Dali Clock no longer available in app store (this time for sure)

A few days ago I posted saying that Dali Clock seemed to have been pulled from the Apple store, but it turns out that at the time, the store was failing all over the place. However, it seems I was right the first time.

Apparently the following error message is how Apple spells, "if you don't tithe us $100 per year, we won't allow your free app to continue to be downloaded at all." I had to pay them a hundred bucks to allow me to upload the thing in the first place, and apparently if you don't pay annually, they pull all your apps. You stay klassy, Apple.

As this is the only iPhone app that I've released so far, I'm trying to decide whether I give a shit. Leaning heavily toward "no".

I can't even tell where I look to see whether anyone has downloaded it in the last year. Presumably that's on some URL Apple won't show me without paying them $100 first.

I'm somewhat surprised that they didn't remotely delete it from the phones of everyone who had already downloaded it. That "feature" is probably coming soon.

Previously, previously.


Update: Comments disabled (and many deleted) because I'm profoundly uninterested in hearing more of the Apple fanboys' various theories about why The Great and Benevolent Jobs might have felt forced, forced into doing things this way. The answer is, "because they can." Or, in more words for the dim, "Because their technically-enforced monopoly on application distribution means they can gouge both developers and users to a far greater extent than actual competition would allow, and so they do." If you don't see that, step out of the reality distortion field once in a while.

Tags: , , , ,

34 Responses:

  1. Noah says:

    X WindowsApple: a moment of convenience, a lifetime of regret.

  2. Giles says:

    I have one of those stupid suggestions that I KNOW deep in my heart you don't even want to hear, but I can't stop myself.

    Usually when iTunes/Apple breaks for me, it turns out I'm supposed to be accepting an updated user agreement somewhere. The other day the iTunes store wouldn't do ANYTHING for me, complete with cryptic errors, and I had to go click on my account in iTunes, confirm all my billing info AGAIN, and then things returned to normal.

    Likewise the other day I went to download an updated install of the developer tools from Apple and every time I clicked on the download link it stuck me with an error page like the file didn't exist. I bashed around on the site until I discovered, again, an updated user agreement I had to accept... and then the file downloaded.

    I know I'm deep in Apple Fanboy denial here, I guess I'm just hoping that maybe they lock out apps where the developer hasn't accepted whatever new rule about in-app purchases or Smurfberry limits... otherwise why not just pull the damn listing? I can still see iDaliClock in the store, and I've downloaded it before, but it won't even let me re-download it now as it is "currently unavailable."

    • jwz says:

      Nice theory, but no.

      • Giles says:

        Yup, I found a better source than "making stuff up in my head":

        https://developer.apple.com/support/ios/program-renewals.html

        What happens if I do not renew my iOS Developer Program membership?

        If you do not renew your iOS Developer Program membership, you will retain your status as an Apple Developer and will have access to free development resources, but you will lose your ability to distribute applications on the App Store and your access to the iOS Provisioning Portal. In addition, your existing Development and Distribution certificates and provisioning profiles will be revoked and invalidated. You will also lose access to pre-release software, available discussion forums, and Developer Technical Support.

  3. Jieves says:

    I like Dali Clock on my iOS devices, and would hate for others not to be able to get it.
    Yes, it is a hassle for you, but if it would be at all worth it, I'd pay $1 for a "Deluxe Version" whose major difference was costing a dollar. That might make the yearly re-up slightly less aggravating.

    Or not.

    Anyway, my point is I hope you decide to pay the toll and get it back in the store, because it is neat having it there.

    • DFB says:

      Yeah, why not pay the Jobs tax? All those MPAA negotiations and agreements are totally worth it.

  4. Tkil says:

    Do you have any interest in distributing it through someone who is already paying the yearly fee for other reasons? (It's already built, it's free, and presumably there's not a huge amount of support traffic for it...)

  5. spoonyfork says:

    If you don't sysadmin your phone someone else will do it for you.

  6. polkunus says:

    I don't understand why you have to pay $100 for releasing something "free" anyway.

    • Chris Davies says:

      It's the money, dummy.

      The dirty little secret is that only a tiny fraction of apps in the app store are ever going to make 100 bucks in revenue for Apple. But if you can get away with charging each and every developer 100 bucks up front every year, then that's a great revenue source. If you can get away with it, why not do it?

      • polkunus says:

        Because its not proper business ethics?

        I mean, its understandable to charge developers $100 who are making apps for profit, but why charge devs who aren't? - is what I'm trying to say.

        • phuzz says:

          "business ethics"?
          This sounds like a contradiction in terms to me, please explain further.

          • polkunus says:

            "business ethics" meaning stuff you find 'unethical' and they find disadvantageous.

            This is a notional example:

            If the developer tax(for non-profit devs) isn't a hundred dollars, more devs would most likely make more free apps, more apps = more people on iphones.

            Obviously, I'm not guaranteeing a plan like this to work because of complexions in paid vs free apps, etc.

            Till this day I don't understand how Apple is getting away with charging non-profit developers $100 a year. IT would make sense if there were other acceptable distribution methods, but there isn't.

            • polkunus says:

              I forgot to add "everyone wins" after "iphones."

            • Chris Davies says:

              Bullshit. Has anyone ever asked "how many shitty free apps are clogging up the app catalogue on this phone?"

            • LafinJack says:

              ...more people on iphones.

              I doubt that's a problem Apple is facing. It's also probably unlikely that consumers would make a distinction between "now with eleventy-billion apps in the app store!" and "now with eleventy-billion-and-a-half-apps in the app store!" when making a purchasing decision.

      • $100 a year is "don't waste my time" money.

        It's not about revenue; it's about keeping the number of apps needing review and approval down to something sane. If there are 100K app developers, they're looking at $10M a year. That's not much money to Apple.

        Any serious iOS developer is not going to have any problem with $100 a year. jwz (and I mean no offense here) is a beer salesman, not a serious iOS developer.

  7. Andrew Wilcox says:

    Why not just slap up an (unsupported) tar of the code somewhere and say "hey, go for it"? Developers could fork it and you would be free from supporting it ever again while letting it continue to provide enjoyment for us who love it.

    I for one would love to plug it into Xcode 4.2 dp6 and make it build for iOS 5 :P

  8. I'm somewhat surprised that they didn't remotely delete it from the phones of everyone who had already downloaded it. That "feature" is probably coming soon.

    Well, no, that would annoy customers, as opposed to developers.

    • jwz says:

      I'm going to save this comment so I can laugh at you later.

      • James says:

        Well if you ever get it then you could laugh WITH him.

      • Heh. You caught me on a keynote day and I guess the reality distortion field was extending all the way out to my office in Union Square. Of course Apple does things that annoy customers, but I'd be fairly surprised if they did this one particular thing.

    • Art Delano says:

      Principally, yanking the apps with expired developer certs is more work for Apple. After all, the apps as they exist have already been vetted (presumably) for security and contractual compliance. If the presumption proves flawed, then Apple can remove apps from devices, but probably it's going to be sufficient to passively let product churn and bit rot to expire apps on Apple's behalf.

  9. You probably have a metric shitton of free downloads, you'd be able to see them in iTunes Connect sales reports.

    Option 1: Charge $0.99 for it. It's a nice clock, nobody'll complain (Ha! Kidding, there'll be "should be free" jackholes). It'll at least cover the bills.

    Option 2 for Evil JWZ only: Put ads in the free version, use IAP to remove them. Nothing makes me love an app more than spam and extortion.

  10. John F says:

    I can think of a reason. Maybe not a good reason, but a reason nonetheless: Apps without maintenance often die a horrible lingering death, so if you're not prepared to pay to keep it available, you're probably not going to maintain it. That's just my theory, but if true there's probably a better way for Apple to go about it. Or maybe Apple never thought anyone would ever consider NOT paying them the $99/year.

  11. What's the license on this thing? I can't find any mention of it on the site or in the tarball.

  12. Don says:

    It may not apply to you but I imagine a sizable portion of the free apps are revenue generators either by virtue of being ad-supported or as promotional items for other things that make the dev money - perhaps business-branded things. Why should Apple continue to provide a distribution vector for someone not paying a nominal fee?

    I get that this is inconvenient for you and annoying. But I'm kinda surprised a business owner yourself that you're not at least a little sympathetic to Apple's perspective of wanting to get some minimal compensation for access to their storefront.

    • jwz says:

      Apple already takes a cut of ad revenue, and I already paid them a hundred dollars. I know you're still flushed from the reality distortion field of the developer's conference, but you're an idiot.

    • jwz says:

      And in case it's not obvious, I would be perfectly happy for my app to not be taking up Apple's apparently-oh-so-valuable storefront space. Hey, I should just distribute the binary from my own web site instead. OH WAIT. Apple goes out of their way to make that impossible.

  13. Lloyd says:

    The logic goes as follows:
    If the developer is not paying for a valid certificate, that indicates that the developer is not ready to issue a bugfix update if required.
    If the developer isn't ready to support the product, why should Apple support the product in the developer's absence? Why should Apple provide free downloads of an unmaintained product?