Looking at the sales volume only, most software developers must be pleased with Mac App Store, which Apple, Inc. opened in January 6. That’s true with us, too. Well, we were first skeptical. In fact, we weren’t even interested in selling our software titles at Mac App Store at first. Now, more than two dozen software titles of ours are available there. Even for Mac users, Mac App Store offers a relatively easy way of purchasing software. It offers an uniform way of making purchases and updating software titles regardless of developers.
It sounds like Mac App Store offers a win-win situation for both Mac users and software developers. Or maybe not… Let’s see some of negative aspects of Mac App Store.
- Apple’s way or the highway: It’s no surprise that Apple sets some rules on software titles that are be accepted. These rules are not necessarily clear. Of course, Apple, Inc. is not open to negotiations. For example, if they mention in the description that a trial version is available, then Apple will surely reject the software title by saying the following.
3.3 Apps with descriptions not relevant to the application content and functionality will be rejected (See Screenshot 1.)
Screenshot 1: Source – MacHouse
Apple will also officially or unofficially tell the software developer to remove screenshots that they don’t like. For example, they’ve contacted us by e-mail and told us to take down the screenshots containing Mr. Jobs’ biography from Wikipedia. (See Screenshot 2.)
Screenshot 2: Source – MacHouse
In all, Apple has its own ways. What Mac users see and read at Mac App Store is strictly censored by Apple.
- Limited payment options: The only payment method available for now is use of credit cards/debit cards. There are actually a lot of people (me included) who want to use their PayPal account.
- No trial version: As discussed earlier, Apple, Inc. prohibits software developers from mentioning that there are demo/trial versions available. If you want to try out a software title before buying it, you have to help yourself by going to software developer’s web site to see if there are demo/trial versions available.
- Limited locations: You can’t always install software at any volume. If software’s Info.plist specifies a minimum OS version (example: 10.6.6), you can install it only on the volume that contains the System.
- Software updates: Every software submission must go through Apple’s review process. Software updates are not exceptions. They won’t review a software update overnight. A review process can take a week, 2 weeks, 1 month or even longer. Who knows!? Furthermore, just because Apple has accepted the initial software submission, there is no guarantee that they’ll accept software updates to be followed. They can still reject software updates after officially or unofficially changing review guidelines.