Dear Tim Cook,
To quote the letter from Cleveland Stadium’s lawyers to a season ticket holder in 1974, “I feel that you should be aware that some asshole is signing your name to stupid letters.”
Not literally, of course, but when the App Store review team headed by Phil Schiller sends out a letter stating,
“Thank you for being an iOS app developer. We understand that Basecamp has developed a number of apps and many subsequent versions for the App Store for many years, and that the App Store has distributed millions of these apps to iOS users. These apps do not offer in-app purchase ? and, consequently, have not contributed any revenue to the App Store over the last eight years. We are happy to continue to support you in your app business and offer you the solutions to provide your services for free ? so long as you follow and respect the same App Store Review Guidelines and terms that all developers must follow.?https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/apple-s-app-store-suddenly-flashpoint-big-tech-debate-n1231457
And Schiller talks to TechCrunch and says, ‘we don’t need to change a thing’ There’s a problem. It makes you look like assholes.
When your friends weigh in, people that love Apple, Gruber, Marco Arment, Daniel Jalkut, or myself for that matter, something’s gone very wrong.
Recommending the developer add POP/IMAP support in order to gain access to the App Store is not that different from government proposals that insist you add backdoors to iOS – both are Goliaths telling developers what features to re-write their software with.
But that misses the point. What if the App Store was insanely great?
What if that was the goal?
The App Store in its current form exists to make your bank accounts insanely great. It’s nice in the short term, but it loses sight of why Apple exists, and who you’re making products for.
And it ignores what the App Store should be.
Ken Kocienda, who invented the iPhone’s keyboard, said:
?Let?s make the App Store insanely great.?
“What if that were Apple?s philosophy? It doesn?t seem like it is.”
“If it were, I can?t imagine that it would come down to splitting hairs over ambiguously-worded rules or inconsistently-applied policies.”
“The priority would be to get great apps on the platform, and to encourage developers who want to ?Think Different? to invest their time and effort into making new iOS apps and services that nobody thought of before.”
“Apple would be bending over backwards for high-energy rule-benders, to try everything possible to capture as much developer attention, enthusiasm, and commitment as they could.”
“As it is, I think this incident might have a chilling effect on the future plans of many Apple developers. Everyone loses if that happens.”Ken Kocienda, on twitter
When your own former employees, responsible for the keyboard at the center of your flagship products, say this, it should give you pause.
The App Store is the crown jewel of services revenue. The mistake is that success allows flaws to hide, and shields the gaping failures in the other services.
Steve Jobs famously told Dropbox that they were a feature, not a product. iCloud Drive hasn’t yet caught up.
iCloud email lacks support for custom domains that Gmail and Outlook have, and Hey proves that there’s still room for innovation in email, particularly around privacy.
Keynote/Numbers/Pages for the web is so far behind Google Docs in terms of speed and collaboration, it isn’t funny.
And while that’s going on, developers are afraid of App Review, and whatever new and inconsistent application of the rules will prevent an update from their app being released.
The App Store review team is an asshole signing letters in your name.
What are you going to do to fix it?
What are you going to do to make the App Store *insanely great*?
What are you going to do to support the developers, the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, The round pegs in the square holes, the ones who see things differently?