App Store Developers Form a 'Union' Ahead of WWDC Calling for Free App Trials, Better Rates

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, May 18, 2018.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    A group of App Store developers calling themselves "The Developers Union" today published an open letter to Apple asking the company to commit to allowing free trials for apps and a "more reasonable revenue cut."

    The group says that it is first aiming to get Apple to implement free trials for all apps in the iOS and Mac App Stores by July 2019, with plans after that to advocate for other changes.
    The initiative is led by Brent Simmons (MarsEdit, Vesper, and NetNewsWire creator), Jake Schumacher (App: The Human Story documentary maker), Loren Morris (product designer), and Roger Ogden (software designer).

    The Developers Union is not a "trade union" in the traditional sense of the word, but it is aiming to bring developers and supporters together to advocate for App Store changes.

    In an interview with WIRED, the team behind The Developers Union said the aim is to gain a thousand members this week and 20,000 by early June, when the Worldwide Developers Conference takes place.
    Free trials for apps in the Mac and iOS App Stores have been something that developers have wanted implemented for years. Right now, apps that offer subscriptions are able to provide customers with free trials before requiring payment, but for apps that do not have a subscription offering, there is no way for a free trial to be offered.

    This is a major downside for apps that are on the more expensive side that people might not want to purchase without trying first, and it has been a major issue for Mac App Store developers in particular.

    The Developers Union is hoping to persuade Apple to expand free trials to all apps, not just those that offer a subscription-based service. Free trials also must include an authorization for payment at the end of the trial, something developers would also like to see eliminated.

    Revenue sharing, another topic the group hopes to broach with Apple, could be trickier than convincing the company to implement a free trial feature. Apple currently receives a 30 percent cut of all revenue developers earn from the App Store, and the App Store makes up a huge portion of its services business.

    Apple has, however, made some tweaks to its revenue split in recent years. For subscription apps where a customer maintains a subscription for more than a year, developers are entitled to an 85/15 split, with Apple taking a 15 percent cut rather than a 30 percent cut.

    The Developers Union has not yet outlined specific changes it would like to see to Apple's revenue sharing scheme as the focus right now is on recruiting new members and pushing the free trial agenda.

    At the current time, just over 60 apps and 50 people and are supporting The Developers Union, but more developers are likely to join as word spreads. Both developers and non-developers can sign up on the Developers Union website to support the initiative.

    Article Link: App Store Developers Form a 'Union' Ahead of WWDC Calling for Free App Trials, Better Rates
  2. Baymowe335 macrumors 68040

    Oct 6, 2017
  3. ignatius345 macrumors 68000

    Aug 20, 2015
    Anything that cuts down on the epidemic of "a cup of coffee a month" subscriptions is a welcome change.
  4. ikir macrumors 65816


    Sep 26, 2007
    We believe that people who create great software should be able to make a living doing it.

    Strange many devs are living thanks to App Store, I know few
  5. nwcs macrumors 68000


    Sep 21, 2009
    It's not a union but a petition with a catchy name. I actually agree basically with their position but I think their time table is unrealistic. However, Apple will only make changes if this attracts the main money makers in the app store.
  6. jacobh101 macrumors regular

    Aug 12, 2014
    Boston, MA
    50 people ≠ representation of union...With well over 1.5M jobs related to App Store in US.
  7. BootsWalking macrumors 6502a

    Feb 1, 2014
    Good idea. Let's form a customer union as well, to persuade Apple to resolve issues without requiring Class Action lawsuits.
  8. LawJolla macrumors newbie

    Sep 29, 2013
    Trials are long, long overdue and would benefit everyone.
  9. cmaier macrumors G4

    Jul 25, 2007
    It’s also a weirdly entitled attitude. Software may be great, but that doesn’t mean anyone wants it. Nobody is guaranteed success.
  10. RogerWilco macrumors 6502a


    Jul 29, 2011
    The app store is headed for the same fail as purchased iTunes music. Apple weaseled its way out of the purchased music business and it will do the same with apps. All you "valued" devs had better save your nickles -- you will need them when Uncle Tim unveils the new and improved contract and payment terms.
  11. CanadianGuy macrumors member


    Jul 3, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    It's only be up for 3 hours. Might want to give it some time for devs to sign up before mocking the count.
  12. itsmilo macrumors 68020


    Sep 15, 2016
    It really is time for trials. I am tired of requesting a refund through their „hidden“ page


    Also obligatory: I still hate the App Store redesign. Just 5 minutes ago it took me forever to get to the categories. Why is there no longer a navigation point for categories?
  13. skellener macrumors 68000


    Jun 23, 2003
    So. Cal.
    If it helps developers have a voice then I'm all for it.
  14. LordVic macrumors 601

    Sep 7, 2011
    well. they are always free to not develop for iOS... it's not like there's a monopoly here. there can be arguments that the are right in opposiition to apples business model. But they are free to not develop their programs forthe platform if the platform is not equitable.

    On the flip side; if enough developers eventually jump on board, APple has to ask itself if it's worth losing those developers or not.
  15. groovyd macrumors 65816


    Jun 24, 2013
    No doubt they will collect a lot of signatures (members) and it will probably push Apple to make some concessions but unlikely to put a real dent in the App Store either way. A few million apps plus or minus a few thousand indies won't be missed. Guessing the apps that actually make Apple any respectable profit are also making their developers respectably profitable too. Would help in getting rid of a lot of slop apps.
  16. apolloa macrumors G4

    Oct 21, 2008
    Time, because it rules EVERYTHING!
    Haha they have no chance. With the profit mad Apple focussed on services to get more revenue, that 30% cut if everything will never drop, neither will free trials be introduced as that means less ‘freemium’ games which have proved to be incredibly lucrative for Apple and others.
  17. scottcampbell macrumors regular

    Aug 7, 2017
    Not familiar with this, would you mind elaborating or sharing a link?
  18. oneMadRssn macrumors 601


    Sep 8, 2011
    New England
    It's clear that Apple would rather there be no paid apps at all, and all apps had subscriptions instead. They favor that approach in nearly every policy change that has been made since the App store began. I don't like it, but think it will take quite a bigger effort to get Apple to change it's viewpoint on this.
  19. yanksfan114 macrumors 6502

    Jul 30, 2011
    I agree with trials but not the timeline for changes or the revenue change. Apple is the reason you have the developer tools and customers to sell your software to. If you don’t like it don’t use Apple’s store on Apple’s hardware and sell to Apple’s customers. It’s pretty simple.
  20. Rogifan macrumors Core


    Nov 14, 2011
    Let’s see if John Gruber discussed any of this when he has Schiller on his podcast during WWDC. He’s worked with Brent Simmons and I’m sure knows most of the others who signed this petition.
  21. itsmilo macrumors 68020


    Sep 15, 2016
    There you go. Note that the purchase must have been within the last 90 days (I think that’s still correct)

    I just used it on a fire tv remote app that didn’t do what I wanted / thought it could do the other day
  22. sdwaltz macrumors 6502a

    Apr 29, 2015
    If I rolled my eyes any harder, they'd actually fall out of my head.
  23. Captain_Flannel macrumors newbie

    May 18, 2018
    What reason would Apple have for now allowing trials? Seems like it something that would benefit everyone.

    Just this morning I was thinking of buying Pocketcasts, but I wanted to see how well it worked for me before I purchased it. Elected to shelve the idea instead of purchasing - a free trial would have been ideal.
  24. MikhailT macrumors 601

    Nov 12, 2007
    I understand what they're trying to do but this:

    > Today, we are asking Apple to commit to allowing free trials for all apps in the App Stores by the tenth anniversary of the App Store this July. I'm sorry, if you're going to ask a big company to commit, setting an unreasonable timeframe is one sure way of making it not happen.

    Apple legally cannot change contracts everyone signed on its own and do it in time for July, that's less than two months.
  25. Cosmosent macrumors 6502a

    Apr 20, 2016
    La Jolla, CA
    The main problem is App Discovery, & that can ONLY be fixed if AAPL lets Devs sell their apps OUTSIDE of the App Store.

    If that we're to happen, then, I believe, a cottage industry would very-likely immediately be created to assist such Devs promote & sell their apps via their own websites.

    I have NO problem with using AAPL for the financial transaction part of it under that scenario.

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