Hello, I’m Michael Sliwinski, founder of Nozbe - to-do app for business owners and their teams. I write essays, books, work on projects and I podcast for you using #iPadOnly in #NoOffice as I believe that work is not a place you go to, it’s a thing you do. More…

For Developers to win Apple doesn’t have to lose - why Tim Cook should listen to Steve Jobs


I am an Apple fanboy and happy user of their products: iPad, iPhone, Watch and iCloud and everything in between. However, as a developer of Nozbe which is available on both of Apple’s platforms: iOS and macOS I have very mixed feelings about the company. Actually, I’m disappointed in them and the way they guard the App Store “Services” revenue and exercise their position, making fun of anti-steering provisions or EU’s DMA laws. Instead of making their platforms better, they are doing everything in their power to keep the status quo. That’s why I think it’s time for Tim Cook and all Apple executives to listen to the late Steve Jobs from his keynote at MacWorld Boston in 1997:

For Developers to win Apple doesn’t have to lose - why Tim Cook should listen to Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs came to Apple and settled with Microsoft!

Back in 1997 Apple was NOT the $3T mega company. It was on the verge of bankruptcy and Microsoft was calling the shots in the Computer Industry. It took a lot of courage for Steve Jobs to berry the hatchet with Microsoft and make a deal with them for patent cross-licensing, Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer and even an investment. Steve Jobs said (emphasis mine):

(…) if we want to move forward and see Apple healthy and prospering again, we have to let go of a few things here. We have to let go of this notion that for Apple to win, Microsoft has to lose.

And here comes the kicker:

We have to embrace the notion that for Apple to win, Apple has to do a really good job!

Can Apple just do a good job with the whole App Store thing?

I am an Apple fanboy. I’m rooting for Apple. Back in the day Microsoft was the villain and Apple was the underdog. Now Apple is a true villain and I hate seeing that. With each and every move they make regarding the App Store, they’re destroying their reputation and burning my trust with them.

They keep bending the App Store rules to their benefit and hold developers like me hostage that we never know if our latest update of Nozbe is going to get approved or not. Apple stifles the competition with anti-steering rules (you cannot say that there is a web site of where we have apps for other platforms) and makes fun of regulators with their malicious compliance with law, introducing scare-sheets, core technology fees, countless limitations with double-asterisks on them and other nonsense.

At Nozbe we do support in-app purchases because if we don’t, we can’t have a sign-up form in our app. We don’t do it because it’s the best way to pay for an app on the App Store. We do it, because it’s the only way, and it’s really bad, as Jason Fried explains:

When you think about the big picture of a complete customer relationship, in app purchases are one of the most hostile customer experiences I’ve seen. Sure, the purchase part is relatively easy (most modern purchase flows are these days), but that’s where Apple stops. We end up with our hands tied behind our backs. Unable to help customers to our own high standards because Apple won’t let me, or my employees, do our jobs.

Apple of today is not doing a good job and I really want Apple to be doing just that… a good job. I want them to compete:

Look, it’s Apple’s App Store. To date, they’ve earned the position of power they’re in. They do and should benefit from this. But I also want them to aspire to be better than using that strength to prey upon the weakness of others. Again, I want them to win on the field. To compete. These days, they seem more interested in some Sun Tzu shit.

Apple, please start doing a good job!

Apple must let go of the notion that for App Store to win, everyone else has to lose. Let there be choice on the platform. Choice of app marketplaces, choice of payment processors, choice of apps (as many types of apps are not allowed on the App Store currently).

Apple shouldn’t be forced to reluctantly open this kind of choice by the regulators and governments. They should proactively do it because it’s the next right thing to do.

I’m not insinuating that Steve Jobs, had he lived, would behave better. I don’t know that. But what I do know, is that Steve Jobs in 1997 made some really smart decisions that came from a position of abundance and not from a position of hubris and executives at Apple should really listen to him:

Wednesday, March 13, 2024 /good-job/