Apple is Turning its Back on the Development Community that Spurred the Company to its Current Prominence
“Don’t bite the hand that feeds you”. That old saying is applicable to almost any bi-lateral, mutually beneficial relationship, but sometimes, the actors forget who is feeding whom.
When that happens, another age old situation arises, the good old power struggle, and, in Apple’s case in its newest efforts to squeeze every last penny it can out of consumers, it is a blatant abuse of power.
It’s easy to talk about Apple and power synonymously. The company has, in recent years, more or less taken over the consumer electronics ecosystem with great design, an easy to use and stable OS, and marketing that leaves Madison Avenue’s efforts looking like PennySaver ads.
The most revolutionary aspect of Apple’s widely adapted iPhone and iPad has to be the app store. An enclosed and closely monitored ecosystem where developers can submit their third-party apps has been the driving force of the smart phone revolution. Aside from the games and other silly categories, numerous apps with real utility have taken smart phones one-step closer to becoming viable replacements for a laptop or a desktop machine.
Now, Apple has released a new system in their app store where “if a publisher is making a subscription offer outside of the app, the same (or better) offer be made inside the app, so that customers can easily subscribe with one-click right in the app.” What this essentially does is it creates a monopoly over every single app that you want to install on your device, giving Apple a disproportionate piece of the pie.
Apple’s claim essentially boils down to “If you’re app/platform is being installed on an Apple device, we need to be paid”. The way they are making sure this happens is by aggregating every single app that is developed into their app store.
Imagine, if you will, Microsoft pulling a stunt like this back when they controlled the PC market in the upper 90 percentile. Microsoft was accused of anti-trust violations and monopolistic strategy because they included a FREE web browser in their operating system. On that logic alone, competitive regulators in the US should take a really close look at what Apple is doing. Their new policy will eventually kill almost every single small developer, and choke them out of the market.
Check out this open letter to Apple form Readability. It really sorts it out in plain English.