New Survey Highlights Substantial Developer Dissatisfaction With Mac App Store

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A new DevMate survey recently polled around 700 Mac developers to get responses on how they feel working on OS X, and the lack of app visibility on Apple's Mac App Store. As The Next Web reports, the developers' responses highlight a stark difference in the iOS and OS X platforms, with a majority of DevMate's surveyed developers dissatisfied with Apple's 30/70 revenue split and poor distribution policies.

When asked, "How do you distribute your Mac applications?" nearly 35 percent of the quizzed developers preferred to specifically share and market their apps outside of the Mac App Store, on their own third-party websites. About 23 percent stick solely to Apple's Mac App Store for distribution, while 42 percent are straddling the line and working with both. Sources of revenue for the developers in the dual-distribution approach are said to be "split almost evenly."


All the same, those in the weeds of the Mac App Store say they would advise another developer against selling their app within Apple's OS X storefront. Of those 35 percent of developers living exclusively outside the Mac App Store, "a whopping 97 percent say they'd try to talk someone out of using Apple's official App Store."

Another section of the survey asked if developers believed Apple's 30 percent revenue cut was worth all of the features gained from using the Mac App Store, with 62 percent responding with "no." Problems arise from the developers' inability to address and communicate with reviewers directly, or offer trial periods for apps.


Apple's OS X App Store has been a pale comparison to its iOS relative since its launch five years ago. Rumors swirling around a possible rebrand of OS X to "macOS" have led to hopeful speculation that changes could also come to Apple's lackluster desktop App Store, but the company has yet to comment on any of these reports. With a software-heavy WWDC predicted for next week, it's possible that Apple will address some OS X-related concerns during its keynote speech.

Article Link: New Survey Highlights Substantial Developer Dissatisfaction With Mac App Store
 

SandboxGeneral

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As a consumer, not a developer, the only things I like about the MAS is a one-stop-shop collection of apps to search through, and that there is a reasonable level of security and safety in getting apps there as opposed to elsewhere and risking getting malware of some type.

With that said, I actually rarely ever get an app from the MAS or elsewhere, I just don't get many apps and already have what I need/want for now. But the appeal of getting apps not in the MAS like trial periods and discounts is what will drive me to look for them outside of the Apple ecosystem.
 

2457248

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Apr 4, 2016
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The MAS is home of some of the most ridiculously priced apps, it seems like it follows the logic: bigger screen, bigger price.
I use it only to update OSX.
Oh, and microsoft remote desktop is there too, i don't know why.
 
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Cindori

macrumors 68040
Jan 17, 2008
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The Mac App store is not just a failure in terms of software and vendor experience. It is directly incompatible with the majority of Mac Apps because of the sandboxing requirements. That's the reason you will never find apps like Photoshop, Skype, Spotify, Chrome, system utilities etc. unless Apple changes their restrictions.

The MAS is home of some of the most ridiculously priced apps, it seems like it follows the logic: bigger screen, bigger price.
No, it is smaller user base = higher price. $0.99 apps only work when you've got a massive market like iOS.
 

JosephAW

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May 14, 2012
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And it's only going to get worse when apple rolls out new desktop computers based on the A10 processor and ONLY apps sold through the app store will be allowed to be installed on the desktops and no third party apps. Just like the App Store is now for the phone.
 
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2457282

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As a consumer, not a developer, the only things I like about the MAS is a one-stop-shop collection of apps to search through, and that there is a reasonable level of security and safety in getting apps there as opposed to elsewhere and risking getting malware of some type.

With that said, I actually rarely ever get an app from the MAS or elsewhere, I just don't get many apps and already have what I need/want for now. But the appeal of getting apps not in the MAS like trial periods and discounts is what will drive me to look for them outside of the Apple ecosystem.
I am with you. I don't use my Mac that much and when I do it's the same apps that I downloaded a long time ago. Mostly I use my iPad these days. But if I do need an app for the Mac, I as a user will first look in MAS. Too many stories of software that end up being a security issue out there. Only if I cannot get it through MAS do I look at other avenues and then I have to check reviews to ensure it is safe. I even have the default set to only allow Apps from MAS, so if I ever do download from elsewhere, it requires extra steps.
 
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ike1707

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Jan 20, 2009
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And it's only going to get worse when apple rolls out new desktop computers based on the A10 processor and ONLY apps sold through the app store will be allowed to be installed on the desktops and no third party apps. Just like the App Store is now for the phone.
Highly unlikely that Mac OS will ever become a completely closed ecosystem as it would be a sad day and a fool's errand to go that way, but on that day I'll finally stop buying Mac computers.
 

ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
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The biggest issues I have with the App Store as a developer are:

#1 - I have to pay $100/year to distribute through the App Store. That's on top of the 30/70 split. Pick one - not both. I'd rather just distribute myself and keep all the money.
#2 - Time between when I submit and when my users can download. If I distribute on my own, it's instantaneous. If I go through pip, it's almost instantaneous. If I go through the App Store, it'll be hours if not days.

I understand the delay is from the review process. As a compromise with getting rid of the review process entirely, how about allow a link that goes directly to the app while it's still in review, from which users can download it? It doesn't show up anywhere else in the App Store until the review is complete, but it allows me to immediately distribute the app directly to customers who are eagerly waiting for it.
 

Stella

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Apr 21, 2003
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Too many restrictions on the Apps - the sandboxing policy is too restrictive is a killer for a lot of applications.

Apple have tipped the balance between security vs functionality, resulting in too much security focus.

Its no wonder a lot of high profile developers have held back their apps, or pulled them from the Mac AppStore ( MAS ).

Given the option - software that is available both outside the MAS or inside MAS, I will *always* choose the version that is outside. Often, they will have more functionality and have quicker updates.


And it's only going to get worse when apple rolls out new desktop computers based on the A10 processor and ONLY apps sold through the app store will be allowed to be installed on the desktops and no third party apps. Just like the App Store is now for the phone.
The option of only allowing MAS applications being installed on OSX is already available to you though, optionally - simply just by changing Gatekeeper option to MAS only.

Locking down OSX like iOS, will stop many people, including myself, from being able to use Macs in the work place... I absolutely have to have 3rd party software outside MAS because the MAS rules prevent the software being distributed from there.

I hope Mac computers never have an ARM processor in the foreseeable future...
 
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ScottishCaptain

macrumors 6502a
Oct 4, 2008
872
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Apple's sandbox system is a ****ing joke.

Rather than bolstering the security in OS X or designing some sort of proper low level system that could be made compatible with all existing applications, we get this tacked on dog turd that essentially assumes all applications are glorified word processors. It takes a special kind of stupid to design a system so badly thought out that your developers literally need to sell two versions of their apps- one on the Mac App Store (intentionally crippled to play well inside the sandbox system), and another direct download from the developers that is fully enabled and genuinely useful.

Personally, I won't buy anything from the MAS because of this ****. I refuse to support Apple's brain dead security system not only because it cripples most applications, but because I don't want them considering it a success and making it mandatory in the future.

It is, by far, one of the most harmful technologies present in OS X, and has only served to dampen the inertia of the MAS and damage developer <-> consumer relationships by forcing developers to sell intentionally broken versions of their applications.

-SC
 

Jeremy1026

macrumors 68020
Nov 3, 2007
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I agree with developers that the mac app store is a laughing stock compared to iOS!
It's no better or worse than the iOS store for developers. It just has a (much, much) smaller user base. If anything the Mac App Store is better for developers because there is a lot less competition to be seen.
 
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Szarky

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Jul 29, 2010
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I'm a PS4 gamer and I can tell you searching for games on the Mac App Store is a joke (compared to Steam). I for the first time couple days ago decided to do some research into what games were popular on PC as I was curious to try out some basic gaming on my newer MacBook Pro. The Mac App Store game pages were so bare, hardly any information. You go to the same game on Steam: a thriving community. I was so impressed (I've never been into PC gaming so never knew what the hype of Steam was about). Mac App Store doesn't even have a 'Wishlist' type feature.
[doublepost=1465569127][/doublepost]
Apple's sandbox system is a ****ing joke.

Rather than bolstering the security in OS X or designing some sort of proper low level system that could be made compatible with all existing applications, we get this tacked on dog turd that essentially assumes all applications are glorified word processors. It takes a special kind of stupid to design a system so badly thought out that your developers literally need to sell two versions of their apps- one on the Mac App Store (intentionally crippled to play well inside the sandbox system), and another direct download from the developers that is fully enabled and genuinely useful.

Personally, I won't buy anything from the MAS because of this ****. I refuse to support Apple's brain dead security system not only because it cripples most applications, but because I don't want them considering it a success and making it mandatory in the future.

It is, by far, one of the most harmful technologies present in OS X, and has only served to dampen the inertia of the MAS and damage developer <-> consumer relationships by forcing developers to sell intentionally broken versions of their applications.

-SC
I know nothing about this stuff, but I always suspected something was really off/dumb about the experience. This just hardens my stance: Apple being Apple in the worst way. Stubborn? There's a word for them here, don't know if that's the one the sums it up best. Maybe blind? Stubbornly blind?
 
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smacrumon

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Jan 15, 2016
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It would be really great if iOS apps could actually run on MacOS. Wait a minute...

The Mac App Store really needs to mimic the simple factor of the iOS App Store. When I log in to the Mac App Store, it just has too much information, it's a place for information overload. Even better would be iOS apps running on the Mac-- a lot would translate well even in portrait mode.
 
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Shirasaki

macrumors G3
May 16, 2015
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Just list a few.
Wine. (this one is huge) Grandperspective. Microsoft Office Suite, Atom, XLD, GitHub Desktop.
None of them are available in MAS.
Windows 7 UAC actual performance and security is more practical. It does not ban you from using app. It does, however, prevent you from randomly modifying critical files.

I have read posts saying MAS hurts developers, and Mac app is generally overpriced.
I noticed a game called "Company Hero", with a whopping 60+ AUD pricetag. Never mind. I would not buy this game in here. Steam has PC version and occasional discount could help me saving a lot of money, if I ever want to play.
 

Manderby

macrumors 6502a
Nov 23, 2006
500
92
I distribute my payed apps only through the MAS. Tried other options once but the visibility on the MAS is what justifies the 30/70 split for me. For the free apps, I use both the MAS and private hosting which are used approximately equally. And I don't mind the 100$ dev cost too much even though it is far from justified by my income. The MAS is a hobby.

But the MAS experience as a customer is far from what I wish my customers would have. And as an indie developer, I simply hate the relevance sorting. Sort by random, by update date, by whatever means which are meaningful but please ditch the relevance sorting. It is the pure opposite of discovering apps, it is hiding unknown apps and hence it is hurting the market. Why would I as an indie developer care to develop for the Mac if I do not even get the chance of being discovered in the first place?

And one big request from my side: Ditch the customer rating and comments. Let customers be unprejudiced and make them read the descriptions and inform themselves in the web. Or make a direct link to some external site like MacUpdate or AppShopper and let the discussion take place there. Anything but the customer comments on the MAS. I have good customers and I like them, but I live in a constant fear that someone writes an unjustified bad review.
 

maflynn

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May 3, 2009
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I like the idea of the MAS, especially when getting a new mac. Its a lot easier with MAS apps, as they all will be downloaded without hunting for the installers, and keys.

With that said, I think the restrictions that apple places on the apps, which can limit the functionality and lack of demos/upgrade pricing also hurt developers. More often then not, I find myself buying an app that is not in the MAS.
 
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BillyBobBongo

macrumors 68020
Jun 21, 2007
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On The Interweb Thingy!
I buy Apple's Apps through the Mac App Store, as there is no other choice these days. Other Apps I buy directly from the developers website.

Bloody useless thing, the Mac APP Store. Doesn't surprise me that developers don't like it either.
 

maflynn

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May 3, 2009
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[MOD NOTE]
A number of political posts were removed, this thread is not the correct place to discuss such things. Please direct those type of posts to our PRSI forum
 

Glassed Silver

macrumors 68020
Mar 10, 2007
2,098
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Kassel, Germany
Unsurprising. The MAS is absolutely rubbish.

Partly due to high prices, removed multiplayer options, a gruelling refund process, compatibility issues, poor ports, and lack of updates from developers, I wouldn't consider anything other than Steam or GOG to buy games for OS X.
Well for games I'll just stick to Windows. Much less headaches and I agree with GOG and - unfortunately - Steam. (you just can't avoid that DRM-powerhouse nowadays anymore for current titles)

Can you elaborate on the multiplayer part though?

Glassed Silver:mac
 
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