No one minding the store

Michael Tsai:

I woke up to an inbox full of e-mails from customers reporting that my apps wouldn’t launch. This included new customers who had just purchased from the Mac App Store as well as people who had purchased long ago, hadn’t made any changes, and expected that things would just keep working.

The Mac App Store is supposed to make things easier, but it’s also a single point of failure. Not only is it neglected, but sometimes even the existing functionality stops working.

In short, the system is broken on multiple levels, and there is no evidence to suggest that things will get better.

Tsai is the developer of SpamSieve, among other apps, and he reflects the frustration many developers feel towards Apple and the way the App Store works – or, as in the case a few days ago, catastrophically doesn’t work. This is a huge embarrassment to Apple (and one they haven’t explained or apologized for) as well as being a giant pain point for developers. After all, when your app stops working, who do you contact? The developer or Apple?



  • I say this as someone who loves the convenience of the MAS and buys all his apps from it—Apple really seems not to care about the Mac App Store at all. For desktop apps (and iPad Pro apps, IMO), having mechanisms for trials and upgrades are desperately needed to make it full-fledged. Nothing.

    As a whole, Apple really is only doing the minimal amount of work to keep their app stores up and running, and yesterday, not even that. Sigh. I really don’t want to go back to a world where I have to buy from 12 different stores, re-download it to different computers, catalog serial numbers, and use different updaters. But I’m not sure developers will want to stick with the MAS.

    • Michael Savich

      I agree. I also love the MAS because I like the way it makes the Mac and iPhone experience more similar. I just can’t fathom why Apple doesn’t understand the App Stores are their most important product.

      • Sadly, it’s pretty simple: Apple (a) doesn’t believe in developer incentives like trials and upgrades; (b) has too many important products; and (c) the raging success of their app stores really masks the problems.

        Unfortunately, the lack of (a) has, amongst other things, caused a race to 99 cent apps. I’d rather pay more money and get more comprehensive products, but that horse has left the barn, so Apple has little incentive to address this anytime soon. Are we going to switch platforms because of this?

        Maybe if prominent developers quit the app store, but the problem is, iOS requires it and is the growing market… I’m not sure Apple is even paying attention to what developers are saying on Mac.

        • Michael Savich

          Not sure if it helps, but my understanding is the problem is that the iTunes store is too much of a clusterfuck to mess with.

          • I totally believe it, but it’s no excuse. These are solvable problems if Apple cares. Rebuilding the store from the ground up is do-able if Apple invests in it. They just need to admit their infrastructure is not great and fix it.

            (Even on its good days, the App Stores are often very slow loading simple pages. In native apps! Inexcusable in this day and age.)

  • Bob

    Timmy was busy bribing Ireland this week. It’ll be better next week. 🙂

  • rogifan

    This is just another reason Eddy Cue need his walking papers. I’m not aware of anything under his leadership that is best in class right now.