Leon Mika

Leon Mika

On the Souring Relationship Between Apple and its Developers

Listening to episode #430 of ATP yesterday, it was kind of shocking to hear the loss of good will experienced by the hosts towards Apple and their developer relations. I can’t say that I blame them though. Although John’s point about lawyers making the case for Apple is a good one, I do get the same feeling that Marco does about Apples opinion about developers, which is not a positive one.

It feels a lot like Apple believes that developers building on their platform owe them everything to them, and that without Apple none of these businesses would exist at all. It does feel a lot like they are entitled to a cut of everything that is happening on their platform. It does feel a lot like they think a developer releasing their app for free on the App Store is an ungrateful free-loader, that is taking advantage of all their hard work building the platforms and developer toolkits. This is not just from what’s coming up during the Epic-Apple lawsuit discovery. Remember what happened to Basecamp last year, when tried to release a new version of their Hey iOS app.

None of these is accurate in the remotest sense. Although it is true that some of these business may not be around if iOS was ever invented, it’s not to say that these developers wouldn’t be doing something else. Also, these developers DO pay for the privilege to build on their platform. Let’s not forget the $99.00 USD ($149.00 AUD) that these developers pay yearly, not to mention all the hardware they buy to run XCode and these other tools. And it’s not like any of these tools wouldn’t exist at all if these devs were free to use another IAP provider. Apple, I assume, would like something like XCode to exist so that they can build their own apps.

I hope people in Apple are listening to this. Anti-trust regulation aside, they are doing themselves a massive disservice by treating their developers like this. These people are their biggest evangelists. I’m not sure it will come to the point where they will abandon the iOS platform, at least not at this stage. But I could foresee these developers being hesitant to adopt any new app platforms that Apple release, say a future AR platform that will feature hardware devices.