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Old June 3 2010, 10:11 PM   #47
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Re: vendoring censorship

FordSVT wrote: View Post
I still have no idea how Apple is stopping cross platform development when there are like 100,000 apps in the Droid store, and dozens of cracked app sites all over the place for every phone OS you can think of. You really need you to spell this out for me in detail, because all you're doing is saying "Apple is hurting other companies" but you're not bothering to mention how, in any way that distinguishes them from any of their competitors, or a multitude of other companies across the consumer landscape.
This entire thing hinges on a change made to the license agreement you need to accept to develop an app for the App Store. The change went in about a month ago and here is the relevent text:

3.3.1 Applications may only use Documented APIs in the manner prescribed by Apple and must not use or call any private APIs. Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine, and only code written in C, C++, and Objective-C may compile and directly link against the Documented APIs (e.g., Applications that link to Documented APIs through an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool are prohibited).
What this change does is to not allow developers to use 3rd party tools and libraries to create iPhone apps. One of the big benefits to using these 3rd party tools (other examples of these are MonoTouch, Unity3D and Corona) is that these libraries make it much easier to port apps from one platform to another because the "back end" code doesn't have to change significantly, you just need to recode the front end and interface for each platform.

Because the Apple App Market is +90% of the direct to consumer mobile app market, this forces developers to do one of those things: either just make an iPhone version and worry about rewriting the app for other platforms later or skip the iPhone and its much more lucrative market and just create their app for other platforms. If a developer is large enough, they could do multiple versions in parallel but most mobile developers are pretty small and won't be able to do so. So in essence, what Apple is doing is using the market position of their App Store to try and force developers to only develop for their platform. The result of this would be that the Android Market would grow at a slower pace then it would have otherwise and the result of that would be that the adoption rate of Android phones would be lowered because consumers are going to go where the apps are.

Worth pointing out as well, there are not 100,000 apps in the Android Market. It's actually more around 30,000 (it was 27,000 at the end of April) compared to the over 160,000 in the Apple Store. That is not a small difference and the size of Apple's Store compared to the competition is one of their big selling points. It is absolutely within Apple's interests to try and slow the rate that Android apps are introduced, but they've stepped over the line here in terms of fair practices.

How is this different from the game consoles? Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo don't care one bit about how you write your code or what 3rd party libraries you use. Want to use Havok in your game? They won't stop you. What to license an entire engine? They don't care. Want to use Euporhia or DMM or Scaleform or FMOD or SpeedTree? Go for it. Yes, they all own their own game studios and have exclusive rights to certain titles but they do not apply pressure in the same way to all developers and that's a critical difference. In fact, if Apple wanted to behave like the game studios and purchase a few app developers to make iPhone apps and make some exclusive app deals with 3rd party developers then they'd be totally in the clear. What makes what they are doing wrong is that they are applying pressure to all developers. And it's the developers that make or break a platform.

For further reading, there's an excellent writeup on this subject on Ars here:
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