back to article Apple T&C upsets philanthropic developers

Developers of iPhone applications keen to share their income with those less fortunate are becoming increasing annoyed with Apple's refusal to let them declare their largesse. The latest to complain is iPhonewzealand, who want the world to know that the $2.59 it is charging for its previously free application is to be donated …


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  1. Richard 12 Silver badge

    We got hit by this as well

    I get regular support calls wanting to know what the difference between "Version A" and "Version B" of our iOS app is.

    The answer? Version A gives to Charity A, Version B gives to Charity B.

    Yet Apple *do not allow* us to say this anywhere on the App Store.

  2. Ben 50

    Apple are right...

    I agree that in the current setup it is not possible, but there's an opportunity here, for them to setup a "charity" system which allows payment to go straight to the registered bank accounts of registered charities... therefore allowing them to use a charitable status on their apps.

    1. g e

      By golly you're right

      And presumably they'd get the opportunity to charge a 30% administration fee on the amount prior to sending it along to the needy.

      Missed opportunity to profit!

    2. Velv


      And with Apple being the philanthropic organisation it is (!), their 30% cut would be waved with all the cash going to the charity, and Steve Jobs would stand a chance of earning a Knighthood.

      They don't need to police *every* charity in the world - they only need to agree to a few hundered of the well established organisations. Is there a Jobs Foundation?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apple still make 30%

    Nice to know that 30% of your charitable donation goes Apples shareholders. Like they need the extra cash.

    And before anyone says anything - I know that they are using Apple's 'backbone' to sell the app, but Apple still make a profit from charitable giving. As do other sites, they are all as bad as each other.

  4. Miek

    Arrogant Dicks

    "Sometimes the way you carry out your business, with your 'we know best' attitude and your refusal to discuss or negotiate, makes you look like arrogant dicks."

    They are Arrogant Dicks, end of.

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

      don't be too harsh

      Just the word "Sometimes" in the quote is superfluous


  5. Elmer Phud

    Apple? charity?


    Aren't Apple purchasers supposed to be eternally grateful for being allowed to touch and use the products? '

    Cos if they are not properly reverential then the product gets turned off remotely.

  6. Aramando

    Kind of understandable...

    I can see Apple's point on this, I suppose.

    But they should set up a system where a developer can specifiy a proportion of the cost of their apps, from 0 to 100%, and a charity for it to be paid to. Apple could then easily pay the specified portion of the app revenue directly to the nominated charity, take their 30% of any remainder, and give what's left to the developer as usual.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

      What proportion of developers producing apps for ipod/iphone/ipad actually want to donate money to charities? Apple is still a money making corporation after all, and if the level of demand isn't sufficiently high then Apple will continue to refuse to provide it, regardless of the people being vocal about the lack of such an option .

    2. Steve Gill

      Apple's point

      They could do that but then they'd be getting 30% of a lesser amount and there's no way Apple's execs could justify depriving Apple of the lost income.

      1. ElReg!comments!Pierre

        @Steve Gill

        You know, I think you got it.

        On one hand Apple wants to make the more cash they possibly can, and on the other they cannot be seen taking 30% of charity donations, that would be seriously uncool; so they hide behind the "we can't police that" crap (which should really read "won't", not can't) and go all "Lalalala I can't hear you" if you tell them the cash goes to a charity.

        1. dssf

          X-Bill, Pie-Gates... and now...

          When will there be "Smack Steve" and "Trucheon Tim" apps?

    3. Chad H.

      At the risk of Devil's advocate

      I too can understand why Apple dont want to go down this path - they can't police it and are going to get the press flack when donations don't arrive at the charities. Either we get this article now, or we get an article in a few months about how "Bad Apple" has stiffed innocent earthquake victims, when its got nothing to do with them.

      For Apple to direct money to the charaties on their end is going to involve some extra costs in countries where they may not have much of a presence.

      I think they're right playing the safe option here. How about any app developer who wants to do this simply make the price free and add an Annoying shareware style popup that says "Like the App? Please donate to Happydude, 742 Evergreen terrace....."

      1. ElReg!comments!Pierre

        Field intentionally left blank

        "How about any app developer who wants to do this simply make the price free and add an Annoying shareware style popup"

        Insta-ban from the app store. In-app advertizing is a no-no. Ads on the iThings are an Apple exclusive ($). Plus, that wouldn't raise nearly as much money. If the Kibaale Children's Centre was rich by now, we would know.

  7. Edwin
    Jobs Horns

    to be fair...

    Apple has a point here - policing charity donations is a notoriously difficult thing to do.

    The solution, of course, would be to allow linking to the developer's website, where further explanation could be posted, free of liability for Apple, or by requiring registration with some of the charity policing organisations already in place in most countries.

    Of course, Apple then risks no longer screwing charities out of 30%...

    Think Steve will ever have an 'oh, shit!' moment on this business model? Didn't think so...

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Superfluous wording

    <quote>Sometimes the way you carry out your business, with your 'we know best' attitude and your refusal to discuss or negotiate, makes you look like arrogant dicks. </quote>


    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson


      my thoughts to a letter

  9. Pete 43
    Thumb Down


    Why not give the dough direct to the charridee?

  10. The Fuzzy Wotnot

    I don't understand iPhone Devs?!

    You signed in blood with Lucifer Jobs himself?!

    You KNEW you had to fork over the 30%, KNOWING how draconian the Apple app-store T&Cs are, KNOWING all the grief other devs have had in the past AND you still signed on the dotted line to have your creative talent shredded by the Jobs money-making machine?!

    1. Dante


      A great big bucket full of what he said!

    2. Chad H.


      I guess this makes Tesco, et al, the masters. Manufacturers get less than half the retail price, they wont stock anything without pretty packaging, and wont stock something if they dont think it will sell/if they have too many similar items...

  11. nsld

    nice to see

    That Apple only go as far as not letting them tell clients some goes to charity, still able to take the 30% off the top of the purchase though.

    Part of the reason they dont want to do this is they would have to admit they skim 30%, can you imagine if a telco did that to Comic Relief?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      You're telling me they DON'T do that? You're seriously telling me that every penny I would spend on the phone making a call to Comic Relief would go to Comic Relief?

    2. Chad H.

      @ nsld

      The difference of course being that the Telco's choose to be a part of Comic relief (and encourage their staff to come in and work the lines for free), whereas apple has not chosen to be a part of the fundrasing effort.

      If I take a taxi to BBC's studio on Comic Relief night, is the Taxi man obligated not to charge me?

      1. nsld


        Actually the difference is the Telco's are open on what the costs are when doing charity based work, for example with sms donation its often £1 plus your sms fee from the operator with the full £1 to charity, so if your on a huge text bundle you know your contribution isnt getting skimmed.

        If Comic Relief wanted a donation app would it be ok for apple to say that they cant say its for charity and take 30%?

        Apple wont decline apps for charitable purposes becuase it likes the 30%, do you think thats ethical?

        Dont you think it would be more appropriate to block all apps that give to charity?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Donating to charity

    Why would I buy an app instead of just giving the money directly to the cause? I don't really understand the problem. The App Store is for people to buy toys and tools, not for people to give money to charity. There are other more appropriate channels for charitable donations.

  13. andy 10

    Do it as a review...

    They should just get one of their mates to write a review including that the money is going to charity and then get everyone they know to vote it up so it sits there at the top.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Upvote this post and I will give all votes to a unnamed, unverifiable charity.

    That is all.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Fuck Apple

    Stop buying their hardware, which locks you into only applications Apple allow, where Apple take a 30% cut of revenues spent via such apps.

    Seriously guys - stop buying their shiny shit and go elsewhere.

  16. Eddie Edwards
    Thumb Up

    Easier to ask permission than forgiveness

    Refusal to negotiate? I guess this means that before the app was released the developer, duly noting the T&C restrictions, called Apple up and tried to negotiate an exception?

    Going in to the App Store, agreeing to the T&Cs, and then expecting special treatment after the fact also makes one seem like an arrogant dick.

    It's not like they're not allowed to give their money to the quake fund, after all. It's not like they can't state this in the app itself. It's just that they're not allowed to mention this in the app description i.e. they're not allowed to use this fact as advertising for their product. Honestly, I think that would be a good rule in general.

    1. Parsifal

      Missing the point

      The developer was already giving the app away free on iTunes, they just wanted to add a charge for the app that would be then sent to a charity.

      Plus I'm pretty certain that there would be rules within NZ to deal with people who claim to be collecting money for charities and don't hand it over (Although non it to deal with charities who then waste or use said funds for other means such as happened in the Gulf after the hurricanes there)

      The best solution would be to have a link from within iTunes to a webpage that links directly to the funds webpage so the money would go direct to the fund , but is credit as coming from the developers efforts, since the app is free then no harm done.

      To people saying there are other ways to donate, a lot of people around the world probably wouldn't know there was a Quake in NZ (it took me three days, since I rarely watch news on TV), so this is one of the ways the message would get out, and congrats to the Dev;s for trying.

      putting my coat on because it actually portrays what apple does to its vendors and customers (i.e pick pockets)

  17. dave 46

    Apple PR fails again

    It is an issue, it can be fraudulent - so they just stomp on it with their size 12's and piss everybody off.

    If they'd taken a little time they could easily have setup a gifting system where 100% of the fee could have gone to a nominated charity.

    Yes it would take a little bit of management from Apple, yes it would take a little bit of coding to tweak the app store.

    But it would be a PR win and Apple aren't getting many of those these days. Are good products enough to sustain their corporate image in the wake of so mane gaffes?

    1. stranger

      Re: Apple PR fails again

      the problem is, charities will have to register with Apple, Apple will face a bigger PR problem when other type of _LEGAL_ charities want to register so that they can receive charities from developers (ex. raising funds to a charity that donate to an anti-gay organisation)

      1. dave 46

        It's a free world

        Apple is free to tell do gooders to do one, just as they could tell them to do one unless it's a charity that matches our corporate profile.

        On top of that I'm sure Apple has terms in the app store already for rejecting apps that incite hatred, charitable status or not.

        Everything turns full circle eventually and I think we're back to the point where some at Apple will be wondering if Jobs is fit for purpose again.

  18. Dave 142

    Wrong Place

    Surely this is just the wrong thing to use an App for?

  19. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

    Revenue Split...?

    Why not allow direct revenue-split, where Apple divide the post-gouge funds between two or more publisher accounts.

    All the dev would have to do then is nominate that 100% of what's left goes to NZ Red Cross. And, as Apple is doing the split, and as they (presumably) verify their accounts, they could allow this to be shown.

    This is something that payment collectors like Kagi have been doing for Mac developers for well over a decade (and at a mere 5~10% cut, I might add). It can't be too hard for Apple, even with its limited IT skills.

  20. JaitcH
    Thumb Down

    Apple, and Jobs, make ...

    Scrooge look good.

    How venal can they get?

  21. Stratman


    I'm astonished that anyone either buys from or does business with Apple while it's run by a megalomaniac control freak.

    Just stop it, then they'll go away.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    The web, the 'net, ... the webs, nets, ... are great.

    Information can be exchanged worldwide similarly so for purchases.

    And of course as any fool will tell you, it or they (the webs n nets that is) are also great sources and venues of mischief.

    Why, some people will even try to take control of your computer! Imagine that!

    Or maybe even take some secure and personal information and try to pass themselves of as you but you pick up the tab for what they used your ID to buy goods and services.

    It is not to say the NZ initiatives are deceptive, just a bit naive.

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