to app store vendors consumers for an additional upcharge. How much is it?
Comparing the percentage cut on a credit card: If I can earn 5% (3% on food and gas?), I'd assume the store is pricing some of that cost into it's products.
Apple's model of easy cancel, harder to steal should be something other companies could MITM. Paypal, Amazon, square, and Google offer similar payment schemes. (Venmo to my knowledge can't be used to pay businesses).
I get the feeling Apple is expanding into this area with their own credit card.
If the choice is a 30% fee or free and no credit card option, this feels like an abuse of power.
This is already the case though, right? Apple's response to Hey specifically suggested that they could offer an IAP option in the app at a markup over their web-based subscription.
I have not just one, but three active podcast subscriptions that I initiated through Apple Pay just this past year including one to Siracusa's podcast, and I did so through Safari. There's your IAP alternative for payment processing right there that doesn't rely on giving Apple a 15-30% cut, nor giving your credit card details to every fly-by-night crapware peddler.
EDIT: Also I just remembered, I believe this is also how I initiated a yearly subscription for a newsletter/podcast vendor hosted on Substack. For that matter, you can pre-order a Tesla Cybertruck using Apple Pay, I haven't, but it was an option on the order page.
My angle was just that taking 30% instead of 3% doesn’t do anything for me as a customer.
What I haven't found a discussion on is the alternatives? Given that App Store will probably be the only place to sell apps within the _Apple ecosystem_ (at least medium term?), the only way is for Apple to rethink its how it monetizes App Store. What am I missing? Are there alternative models that that people know of which would align with the "dream"?
- Apple brings down their fees to an almost “at cost” amount (basically a bit more than average PSPs). They keep ads and other potential “premium” services that have actual value for buyers.
I even wonder if they could make searchability or even app store listing as a paying service (apps staying on the lowest tier could only be DLed by direct link for instance)
- they bring an “unmanaged” tier to apps, where users go through many hoops to have non app store apps to run. It could be on the same model as The mac app store, where the dev is identified and the binaries are signed, but not verified by Apple.
Both alternatives were vehemently avoided by Apple for such a long time, but I wouldn’t be surprised (actually I hope) if they have to give up this battle.
Yes, in much of the world the rich get richer while the rest stagnate or get poorer, yet I hope for more from Apple.
In the end I won: I get to keep the $150 I was impulse-spending in digital comics, and saved thousands of dollars I would've spent on iPads otherwise.
You make it sound almost like they aren’t the richest and still among the fastest growing tech companies.
At some point I actually needed an iPhone to perform some tasks in my life, and there was a huge gap between iOS and android. I think that gap is pretty thin now.
Mac laptops were a beacon of good customer experience at some point, last year I had a lengthy conversation with my boss before getting approval for the 16”.
It’s anecdotal, but I feel they could be growing and sitting on piles of money the same way Blackberry was super growing and had all the money even past their prime. They just didn’t have anything in their sleeves to keep it going.
Fingers crossed for monday’s announcements.
All “reader” apps and apps that have subscriptions for services must allow in app purchases. But through Apple Pay. Meaning they get charged standard credit card fees. Apple could even charge a slightly higher rate like 6% to cover the rewards program like other premium cards do.
Apple: They can bring all of the apps back into the fold like Netflix and Spotify and they can get Microsoft and Adobe in. It’s more money for Apple. On top of that, it gets both the EU and US government off their back.
Users: have a much better experience.
Developers: Get to keep more of their money.
It also excludes pay to win games. Between this and Apple Arcade, I am okay if all of those types of games die.
Also offer upgrade pricing capabilities for apps to make it easier for developers to make money without having to rely on subscriptions.
I'm not sure that would be true with a share of revenue set at 6%. Maybe 15% or 20%
In app purchasing: User pays Apple with the card on file with Apple. They take 30% and pay you in 30 days. You get a tax form at the end of the year.
Apple Pay: Multiple cards can be stored in your digital wallet on your device. Apple doesn’t store your credit cards on file. When you pay via Apple Pay, you choose the card,Apple takes a much smaller cut, the payment goes through the credit card network, through your merchant bank and you get paid within 2-3 days. Apple doesn’t even have a record of your transaction unless you’re using Apple’s credit card.
You are responsible for establishing the merchant account and taking care of card processing and refunds.
You are also responsible for making sure that users update their credit card information.
A developer is free to offer subscriptions both in and out of the App Store and charge 43% more in the store to make up for the 30% cut.
The idea that it is almost the same flow is good for the consumer and developer. For none digital goods, this is already possible and allowed - to use Apple Pay within an app.
I do it with Uber.
How much more do you pay for recessions at the movie theater than by going to the dollar store before hand and putting the candy in your or your SO’s purse?
I’ve found out later that I could get items cheaper by doing comparison shopping all the time. There are also times I purposefully pay more for convenience.
Now, the real question is this, what scenario is more likely?
1. Apple gets out in front of this, and opens up the app store just enough that they don't get fined / restricted.
2. The EU applies fines and restrictions to Apple and only Apple.
3. The EU drafts a digital store directive, and applies it to all digital download stores, including Apple's.
The third scenario is probably going to happen at some point anyway, but the current complaint may be the catalyst. I don't know whether to hope for it or fear it, because you never know whether it's going to be a well-written directive.
It seems like an unusual hill to die on for a high-margin business like Apple. It's definitely making the experience worse for everyone and highlighting all the drawbacks of having a single source of software for your device.
But if they make an exception to give these devs what they want, mobile gaming devs will be next banging at the door to get their fees lifted up (well, they are effectively already banging the door pretty loud, like Epic for instance)
Once a one-sided pricing norm is established ("industry standard"), whichever party established the norm is highly incentivized to never budge, even to their own detriment on some transactions, lest the norm erode . This phenomenon isn't limited to app stores: I think we see it play out in other economic domains (mortgages/landlords/wages), as well as the political (any policy concessions, even mild or reasonable ones, signals weakness and creates a perceptual opening for your opponents to twist the knife).
I suspect there is a formal economics label for this phenomenon which is escaping me at the moment; if anyone more learned on the subject would care to enlighten me I would appreciate it. :)
 It does seem telling that Amazon seems to be the only giant in the position to carve out a secretly negotiated exception, no doubt because they're so often in the same game themselves: taking hardline stances on negotiating with suppliers, effectively "winning capitalism" within their niche.
 I harp on the concept a lot, but one way of modeling such norms is as Schelling focal points: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Focal_point_(game_theory)
Apple is under no obligation to make someone’s ideal business model feasible. Just like if you want to post content on Facebook, or if you want to sell through Stripe, or you want to deliver groceries on Instacart, or you want to have a business in the USA - you have to follow the rules created by the owners of the platform you stand on, or find/start a new platform. This is a fundamental aspect of social life, not some corporate profit-seeking BS from Apple.
No one is making DHH do an email app. No one is forcing him to charge $99. If Apple is so big and bad, then maybe he should be working on a new mobile phone platform instead of another email app. Complaints about injustice without alternatives hold little weight.
Finally, if this was something society actually needed, I think I’d feel differently. If this fight was over an app that was critical to survival or civil liberty or something, it would mean something different for Apple to reject it. But it’s not something we need. It’s not important or critical in any way. It’s a new email app. Forgive me for not busting out a bigger violin for someone who has already released multiple profitable software products and is now upset that an even richer entity won’t let them have their exact way.
Sure, but if it's in someone's interest for Apple to change their policies, it makes sense for them to try to pressure Apple to do so.
There's no reason to uncritically accept Apple's policies, and it's more feasible to direct public pressure toward Apple than to build a new mobile platform.
Im not sure that the situation is actually that egregious yet, but if the barrier to entry becomes so high that it warps the whole economy to the detriment of society we shouldn't just say that's fine because those few companies deserve the freedom to act that way.
If they had finished Nokia's Maemo with a Windows graphics framework and given away the operating system for free they would have had a much better chance.
There is room for another platform as long as it serves what the market wants.
Not having my information across random app developers and having it centralized with Apple is an argument for the App Store. I would much rather have all of my subscriptions in one place. Of course it isn’t worth a 43% premium.
T-Mobile doesn’t go to Netflix and say "you can run your site over our wires to our customers unless you bill through us and give us a cut".
As a customer, I agree with you. I am happy to have all of my subscriptions through Apple.
I'm content to watch from the sidelines as the moneymen argue for their pieces of the pie.
For me, the emerging global civil rights movement is of greater import.