App store chaos – developers start speaking out

Building frustration with Apple’s development and distribution platform for the iPhone has caused some developers, in fact bound by NDA’s, to break silence and give air to their frustrations with Apple and the App store.

Developer Mark Gamber says:

“I’ve sent several emails to several people at Apple asking why I should bother continuing to write code for the iPhone. First, the SDK is shoddy at best. There are bugs, omissions, bad and outdated information everywhere you look. Second, it’s not a store, it’s a flea market. If you spend enough time wading through the disorganized crap you might find something actually worth paying for. Apple put what, 10 minutes of thought and effort into this thing? Third, the NetShare thing shows me that if anyone waves a big enough check under Apple’s nose your app will disappear for whatever reason they care to invent, if they care at all. Sure, NetShare ran counter to AT&T’s TOS but what does Apple care? Plain and simple, they totally caved to outside pressure and I’m absolutely positive it will happen again and again if they’re allowed to get away with it unscathed this time. When you put this mess up against any other mobile platform I’ve ever coded for, Apple comes up the loser. If they can’t offer some assurance of a relatively free market, I will immediately go back to Windows Mobile and Blackberry where I had the freedom to write and buy what I wanted to write and buy, not what I was allowed to buy and blessed to write. Apple better get it’s act together, come up with a REAL plan and actually STICK TO IT for a change or the iPhone will command the same market share as their computers. What is that right now, 5%? Yeah, watch out, here comes Apple! “

Fellow developer Bridger Maxwell from Fiery Ferret found Apple slow and unresponsive in fixing errors:

“There were a few bugs that were popped up on the device but not present in the simulator. I got those worked out and then submitted Lumen to Apple through iTunesConnect. I also filled out the contract and bank/tax information so I could sell paid applications. That was on July 13th. Lumen was reviewed and accepted within two days, on the 15th. That was the good news. The bad news is that it wasn’t until the 28th that my contract for paid apps was accepted. By this time it had been two weeks since I had originally submitted Lumen. Definitely not an ideal time frame, but I was still happy to see Lumen was now “Ready For Sale.” The general word was that it should appear on the App Store that afternoon or early the next morning. I eagerly waited. The afternoon went then the whole next day passed and I STILL hadn’t seen Lumen on the App Store. I emailed some other developers that had their applications posted on that date to see when they saw their applications were ready for sale. Perhaps everyone had to wait a few days? Nope, theirs had been accepted earlier the same day their apps went on sale.

I made a few support calls and sent some unanswered emails but I don’t think they helped. It was Friday before Lumen was spotted on the App Store. Oddly though, I couldn’t find Lumen in the list of new applications. I checked Lumen and sure enough the release date was “July 16th.” Although my application didn’t make it to the App Store until August 1st, Apple got the date messed up and now Lumen was on page 39 of the applications sorted by date, instead of page 1. It is effectively invisible. I have an update pending, and a support ticket at Apple to get this fixed, but this could take another few weeks to be done. In the meantime the App Store gets more crowded and I continue to lose money.”

Due a flood of shovelware good software are being buried in what users called “a disorganized landfill of junk with a few gems, that can only be found if you take time to sift through the crap” and others called “not a store, it’s a flea market“.

Recent events around the Net Share application increasingly highlighted the plight of developers subject to Apple’s whims and fancies and further goes to demonstrate how ineffective Apple’s fascist central planning-like control structure is in meeting the needs of both developers and users. In the face of this, its likely that the goldrush will be over soon, and developers would need to re-evaluate their commitment to the iPhone platform.


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