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Why AppGratis Was Pulled From the App Store

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the stories-that-will-fit-your-preconceived-notions dept.

Software 146

RougeFemme writes "By now, you may know that AppGratis, a popular app discovery app, was recently pulled from the App store. Apple listed violations of the following guidelines: '2.25 Apps that display Apps other than your own for purchase or promotion in a manner similar to or confusing with the App Store will be rejected. ... 5.6 Apps cannot use Push Notifications to send advertising, promotions, or direct marketing of any kind.' Now, the company's CEO, Simon Dawlat, has made a blog post with 'the rest of the story.'" As it turns out, AppGratis had been cleared by Apple for guideline 2.25 as recently as October, and its iPad version was approved less than a week ago. The brand new Apple review team member who contacted the company isn't able to explain what went into the decision to ban it now. Dalwat says the complaint about guideline 5.6 was 'another surprise for us since we only send one "system notification" a day to our users, coming in the form of a generic, opt-in only "Today’s deal is here!" message, which is precisely how Apple recommends developers to use its push notification service.'" However, the AllThingsD article cites sources claiming Apple was "more than a little troubled that AppGratis was pushing a business model that appeared to favor developers with the financial means to pay for exposure." Dalwat does not address this in his post.

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Live by the walled garden... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43405795)

Die by the walled garden.

Develop open source if you don't want your hard work to live entirely at the whims of someone else, whose interests probably don't align with yours. All the worse if you put all your proverbial eggs in this basket, grew a bit, and had the carpet pulled out from under you (a 45-person company in this case).

I feel sorry for these guys, but the problem is the walled-garden ecosystems which are - unfortunately - proliferating instead of dying out.

They'll all die out eventually.

Re:Live by the walled garden... (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | about a year and a half ago | (#43405933)

Die by the walled garden.

And seek publicity for the walled garden (but remember: don't ever call it a jail, or even an internment camp!).
According to TFA, their app got re-approved with a few tweaks. The whole thing reeks of being just another crapple crapvertisement from /.

Re:Live by the walled garden... (1)

IronMagnus (777535) | about a year and a half ago | (#43405943)

Read the article... they had issues in the past, over-came them and believed to be in good standing, then they got pulled again.

Re:Live by the walled garden... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43406023)

Read the article... they had issues in the past, over-came them and believed to be in good standing, then they got pulled again.

Over in Europe, the reason for such sudden changes is known as fakelaki, or lack thereof

Re:Live by the walled garden... (1, Insightful)

gnasher719 (869701) | about a year and a half ago | (#43406061)

Read the article... they had issues in the past, over-came them and believed to be in good standing, then they got pulled again.

It seems quite obvious that their app was very borderline, so getting pulled should not come as a surprise to them or anyone. There's also a small point in the guidelines that says "complaining about a rejection in public doesn't improve your chances of getting allowed back". In the end, iOS users will be able to survive without an app that makes purchase suggestions according to how much money they were paid.

Re:Live by the walled garden... (4, Insightful)

IronMagnus (777535) | about a year and a half ago | (#43406087)

No, I believe it should come as a surprise when you've been working with Apple Representatives, had an update approved by their review process, then have it pulled less than a week later. If apple wants quality apps in their store, they need to act in a predictable manner that businesses can work with.

Re:Live by the walled garden... (2)

BitZtream (692029) | about a year and a half ago | (#43406867)

It would be a surprise if you weren't trying to skirt the lines of the rules already, but they KNEW they were riding the line already. They've been rejected more than once before. It shouldn't really be a surprise when they ban it again, especially if it happens to be for reasons they may not have noticed in testing ... like say, notifications that weren't during the 'testing' phase?

This isn't a quality app so this isn't an issue in that respect, no one is going to miss an app that recommends purchases based on who pays them the most. Do you know what payola is?

Re:Live by the walled garden... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43407137)

This isn't a quality app so this isn't an issue in that respect

Yeah people like you would only complain if the outrageously funny iFart were to be removed.

Re:Live by the walled garden... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43407595)

If apple wants quality apps in their store, they need to act in a predictable manner that businesses can work with.

Cool story bro. Except that compared to the Play store and Amazon stores, the average quality in the Apple store is higher. We may hate it as geeks, but average users don't. So they're doing something right, even if it keeps me off their products.

Re:Live by the walled garden... (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about a year and a half ago | (#43408579)

The average quality of things that are available in the store might be, but a great deal of useful stuff is not available. And some stuff that is available is feature limited, so the assertion that it's higher quality is dubious (e.g. compare Kindle app on iOS and on Android).

Re:Live by the walled garden... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43407995)

Did you really just call “AppGratis” a quality app?

Re:Live by the walled garden... (1)

Vintermann (400722) | about a year and a half ago | (#43406295)

"complaining about a rejection in public doesn't improve your chances of getting allowed back"

What a petty little schoolmistress-authoritarian policy. Assuming app developers are cowed (and hey, they're developing for Apple! You bet they are), the rejection complaints we see are probably the top of the iceberg.

Re:Live by the walled garden... (3, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | about a year and a half ago | (#43406871)

What world do you live in that makes sense?

You're arguing that Apple is petty for telling you that throwing a petty temper tantrum in public won't help you?

Seriously?

Re:Live by the walled garden... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43407087)

In the end, iOS users will be able to survive without an app that makes purchase suggestions according to how much money they were paid.

They can live without the multitude of fart apps too, but it seems Apple doesn't think much of its customers given they don't get rejected on the clause "Apps that are not very useful, unique, are simply web sites bundled as Apps, or do not provide any lasting entertainment value may be rejected."

You'd have to be a naive idiot to think they are doing anything but preventing competition in a space they will undoubtedly enter shortly.

Re: Live by the walled garden... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43408399)

Yeah!! Rail against the mannnnnnn!! Thank goodness we finally found someone on /. Who doesn't like Apple. Boyeee!

Re:Live by the walled garden... (1)

nolife (233813) | about a year and a half ago | (#43408307)

Borderline?
Shouldn't the user get to decide if they want to use it or not? If people were downloading it and using it and were getting good use of it, it was of value to them correct?

Re:Live by the walled garden... (2)

Minter92 (148860) | about a year and a half ago | (#43406089)

Closed systems are bad um ok

Re:Live by the walled garden... (1)

Karlt1 (231423) | about a year and a half ago | (#43406181)

Closed systems are bad um ok

So if open is so much better for developers, then why are iOS developers making 75% of the revenues from mobile app downloads?

http://www.canalys.com/newsroom/11-quarterly-growth-downloads-leading-app-stores [canalys.com]

Re:Live by the walled garden... (5, Insightful)

Minter92 (148860) | about a year and a half ago | (#43406211)

Closed systems are bad um ok

So if open is so much better for developers, then why are iOS developers making 75% of the revenues from mobile app downloads?

http://www.canalys.com/newsroom/11-quarterly-growth-downloads-leading-app-stores [canalys.com]

Money != morality

Re:Live by the walled garden... (-1)

Karlt1 (231423) | about a year and a half ago | (#43406431)

Money != morality

Not Feeding My Family == Immorality.

Re:Live by the walled garden... (2)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43406789)

Feeding my clones == Immortality

Re:Live by the walled garden... (2)

femtobyte (710429) | about a year and a half ago | (#43406865)

Letting families starve if family members refuse to perform acts which they would, were their family's lives not held hostage, consider immoral == Immorality == Capitalism.

Re:Live by the walled garden... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43406733)

Perhaps not but open systems != morality either.
 
This whole idea that walled gardens are inherently Evil(TM) is really just a bunch of bullshit.
 
So, can we agree that this is pretty much a non-story and wouldn't even be on the front page of Slashdot if it weren't for the Apple* two minute hate quota that seems to be enforced here?
 
* and many others aside from just Apple.

Re:Live by the walled garden... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43406883)

Screw morality. This is business, I couldn't care less what your morality is like as long as it has no impact on that business. It's ethics that's important in this case.

Re:Live by the walled garden... (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about a year and a half ago | (#43406913)

Money != morality

I would have gone with the much simpler answer:
iOS devs make 70% from app downloads at Apple's forbearance.

Re:Live by the walled garden... (1)

Karlt1 (231423) | about a year and a half ago | (#43408409)

I would have gone with the much simpler answer:
iOS devs make 70% from app downloads at Apple's forbearance.

The same percentage that Google Play charges.

Re:Live by the walled garden... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43408219)

good & bad are not moral qualifiers. They are qualitative descriptions of preference, but do not specify the scale (other than the particular items being called 'good' or 'bad' inherently implying a scale). You may have moral reservations against closed source, but that doesn't mean everyone does, and it doesn't mean you are right (or that you are wrong, for that matter).

Stop forcing your morals/religion on everyone else and we'll be more likely to listen. Keep being an extremist and get labeled an unimportant nutjob.

Android apps tend to use ads more often (3, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#43406389)

then why are iOS developers making 75% of the revenues from mobile app downloads?

The article you linked states that though Apple had the lion's share of revenue from priced applications, Google Play Store had more total downloads, paid and free, than downloads from Apple, Microsoft, and RIM stores combined. (Conspicuous by its absence from the article is Amazon, but that's beside my point.)

Let me take a guess as to why Google wins downloads while Apple wins revenue. Apple never launched the iPod touch, iPhone, or iPad in a given country without support for iTunes payment. Google, on the other hand, chose to allow sales of devices with Android Market (now Play) in some countries to which it hadn't yet launched Checkout (now Wallet). To reach customers in those countries, developers had to make their applications available without charge and recoup their expenses through advertising. This set up an expectation among Android users that applications would have an ad-supported version. Didn't Rovio claim to earn more from advertisements in ad-supported versions of Angry Birds than from sale of priced versions?

Re:Android apps tend to use ads more often (2, Interesting)

Karlt1 (231423) | about a year and a half ago | (#43406543)

The article you linked states that though Apple had the lion's share of revenue from priced applications, Google Play Store had more total downloads, paid and free, than downloads from Apple, Microsoft, and RIM stores combined. (Conspicuous by its absence from the article is Amazon, but that's beside my point.)

Let me take a guess as to why Google wins downloads while Apple wins revenue. Apple never launched the iPod touch, iPhone, or iPad in a given country without support for iTunes payment. Google, on the other hand, chose to allow sales of devices with Android Market (now Play) in some countries to which it hadn't yet launched Checkout (now Wallet). To reach customers in those countries, developers had to make their applications available without charge and recoup their expenses through advertising. This set up an expectation among Android users that applications would have an ad-supported version.

Or another guess is that Android users are cheap....

http://allthingsd.com/20110527/android-users-like-apps-but-dont-like-paying-for-them/ [allthingsd.com]

http://gigaom.com/2012/11/26/why-are-android-users-less-engaged-than-ios-users/ [gigaom.com]

Didn't Rovio claim to earn more from advertisements in ad-supported versions of Angry Birds than from sale of priced versions?

Rovio:

http://www.nbcnews.com/technology/technolog/angry-birds-exec-calls-android-too-complex-iphone-no-1-125769 [nbcnews.com]

Why? Apple has "gotten so many things right. And they know what they are doing and they call the shots."

Android, too, is growing, he said, "But it's also growing complexity at the same time."

"While there are many devices and carriers that use Android, "device fragmentation (is) not the issue," Vesterbacka said, "but rather the fragmentation of the ecosystem. So many different shops, so many different models. The carriers messing with the experience again. Open but not really open, a very Google-centric ecosystem. And paid content just doesnâ(TM)t work on Android.""

Acquisition cost (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#43407239)

[gigaom.com]

Another article from the same site in September of last year states that iOS used to produce five times the revenue of Android, but the gap is shrinking [gigaom.com] . Even if iOS still draws 40 to 50 percent more revenue per user, acquisition costs per user tend to run lower on Android.

Re:Live by the walled garden... (2)

MrEricSir (398214) | about a year and a half ago | (#43406209)

"Develop open source if you don't want your hard work to live entirely at the whims of someone else..."

That advice is all well and good until you want to actually get paid for your work.

Re:Live by the walled garden... (5, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | about a year and a half ago | (#43406827)

AppGratis is an app where developers pay money for getting their app in the Top 100 rankings and such. You pay them somewhere between 4k and tens of thousands of dollars, then you set your app to FREE for a day they tell you and the send a message to a certain number of users in order to get you pushed to the ranking you paid for on Apple's lists. Some of these users aren't actual users, just accounts used to inflate the rankings.

This is the absolute scummiest type of 'marketing' in existence without flat out lying. Its manipulation of the system for financial gain based on bribes. Apple banning them is a GOOD THING. Might as well be Payola. Apple doesn't want their rankings or their users tainted by scummy advertising scams.

Walled garden or not, you don't want this type of app or system to exist. Put down your apple pitch fork long enough to see the bigger picture.

Re:Live by the walled garden... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43407255)

When iOS has a monopoly position all this shit will stop anyway and anti-trust laws will force the walled-garden behavior to stop, Microsoft got pinged for private APIs, Apple has that and various non-compete clauses but Apple apologists defend this behavior because the only reason they can do this is their lack of a monopoly position. If they end up with the lion's share of the mobile device applications market - and they are strongly going in that direction - it will be to their detriment.

Those same Apple apologists have a deep respect for Microsoft's business practices, these are the exact ones that Apple has put in a shiny case with a little "i" at the front. Don't get me wrong, they make damn good products, but their business practices are even worse than Microsoft. They have the attitude of hey, if those business practices benefit me, why would I object to them?, it's not that Microsoft's business practices are/were bad, it's that those people weren't directly making money off them, that's all that matters.

Re:Live by the walled garden... (1)

CHIT2ME (2667601) | about a year and a half ago | (#43407675)

This is the absolute scummiest type of 'marketing' in existence without flat out lying. Its manipulation of the system for financial gain based on bribes. But, isn't that the Apple business model?

CUE the critics. (1)

jazzis (612421) | about a year and a half ago | (#43405797)

Oh well...

Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43405811)

I did not know the app was removed from the app store, and since I am jailbroken and have the "apple killswitch" disabled, I do not know if they pulled it from the phones as well.

Re:Interesting (1)

ShaunC (203807) | about a year and a half ago | (#43406139)

Nope, they haven't removed the app from users who already had it installed. It still works just fine for existing users, but nobody new can download it. I'm really sort of torn on this - Apple has the right to enforce its guidelines, and it appears that AppGratis technically violated the letter of the law. But did they violate the spirit? I guess Groupon and a number of others should be pulled, too, because they send out the push-messages each day as well...

Re:Interesting (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about a year and a half ago | (#43406907)

Apple has never used the 'killswitch', the was Amazon, crawl back in your basement and put your tinfoil hat back on.

Re:Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43407401)

Apple has never used the 'killswitch', the was Amazon, crawl back in your basement and put your tinfoil hat back on.

wow you need to relax, there was no suggestion that they did anything either way, so religiously devoted to apple are you that you didn't even read what was posted and just jumped in with your scripted shill defense as soon as you saw the word "killswitch". i have to hand it to apple, where microsoft, oracle and google have to pay shills apple ones do it for free.
yes steve, no steve, three iBags full steve.

Re: Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43408469)

Why was killswitch mentioned in the first place?

Ex2bot

luls (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43405813)

Welcome to the walled garden. I hope you enjoy your stay with Apple, and realize that Stallman was wrong about open systems.

Buy an Android phone instead (1, Offtopic)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about a year and a half ago | (#43405829)

Problem solved!

Re:Buy an Android phone instead (-1, Troll)

BitZtream (692029) | about a year and a half ago | (#43406927)

Yes, cause having Google spying shoved down your throat is way better than having an app who's sole existence was so that people could get recommendations on apps to try ... based on who paid the most money.

Seriously? Are you fucking stupid? There are plenty of reasons to pick on Apple and point out their mistakes but you've utterly failed to get it on this one.

As opposed to Apple's model? (2, Insightful)

TWX (665546) | about a year and a half ago | (#43405831)

Apple was "more than a little troubled that AppGratis was pushing a business model that appeared to favor developers with the financial means to pay for exposure.

As opposed to their somehow having managed to con local news into covering every stinking Apple Store opening even though retailers and service centers throughout Apple's history have provided the exact same services that the Apple Store provides, for the same price?

Re:As opposed to Apple's model? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43405939)

CNN has mentioned linux on air 2 times in a decade.

They've mentioned Apple about a googleplex...

Re:As opposed to Apple's model? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43406059)

CNN has mentioned linux on air 2 times in a decade.

They've mentioned Apple about a googleplex...

Waaaaa, waa, waa, waaaaaaa! Someone call the waaaaaambulance.

Re:As opposed to Apple's model? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43406215)

iApple would be nothing without Linux, which is what they build everything they sell on.
They want you to believe that they invented everything, they didn't; but "borrowed" everyone's
hard work for their products. You don't hear of iApple supporting the developers that made them rich.
Just sayin'

Re:As opposed to Apple's model? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43406325)

No its not. Its built on BSD.

Re:As opposed to Apple's model? (1)

unimacs (597299) | about a year and a half ago | (#43406485)

OS X and iOS use a mach kernel that was developed at Carnegie Mellon. OS X in particular is a descendent of NeXTStep which predates linux and is closer to BSD.

Apple has benefited from the popularity of linux in a number of ways but to say it would be nothing without linux is not at all accurate.

Re:As opposed to Apple's model? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43406999)

Don't worry about it. The AC is either a troll or another dumb fuck that thinks that POSIX == Linux. I've had dealing with these bitches before and their cluelessness and their desire to rewrite computing history based on their ignorance is outstanding.

Re:As opposed to Apple's model? (1)

lgw (121541) | about a year and a half ago | (#43407477)

OS X in particular is a descendent of NeXTStep which predates linux and is closer to BSD.

Wow - I was shocked to discover this timing is true. I remember installing Slackware the same year I bought the Nextstep dev kit, and I could have sworn Linux was older but no: I was just early on Linux and late on Next.

Apple has certainly benefitted from the GNU toolset, but I'm sure RMS would be the first to say "see, that's why the GNU should come first in GNU/Linux".

Re:As opposed to Apple's model? (1)

Princeofcups (150855) | about a year and a half ago | (#43406711)

As opposed to their somehow having managed to con local news into covering every stinking Apple Store opening even though retailers and service centers throughout Apple's history have provided the exact same services that the Apple Store provides, for the same price?

B.S. Back in the day before the Apple store, it was nearly impossible to find a "brick and mortar" retailer that was knowledgable about their Apple products. The sales people would generally steer customers to PCs, and not even mention that they sold Macs. They carried very little if any Mac software if any at all. That's why everyone ordered through catalogs over the phone, from places like MacWarehouse, or directly from Apple. This lack of a physical presence is one of the reasons that Apple opened their own stores.

Re:As opposed to Apple's model? (1)

cdrudge (68377) | about a year and a half ago | (#43407939)

Back in the day before [new, obscure, inferior and/or unpopular brand] Store, it was nearly impossible to find a "brick and morter" retailer that was knowledgeable about their [new, obscure, inferior, and/or unpopular brand] product. The sales people generally steer customers to [other older, better known, superior, and/or popular competitor], and not even mention that they sold [new, obscure, inferior and/or unpopular brand products]. They carried very little if any [new, obscure, inferior and/or unpopular brand products] if any at all.

You've just described every single brand/product that's ever been marketed where there is a competing brand/product.

Re:As opposed to Apple's model? (1)

TWX (665546) | about a year and a half ago | (#43407997)

citation PROVIDED [youtube.com]

And, the real question (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43405849)

I have to ask.. who gives a shit?

Apple BS... (0)

PrimeNumber (136578) | about a year and a half ago | (#43405855)

I would probably find this app annoying, but so is Apple's schizo application vetting & approval policy.
Animal entrails can be read more reliably.

Money that Apple wanted (4, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about a year and a half ago | (#43405877)

It is really simple to see what the problem was, if developers had money to pay to AppGratis to promote their app, they should instead be giving that money to Apple.

Re:Money that Apple wanted (1)

mTor (18585) | about a year and a half ago | (#43406443)

This "no-promotion" and "no buying of rankings" is no different from Google's "no links for money" policy.

I tell you this (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43405901)

FUCK YOU

Plain-text EULA (4, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year and a half ago | (#43405927)

I've decrypted the Apple EULA. It says this:

"Apple must make the majority of any profit to be had. Developers will be paid only a fraction of what their efforts are worth. Loyalty to the Furo--er, Brand is absolute. Apps which go against our brandalist(tm) propaganda are to be banned with immediate effect using one of the dozen or so vaguely-defined rules outlined below. Ka-Pla!"

But more seriously guys... if you're developing for Apple, prepare to be raped. They don't give a flying fuck through a rolling doughnut about you, the developer. You should feel privileged to develop for the legacy of the Great Man Jobs. How dare you ask for a fair share of the profit! If you want that, go slink off and develop for (spits) that Anderzoid platform or whatever it's called. Apple is the future. Suck it up, cupcake.

Re:Plain-text EULA (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | about a year and a half ago | (#43406141)

How dare you ask for a fair share of the profit!

I'm just curious--what do you consider to be a fair share of the profits?

I have no complaint with Apple's policies for their App Store (it's their store, after all). My complaint with the App Store is mostly that it is the only way to get apps on your non-jailbroken iOS device, so there's no competition. If I want to distribute it myself and handle the infrastructure/support for my own store, too bad. If someone else comes along and wants to offer a different revenue-sharing plan from Apple's 70/30, too bad.

But I'd be curious what you would consider to be "fair"--I assume you consider 70/30 to be "unfair."

Re:Plain-text EULA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43406335)

Sliding scale. You get little up-front, but after the startup costs are covered, you get more of a percentage.
The up front costs would be iApple's marketing, but once you have a market share, you don't need to
advertise as much. Many developers fall into this trap of a flat royalty forever because it sounds like a good deal,
it's not. Maybe in the beginning you take 15%, after that iApple should keep less than 10%, their finders' fee.
I'm surprised iApple can legally limit competition like that, which id why I'll never own anything iApple.

I have a soul.

Re:Plain-text EULA (1)

gmhowell (26755) | about a year and a half ago | (#43408795)

I have a soul.

How much does it weigh? What color is it?

Re:Plain-text EULA (3, Informative)

jo_ham (604554) | about a year and a half ago | (#43406149)

I've decrypted the Apple EULA. It says this:

"Apple must make the majority of any profit to be had. Developers will be paid only a fraction of what their efforts are worth. Loyalty to the Furo--er, Brand is absolute. Apps which go against our brandalist(tm) propaganda are to be banned with immediate effect using one of the dozen or so vaguely-defined rules outlined below. Ka-Pla!"

But more seriously guys... if you're developing for Apple, prepare to be raped. They don't give a flying fuck through a rolling doughnut about you, the developer. You should feel privileged to develop for the legacy of the Great Man Jobs. How dare you ask for a fair share of the profit! If you want that, go slink off and develop for (spits) that Anderzoid platform or whatever it's called. Apple is the future. Suck it up, cupcake.

Interesting, given that the split on revenue is 70:30 in favour of the developer and for that 30% they handle all of the hosting, distribution, updates, credit card payments and billing etc and just give you the money, greatly simplifying the process of online distribution involving small transactions.

The App Store itself has been an enormous cash cow for developers, large and small alike.

Apple's financial statements tell you exactly how much profit they make on the store (hint: it's extremely low, but it is above zero), and if you think they're lying about that as has been often suggested then file a complaint over fraudulent financial reporting - it's a very serious crime.

Developers, on the other hand, are making hay on the store. I'd be interested to see how you justify Apple making "the majority of any profit to be had" with some actual numbers, or if it's just more rampant, ill-informed Apple bashing as usual.

Re:Plain-text EULA (1)

fredprado (2569351) | about a year and a half ago | (#43406233)

30% is far to much, and extremely in excess of any operation costs they may have.

Re:Plain-text EULA (1, Informative)

jo_ham (604554) | about a year and a half ago | (#43407475)

30% is far to much, and extremely in excess of any operation costs they may have.

Does that apply to Google's store on Android too then?

Can we have that on the record that if Apple's 30% cut is "extremely in excess of any operation costs they may have" that the 30% Google charges is also "extremely in excess" too?

Re:Plain-text EULA (0)

fredprado (2569351) | about a year and a half ago | (#43408079)

Sure it is, but the difference here is that nobody needs to sell through Google Play to sell android applications. There are several other android stores and developers can even sell applications at their own web sites, as Humblebundle does, for example. If you don't like their fee you are not forced to sell though them and they cannot prevent you from selling your Apps elsewhere.

Re:Plain-text EULA (1)

jo_ham (604554) | about a year and a half ago | (#43408753)

Sure it is, but the difference here is that nobody needs to sell through Google Play to sell android applications. There are several other android stores and developers can even sell applications at their own web sites, as Humblebundle does, for example. If you don't like their fee you are not forced to sell though them and they cannot prevent you from selling your Apps elsewhere.

Ah, so one rule for Google, one for Apple.

Apple doesn't stop you selling your app in other places either, and you can even release it as a web app on iOS if you so choose (less effective than a dedicated app, but some developers have gone that route - Apple even promoted it themselves during the iOS maps fiasco mentioning that the web version of google maps was available while they waited for Google to submit the native version to the store).

But, just to boil your argument right down, you're saying that Google's 30% is excessive but ok because you can sell via non-official app stores if you like, but Apple's 30% is excessive and not ok because iOS only has web apps and the app store as software sources?

Re:Plain-text EULA (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43406341)

A) You'll be surprised how you can mislead or completely lie. I mean, how many companies are saying most of their money from outside America for lower taxes? It's not illegal, but certainly "fraudulent"

B) Hosting and distribution (on an electronic medium, this is the same): You can get 500GB for $100 from Dropbox, and this is a customer facing website (not a B2B). The cost of hosting a 100MB file (which is unusual for an application to be this large) would be about 2 cents. (2% of 99 cent application). -- https://www.dropbox.com/upgrade

C) Purchasing a product and using PayPal to pay results in a less than 4% fee (less than 3% if you exclude international purchases) -- and they also handle payments, billing (isn't that the same thing?), etc -- https://www.paypal.com/webapps/mpp/paypal-fees

D) Every single advertisement and / or press release has lied or mislead. (See class action lawsuit regarding their voice assistant). Antennagate (our phones are just like everyone elses! except nobody else has an external, shortable antenna?) I would not be surprised if you found creative accounting that's perfectly legal.

Add that up, and you get ... 6%? What are they doing with the remaining 24%?

Re:Plain-text EULA (0, Flamebait)

jo_ham (604554) | about a year and a half ago | (#43407497)

Hosting costs based on a "customer facing site" from dropbox to describe Apple's situation regarding server requirements and bandwidth....

Man, I'm crying with laughter over here. Please, keep going, oh mighty business expert!

Re:Plain-text EULA (2)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year and a half ago | (#43406935)

The App Store itself has been an enormous cash cow for developers, large and small alike.

Let's test that theory. First up, who's making the big bucks? corporations [theregister.co.uk] . In fact, over half make Less than $3,000 [tuaw.com] . There are other [thedailybeast.com] stories showing the lack of millionaires pouring out of Apple's "enormous cash cow" as you put it. I mean, besides Apple.

Apple's financial statements tell you exactly how much profit they make on the store (hint: it's extremely low, but it is above zero), and if you think they're lying about that as has been often suggested then file a complaint over fraudulent financial reporting - it's a very serious crime.

And as we all know, fraudulent financial reporting, because it's such a serious crime, doesn't happen very often. Like Enron, the subprime mortgage crisis, the "too big to fail" financial institutions, that debacle with Lloyds of London, and oh the list goes on. There isn't a week that goes by where fraudulent financial reporting doesn't make the news.

I'd be interested to see how you justify Apple making "the majority of any profit to be had" with some actual numbers, or if it's just more rampant, ill-informed Apple bashing as usual.

As opposed to blind fan-boy support? Well, regardless of your religious preferences, let's look at a similar business model and then discuss it: record companies [techdirt.com] . They also have made their profit by acting as middlemen in the distribution of apps. Essentially, the same business model Apple uses, except the percentages are different. Apple doesn't offer marketing support to its customers, whereas the record labels do. That's where a lot of that difference goes; And here's the thing... if you ever want your app to succeed, you're going to have to do more than just code it up and submit it. You'll need to market it. And marketing, my friend, is not cheap. There's also hidden startup fees. For example, did you know that Apple charges $99 a year to app developers for an 'iTunes connect account'? Now, when most app developers have made less than $3,000 for their entire portfolio, that "30%" starts looking more like "33%"... and when you add in marketing and advertising costs to get an "app of the day" or whatever, push that number higher. How much? Well, that's up to Apple. It's a "per customer" sale.

Now that we've discussed how many different ways you're screwed as a developer, let's look at the overhead costs for Apple: App approval. Distribution infrastructure. So basically, you hire a couple dozen people to evaluate apps and you need to rent space in a data center. For an $8 billion dollar a year service, I'm guessing this amounts to... uhh... dick.

So there you have it: Apple's making money hand over fist, and the developers... well... not so much. Did you really expect a different conclusion? That Apple is somehow different from every other publicly-traded company on the Earth? They have the largest market capitalization of any country on Earth. They didn't get there by being generous.

Re:Plain-text EULA (1)

jo_ham (604554) | about a year and a half ago | (#43407649)

Wow, I can see you simply don't live in the real world, and you accuse Apple users of being affected by the RDF.

I see you left of payment processing and support, but those are zero costs of course. It doesn't cost you anything to support your customers or handle payments.

As to "renting space in a data center", I imagine you know Apple's needs better than them, but they decided to actually *build* data centres of their own. I guess your armchair quarterbacking has analysed their needs perfectly though. You should probably email them and suggest they just rent some space from dropbox (as was suggested seriously in another comment on this).

My point about Apple's financial statements was not that fraud never happens (duh!), but that Apple's filings are public and that it *is* something that can be used against them if they are less than honest. If a large corporation that was involved in a large multi-billion dollar lawsuit with Apple (can you think of any off the top of your head?) had any suspicion that Apple was not playing it level in their filings then the stink would already have been raised. Fraud happens all the time, but that does not mean it is rampant - especially in a company as closely scrutinised as Apple. By all means, if you think they are lying about their filings then do something about it rather than just implying that they are because it fits your expectations and prejudices.

Also, I find it amusing that you consider the $99 annual fee to not only be "hidden" (seriously, wtf?) but that it is somehow crippling. You're focussing on developers who only make $3000 or less, which clearly covers all hobbyists - the clear indication here is that hobbyist developers are actually finding success on the store. The parallel to draw there is not whether they are making a living off that (if iOS development is all you do and you make $3k total then you're doing it wrong) but what they would earn in the absence of the app store. What are the earnings of those same group of sub-3k developers on Android, for example? Or simply those releasing software for any platform via their own distribution method.

Apple's model is the same as Google's - a 30% cut to handle distribution, store presence (not marketing, unless you get featured), payment processing, support, and hosting with nothing but a chunk of cash landing in your account every month to avoid all those hassles. Everyone except slashdot users thinks that is an excellent deal (except when it;s Google when it's somehow also an excellent deal because "freedom!").

I know it doesn't fit the slashdot apple hating brigade, but the app store is a good thing for developers. If you do not like it then you're free to avoid it entirely and go another way - nothing stopping you. The choices are there. Overall a mobile application developer is going to find it an very beneficial market to develop for.

Re:Plain-text EULA (3, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year and a half ago | (#43408671)

And now, GirlinTraining Eats an Apple Fanboy, Except For The Core Of Course ...

Wow, I can see you simply don't live in the real world, and you accuse Apple users of being affected by the RDF.

I accused them of adhering to their mission statement, as filed with the Securities Exchange Commission.

I see you left of payment processing and support, but those are zero costs of course.

Considering that the developers only get paid when their balance reaches a certain threshold or a certain amount of time has elapsed, yeah, practically zero.

It doesn't cost you anything to support your customers or handle payments.

One of these things is not like the other. Can you spot it?

As to "renting space in a data center", I imagine you know Apple's needs better than them, but they decided to actually *build* data centres of their own.

Actually, I don't. But I do know them better than you [gigaom.com] apparently do. The app store alone brings in six billion a year. Go look it up, I'll wait. The data center, equipment, land, everything, cost 1/6th of that. New. From scratch. Obviously, day to day costs would be lower. A lot lower. You may remember another company that has a very large data center: It's called Google, and as I understand it, they're one of the biggest companies on the planet and they don't charge or take a cut of your website's fees to operate. Their profit margins aren't exactly... tiny. So margins for Apple here are huge. Massively huge. Triple digit huge. And with a six billion dollar market, we're talking holy-fuck I just won the lottery huge payout. Which of course, I know, and Apple knows, but you apparently, did not know. I ascribe this to the fact that you only read about technology on forum websites like slashdot, instead of busying yourself with inventing them, as I do. And possibly having not taken macroeconomics yet.

My point about Apple's financial statements was not that fraud never happens../

Back pedal any harder and you may solve the energy crisis. No, you said fraud is a serious crime and implied that any alleged impropriety that Apple could be accused of was likely false, because said fraud is rare. I responded with common-knowledge news events that stamped this with a giant "Bullshit" in 9 foot tall lettering.

Also, I find it amusing that you consider the $99 annual fee to not only be "hidden" (seriously, wtf?) but that it is somehow crippling.

Well, if your math skills didn't suck so hard they were in danger of creating an event horizon from which no clue can escape, you'd realize that $100 from a developer that's making less than $3,000 in the majority of the cases means Apple's cut from this alone is over 3%. That "Apple only takes 30%" is white-washed Grade A marketing bullshit. It takes more. In fact, when you add it all up, they take about as much as the recording industries do from their artists. Which, big surprise, since it's the same business model, but just has a trendy hipster icon plastered across the front.

- the clear indication here is that hobbyist developers are actually finding success on the store.

Your definition of success would be "made more than nothing." My definition of success is somewhat more mature, and reasonable: Makes enough to live on. When you get out of mom's basement, I suspect your definition of success will be less based on the brand of toys you own and more on your ability to get food into your mouth.

What are the earnings of those same group of sub-3k developers on Android, for example? Or simply those releasing software for any platform via their own distribution method.

We weren't discussing developers for Android. We were discussing why AppGratis was pulled from the Apple Store, and the constituent problems developers and end-users encounter because of the business model Apple uses.

Apple's model is the same as Google's - a 30% cut to handle distribution, store presence (not marketing, unless you get featured), payment processing, support, and hosting with nothing but a chunk of cash landing in your account every month to avoid all those hassles.

Google doesn't charge a yearly fee. You can load an app pretty easily onto an android device without using the Play store; Google made sure you can, in fact, use competing app stores. Several exist. In fact, if you want to pay distribution costs, etc., and distribute it direct to the customer, Google lets you...And Apple does not. So no, there model is not the same, unless a Ferrari is just like a Civic in your world.

Everyone except slashdot users thinks that is an excellent deal (except when it;s Google when it's somehow also an excellent deal because "freedom!").

Well, actually, Google's beating the pants [venturebeat.com] off Apple in terms of number of apps. So no, it's not just slashdot users... it's mobile phone users.

I know it doesn't fit the slashdot apple hating brigade, but the app store is a good thing for developers.

It's amazing how fiercely you cling to your Apple products, unencumbered by facts though you may be.

If you do not like it then you're free to avoid it entirely and go another way - nothing stopping you. The choices are there.

Yes, choices are there because I don't have any Apple products.

Overall a mobile application developer is going to find it an very beneficial market to develop for.

Of course, because unlike everyone else who's tried their hand at this, your anonymous future mobile application developer will totally score way more than the 50% of his peers... who aren't making enough a month to buy more than a few cheeseburgers at McD's.

Re:Plain-text EULA (0)

jo_ham (604554) | about a year and a half ago | (#43408803)

It's called Google, and as I understand it, they're one of the biggest companies on the planet and they don't charge or take a cut of your website's fees to operate. Their profit margins aren't exactly... tiny.

Stopped reading here. If you can't understand why Google's services are free and where their revenue comes from (and by extension, who their actual customers are), then I can't help you.

The one piece I got to before that was about payment processing. Again, you seem to misunderstand. The cost of doing business for a vendor that handles credit card payments (ie, Apple in this case, acting as a proxy for developers selling apps) is non-zero (I guess the sarcasm passed you by, but I'll let it slide). This is compounded by frequent small transactions which are much more affected by the fee imposed by the card issuer/financial network provider, hence the reason that many brick and mortar stores have a minimum purchase amount on a card. I was merely pointing out that you left that off the cost of doing business. It's rolled into the 30% cut Apple takes. Google does the same thing on their store with their 30% cut, which people seem to think is ok (because it is a good deal for all concerned)

Maybe there was more coherence in the rest of the post, but it doesn't look likely. Sorry.

Re:Plain-text EULA (2)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year and a half ago | (#43408915)

Maybe there was more coherence in the rest of the post, but it doesn't look likely. Sorry.

That's okay. I felt the same way about your childish rantings, but it's a slow night at work...

Re:Plain-text EULA (1)

heelrod (124784) | about a year and a half ago | (#43406323)

So the app store brings in over a Billion dollars of revenue every quarter. A FUCKING BILLION!!! And the split is 70-30 to the developer? Getting raped eh? Do you want 100% Then? I suppose you should write the code for the OS, the code for the server, make the fucking server, host the server, provide the bandwidth for the download for your app, and all that jazz too or do you just want to bitch about shit?

get real. Fair share of the profit? You have got to be fucking kidding

Re:Plain-text EULA (1)

whoop (194) | about a year and a half ago | (#43407281)

All this App-Store shenanigans, and yet time and again, developers refuse to port stuff to Android for fear of some extra work (fragmentation). Hitching your wagon to such an unstable horse seems awfully dangerous for a business model.

somebody call the whaaaambulance (1)

LodCrappo (705968) | about a year and a half ago | (#43405985)

Seriously... you know what you're getting into when you develop for Apple's locked down ecosystem, and if you did not realize your survival there will forever be at the mercy of your corporate overlord's whims, you are to oblivious to succeed anyway.

AppGratis, the popular app discovery app (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43406051)

Yo dawg!

I heard you like apps, so I put app discovery in your app so you can discover apps while using your app!

Disturbed by the concept of Advertising? (3, Informative)

Quantus347 (1220456) | about a year and a half ago | (#43406057)

Apple was "more than a little troubled that AppGratis was pushing a business model that appeared to favor developers with the financial means to pay for exposure."

In other words they are disturbed by an advertising App whose business model is based on that of every other advertising firm on the planet?

Re:Disturbed by the concept of Advertising? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43406171)

No, they have nothing against advertising, but it has to be them being paid for serving them, not competition.

Re:Disturbed by the concept of Advertising? (4, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | about a year and a half ago | (#43407011)

The app basically allows you to pay between $4k and tens of thousands of dollars to 'buy' a slot in the apple top downloads rankings for a day.

You give AppGratis 10K, and they tell you to put your app to $0 on next tuesday. Come tuesday you do your part, they notify a bunch of accounts (some real, some fake) about your app, these accounts then go download your free app, you climb up to number 80 on Apples charts for the day. The next day you put your price back up to something non-zero and hope that word of mouth and visibility give you an increased sales rate.

THAT is the problem. Its manipulating the market numbers based on who pays the most. It's buying a spot on the rankings that people think are generated by some form of actual popularity. Its a lie.

You would be pissed if Apple said '$100k gets you #1 app for a day, sign up here!' wouldn't you?

Re:Disturbed by the concept of Advertising? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43408231)

Gaming the system is not necessarily a bad thing. If Apple doesn't want their system gamed in this way, then they need to set the rules so that it can't be. But, they need to play by the rules to which they have already agreed to maintain the good will of the people with whom they're working.

An easy way to do this is to change the rules for all apps submitted after a particular date, then modify the operating system so that apps submitted before that date don't work. Breaks backward compatibility for the benefit of changing the rules.

Re:Disturbed by the concept of Advertising? (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year and a half ago | (#43407049)

In other words they are disturbed by an advertising App whose business model is based on that of every other advertising firm on the planet?

No, they're disturbed by the fact that every other advertising firm on the planet can compete under AppGratis' model. The Apple model has only one advertising firm: Apple.

Old Ben (2)

stewsters (1406737) | about a year and a half ago | (#43406069)

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
- Benjamin Franklin, writing an angry notice when his app was rejected by Apple.

Hate to be cynical .. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43406099)

.. but though luck! That's what you get for working with secretive company that retains absolute power over the device and your users. They should have not chosen Apple in the first place if they wanted a secure, business-friendly computing platform.

Re:Hate to be cynical .. (3, Funny)

Doug Otto (2821601) | about a year and a half ago | (#43406155)

Bull shit. You clearly enjoy being cynical.

So... Apple is against advertising? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43406275)

The removal is simply impossible to justify, making it clear that Apple is just being its usual control freak self, not letting ethics and the fate of a small company get in the way of exercising total control over their ecosystem. There are dozens of other Apps (FreeAppADay.com - FAAD, Monster Apps, the list runs into the 100s) that have the exact same functionality as AppGratis. That these apps are still in but AppGratis is out means it's not about the rules. The part about developers with means paying for exposure is BS, Apple has an advertising program for developers called iAd for developers for which the cutoff is $10k/ad campaign. It used to be $100k at one point. That's not paying for exposure?

Re:So... Apple is against advertising? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43407507)

Then feel free to develop apps for a different appstore. I mean ffs whine whine whine whine whine.

Can't use push notifications (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43406281)

for marketing, fuck that.

So... (2)

DenaliPrime (6153) | about a year and a half ago | (#43406343)

I realize that consistency is highly overrated... but is the CEO's last name Dalwat or Dawlat?

hypocritical much (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about a year and a half ago | (#43406797)

Apple was "more than a little troubled that AppGratis was pushing a business model that appeared to favor developers with the financial means to pay for exposure."

for a moment there i got confused into thinking apple was troubled by it's own app store

Why? (1)

AndyKron (937105) | about a year and a half ago | (#43406879)

Why would anybody spend time making an app knowing it could be pulled at any time for any reason? That's just stupid.

Why is this even an App? (1)

hsmith (818216) | about a year and a half ago | (#43406947)

And not a pretty HTML5 Web App?

If all they are doing is presenting products to users, I am baffled why they need a native experience?

Re:Why is this even an App? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43407097)

Probably because native is the only way to go if you want a smooth, performant experience on an embedded device. HTML was never designed to build highly customizable user interfaces, and people who think that it's the future of mobile have lost all touch with reality.

No Push Notification? (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | about a year and a half ago | (#43407327)

how do you make an add supported app? Or do you?

Re:No Push Notification? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43407589)

how do you make an add supported app? Or do you?

Supporting an app through addition is not economically feasible, subtraction even less so. Multiplication looks promising, as long as it can be used with coefficients greater than 1.

Yech! (1)

p00kiethebear (569781) | about a year and a half ago | (#43407389)

Did anyone else wince when they read 'app discovery app' ? I remember a time long ago when applications were called 'computer programs.'

murat (0)

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