Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

Your experience is the price of admission to gain access to a global audience. The low barrier to entry is why you're fighting for pennies.

Twenty years ago when I was in high school, I worked at CompUSA. They sold a lot of software in their day... in my region of the country, 40% of software sold passed through our store's door. To sell software at CompUSA or similar retailers, you needed to interface with a publisher, who would then try to sell your software to a buyer at the store. Then you'd need to print collateral, get an attractive box, duplicate physical media in quantities sufficient to stock 500 stores. At your expense.

And for all that, you'd be a box on a bottom shelf somewhere.

If you wanted to actually sell software, you'd need to pay for premium placement on an endcap or display. I recall one vendor who paid over $2M for premium endcaps at each store for a handwriting recognition app.

When customers were dissatisfied, or returned your software that wasn't supposed to be returnable, the store would withhold payment for your software (which was running 60-90 days late in most cases) and mail you back the resealed box at your expense, which may have contained a rock instead of your software.

Fast forward to 2015, and you're paying $99 to sell software for $15 that nets you $10, which is paid promptly every month. Apple treats you like cattle, because you are in effect a cow to them... there are thousands of people like you!




> Twenty years ago when I was in high school, I worked at CompUSA

So, selling software was a PITA full of inefficiencies and middlemen. Everyone hated it.

Now, 20 years later, we live on the open web, a level playing field where anyone can experiment to their heart's content and sell what they want, how they want it.

And you wonder why people complain about Apple adding restrictions? And your answer is "tough luck, we have the possibility to do things better, but things were even worse 20 years ago so just suck it up"?

> Your experience is the price of admission to gain access to a global audience

This Hacker News comment has access to a global audience. There are fart noise videos on YouTube with access to a global audience. That means nothing anymore.

Apple also do a piss-poor job of giving that access. It's already easier to find our app via Google than searching for the literal exact app name on the App Store. Whenever you release an update theres a 1-12 hour window where people will get random error messages since there's massive CDN sync lag.


You don't live on an open web. On mobile devices, you live in a garden with high walls (Apple, Microsoft) or lowish walls (Android). The consumers of the garden are... the public, not you. You are the gardener planting trees and cutting the grass.

Apple isn't just giving you a place on a shelf either. You have a half dozen ways that consumers are earning credits to buy your stuff (credit cards, kid allowances, supermarket gift cards, credit card rewards, etc), millions spent marketing the platform, etc.

As long as there is a gatekeeper, that gatekeeper will collect a toll. Free/open is going to come from new players like Firefox & Ubuntu, and traction there will give Apple and Google incentives to behave more


> Your experience is the price of admission to gain access to a global audience.

Nothing they said was inherent to the process of getting a global audience. Apple has created all of their problems they mentioned; we know this because Apple could make them all go away.


Why would they bother when another cow will step forward?

The developers' gripes seem to be about actual problems for them, but potential problems for Apple.

Similar things happen with Google and AdSense publishers.


You could also publish on Android or the web and have access to a "the global audience".

Comparing the App Store with 20 years old methods is a fallacy. To be realistic you should compare using the Android/Mozilla/Windows/Web distribution methods.


The Android model i.e. the Google model is now the same as Apple's.

Only it has the ability to sideload applications which let's be honest as primarily been used for installing pirated applications.


I kind of resent that comment. I sideload apps all the time, none of them are pirated. That stereotype just re-inforces companies attempts to lock down our devices and it kind of pisses me off to hear it constantly regurgitated.


Calling it 'sideload' is already aiding the enemy. It's the normal way of doing things. Installing software from an app-store should have a different name instead.


There is this thing called the Amazon Appstore. Perhaps you've heard of it? On anything but an official Amazon device, it works entirely by sideloading [1]. And considering the broad impact this particular use (not to mention other important ones) has had (e.g. Amazon's official devices probably wouldn't exist without their use of sideloading to bootstrap the app ecosystem), saying sideloading primarily used for piracy is just wrong.

[1] Ironically, I think the pervasive sideloading third-party app stores on Android require is a bug, not a feature. I'd much rather see an official way to add "known sources" so that, after the initial install, you didn't need to leave sideloading enabled in order to use them.


That sounds highly disingenuous. F-Droid appears to have over 8 million downloads[0]. Amazon's store is probably well patronized too (and they seem to have good deals on paid apps). I'm sure there's some piracy, but I don't think it's that prevalent (at least not in the US). Either way, as a user, I'd rather be on a platform that is open enough that piracy is possible.

[0]: https://gitlab.com/fdroid/fdroiddata/blob/master/stats/total...


>I'm sure there's some piracy, but I don't think it's that prevalant

ha. that's a good one. I've had apps on both iOS and Android with < 10% of the installs being legit.


How many of those were in markets you could actually sell in? (i.e. where Google Play is available)


I use f-droid more than google play. F-droid would not ne posible without sideloading.


Pirating iPhone apps is easy, and Apple's signature checking that locks down iOS doesn't actually prevent piracy. A pirated iOS app passes the signature check same as the legitimately bought version - it's the same .ipa file, after all. You don't need to jailbreak your iPhone in order to install apps you haven't paid for.

The signature check makes sure 'the developer has paid Apple', and not 'the user has paid for this app'.

Sideloading of apps allows for apps that Google may not care for, and that Apple actively prohibits (eg bitcoin), the difference being that you can still run them on Android if you really want to.


This is incorrect. Unmodified App Store .ipas are DRMed (app __TEXT is encrypted); the signature is of the encrypted binary, and the keys are tied to your iTunes Store credentials on the device. Piracy thus requires someone to decrypt the binary with a jailbroken phone, followed by either:

(1) installing the resulting unsigned app on a jailbroken phone, or

(2) re-signing it with a developer or enterprise distribution key, which Apple can revoke.

Both of these are done regularly, but it's not like Apple hasn't tried to stop it.

By the way, Apple no longer forbids Bitcoin apps, although this doesn't defeat the general point about forbidden categories.


Good point - but one correction, there aren't thousands but millions of developers, 6mm+ to be precise. http://www.phonearena.com/news/6M-developers-in-Apple-ecosys...

Paradoxically, I think the power of the tools, resulting in the ease of development, and the democracy of the Apple Store is a major contributor to the difficulty of competing for user mindshare, and the resulting low prices.


Isn't this economics 101 ? The easier it is to enter the market the more supply there is, and when supply outweighs demand prices fall ?

I'd even add that this was what the internet promised. A reduction of the barriers between creator and consumer. No more would those pesky publishers/editors/distributors get in the way. Sadly I think we forgot that Sturgeons law still holds.


Or, more realistically, he could pay shit all for a domain name (.io, .ly is so last year) 10 usd/month for a VPS, 3% to Stripe (which is criminally high, but there you go) and have access to the global market. He is more likely to get customers and he isn't constrained to change pennies.


People have tried that, e.g. with Android apps. It doesn't turn out to be much better, actually quite worse sales wise.


Apparently I didn't make the comment very clear: he should build a webapp instead. Make it a game if you want, but build it outside their walled gardens.


But web-based games/apps don't sell very well at all, compared to iOS and Android native apps (even if the native are built with the same web technologies).

Unless it's a service website, the monetization for web apps just isn't up to par.


> 3% to Stripe (which is criminally high, but there you go)

Compared to what? I thought Stripe was famous for offering competitive fees.


Sure, thats the problem. You pay 3% of the transaction for them to make a couple of entries in a database. It is laughable, when you consider that hosting and access to the VPS cost very little.


no it is not.

your argument is the same as saying "i can only fill my gas tank at BP stations, oh well, that is the price i pay to be able to fill up at BP stations since they are the most common around here"

then you proceed to an example, which does not work. because you wrongly confuse apple store with some convenience to reach users. which it is not. 99.9% of non-block buster purchases come from the developer website. the post you are replying to (probably without reading :( even mention that he has no hope of being discovered by users on the app store or being promoted there.

so, physical store or something that advertises or facilitate your sale == ok. apple store is none of those. they actually make it harder for both things to happen.


I think it's better for everyone in this business to have some understanding of how channel works and profits to have a more macro perspective of this issue. Channels usually have huge power and it's one of the four P's (price, product, promotion, and place). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marketing_mix


It's amazing how things don't change.


> Apple treats you like cattle, because you are in effect a cow to them... there are thousands of people like you!

And how is that okay?


It's clearly a problem of oversupply. That's why consolidation is inevitable in this market




Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: