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Wow. I am the author of this email. I have no idea how it resurfaced after 5 years, I was only made aware of this when a friend emailed me the HN link.

The sad thing is it was not just my company which was targeted, but Apple removed this entire product category. We never knew the real reason why, or if it was bigger than just a random app reviewer trying to apply Apple policy, until May 2019.

That's when Bloomberg interviewed Phillip Shoemaker, who ran app reviews from 2009 to 2016 - regarding how Apple systemically removes whole categories of apps. I subsequently spoke to Phillip Shoemaker, who confirmed that Apple executives ordered the elimination of apps that drove downloads to the App Store. He said "Your app drove download volume. Apple doesn’t want any outside sources to drive ratings. So yeah, we got rid of all app recommendation apps." He said he thought it was unfair, but this was something Apple set out to do, and even as Senior Director of App Store (person directly in charge of App Review), he could not stop it.

The other thing that was hard to understand, is we used to have a great relationship with Apple. We were not flying under the radar. Since the App Store first launched in 2008, we used to be invited to all Apple events to see the new product launches, we met with the iTunes team to discuss upcoming initiates for the App Store, our apps were featured on the devices inside of many demo units into Apple Stores. It felt like a complete 180, and until this day I never got a formal conversation on what they actually objected to, beyond being pointed to a vague rule which was applied arbitrarily. They became a brick wall in terms of communication, and this is why I resorted to emailing Tim Cook. I assumed nothing would come of it, but it was the last thing I could think of.I never received a response, and never knew if he even got it, so I was shocked to see it again today from his inbox.




1) I worked at a game company 2011: kicked out of facebook (quizzes restrictions were added to the toss)

2) I worked at a mobile ads company 2013: kicked out of apple store

3) I worked at a mobile hosting company for small shops 2015: salons, restaurants, etc: kicked out of apple store

4) I worked at a mobile social network company (2017): kicked out of apple store.

5) I built an app where people can promote their github projects (2017): account suspended by github

6) Built another app to help locate doctors: blacklisted by google


In my opinion yet another symptom of our chronic lack of public options when it comes to the internet. I would have no issue with the App Store applying whatever arbitrary and capricious actions it wants if there were another option for Apple users. It's like if Walmart sold self-driving cars that wouldn't drive you to any other store and everybody was just ok with that because you could always buy a self-driving car from Target, except you have to modify the Target car's settings to let you drive manually to get to any other store than Target.


Dude, you win today's unluckiest developer award. Most of those were good ideas to work on, right up until they were banned.

The flip side is, you've been involved with a lot of projects. And that's often a big advantage. Some devs stay with the same company for 5 to 10 years.


> Some devs stay with the same company for 5 to 10 years.

Depending on how you play it, that doesn't have to be the worst thing in the world. The megacorps have an incredible diversity of roles you can try out.


Absolutely! I only meant to encourage them / focus on the silver lining. It's true that there are some wonderful megacorps to work for.


The thing I fear most here, is companies getting banned because they employ a developer who worked at another company that gets banned. I've heard that either for Apple or Google (I forgot which), any relationship at all to a banned account can get you banned.

So an unlucky developer could rapidly become even more unlucky, and infect others with that 'bad luck'.


Indeed, for that reason I will never use any google products for my businesses. The risk of being destroyed overnight and without any possible appeal is just too high.


Curious do you just stick with web apps or just don't do any sort of business that requires it? I was thinking about a career shift into apps or web apps, leaning towards web actually because I do have a little bit of "full stack" experience on simple web applications/databases in the embedded sphere.


Yes I now focus on business ideas that cannot be blocked/banned/rejected ... Since 2011 I had 4 startups that where killed by either google, apple, Facebook and YouTube. In 2016 I decided to avoid them as much as possible and never rely on third parties, ... Yes this is discarding a lot of good business ideas ... But your business then cannot be killed by a third party at any time


Something is obviously wrong with you! ;)

More seriously you're a cautionary tale to what Stallman has warned us for so long.


Just wonder, what are you gonna do next? You know, just my simple curiousity;)


You just want to know what seemingly-safe category to stay away from :p


If you don't mind, it would be helpful to the discussion if you can explain why/what justification was given in each case.


you've really had it rough. I guess the lesson to all of us is to never rely on third-party platforms as much as possible


Even if you develop for bare metal, you’re at the mercy of hardware manufacturers, who sometimes change specs without warnings.

Windows and Linux are third-party platforms too. I mostly develop for these two platforms (been doing for couple decades now), and never had the unfortunate experience of GP.


None of those are quite as arbitrary as the App Store, though.

It's one thing if an app stops working on newer versions of the system due to fundamental change to that system. It's totally different if you get banned simply because the gatekeeper doesn't like your face.


OK, so that's a good argument for not tying your product to the "bare-metal" / Win32 / (specific distro?) APIs, and using something higher level and portable. Which, frankly, everybody should be doing anyway, if you're not in the business of writing kernel drivers.


Should also be a lesson to anyone trying to build a third party platform that if you build a walled garden, people will start to resent it


Conversely, we wouldn't be here bickering about such platforms if it wasn't immensely profitable. So, depending on your morals, it's a lesson on what to aim for. I wouldn't run a platform that stifles use, but I'm sure there are industrious people who will be able to exploit such a business _device_ to bring more good into the world.


Industrious people like Steve Jobs, Tim Cook, Larry Page, and Sundar Pichai?


Why were 2, 3, 4, and 6 banned?


2 - driving traffic to apps (advertising), it was considered "manipulating the rankings"

3 - the apps for were too similar, we were kicked out for being "templated". eg two different hair salons stores had too similar functionality - but were aesthetically totally different

4 - the social network allowed people to post text, someone said something horrible on the network and reported it (with screenshot) to apple

6 - google reported the content was too similar, eg generated. every doctor had different content but the structure was too similar


> 4 - the social network allowed people to post text, someone said something horrible on the network and reported it (with screenshot) to apple

This was clearly exploitation of their power. Let's find some horrible comments on Reddit now and report to Apple with screenshots, huh?


I have a distinct impression we aren’t getting the whole story.

This feels a bit like “if you meet assholes all day, you’re the asshole” territory. Or someone who works in the space really doesn’t like them.


We're working on a decentralized app platform that mechanically is unable to kick devs off. Its early and doesn't have a monetization layer yet, but it's our goal to provide developers and users alike with a home that will outlast the whims of a single corporation.

https://siasky.net


Forgive me if this is a stupid question but if you’re unable to remove apps from the store how will you handle blatant issues of spam or, worse, viruses?


Current plan is to support opt-in moderation. Users can subscribe to banlists or curated lists (which could be machine generated) which filter content.

If a user doesn't like their moderation/filter, they can swap in a different one or disable it altogether.


Wow interesting idea. I am probably way behind you on the thought process, but my first thought is: I wonder if you are just shifting the meta game and adding an extra step for those wishing to push malware etc. They would need to become list curators and promote some percent of legitimately good apps while also pushing their bad apps.


My sympathies. That's a really sad story. I don't know if it's any consolation that it was at least discussed among the executives.

I don't know why you originally eschewed the web. I've developed on closed platforms in the past: Facebook (when Facebook games like Farmville and Mafia Wars were crazy hot), Silverlight, OpenSocial, Twitter, and now Google Apps Script. My work is always worthless in 2-3 years, and what I "learned" about that platform is useless.

Now when I develop for a platform, my mindset is only if it's temporary, and if I will be okay if this is shut down in a year.


In hindsight this was obviously a mistake. We were young and genuinely loved the App Store. We bought the kool-aid (and still drinking it to be honest) that this a new better way to consume content. So we wanted to be as native as possible and take full advantage from the power of being native. We never thought Apple would someday object to us helping promote their platform.


What was the profit angle your team was planning on?


Their email has this: they got a cut of order volume.


Honestly, making fun of old platforms like the web (which isn't even that old) suggests that the writer is the kind of wide-eyed business huckster playing into Americans' cultural affinity for new tech, and folks like that are a huge chunk of the reason why we have so much technology churn today

Old, mature technology is a treasure. Not something to make fun of


This is a rude and unkind way to refer another person in this conversation (the poster two comments up from you in the thread and the author of the letter in question). Reconsider your approach.


Web development absolutely epitomizes this same technology churn. Regardless if one personally sticks to older standards but its impossible to ignore the large section of commercial web applications that are just as much on the tech churn treadmill.


> just as much on the tech churn treadmill.

Really? I doubt you could run an app written for Android in 2010 (2.2 Froyo) today. But a website written in 2010 using HTML, Javascript, and CSS and no plugins will almost always work.


I use a shopping list app[1] that was last updated in January 2011 (so pretty close to 2010) and still works fine. The UI is huge and blurry, but it works.

[1] https://f-droid.org/app/caldwell.ben.trolly


Aintcha kinda makin' the opposition's point? That usage case is at a bare-minimum level of dead-simple and minimal-time-in-app usage. Any app with a more involved workflow would effectively be considered obsolete due to being so inferior.


I don't know, I wasn't necessarily making a point, just giving a counter-example. And this simple app is hardly inferior - I use it because I like it.


As a counter point, there are always some business oldsters who remain attached to their old technology stack, don't really contribute anything to moving innovation forward, and arrive 5 years after a tech has matured with wisecracks which are technology's equivalent of "If you wait long enough, everything reverts to the mean". Sure, but I think we already know that.

Besides, I am not sure how anyone can argue that the level of churn is bad, considering that it is usually proportional to the volume of new ideas and an eventual winner emerging (albeit not always in a meritocratic fashion).


I don't know if you meant to, but you just described Steve Jobs.


I've described a lot of technology businesspeople. At least Jobs had vision.


Silverlight? What did you use it for? The only public Silerlight code I ever came across was Netflix’s client for Windows Internet Explorer around 2010-2012, then everyone switched to Widevine.


I can tell you the software provider in the insurance industry requires its claims adjusters to use IE10 and Silverlight to file a claim. Every house damaged by wind, every flood claim, etc. all goes through a Silverlight interface.


I was using it to make GUI-centric web apps. Back then, web applications were a nightmare, and the idea of being able to have .NET for layout instead of the mess that html/css layout was at that time, was compelling.


Netflix and a tower defence game on Facebook I used to play are the only I know.


If I'm not mistaken I think MLB Advanced Media used it for a time, as well.


Riot’s League of Legends launcher’s was done in Silverlight for a while.


I think you meant Adobe Air?


You’re totally right! My mistake


IIUC a web app is essentially a some very old though popular protocols plus a web browser as the runtime. IMO it will always lag behind a native app in terms of access to OS capabilities and runtime efficiency.


Much like a "desktop" app will always lag behind bare metal software in terms of access to hardware capabilities and runtime efficiency.

That's a caricature, but all these platforms provide a variety of scaffolding and security, and the optimal setup is non-obvious.


> and what I "learned" about that platform is useless.

Most of what I’ve learned about Silverlight was directly reusable for the rest of MS XAML platforms: WPF, WinRT, UWP, and now WinUI.


I had a retro arachnoid type game in Appstore for years which was under 'Arcade' category, when apple branded its gaming subscription service as 'Arcade', it forced me to change it to an irrelevant category(Casual). I'm confident, none of the earlier 'Arcade' type games made it to the new 'Apple Arcade' program as it required to be a shiny new unreleased game, developed according to Apple's wishes for its subscription program.

Bam, just like that all Arcade games became non-Arcade with a single email.

If this is not clear abuse of power, then what it is? Don't tell me that a Trillion dollar company couldn't come up with a better name for its subscription service without hurting hundreds, perhaps thousands of small time developers?


This is the kind of thing that makes me think that yourself and others who are able to demonstrate a loss of earnings due to this decision could litigate. Generally I'm against that sort of thing, but sometimes there is only one course of action that will make someone like Apple listen.


You're correct, but if the financial capacity of a disabled solopreneur from a village in India vs Californian monolith didn't make any difference in the judicial process; I would have taken that course.


Congratulations, you are now part of an antitrust suit.

https://judiciary.house.gov/uploadedfiles/015127.pdf


This is the same file as the original submission. But can you explain how this email got its way to the House Judiciary Committee?


I have no idea. I was not contacted by anyone. This email is an email Tim Cook forwarded to the executive team. So my guess is when doing discovery for this case, they got to look at Tim Cook emails regarding the App Store and this one came up. Again, this is an email that Tim Cook read and forwarded - it did not come from me providing it to anyone


How sad is it that in order to build and run a Trillion dollar company on values like trust and joy you need to dissect human emotion so fundamentally that in the end you loose your own capability to empathize.

Thank you for telling your story to the man up in the ivory tower in such a beautiful way. It may not haven been listened to there, but it certainly has impacted me.


Friend mine works as a legal at secretary white shoe law firm. Not what it sounds like. His job is using software to grind through corporate records and communications. Big part of that is finding interesting documents and teasing out the back channels inside the company. The better to find people to depose. That they found that email isn't a surprise. In a lawsuit between to companies someone that wrote an email like yours would be someone you absolutely want to talk to.


The most alarming part of this is actually the clear evidence that they use arbitrary and inconsistent enforcement of vague rules to actually enforce OTHER secret rules. In this case "no app recommendation engines", or more broadly "nothing that drives downloads".

They didn't just say that. They pretended it was some other rule. Which means what people suspected is true -- they lie to you about the reason for your app being removed. You may have zero chance of complying with the rule they said you violated, because it wasn't really about that rule at all, it was about another secret rule or policy decision.

To me that's far more alarming than the fact that they decided to forbid a class of app that had previously been allowed.

They could arguably defend the ability to forbid any category or type of app they want with no notice; it's their store, they make the rules, they decided that kind of app was unwelcome. Although that they don't simply admit this must mean they think it would make them look bad, and/or discourage developers from developing for their platform, and/or be evidence of antitrust illegality, and/or something.

But when they instead lie about it... it makes the whole sytem into a kafkaesque maze, you never know when they are lying to you about their rules and when they are telling the truth, when there's something you could do to "fix" your app so it would be allowed, and when they have just already decided the whole category your app is in is banned; it's not because you actually accidentally violated any rules, and there's nothing you can do to fix it, but they will instead try to, well, "gaslight" you (I normally am not fond of that phrase, but it seems apt) into thinking you were in violation of a rule.

> He said he thought it was unfair, but this was something Apple set out to do, and even as Senior Director of App Store (person directly in charge of App Review), he could not stop it.

I would like to believe if I were him, I would have had the courage to quit. NOT because it is unfair to the apps banned. But because LYING about it makes the entire App Review process illegitimate and unethical and "gaslighting" developers, and I wouldn't be willing to be the person directly in charge of all App Review if it's gonna be BS like that.


>they use arbitrary and inconsistent enforcement

I've experienced this directly a few times. In one case, we had an app in the store for several years and a random update that fixed a crash was blocked for violating the rule around allowing out of app purchases. It took a couple weeks to appeal and get it approved. In that process, we changed nothing functional and resubmitted with a couple bits twiddled to make the package different and that passed.

In another instance, we made three white-labelled versions of the app. Both differed from the original app only in the colors in the design palette, and the name of the publisher since these were to be published under our customers' own accounts. One passed review without comment, and the other was abandoned after several months of back-and-forth.


> a random update that fixed a crash was blocked for violating the rule around allowing out of app purchases. >... and the other was abandoned after several months of back-and-forth.

This.

Once you get on their bad side with an App there is no end to it. The App Store review team will keep on rejecting every single update you do for totally unrelated random reasons.

One of my apps got approved when first submitted. Everything after that was just absurd to the point we had to abandon it. The App Store review team kept on rejecting any update we would make. The last one which was supposed to be a bugfix release got through three reviews. Each one got rejected due to different reasons. Each one addressed the problem the review team asked us to 'fix'. It was clear they did not want us in the store. We had to stop it. Half a year of work vanishing just like that.

It would have been so much easier if they had told us that they did not want us in the App Store. Such a waste of time.


> was blocked for violating the rule around allowing out of app purchases. It took a couple weeks to appeal and get it approve

That is impressive. We can't get our app past review because Apple is insisting we are permitting out-of-app purchases (not true, but they are insisting on in-app purchase capability).


Imagine being led to believe you are breaking one rule, and you spent hours, days, weeks or even months as was suggested just to try to get your app back on the app store and continue your revenue stream, one which you may depend on for living, when they actually never intend to put your app back on the app store in the first place.

They could be playing with people's livelihood in cases such as this.


Yep. They spent 2.5 months trying to do what Apple said, when it was all a lie and no matter what they did they weren't gonna be back in the store.

They could have shut down in a more orderly fashion with 2.5 more months of severance.


I think Apple knows that their inconsistency helps suppress criticism of their developer program. Look at any HN thread about apps being removed from the store over the years and its usually filled with users saying how the developer should have followed the rules and they have only themselves to blame for being removed. Apple can promote rules that "protect" users and then apply them in any way they want.


Like mobsters!


> they use arbitrary and inconsistent enforcement of vague rules to actually enforce OTHER secret rules.

In the context of criminal law, this is sometimes called "selective enforcement," and refers to the criminalization of normal behavior in order to provide plausible cover for violations of the actual, secret law. It's devastatingly unjust, and unsurprisingly applied in private jurisdictions.


That was an excellent letter by the way. It is too bad the source does not include any responses by the product team.


Thank you. I would have loved to see their response. My guess it was something to the effect of it's our store, and we gave them distribution to begin with. I have seen similar comments here on HN. I honestly get that argument, but they have been rewarded very handsomely for making this platform…they are almost 2 TRILLION dollar company. At some point, the platform is bigger than you. If I was one case, okay fine, but this is happening across many product categories.


I wouldn't bank on your assumption about how the conversation went after the letter was forwarded. My experience is that when the CEO forwards you something and asks for your thoughts you don't respond without doing the homework.

I suspect there was a fairly detailed conversation about how apps such as yours could be supported while simultaneously being able to detect and mitigate 'cram and jam' strategies where apps pay per install. Short of doing quarterly audits of your books, I'm not sure how those dubious business practices could be avoided[1].

[1] And even with regular auditing, criminal enterprises manage to operate successfully with multiple ledgers.


I am so curious about these executives and where they are now. They are destroying the Apple I love. Which reminds me of how the the Boeing acquisition of McDonnell-Douglas resulted in MD bean counters taking over the company resulting in the 737 Max mess.


Sounds like apple didn't want any competition for in-store ads


I still don't understand those. I paid god damn 1200 euro for this phone. Why am I seeing ads for shitty apps?


Because the stock market demands eternal growth. They've already sold phones to half the planet, they know you won't pay 1300 euro next year, and now they have to find more creative ways to show growth.


Because 2% more money is %2 more money and exec compensation is often based on fairly short term performance.


How long is short term? Jobs has been dead for 9 years.


That’s the thing when chasing the market wants: it’s always short term though it’s over a long term.


Because as someone paying 1200 euro for a piece of hardware that you don't control, you deserve to be treated like someone not in control.

At least they are not actively blackmailing you (yet).


This comment is written in a very aggressive way, but if you read it from another angle, the point still stands. My family buys Apple _because_ that way they lose control over the device. They trust that Apple will control those devices better than they would, it's one less thing to think about.

The ads parent is seeing are not actually for shitty apps (as long as Apple does a decent job in app curation). They are part of the customer delight strategy, by making customers think "Cool, I didn't know my phone could be used for that".


Because Apple went to trash after Jobs.


Because you paid $1200 for a device that doesn't allow you to run arbitrary software.


Very sad to read this, but also an important lesson to every entrepreneur :(

The answer you never got from Apple was actually already in your own E-Mail all along.

Pay-Per-Install Ads will be a $118 BILLION industry by 2022. [1]

While you've missed out on millions of dollars, Apple sure saw this coming (Facebook probably was having quite a lot of success with it at the time?) and wanted those billions for themselves.

Protecting the user experience IS important to Apple, too, of course.., and it will always be the story they tell on the outside, but Craig, Phil or whoever was responsible for the AppStore at the time will have given a very different answer to Tim

[1] https://www.appsflyer.com/blog/app-install-ad-spend/


Can I ask what your app was/did?


Our company was AppAdvice - we did iOS app recommendation. We were most popular for our detailed curated lists, and looping gameplay videos here: https://appadvice.com/game/collections

Basically the idea was we helped you figure out which apps / games you would love and then link you directly to the official App Store to download it


As I understand it, AppAdvice has curated content. Nothing about curated content requires special permissions of a phone (location, bluetooth, etc). Therefore, it seems like a good match for the web. Indeed, there is no dearth of app recommendation websites today -- so many that who knows whom to trust, but that is besides the point.

I guess I'm asking: why did you choose to make this an app in the first place? Was that the only way to get commissions from apple?


Apps had - and probably still have - much higher discoverability and repeat usage than websites / webapps, in practice. Sure, you can make your website so it installs onto the home screen and behaves just like an app, but without the app store, nobody will bother to look for it / find it. The app store's recommendations and features are super powerful, and any app or game that gets featured will be instantly successful.

I attended an Apple TV event in Berlin once, it was actually really good and well polished, but at the same time it felt like a marketing event aimed at developers to please make things for the Apple TV platform. They shared an e-mail address as well, going "If you've made something cool, send us an email and we may feature it".

Still a bit salty that I didn't pursue it further, but honestly, I need a team to work on an app. I'm comfortable with the technical side of things, but I suck at ideas, product management and design, and design is incredibly important.


I went to your site and found a new app I’m excited to try [0] in about 7 seconds!

Banning you guys from the AppStore is Apple’s loss. I’m glad to have found you now though.

[0] https://appadvice.com/tvgame/app/epic-orchestra/1063781546


I loved that app! Apple killed your service and the AppStore ‘wish list’ feature and my app discovery/purchasing habits returned back to the web...


Wow, this almost makes me want to get an iPhone.

Awkward but genuine question: is there anything out there like this for Android? :)


> Apple executives ordered the elimination of apps that drove downloads to the App Store. He said "Your app drove download volume. Apple doesn’t want any outside sources to drive ratings. So yeah, we got rid of all app recommendation apps." He said he thought it was unfair, but this was something.

Seems like an app recommendation app.


I wouldn't mind one of those. Especially if it helped me find games that don't have in-app purchases and don't have in-game advertising. I'd buy those. But it's fucking impossible to find them.


I think the idea behind this ban (could be wrong) is that Apple wants to be the main (only?) app-based curator of apps. It lets them control the narrative and flow of money.


It becomes a lot harder to justify a 30% cut should 3rd party apps drive the majority of downloads.


Presumably the 3rd parties would want a referral / affiliate fee, which would come out of the 30%. That seems more than fair -- this is clearly about control, not money.


There was an insanely popular one, TouchArcade, that died because of the same burst of action by Apple. Crazy to see this come full circle, TouchArcade was run by one of the most loyal and oldest Apple blogs, MacRumors.


actually another HNer started a website exactly for this purpose after the idea resonated in another thread (don't remember the thread; user is stavros): https://nobsgames.stavros.io/


Oooh thanks! That's super useful!


Apple Arcade for $5 / month is a good deal. Fun games and no more money to pay ever. If you like the old Zelda games check out Oceanhorn as well.


Do you still use Apple products and/or write software for them?


I still use all Apple products and I am a big fan. Although their policies literally cost me millions of dollars, I am still a big Apple fan. We no longer develop for the App Store and our new company is web only.


Bummer! So, what platform(s) are you developing for nowadays?


No longer in the app recommendation game (too bad that was my passion. The same team who built AppAdvice has now created a B2B company helping businesses annoyomize personal documents: https://redacted.ai


Has this letter be anonymized with readacted.ai? :D


I feel sorry for you. but you placed your bets, on a closed platform you don't control.in short, you dug your grave. in your own words, the web as we know it is dead [sic]. Had you stuck to the web, maybe the business would still exist to this day.


Awesome service and app.

The nuance here was there a fair number of bad players in this space and abuse was not uncommon. Ie, "ratings" apps that were not really ratings / user reviews were bogus / paid for etc.

Apple has a fair bit of visability into app store reviews (ie, did users actually install apps). That said, STILL lots of fakes on app store itself in terms of reviews, so in the end I think your app was actually the BETTER solution (curated lists meant you didn't have the app review spam problem, some ethics means you hopefully didn't push the adware type apps).

So yeah, apple screwed up. I do wish you could filter app reviews by verified in-country users (ie, apple uses the gps of the device and icloud account length / other verifications) to weed out the crappy reviews. If you look you can see where people "buy" their reviews (lumps of all 5 star reviews with min content length).


Not trying to start a flame war, but as an Android user, I often hear things from Apple users along the lines of what you said "I picked up an Android phone and after 5 mins I couldn't handle how they completely missed delighting the user over and over again". It all sounds rather wishy-washy and ambiguous to me, do you mind to elaborate and give some examples? In all fairness, I tried out the demo units of Iphones and Ipads at the Apple Stores and never found the interface to be immediately intuitive despite the hype about Apple's polished UI.


On Android, scrolling to top|bottom doesn't bounce back into final position. Rather, it feels like a lifeless, cheap plastic scroll bar that thuds into place with no intuitiveness.

I know this seems completely pointless and useless, but.. this same disregard for UX is repeated in other major ways. Such as allowing less-than-60fps scrolling on modern phones. Last time I used Android was 2016 or so, and the inefficient animations are probably less noticeable now, but I bet it's still inefficient.

Everything just seems way more thought out and well executed on iOS.


Did you get a response? It looks like it was forwarded to some very senior people asking for input.


Never got a response. I am still in shock that it was actually read and even passed along. I wish things turned out differently, I at least they heard me and the got to learn the damage it did.


Unfortunate to see you “betting against” the web so vehemently. What a peculiar stance.


What happened after Tim Cook wrote "Thoughts"?


Hello. I read your email to Tim Cook with interest and I sympathize with the plight of your company. But I wish you would treat other platforms with more respect.

To be clear, I'm glad you enjoy Apple products and I'm not trying to talk you out of that -- as if that were possible. But I do want you to understand that my experience with them is different than yours. Apple products don't delight me. I've tried them. Every time an iOS device ends up in my hands (something that happens way too often, including earlier today) it's a frustrating experience. They feel cold, uncaring and limited. Android has moved in this direction, getting more polished but less delightful over the years, but it's still a better experience for me.

Again, I'm not saying your feelings about Apple products aren't valid. They certainly are. I'm glad you've shared them and I admire your efforts to support the iOS platform. I just wish you respected people like me who don't experience technology the same way you do. I'm glad that iOS and Android products both exist in the market. There are audiences for both -- and then some.

And as for the web, we will have to agree to disagree. Not only do I think it's not dead, I don't think it will ever be dead. That's not something I'd say about either iOS or Android. The web can't go out of business or get bought. Anything it's missing can be added. The first web browser didn't support images! On the other side, it wasn't too long ago that people thought Blackberry was here to stay.

Clearly there are many features iOS and Android offer that are difficult to match with the web. For now. Clearly the development tools are more convenient than those available for the web. But there is one feature of the web that other platforms will never be able to match: it belongs to all of us. No one has to take a 30% cut of your revenue. No one gets to decide what you can and cannot make available. In your letter to Tim Cook you make it clear that you made use of that advantage yourself, even if you don't seem grateful. Freedom always comes at a price and it's up to you to decide whether it's a price worth paying. If it's not then develop for the platform you prefer. But please remember that there are people like me who think differently.


Consider that he tailored his message for the recipient, as most anyone would do.

Imagine if you had spent years (maybe you have, I don't know you) building an app and a business for a platform you love only to have it snatched away.

Wouldn't it bring out strong emotion and cause you to want to appeal to them in the same way?


This is exactly right. This email was never meant for public consumption, although I am glad it's out now in case it may change things for others. I do love native mobile experiences, and especially iOS. Keep in mind, Android has come a very long way to close the gap in the last 6 years. I may have dismissed other platforms too quickly, but I also believe that I would not have been able to build the products I did without this singular focus / passion. It was an iOS recommendation app, in my opinion the only way to make a great product for that is to be on the native platform.




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