Group of iOS developers form ‘non-union union’ to push Apple to fix App Store issues

“Nearly two years ago, Apple revealed its plans for a revamped App Store. It introduced ads within search results in the iOS portion of the store, rolled out more ways for developers to offer subscriptions, and sweetened the revenue deal for app makers who did offer subscriptions,” Lauren Goode reports for Wired. “The changes marked the most significant update to the App Store since it had opened for business, and it was part of an effort by Apple to show that the company was attuned to developers’ needs, even as the company raked in billions of dollars from their apps each year.”

“But as the iOS App Store approaches its tenth anniversary, some app developers are still arguing for better App Store policies, ones that they say will allow them to make a better living as independent app makers,” Goode reports. “Now a small group of developers, including one who recently made a feature-length film about the App Store and app culture, are forming a union to lobby for just that.”

“In an open letter to Apple that published this morning, a group identifying themselves as The Developers Union wrote that ‘it’s been difficult for developers to earn a living by writing software’ built on Apple’s existing values,” Goode reports. “The group then asked Apple to allow free trials for apps, which would give customers ‘the chance to experience our work for themselves, before they have to commit to making a purchase.'”

“The union has goals of reaching a thousand members this week and hitting a mass of 20,000 signees by early June, when Apple will host its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, California,” Goode reports. “But at launch, the four representatives will be the only names attached to the letter.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: The open letter, verbatim:

Dear Apple,

We believe that people who create great software should be able to make a living doing it. So we created The Developers Union to advocate for sustainability in the App Store.

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. After that, we’ll start advocating for a more reasonable revenue cut and other community-driven, developer-friendly changes.

More info:


  1. I’ve not been following developments lately.

    “After that, we’ll start advocating for a more reasonable revenue cut”

    So 70% of the app prices aren’t good enough for them?

    1. They weren’t around when the going rate for a cellphone release was 80% or more.

      Yeah, it’s a tax, but unless someone figures out how to RUN the whole thing for free, that tax is non-negotiable.

  2. Maybe the devs got a taste of how you can try out some Apps in Amazon’s App store before committing to buying. The App runs in a emulated environment in your browser and if you like it you can proceed to purchase and download it to your Fire device.

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