Thursday, October 16, 2008

There is no Gatekeeper at the App Store and why I am considering moving to Android

A few weeks ago, during all the noise about PodCaster getting rejected from the App Store, I was vehemently defending Apple's Gatekeeper approach. Nathan was talking to me about how Apple was shooting itself in the foot because developers won't stand for that kind of slap in the face, and it will deter people from developing apps for the Iphone. I stood up for Apple's right to protect the quality of the market place and I believed that developers would still put creative efforts into building applications for the Iphone because it will be the best and most profitable marketplace.

Today I find myself changing my mind, but for a reason I didn't think of at the time. My original argument came mostly from the belief that people are going to follow the money. And since the Itunes store is going to be the best show in town, people will follow Steve wherever he wants us to go. That is what is known as being financially engaged, and that is only 1/2 the equation. The other half and prone to wild swings of the imagination is emotional engagement.

What I realized, while I wait for my next "free" app to come out of "In review", is that there really isn't a Gatekeeper at the App Store. There is just a gate, and outside that gate is a crowd of nameless, faceless developers wondering what it is like on the Inside. Occasionally the gate opens and hand comes out and grabs an App out of one of these developers hands and takes it inside. You see, even if our Apps make it into the store, we still don't get to know what is going on "Inside", we are not really invited to the party , we are not Steve's guests, we are the entertainment.

And so, since
  • There is no Gatekeeper to talk to
  • There are no guests coming out and telling us what it is like on the "Inside"
  • There is only a black hole for my emails regarding the persistent "In Review" status
I find my emotional engagement waning and I start downloading the Android SDK. Because even though Google isn't going to protect the marketplace and make us all rich. At least we will be poor together and the long tail will at least talk to us and tell us what we are doing wrong.

So , Steve, my simple advice to you.
  • Hire some people to at least respond to emails regarding the review process
  • Create some more states for apps "In Review" like "pending" or "might suck" or "cool"
  • Create the "Reject Store" where all the rejected or pending apps can at least find an audience
I the mean time if anyone wants an "Ad-Hoc" version of the McCain Obama Coin Toss let me know. I would love some feedback on it before the election is over. I know it is silly but that is the point.

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