July 19, 2009
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App Store Doubts

Instapaper’s Marco Arment recites a litany of iPhone app developer woes, and sums them up with an important observation: “Apple thinks this is good enough.”

It’s not just a business model problem; it’s a potential disaster for mobile software innovation. To sell software for the iPhone, you have to get Apple’s approval. The approval process turns out to be a mess, and this – much more than the 30% overhead – threatens to wreck the marketplace. If you can’t predict whether Apple will let you sell your software, you can’t invest in making good software.

My overview:

The last two featured games I bought — the only games I purchased by browsing, as opposed to personal recommendations from Web celebs — were crap. I’ll probably stop buying stuff from the app store unless someone like Gruber or PeterMe extolls it.

That’s a disaster for software innovation. And the last, best hope for an alternate mobile platform.

But I’ve still got an iPhone in my pocket.