App Rules Are Twisted to Absurdity

App Rules Are Twisted to Absurdity

Apps have grow to be an enormous economic system, however the guidelines that govern them are practically unimaginable to perceive.

Apple and Google have twisted their decade-old guidelines for his or her app shops like a pretzel to the purpose the place they might now not make sense. This has made shopping for digital stuff in apps convoluted as heck.

One instance: In concept, though not but in actuality, you need to use your Amazon account to purchase an e-book from Kindle’s iPhone app. You can not purchase an e-book within the Android model of the app. Until lately, Kindle purchases had been successfully a no-go below Apple’s guidelines however nice below Google’s. Now it is the other.

Confusing? Yep. Apple and Google have written lengthy, sophisticated tips for apps and have steadily revised these guidelines to shield their very own pursuits. (I’ve famous earlier than that Apple’s app guidelines are for much longer than the United States Constitution.)

Want extra zaniness? Today, it is easy-peasy to pay to subscribe to a podcast in Patreon’s iPhone app. Apple stands apart and permits Patreon to take your private data and bank card particulars.

But shopping for different forms of digital subscriptions will be utterly completely different. If you buy a platinum membership to the courting service Tinder within the iPhone app, you might be successfully signing up with Apple, and Tinder is on the sidelines.

Apple takes a piece of that membership charge perpetually. If you need to give up, you inform Apple, not Tinder.

Buying a six-month membership by means of the Tinder app prices some folks $14.99 a month, however it’s $13.50 if bought from the web site. (The value distinction is Tinder’s method of partly recouping the up-to-30-percent charge it pays Apple for every app buy.) Oh, and paying to use courting apps may quickly work extra like paying for stuff in Patreon — however solely within the Netherlands.

For now, paying for Tinder by means of its Android app is extra like how Patreon works. But that is solely as a result of Match Group, Tinder’s dad or mum firm, has sued Google to cease the corporate from altering its guidelines.


I might bore you with particulars of why Apple makes a distinction between shopping for a subscription from Patreon and shopping for one from Tinder. There is logic behind why you should buy a paperback copy of “1984” from Amazon’s Android app however not the e-book version , and why new Netflix subscribers used to give you the option to join from its Android app however now cannot. Or, type of cannot. It’s one other pretzel twist.

It took me hours of cellphone calls and sleuthing to work out all the small print within the paragraphs you simply learn. If so many guidelines, exceptions and explanations are wanted to purchase issues from an app in 2022, maybe the logic of the app economic system is illogical .

For years, some firms that make apps have griped about how Google and particularly Apple management many elements of this economic system. They each dictate which apps we are able to obtain simply by means of their app shops and once they straight deal with purchases that we make by means of apps.

If we use an app to purchase stuff that exists in the actual world, reminiscent of an Uber experience or a meal package subscription, these purchases bypass Apple and Google. The combat is over shopping for issues that we use digitally, reminiscent of a trinket utilized in a smartphone app sport or a courting app subscription.

The drawback is that distinctions that appeared smart when Apple created its app storefront in 2008 do not essentially match the fashionable digital economic system.

I’ve written earlier than about YouTube video creators who cannot perceive why Apple or Google is entitled to a piece of the cash — probably perpetually — that their followers pay them by means of an app.

In the Zoom-everything age, does it make sense to have completely different guidelines, as Apple sought to have, for, say, shopping for gymnasium lessons to soak up individual and people you are taking just about at residence? Why aren’t apps like Facebook that make cash from commercials handing a piece of income to Apple and Google, however those who promote digital subscriptions are?

And the app guidelines typically change, creating extra complexity.

This month, Google put in place tighter restrictions so it should deal with the purchases of extra digital stuff in apps and take a lower.

Again, there may be some sense behind all of those pretzel twists. Apple and Google need to keep away from letting main smartphone video video games, the largest moneymakers in app worlds, bypass their laws and costs. And they are saying they’re attempting to reply to complaints that they’ve an excessive amount of management or that they burden small companies.

But the extra concessions that Apple or Google make to mollify indignant governments and a few indignant builders however not others, the extra arbitrary their app retailer logic can appear.

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