Earlier, I tweeted:
“Folks should realize that Apple *NEVER* wanted 3rd party apps in the first place. Their App Store behavior is consonant with this.”
After getting some messages, I wanted to expand on this, so people understood where I was coming from. People mentioned the number of apps in the store, the amount of money Apple was making off the store, all kinds of things – all because they didn’t believe me.
The fact that there are over 100,000 apps in the App Store is a red herring. In an ideal world, the iPhone would only run Apple apps, its perfection unsullied by third parties.
How do I know this? Because Apple fought the idea of third party applications tooth and nail, and had to be dragged there, kicking and screaming. People forget this, but when the iPhone came out on June 29, 2007, it had no third party applications.
It’s not like there was any guarantee that there would be any in the near term, either. One of the reasons jailbreaking the iPhone became so popular early on (to the degree it was ever popular, which it wasn’t) was to add third party apps. Most people, though, were more than happy to rock a stock iPhone, with no other apps other than the ones shipped with the phone.
It wasn’t until Apple’s dev community started complaining vociferously that Apple deigned to consider allowing third party apps. When it did, it famously announced that people could use “web apps”. That announcement was met with a great deal of derision, and rightfully so, since web apps weren’t natively running apps – just separate Mobile Safari windows. It wasn’t until a year later, in July of 2008, that the App Store came around.
100,000 apps notwithstanding, let’s don’t pretend like Apple is happy that they had to be forced to open up an app store. They’re happy they’re making bank from it, but that’s totally different from being forced, like a sulky teenager, to do something they never intended doing in the first place.
So when you hear developers complaining about how they’re treated by Apple vis-a-vis the App Store, there’s a reason for that.
Apple never wanted an app store, and they’re not going to let you forget it.