The App Store’s Shaky Foundation

Apple hasn’t really been in good standing with developers as of late. But, this recent removal of 5,000 or so sexually explicit applications is especially troublesome. I’m still unsure as to how I really feel about whether or not the applications should have been in the App Store to begin with. I tend to lean towards no, however I think a better compromise would be to keep the apps in the App Store but only allow them to be accessed via direct links from with your web browser. But beyond that, it worries me that Apple is willing to remove applications in such large quantities on a whim.

It must be terribly unsettling (to say the least) that a developer can have an application in the App Store for nearly a year and a half only to wake up to an email informing them that it has been removed.

We’re not just talking about people developing applications in their spare time and making a little extra money while continuing to have day jobs, at this stage in the game there are more and more developers making a full-time income from the App Store. This isn’t just Apple pulling the plug on these developer’s applications, this is Apple completely removing their entire income and their ability to pay their bills.

If I was a developer with an application in the App Store, regardless of it’s subject matter, I would be incredibly concerned with the way Apple treats the developers that have made the App Store as successful as it is.

John Gruber puts it best:

What developers see is that the App Store is a shaky foundation upon which to build a business. One day you’re prospering, the next day your app is gone. There are awesome iPhone OS apps that aren’t being built because developers don’t trust Apple not to yank the carpet out from underneath them.