A Chink In Apples App Store Armor - InformationWeek

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Commentary
11/25/2009
12:08 AM
Ed Hansberry
Ed Hansberry
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A Chink In Apples App Store Armor

I've said before the iPhone is nice but what really makes the platform stand out is the App Store that now has over 100,000 apps available. There are grumblings however from an increasing number of developers not happy with the way Apple is treating those that keep the App Store's shelves stocked.

I've said before the iPhone is nice but what really makes the platform stand out is the App Store that now has over 100,000 apps available. There are grumblings however from an increasing number of developers not happy with the way Apple is treating those that keep the App Store's shelves stocked.Paul Graham has written up an article on what is happening.

The way Apple runs the App Store has harmed their reputation with programmers more than anything else they've ever done. Their reputation with programmers used to be great. It used to be the most common complaint you heard about Apple was that their fans admired them too uncritically. The App Store has changed that. Now a lot of programmers have started to see Apple as evil.

Mr. Graham goes on to explain Apple is treating software titles in the App Store the same way they treat tracks in iTunes. It doesn't work that way. Musical artists are somewhat insulated from their fans and the distribution networks. Bands record songs. They have agents and attorneys that handle their promotion and distribution. The bands perform for the fans and may interact with them occasionally, but it is totally different for a developer.

Developers of apps, mobile apps especially, interact with their customers on Facebook, Twitter, support forums and even in direct email exchanges. When a developer begins to understand a need of its customers, they may spend hours modifying the program to fulfill this need. I don't think bands take a lot of suggestions from fans and tweak songs. Once a song is released, that's it. It's done. Next song. An app is never complete. Once a developer thinks the app is finished, well, it truly is finished and will quickly disappear from memory as people move on to competitive products.

There are a number of other reasons given as to what Apple is doing wrong with the App Store. Do you think there is a serious problem here or is this just a minor group that is dissatisfied? Now that other mobile platforms have their own stores, will they be treat their developers materially different? Microsoft and Google get software. Will that give them a better understanding of what the mobile app developer wants from the relationship?

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