back to article As promised, Apple will now entertain suggestions from the hoi polloi on how it should run its App Store

Apple on Monday said changes to its App Store review process, outlined at its Worldwide Developer Conference in June, have now been implemented. That means it has accelerated its App Store review process to prevent iOS app bug fixes from being delayed over unresolved store rule violations, except where legal issues are …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Stop

    A larger share ?

    Don't give them any ideas, even sarcastic ones.

    Apple does not understand sarcasm.

    1. Christopher Reeve's Horse Silver badge

      Re: A larger share ?

      I don't have a major problem with the 30% rate in the app store, as the justification is that it enables the store to offer free content for users, and zero fees for developers. Developers can choose their own app prices, so the 30% can be factored in if they want.

      I think the bigger issue is around in-app purchases, and the distinction of what these are. So if some poor mug wants to buy an upgrade within a game, they also pay the 30% for in-game purchases? I'm not sure whether this is good or bad, especially if the game is offered for free. Fundamentally, how is this different from the Amazon app, which is free, and allows you to buy things without paying an extra apple tax on everything? I'm sure there's a whole load of legal differentiation and technicalities here, and I'm not sure I want to spend any of my time having to understand it all - not unless someone's going to give ME an extra 30% to do so.

      1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

        Re: A larger share ?

        "zero fees for developers."

        There are fees for having an account. Not huge. But it's not free.

        1. Christopher Reeve's Horse Silver badge

          Re: A larger share ?

          I stand corrected, but the general gist remains.

          1. doublelayer Silver badge

            Re: A larger share ?

            Unfortunately, the general gist is starting to lose its parts. The benefits that Apple provides to developers and users from their 30% cut include security testing, providing the CDN for app delivery, basic upgrades (for example, they automatically updated apps to 64-bit if the developer didn't bother but the recompile worked, meaning users continued to be able to use the apps), and a simple way for users to find an app which hopefully makes it easier to get users who might generate cash flow. I don't necessarily have a problem that Apple charges 30% for this. After all, Google also charges 30% and they don't provide any security testing. The problem is that Apple also has numerous restrictions that serve little purpose other than their own enrichment. They routinely ban apps which compete with their functionality, including functionality they didn't have when the apps came out. They also feel they have a right to other chunks of revenue for which they provide nothing. They don't offer any transparency into their decisions about why something got banned. Sometimes, they allow prominent apps to violate some of their policies (no device fingerprinting, for example) without consequences. These sound much more predatory.

            I'm rather willing to give Apple a pass on some of the behavior that really annoys other commentors (yes, it often annoys me too). I'd really like to have an IOS which has no restrictions on what apps I can install and what they can do, but I understand that Apple's intent is to provide a mobile operating system that enforces security by restricting everything. I can go elsewhere for something that doesn't want to go that way. When they restrict their users because it's an advertised feature, even when I hate that feature, I'm willing for that to continue. However, their abuse of their monopoly in order to force other restrictions on developers is harder to swallow. As I see it, they can either drop their monopoly or they can remove their predatory practices, and I'd accept either.

            1. Joe Gurman

              Re: A larger share ?

              "The problem is that Apple also has numerous restrictions that serve little purpose other than their own enrichment."

              Eek: They're capitalists, call in the NKVD!

              Actually they've made not only their execs and the like of Warren Buffet several Himalayas worth of cash; people able to make only tiny investments back when Michael Dell was saying Apple was not worth investing in have done very nicely, thank you.

              To the commercial point that almost no one has gotten close to here: Apple is able to reap its obscene profits in part because parents feel OK about buying their kids tat that has at least some sort of wall around the garden, and Apple keeps making things that teenagers like to have. Are you really saying they should change their business model to make less money because _you_ don't like it? You might want to think about formulating a more cogent case against them.

              And in what reality is a company that owns less than 50% of the market share everywhere (and considerably less than that in certain crucial markets) a monopoly? Does Daimler or Porsche enjoy monopoly control of markets? Please.

              1. Franco Silver badge

                Re: A larger share ?

                "Apple is able to reap its obscene profits in part because parents feel OK about buying their kids tat that has at least some sort of wall around the garden, and Apple keeps making things that teenagers like to have."

                The second part of that sentence is much closer to the truth than the first. The vast majority of users care not a jot for security until the point that they have to I.e. theirs gets breached. The "choice" of Apple is generally one of style over substance, my friends have it so I want it.

                "And in what reality is a company that owns less than 50% of the market share everywhere (and considerably less than that in certain crucial markets) a monopoly?"

                In one where they have 100% control over the only method that software can be installed on the platform. You can't sideload apps on to an iDevice. If Apple deem your app to be unvavourable to them then it's binned, which is why there are no genuine alternatives to Safari on iOS because everyone has to use Apple's rendering engine. Such anti-competitive practices being one of many reasons that Microsoft have been criticised for in the past and rightly so.

                1. martynhare
                  Megaphone

                  Re: A larger share

                  I would cry if $random_apps started importing their own rendering engines and overriding content filtering policies when I click external links. I’m immensely grateful for Apple applying this restriction, as my approach of no-ads-are-worth-seeing applies to all apps which use the embedded web view for external content. Comparing this situation to Android, you can easily see why Apple have chosen to do this (for my benefit). It also improves performance and keeps everything consistent.

                  Developers don’t deserve freedom and users deserve simple, centralised control over what happens on their device. I also like the In App Purchase system, which can be centrally turned off (it is on my devices) thanks to Apple enforcing the use of a single, simple, well-maintained API. If all this control for me as a user means third party developers don’t profit as much, well.. boo hoo! Developers don’t have a right to prevent me from pre-emptively blocking their offers!

                  I tried the whole freedom thing where third party devs get equal say. It’s called Windows and the result is a mess of random UI toolkits, inconsistencies in behaviour, no decent HIG and no way to maintain a consistent security/encryption policy, let alone per-app mandatory access controls like what the App Store enforces.

                  One day, Linux distros will catch up and we will see disgruntled people suing them for not trusting their GPG signing keys out of the box - just you wait, it’ll happen.

                2. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

                  Re: A larger share ?

                  Nobody forced you to buy Apple.

                  There are other cheaper alternatives for all their devices.

                  You can’t be a monopoly if every type of a product you sell someone else sells too.

                  1. Franco Silver badge

                    Re: A larger share ?

                    We're not talking about hardware here, we're talking about software. Apple don't make all the software that can be installed on iOS, but they do have 100% control over distribution and anyone who doesn't follow their rules, agree with their fees, or upsets them by making a better version of a piece of software they also make gets canned from the appstore. That in fact is a monopoly, no matter how much those of you who have drunk the kool aid spin it as "good for security" or whatever else. It is also a massive double standard, because the same people who call Microsoft M$ or Micro$oft and demanded they stop anti-competitive practices are the ones praising Apple for being capitalists.

              2. doublelayer Silver badge

                Re: A larger share ?

                Me: "The problem is that Apple also has numerous restrictions that serve little purpose other than their own enrichment."

                Reply: "Eek: They're capitalists, call in the NKVD!"

                No you don't. That's not what I mean and you know it. They do everything they do for their enrichment, but we have laws against leveraging a dominance in one market to force restrictions on others. Those laws are capitalistic, because we are attempt to foment fluid competition. Apple is trying to restrict that. The specific actions they take are anticompetitive. Capitalist countries have laws against anticompetitive behavior to protect capitalism, not to damage it.

                A monopoly doesn't necessarily require having all of the market, but you are correct, Apple's monopoly on their platform doesn't give them a monopoly on the entire mobile phone market. Instead, this is an oligopoly because, between them, Apple and Google own about 99.9% of the market for mobile operating systems. Unsurprisingly, most laws restricting the abuse of market dominance include oligopolies too. In my opinion, Google is also deserving of some intensive investigation for anticompetitive practices.

              3. Tail Up

                Re: Joe Gurman/A larger share ?

                In fact, an anti-capitalist character was Trotsky. Do you have any, and are there, @hand, those who can build a wall around his activities that may spread further than was planned... or an ice pick... peak... iSpeak, uTube... hmm, what a fancy language this English speak is.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: A larger share ?

              "a simple way for users to find an app"

              While it seems slightly cruel to pull apart the only conciliatory point in your pretty well written post, the 30% revenue cut is nuts compared to the slapdash mess that is the App Store. Whole academic papers have been written about the train wreck that Apple has forced on their users, and discovery is one of the biggest points they get called out on. The only apps that organically pull real traffic are ones that are promoted on one of the top pages ("Suggested" apps on the search page, or Today, Games, and Apps).

              The search function is completely broken, and will return a page full of results of typo squatters and name knock-offs before a literal match of the exact app name. Sometimes searching for the exact name fails to return the matching app at all, and searching by company (try Slack Technologies, Inc) will provides mostly results that aren't even from them. Top position goes to an ad from a competitor with a white text on very light blue badge in about a 5pt font that says Ad in what is a glaring example of user hostile design.

              That's not worth 30%. It's not worth 10%. Book publishers pay virtually all of the costs for producing promoting and distributing a physical book. Apple wants to use them as an example of why they are charging what they do, and it's a terrible argument. The app store is almost, but not quite entirely unlike the book publishing industry.

              Icing on the cake is Apple trying to muscle in on subscriptions, and insisting on most favored pricing terms for those services, even when the app is just a client to access a preexisting service. Many industries aren't doing well enough to give up a cut that big.

            3. big_D Silver badge

              Re: A larger share ?

              After all, Google also charges 30% and they don't provide any security testing.

              Actually, Google does do security testing, just like Apple. And just like Apple, it isn't 100% reliable.

              If you look behind the headlines, both Apple and Google are being sued by Epic for the 30% vig and both are being investigated by the EU and US governments over their practices. So, it isn't Apple being singled out here, although you do have to start somewhere, so why not with the biggest, in terms of turnover, and the most enclosed (Google at least allows side loading and there are other app stores, such as Samsung and Huawei, for example).

              1. doublelayer Silver badge

                Re: A larger share ?

                Google's security testing has been repeatedly shown to be harmfully insufficient. The level of malware in the Play Store is ridiculous, the length of time it remains there is extensive, and the ease with which developers of the crap make slight modifications and get it back there is alarming. I do not consider "security testing" which routinely allows clearly faked apps containing nonobfuscated malicious libraries to be published to be worthwhile. What's worse, when the headlines and articles tell those stories, the apps are usually still there, when you'd assume that as soon as someone found one, Google would have quickly verified and killed the listing. While I can't give Apple that much credit, the incidences of this in their repository are significantly less worrying. It will happen to everyone, but if one company makes a real effort to prevent and curtail it and the other one runs a small automatic checker and calls it good, one is a lot better than the other.

        2. DS999

          Re: A larger share ?

          It costs $99/yr to register as a developer and be able to submit apps to the App Store. Not free but not far from it.

          There's no requirement that the developer charge for their app, and indeed many are free and rely on advertising to make money for the developer. Apple does not get a cut of in-app advertising, so all those developers are "free riding" and the 30% they make off those who do charge goes partly to defray those costs. If they were forced to significantly lower that 30% they'd probably have to institute a minimum price for apps.

          Compare with Google where they are collecting both the 30% fee AND making money off the in-app advertising for that majority of apps which use Google for their in-app advertising.

          1. doublelayer Silver badge

            Re: A larger share ?

            "It costs $99/yr to register as a developer and be able to submit apps to the App Store. Not free but not far from it."

            Well, that does build up. Especially if I'm already making free apps and giving my time away, it's a little annoying to have to give Apple money so I can give my code away for free.

            "There's no requirement that the developer charge for their app, and indeed many are free and rely on advertising to make money for the developer. Apple does not get a cut of in-app advertising, so all those developers are "free riding" and the 30% they make off those who do charge goes partly to defray those costs."

            Rubbish. A free app does make Apple money; it makes users want IOS devices more because that app is there. They don't pay the developer for it. They do provide some bandwidth so users can download it, but they already have a bunch of servers and most apps are small. It does not take much money to provide that service, and as we've already established, they already get money from the developers of said free apps with their annual fee.

            "If they were forced to significantly lower that 30% they'd probably have to institute a minimum price for apps."

            They wouldn't have to and they wouldn't. The free apps help them, and if there was a minimum price, developers wouldn't publish many of those free apps for a fee. Some would not want to attach their donated code to a charge, and some companies wouldn't want their users to have an initial charge for an app that might put them off from trying it.

            "Compare with Google where they are collecting both the 30% fee AND making money off the in-app advertising for that majority of apps which use Google for their in-app advertising."

            That's also potentially problematic. Google has one argument which is that you can use other stores, but I don't think that's enough. So I'll compare and recommend investigation of them as well.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A larger share ?

        > I don't have a major problem with the 30% rate in the app store, as the justification is that it enables the store to offer free content for users, and zero fees for developers.

        What's the 30%, if not a transaction fee for the developer?

        The customer certainly doesn't see that the extra 30% is tacked on to the sale price by Apple. In fact, Apple explicitly prohibit developers from informing the customer that Apple will take 30% of the transaction (ref: recent Facebook v Apple news).

        > I think the bigger issue is around in-app purchases, and the distinction of what these are. So if some poor mug wants to buy an upgrade within a game, they also pay the 30% for in-game purchases?

        The amount the developer receives will be reduced by 30%, yes, but per Apple policy the poor mug won't be informed of that at the time of purchase.

        > Fundamentally, how is this different from the Amazon app, which is free, and allows you to buy things without paying an extra apple tax on everything?

        The difference is that Amazon are in a position to decide whether or not to allow Apple products to be sold on the largest marketplace in the world - amazon.com. So Amazon used this power and blocked sales of Apple devices on amazon.com as a negotiating tactic, until Apple finally caved.

      3. c1ue

        Re: A larger share ?

        Utter bollocks.

        I looked at Apple 2015 earnings: the app store revenues exceed the costs for the entire company: store and employees, developers, manufacturing management, salaries for everyone in the company, etc.

        The Apple App store is a profit center at 30%, pure and simple.

        Visa offers a "free" product at 2.x% of revenue, so it isn't the financial aspect.

        It is ludicrous to say that what Apple charges has anything to do with the costs of providing "free" product or the cost of vetting apps etc.

        Furthermore, it is the apps plus email, texts etc which is why people buy iPhones repeatedly - so in fact the app developers are a key factor Apple's core product repeat sales: the software is the razor while the hardware phones are the blades.

    2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: A larger share ?

      Don't give them any ideas, even sarcastic ones.

      Apple does not understand sarcasm. ...... Pascal Monett

      Two thirds of something awesome is more rewarding than one third of nothing practical, Pascal Monett, and surely Epic and Apple can understand that reality. The head honchos are certainly not crazy, are they?

  2. jmch Silver badge

    Here's an idea

    Allow other app stores besides the official Apple one from working with iPhone / ipad. (subject to minimum security guarantees), and decouple Apple's app store from the OS so there is no 'default' (similair to the Windows - Internet explorer decoupling)

    Then devs not happy with Apple's 30% cut can punt their wares elsewhere, and we'll soon see if the 30% is a fair rate or not.

    If Apple opposes or obstructs, App store is declared a de facto monopoly and antitru agencies can limit what it charges

    1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: Here's an idea

      "Allow other app stores besides the official Apple one from working with iPhone..."

      That would allow malware into the ecosystem. Oh wait...

      1. Anal Leakage

        Re: Here's an idea

        Which is a tiny percentage of a tiny fraction of the amount of malware that the author of your smartphone’s OS allows to metastasize in the Play Store every year, year after year. But hey, it’s not like Google has thrown Fortnite out of its 30%-off-the-top petri dish for violating rules about in-app purchases. Oh wait...

    2. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

      Re: Here's an idea

      Allowing other AppStores will mean higher risks for non-technical customers in terms of malware.

      No, thank you, I’d rather stick to one AppStore model.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Epic is a total 'no go' area

    now that it is subject to legal action.

    This move by Apple pre-dates the Epic law suit and is aimed at the smaller developers who in the main seem happy with getting 70%. Apple's charges are out of kilter with other places OR... is it the other places aligning their charges with Apple's?

    I've just recieved my royalties (sic) from Amazon. 30% is what I get (less taxes). Hardly worth all the blood sweat and tears it took to write two 100,000 word novels.

    If there was ever a monopoly then they are the grand daddy of all of them and by a long way.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If there was ever a monopoly then they are the grand daddy of all of them

      Who is? Epic? Apple? Amazon?

      If your novels are as well constructed as your comments they must be shit.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: If there was ever a monopoly then they are the grand daddy of all of them

        ouch!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    hoi polloi

    There is no need for "the" as hoi means "the" and "hoi polloi" means "the many" or "the people".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: hoi polloi

      Came to say the same thing. Have an upvote from a similarly ashamed nerd :)

    2. Christopher Reeve's Horse Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: hoi polloi

      I believe it's called a double tautology.

    3. JacobZ
      Headmaster

      Re: hoi polloi

      Um, actually... "the hoi polloi" is correct English.

      Yes, "hoi polloi" means "the people" in Greek. However, we are not speaking Greek, and the phrase "hoi polloi" has been thoroughly assimilated into English entirely independently of the grammar of its Greek source. And "hoi" does not mean "the" in English. Hence, "the hoi polloi". That's how languages work.

      For the same reason, the plural of "octopus" is "octopuses" and not "octopodes".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: hoi polloi

        For the same reason, the plural of "octopus" is "octopuses" and not "octopodes".

        Absolute balderdash! As any fule kno the plural of "octopus" is "octopie", and yes it is delicious...

      2. Norman Nescio

        Re: hoi polloi

        You are quite right. Other words have been assimilated, such as: hinterland, kedgeree, panini, toboggan, tea (there is a long list).

        The relevant quotation is from James Nicoll, which is frequently misattributed to pTerry.

        The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.

        It used to be a shibboleth (another 'borrowed' word) to distinguish the 'refined educated person' from the riff-raff - sprinkling your written and spoken language with foreign terms, especially ones in classical languages. You could point and laugh if people got their Latin or Greek grammar incorrect, or failed to write the correct diacritics in their Greek texts. It could be very exclusionary.

        Good writing avoids such flummery, because distracting the reader is a bad idea and invites prejudiced appraisal of the text. Hoi polloi is just a token, appropriated from Greek, with a particular meaning in English (which isn't quite the same as the Greek root).

      3. albaleo

        Re: hoi polloi

        Please tell that to those who constantly rant on about the so-called misuse of "decimate".

        1. cornetman Silver badge

          Re: hoi polloi

          > Please tell that to those who constantly rant on about the so-called misuse of "decimate".

          It's a difficult line to draw though. Language evolves, but if we cannot agree on the basic meanings of words, then we cannot communicate unambiguously.

          The "decimate" thing, I suspect, stems from a fundamental misunderstanding as to what it means like so many words roughly dragged into expressing the concept of "destroying utterly" and as such means something very different to the meaning intended, so the misuse is fairly jarring.

          Another example is the distortion of the word "literally".

          Some of it is the general evolution of the language which is inevitable. Some of it is just pure ignorance.

          1. albaleo

            Re: hoi polloi

            "Another example is the distortion of the word "literally".

            I'd say that's quite different. The complaints about the usage of "decimate" typically refer to its original meaning in Latin. (But even there, the original meaning is not so clear. Some say it was Latin slang.) In English, it has generally been used to refer to extensive damage or destruction of people or places. How many other words do we use in English with a meaning somewhat different from that in the original language? Century, ovation, forum, missile, toilet, ...

            1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
              Windows

              On this subject, I will never forgive my French teacher for having mislead me about how wonderful a living language is when I finally understood that a living language is basically defined by people who can't speak it properly.

              Latin is dead language, therefor whatever bastardization happened is over and its form is now pure.

              French (and English and many others) is, on the other hand, under continuous assault by the ignorant who cannot conjugate properly, who insist on saying "je vais au coiffeur" instead of "je vais chez le coiffeur", etc.

              And I love the poster who said that English followed other languages into a dark alley to beat them senseless and steal vocabulary. I've been reading English novels for over 30 years now, and I'm rather shocked by the amount of French terms that I find in today's English novels that are employed in exactly the same sense.

              It's bewildering.

      4. Tim99 Silver badge

        Re: hoi polloi

        OK this is 4 days old and won't be seen - "octapodi"?

    4. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Nah mate

      We can use whatever words we want. You're not my real dad.

      C.

  5. HildyJ Silver badge
    Angel

    Apple is entertaining suggestions

    This should read "Apple will find suggestions entertaining (as we throw them out)."

    The same can be said for all companies and government agencies that entertain or request or welcome suggestions or comments.

  6. Joe Gurman

    Really?

    I have an account and pay no fees.

  7. oiseau Silver badge
    Boffin

    Just curious, not cat

    Hello:

    I was looking at the ElReg page for the second time today and saw this article again.

    Having already read the article, my attention was drawn to what appears to be a brand or logo of some sort on the back of the Apple (?) thing Tim Cook is holding in his hands.

    Anyone have a clue as to what it is?

    A new model iPhone?

    O.

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