Developers aren’t owed anything by Apple – it’s about customers

“We’re assuming that we are owed by Apple or Google the right to get our content in front of an audience. Well that’s not the case,” he said. “Apple and Google’s mission is to make the customer experience the best it can be, and to make sure that they can find games that they love. It doesn’t mean they have to make your game the one that the player finds.”

Sure, the App Store would suck if developers didn’t create products for it, but Clark makes a very good point: It’s not Apple’s (or Google’s) job to promote your product – that’s your job.

  • Steven Fisher

    i agree with this, but I do remember Apple saying their 30% would include marketing. Perhaps if they’re delivering less, they should drop that percentage. 30% seems high for (basically) a catalogue and hosting the binary.

    That said, 30% might be entirely fair. I wouldn’t actually know; while I’m a programmer, I’ll admit to not knowing much about the business side. My point is only that 30% was supposed to cover X; if they’re delivering less than X, surely it should be less than 30% as well. But, I mean, the market’s also turned out to be much larger than I think anyone anticipated, so maybe it’s all fair.

    Whatever. I’m not trying to whine here. 🙂

    And I’m CERTAINLY glad that Apple is always putting the user ahead of me as a developer. That’s the surest way for the users to continue to be there, which is more important to me than any particular flaming hoop I must jump through.

    • 30% covers processing payments, general App Store upkeep, their staff reviewing each of your updates, etc. The marketing side you get a presence in the App Store and visibility in search results. Apple may also feature you more prominently in listings or aggressively promote your App if you really do truly amazing. I don’t think it’s such a terrible deal for developers.

      Not everyone agrees though. Microsoft is widely rumored to be unhappy that Apple wants 30% of the cut from Office 365 subscriptions and that spat has resulted in crucial SkyDrive updates being put on hold while they argue it out. That has only hurt Microsoft in my case since the crashing issues have pushed me back to Dropbox and resulted in me discontinuing using the SkyDrive solution entirely.

      But I can see why Microsoft is pissed off. Office would definitely a value-add for Apple and iOS in the enterprise where they have been doing quite well already. Both companies would probably benefit from it’s presence on the platform. Microsoft having to give Apple the benefit of its Office suite on iOS (while still trying to gain an entry with their own mobile products) + 30% for essentially just payment processing is a bitter pill for them to swallow.

      It’s definitely the in-app payment stuff and especially subscriptions that are the most contentious areas of Apple’s policies.

      • Another bite out of Apple’s 30% is gift card sales. Whatever the retailer cut is, it comes out of Apple’s share, while developers get paid based on the face value of the card. On average, gift cards probably do not take a big chunk from Apple’s 30%, but it is still another chunk.

  • He’s mostly right. Both Apple and Google work to ensure the best customer experience, but Apple’s main customer, as shown on their balance sheet, is the end-user. Google’s REAL customers, as shown on their balance sheet, are advertisers, so technically it is Google’s job to get content in front of an audience (but not for free).

  • quietstorms

    It is about customers for Apple but why are they blocking terms on iCloud email? I want a proper answer. Why is there a Macworld comment stating that a woman could not send her prescriptions to her pharmacist?

    It’s one thing to block spam. It’s another to block something important by taking App Store practices to email. Apple is not Disney. Kids don’t buy $1500 computers so they can have services filtered without notification. David Chartier recently posted that “barely legal” (forget teens) is enough for iCloud not to send or receive an email.

    I’m disappointed by both The Loop and Daring Fireball. Gruber didn’t even bother giving a cynical comment, regarding this story, like he would on an Android story.

    At this point, I can’t trust Apple with email. This is including that I went though my email and found iTunes emails in my junk folder.

    • Steven Fisher

      I don’t mean to be harsh, but why would you trust Apple with your email?

      Sure, iCloud may be a slightly more trustworthy than your ISP or Google. But if email is important to you, you should not be relying on anyone’s free email.

      • quietstorms

        I trusted Apple until they stated acting like China and started silently removing emails.

        Is the only answer for me to run my own server? Why should I trust anybody when a story is written say that Apple is for the people. I surely don’t trust Google.

  • Peter, you’ve mentioned this a few times in past posts, but it bears remembering: You’re responsible for marketing your application, not Apple or Google or Microsoft or Amazon.

    @tewha:disqus and @twitter-964391576:disqus are on the right track; Apple did say back then that marketing was included in the 30% fee to a certain extent, but like Duma said, the promotion they run inside the App Stores has this covered. Need proof for that? Google developer accounts of how a placement in the ‘New and Noteworthy’ or ‘Editor’s Picks’ sections has boosted their sales.

    I might be completely wrong here, but from my point of view it’s good that Apple doesn’t do promotion beyond the things they’re doing right now. It means that big companies cannot buy time on the App Stores’ front pages. It means that the things that are promoted by Apple are there because they’ve been deemed good by the people responsible for the App Stores. If I were a developer this’d make me happy.

  • ort888

    This is only half true. If Apple pushes back too hard against developers, then they’ll abandon the platform and customers become unhappy.

    It’s ultimitally a balancing act.

    It’s also what a lot of Android fans don’t get about the iOS app store.

    It’s the most customer focused app store, so more customers use it, thus more developers develop for it despite it also having the most restrictions and hoops to jump through.

    Developers go where the money is.

  • gravitycollapse

    Sure, it might not be that Apple owes anyone anything, but their store kind of fails as a discovery mechanism. Does a grocery store have any responsibility to suppliers to organize the aisles somehow? I suppose not contractually (though I have never seen such a contract, so I don’t know), but they really do.

    Apple’s store doesn’t have enough granularity of categorization, no tagging or other useful ways of cross-referencing products. Try to find all “sports strategy games”, for example. It’s not possible. Do a search for “task managers that integrate with Dropbox”. Oh, you can’t. These kinds of things are simply not possible in their system, even though all the data is there for stuff like that to work if they bothered to build it.

  • lucascott

    While I agree that it’s a developers job to market, there are some changes that could be made in all the stores to make it easier for customers to find what they are looking for completely and efficiently