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Is Apple pushing developers too far?

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  • User profile image
    Ray7

    An interesting piece from a gadget blog I have never heard of. 


    Gaj-it.com asks is Apple pushing its loyal customers and developers too far in times of recession. They highlight the latest murmur of discontent over the change to the iPhone developers T&Cs.

    The changes will allow folk to 'return' an app after 90 days if they're not happy with it. Which is great; I'm pretty sure that the vast majority of iPhone apps stop being used after a couple of weeks. Score 1 for the iCustomer!

    The only problem is that Apple has sought to insulate itself from the inevitable flurry of returns by demanding that the developer reimburse its cut as well!

    So a developer sells an app for $5
    I buy it
    Apple takes my money. Keeps $1.50 and gives $3.50 to the developer
    I then decide after 89 days, that I no longer want the app and I would quite like by $5 back. So I hit the return button
    Apple hands back my $5
    It then bills the developer for $1.50 - so it can keep its original cut.

    Mmmm .... 

    So having only received $3.50 from an app sale, the developer has to pay $5.00 if it is returned ...

    Now Gaj-it argues that they can see the logic. Apple hopes to encourage developers to create better more innovative applications (after all, you're not going to submit something to the app store if its going to penalise you for being crap) which should cut down on the 90%  dross that fills the store at the moment. But is it fair to squeeze developers in this way?

    It's a tricky one, but at the end of the day, no-one is forced to develop for the iPhone. Apple does exist in a free market, which is certainly demonstrated by their falling laptop/desktop sales.

    If the new terms are too harsh, then developers will walk. If they are not, then Apple might have found a way of preventing some of the poorer applications from getting onto the store. Talk about taking a big risk!



  • User profile image
    tfraser

    Is this rule official or just a suggestion? That's damn cool if it is official. So I can now "purchase" all those things that looked nice but weren't really worth the cost, use them for up to 90 days and then return them for a full refund? Wow, thanks Apple.

    Thinking about it, games in particular are going to be destroyed by this. I could finish (or become bored of) most of the games on the App Store well within the 90 day time limit. Most games I've downloaded so far I'm bored of within a few hours.

  • User profile image
    Ray7

    tfraser said:
    Is this rule official or just a suggestion? That's damn cool if it is official. So I can now "purchase" all those things that looked nice but weren't really worth the cost, use them for up to 90 days and then return them for a full refund? Wow, thanks Apple.

    Thinking about it, games in particular are going to be destroyed by this. I could finish (or become bored of) most of the games on the App Store well within the 90 day time limit. Most games I've downloaded so far I'm bored of within a few hours.
    Well, it's in the T&Cs.

    Gaj-it said:

    The section states;

    “In the event that Apple receives any notice or claim from any end-user that: (i) the end-user wishes to cancel its license to any of the Licensed Applications within ninety (90) days of the date of download of that Licensed Application by that end-user; or (ii) a Licensed Application fails to conform to Your specifications or Your product warranty or the requirements of any applicable law, Apple may refund to the end-user the full amount of the price paid by the end-user for that Licensed Application. In the event that Apple refunds any such price to an end-user, You shall reimburse, or grant Apple a credit for, an amount equal to the price for that Licensed Application. Apple will have the right to retain its commission on the sale of that Licensed Application, notwithstanding the refund of the price to the end-user.”




    There is nothing to say that they will definitely do it, but they certainly reserve the right to do so. Given that this is Apple, I'd sway more towards not spending the money until after the ninety days ... Smiley

    Oh hang on though.

    It's not actually a case of spending the money is it? If the app is returned, you are paying out over and above what you made from the deal in the first place.

    As I said, it's a tricky one.

    I think a better idea would be a trial run. You can try it for ninety days, after that you pay for it, with no refund. The developer doesn't make any money, but at least he doesn't end up bankrupt.  I hear that the new API may allow for that.

  • User profile image
    Cannot​Resolve​Symbol

    Ray7 said:
    tfraser said:
    *snip*


    There is nothing to say that they will definitely do it, but they certainly reserve the right to do so. Given that this is Apple, I'd sway more towards not spending the money until after the ninety days ... Smiley

    Oh hang on though.

    It's not actually a case of spending the money is it? If the app is returned, you are paying out over and above what you made from the deal in the first place.

    As I said, it's a tricky one.

    I think a better idea would be a trial run. You can try it for ninety days, after that you pay for it, with no refund. The developer doesn't make any money, but at least he doesn't end up bankrupt.  I hear that the new API may allow for that.

    Apple reserves the right to make returns (and on very rare occasions they will, if a file is damaged on their servers or is corrupted during the download process), but they very clearly do not allow returns for any other reason (including the nebulous "I didn't like the application" excuse):

    App Store Terms and Conditions said:
    b. Refund Policy. On occasion, technical problems may delay or prevent delivery of your Product. Your exclusive and sole remedy with respect to Product that is not delivered within a reasonable period will be either replacement of such Product, or refund of the price paid for such Product, as determined by Apple. Otherwise, no refunds are available.

  • User profile image
    VB Man

    The refund policy was only a rumor and it will _never_ see the light.


    Total BS.

  • User profile image
    Ray7

    VB Man said:
    The refund policy was only a rumor and it will _never_ see the light.

    Total BS.
    TechCrunch has a copy of the contract on its website.


    Section 6.3 is the offending section. It's already in there, and developers are already being told that they have no choice but to sign up to it,

    Strangely enough, this may have been on the cards for quite some time:

    TechCrunch said:

    The developer we spoke to seemed to think that the app would become unusable if a consumer gets a refund for a particular application, but the developer was unclear if this actually happens. We were also told that this section of the contract is new, and developers are being forced to sign this in order to sell apps in the next generation App Store (for when the iPhone OS 3.0 is officially released). But we saw a contract from another iPhone developer who signed the agreement back in December and the same clause was part of the contract.

  • User profile image
    Ray7

    CannotResolveSymbol said:
    Ray7 said:
    *snip*
    Yup, think I've seen that one on iTunes. But I think this a different kettle of fish. For a start the existing clause you've listed doesn't mention the ninety day refund period whether it is fit for purpose or not. If the developers are just seeing the change now, I'm thinking that Apple could be holding off on the end user agreement until the iPhone OS update is released.

    But if the developers think the change is coming and they're worried about it, then now is the time to kick up a fuss.

  • User profile image
    VB Man

    Ray7 said:
    CannotResolveSymbol said:
    *snip*
    Yup, think I've seen that one on iTunes. But I think this a different kettle of fish. For a start the existing clause you've listed doesn't mention the ninety day refund period whether it is fit for purpose or not. If the developers are just seeing the change now, I'm thinking that Apple could be holding off on the end user agreement until the iPhone OS update is released.

    But if the developers think the change is coming and they're worried about it, then now is the time to kick up a fuss.

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-10205293-37.html?tag=rtcol;relnews

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