If App Store developer relations is a two-way street, one side of it seems to be covered in potholes.
(Metaphors are a great way to start your tech pieces, kids. That’s a tip. Write it down.)
(It’s possible they are the only way. If anyone knows of another way, please email the Macalope.)
(Please do not email the Macalope.)
Developer Kosta Eleftheriou, he of the complaining-a-lot-about-copycat-and-scam-apps, has removed his keyboard app for the iPhone from the App Store after repeated problems getting it approved and Apple’s “terrible” keyboard APIs. This is rather a shame as his keyboards are praised by users.
Our rejection history already spans more than FOURTY pages filled with repeated, unwarranted, & unreasonable rejections that serve to frustrate & delay rather than benefit end-users. And dealing with App Review isn’t just time-consuming. It’s also very emotionally draining.
Maybe Apple is giving Eleftheriou a not-so-subtle shove to the curb or maybe this is Occam’s Razor saying “Hey, don’t look at me! It was Hanlon’s Razor!” But whether it’s malice or stupidity or malicipidity or even stupilice, it doesn’t matter. The net effect is the same: frustration for developers. And Eleftheriou, while one of the more vocal ones, isn’t alone in this by a long shot.
Being loud about this doesn’t make Eleftheriou wrong and he does seem to have sought options that Apple might have been happy with, such as offering it as a TestFlight beta. Clearly, he has a varying relationship with Apple that has wavered across the spectrum, from at one point being in talks with the company to get acquired, to him suing Apple back in March for failing to remove scam and copycat apps from the App Store.
Suing Apple may seem over-the-top on a casual glance but… who else is he going to sue? The makers of those scam apps undoubtedly operate through phony accounts from countries that couldn’t care less about scamming people out of money. Apple is the only one that can do anything about it. And, oh, it happens to run the store it tells everyone is so safe and great.
And that is why the App Store does seem like a monopoly to the Macalope. The horny one can’t very well sit here and continue to laugh about how Android has more users but developers for that platform still make less money on it. And believe you him, he wants to continue to laugh about that. Mostly because Google execs spent such a tremendous amount of time claiming Android was poised to overtake iOS in just a few months. An almost comically large amount of time.
When you’ve built the platform developers pretty much have to be on, that’s a monopoly. Apple has effectively locked up the paying customers. Now it forces developers to jump through a myriad of fiery hoops juggled by either incompetent, malicious, or overworked reviewers enabled by rules the company wrote itself that continually get interpreted in various weird ways often only loosely associated with the English language.
Eleftheriou hopes to be back on iOS without having to go through the App Store, pinning his hopes on legislation introduced to Congress that would force Apple to allow other stores and payment systems on its platforms. Apple is full of very smart people so they are surely working to cut off this scenario. Just as with poodles, however, people can sometimes be too smart for their own good. The Macalope doesn’t necessarily know what the best thing for the company to do here is, but it doesn’t seem like it’s what it’s currently doing.