Most people know I am not a big fan of Apple. I should clarify this as I am not a fan of Apple’s software (malware, what malware?). Their hardware, on the other hand, is well made and very nice. In my humble opinion, the best laptop on the market in a MacBook Pro. However, this MBP does not run OSX, it runs Linux. A recent rumor might be changing my mind about their hardware.
Apple’s iOS has seen some draconian changes since its inception. Their latest victim, BeamItDown software, found out the hard way that Apple is in the software business for it to make money. BeamItDown says on their website (in case it goes down):
Thank you for being one of our valued customers. We are writing to you today to make a very sad announcement. BeamItDown Software and the iFlow Reader will cease operations as of May 31, 2011. We absolutely do not want to do this, but Apple has made it completely impossible for anyone but Apple to make a profit selling contemporary ebooks on any iOS device. We cannot survive selling books at a loss and so we are forced to go out of business. We bet everything on Apple and iOS and then Apple killed us by changing the rules in the middle of the game. This is a very sad day for innovation on iOS in this important application category. We are a small company that thought we could build a better product. We think that we did but we are powerless against Apple’s absolute control of the iOS platform.
It is amazing to me that companies can base their entire existence on a platform like iOS and Apple can just kill them with a change. It is, of course, Apple’s prerogative to change their TOS. A third party developer has little choice in this matter. If your product could possibly compete in any way at any time, a company could find itself being undone by Apple. In many ways, a company has to deal with an ever present Sword of Damocles from Apple’s decisions.
This affects even apps that do not seem feasible to compete with future or current Apple apps. A friend of mine created a music instrument app. At the time he made it, there was nothing on horizon from Apple that would ever compete with it. That changed with Apple’s release of GarageBand and his app couldn’t remotely compete with it.
To bastardize Benjamin Franklin “Nothing is certain death and except Apple changing the TOS “.