Hey, the App Store needs change

It’s just before WWDC 2020 and Apple has gone and made one of the biggest PR disasters ever. The EU announces they’re opening up an investigation into the competitiveness of the App Store and that then gets followed up by Apple denying Basecamp’s Hey email app. DHH complains and that opens up the floodgates of complaints from developers and former convicted monopolist Microsoft.

I believe Apple does deserve a cut but also in some way the app store should change. Maybe not as much as some think. Comparing it to credit card transaction fees isn’t strictly fair. There’s more costs in the whole credit card world than those transaction fees. Besides, operating software more like physical goods where you charge a sustainable price, the store adds a profit on top and everyone is happy is a far better way than the tactics we get from Silicon Valley at the moment.

I also think it’s perfectly fine to offer an app that just allows you to login. Like Hey. Like Netflix. Like Amazon’s Kindle. We understand what they do and quite frankly they should be able to say how and where you can get an account.

I think everyone pretty much agrees with the assessment on ATP 383 or Hypercritical. The problem is services income can be easy and it’s tempting. But it goes against everything developers and consumers want.

Some how Apple needs to find a way to be more accommodating. I’m not sure what the best way forward is but something has to change. Something will change too and better they be the ones to control it.

They should have been harmed by this a long time ago. After all, Android has a larger market share. Developers and users could have jumped ship long ago. They haven’t because the Google alternative is worse but also tech companies often do not care about your privacy or financial data safety. So actually, a lot of consumers like the safety they get from the walled garden.

The walled garden is nice and safe but I’d like to see the same benefit but created through more regulation on tech companies. In addition to the EU investigation into App stores or the US looking at privacy policies, we just need to start seeing regulation rolled out and put in action with real teeth.

Software developers may or may not care about quality themselves but if you allow companies to roll out insecure, bad software then they will do just that. Opening up iOS to that isn’t the answer. Europe has more regulation than the US. It has not killed innovation. If anything has killed innovation been penny pinching greed (see the end of my commentary on the BBC and smart speakers from today). In fact even many European apps are often better due to providing a good application with a fair price vs free with a whole host of privacy invading features.

I would like iOS to be open and at some point Apple will have to give up their dependency on services revenue. For when that one day hopefully comes and they will allow alternative payments and have consistent rules, I hope governments have also understood it was necessary to do everything to try and keep user’s data safe too.