MBW 792: Smitten by Hot Wax

Beep boop - this is a robot. A new show has been posted to TWiT…

What are your thoughts about today’s show? We’d love to hear from you!

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(sigh) well - I shouldn’t be surprised on how Alex feels about Judge Gonzalez denying the injunction request by Apple. And, trying (very hard) to be charitable to his perspective - I guess I do see his point about how it could be abused. The problem is that any guideline can be abused.

Sidebar: Calling them guidelines is really a misnomer. They aren’t suggestions or ‘good ideas’ - they are Apple’s absolute rules that have to be followed unless you have enough clout to privately negotiate an individual exception to any given rule. The term ‘guideline’ gives an impression of flexibility that we all know not does not exist in reality.

My repugnance is reserved for Alex’s carpet-bomb solution of 1-star-rating for any app that does this. Any rating system can be abused, but this is ridiculous. What about people who do the same thing to apps that only use Apple’s payment system - is it acceptable to 1-star those apps as well if I as a user want a choice that is being denied to me?

What if we expanded his approach to other mediums - like podcasts? Would it be acceptable for me (as a proponent of multiple payment options) to 1-star rate podcasts where hosts regularly criticize that choice? Even if 3 of the other hosts are more reasonable in their discussion - should I punish them and their show for the actions of another? Should I extend that to the advertisers - should I call for a boycott of advertisers who support shows where a host advocates a point of view that I disagree with? This can keep escalating and escalating with no end in sight.

I can respect his opinion that he thinks allowing multiple payment systems is an probable avenue for abuse. And it is likely that he will be proven correct in some cases. I don’t believe we will see any appreciable percentage abusing it - but even a small percentage can mean some large numbers in absolute terms.

Where I completely disagree with him is his proposed means of dealing with it and the utter collateral damage that can (and will likely) result from this approach.


What is Alex’s attitude, if the app offered ApplePay payment with 30% markup or external payment at the “normal” price? That is the best of both worlds, those that want to pay with AP can do so and pay the Apple vig, those that don’t want to can go direct to the app writer.

After nearly a decade of Windows Phone and Android, I find Apple’s apps very frustrating. On WP or Android, when I want a new book in Audible, I just search the shop and buy it, either with a credit or on my card. The same with Kindle. On the iPad, I have to put down my iPad, pick up my Android phone and buy the book there, put my Android phone down and then pick up my iPad and download the book, how is that a better experience than Android!?!?!?!


How would you propose consumers show their displeasure with developers using in-app links for payments?

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Could you use the Audible website on Safari to make a purchase? This would mean not putting down the iPad.

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Yes, but I am already logged in on my Android phone. Opening in Safari means having to log in, again.

Either way, it is a painful and far from smooth and seamless experience, which is what Apple always tries to promote on their devices.

I am switching to an iPhone, because Android has even more problems (mainly privacy and some security), so I will have to log into the website going forward. Apple welcomes me to 2008!


I know Leo said he was now dropping that subject and they’d review in 12 months or so, but it would be interesting to understand the worst-case scenario Alex is concerned about?

I thought the same as big_D, this is increasing the choice of where you buy it from. But you’d still have the option to get from the Apple Store using their own payment mechanism?

EPIC stuff is a bit of a mess on Android at the moment, but that’s because they’re in dispute and have been dropped from the Google Store.


Everyone thinks this will result in lower costs. Apple will charge the developer wherever you make the purchase.


Apple Business Essentials includes onsite service as well which most alternatives do not offer.

How will they know? Looking into the accounts of other companies is generally illegal, unless you are in takeover talks.

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Apple will add it to the developer agreement. Including audit clauses. Very standard in license agreements. It will specify a reporting requirement if you use external payment options.

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There are ways to communicate displeasure - two of which are:

  • Stop using the app if you feel that the use of alternate payment methods is wrong.
  • Communicate with the developer - maybe they have a reason that you’re not aware of for doing it that way.

Or, of course - continue to use the app but pay Apple like you always have.

To my mind - rating an app deals with the quality of the app (does it perform the function it says and how well does it do that function)., or related issues (like unknown data collection).

But what about my other points - where does the 1-star rating attack stop? Would it be fair for me to 1-star rate apps that don’t allow payment options? Would it be fair for me to 1-star rate related things (like podcasts) where people advocate for not-using payment options? Is an otherwise excellent app deserving of 1-star for this feature alone? I personally don’t think so.


Should that future come to pass, we’ll see how many companies will agree to that particular provision. I can definitely see larger companies balking at that kind of intrusion into their finances - regardless of how standard it is.

Apple has to be careful that they don’t come across as punishing those who make use of a legal option (as defined by Judge Gonzalez). If they look like they’re retaliating against companies and devs that implement this feature. the will be inviting a far more stringent response than this one - especially in the appeal process)

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Isn’t there a couple of scenarios? Your app is in the Apple App Store with a button to an alternative payment method - so I’d still expect a fee to be due to Apple.

Are they also proposing developers should be able to not be in the App Store at all and sideload? Same as macOS?

This is not retaliatory at all. The Judge said Apple was free to still collect its fees from developers who use their IP.

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It may not be retaliatory - but if it comes across that way based on how Apple implements it, then it could be an issue. As I also said - should that future come to pass where Apple wants to audit financials and such in order to ascertain what they believe their payment should be, then we’ll see what happens.

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I find the whole point of paying in an app to be moot. I am old and stubborn enough that I don’t use the Android phone that I have nor the iPad that I have to consume content. I prefer to do that on a TV or a computer, depending on the experience I am looking to have. (Or maybe via a Google Home if relevant.) I used to buy apps all the time when the iPad was new, but I just don’t find a touch user interface appealing. I’d rather use a controller to play games and a physical keyboard to type. I’ve never used TikTok either… I’m not even a boomer, but clearly I am neither “a young” :wink:

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Has Alex 1-starred the current Netflix app? Because right now, you have to go outside the app to sign up for the service and right now they can’t even tell you (much less link) how to sign up. There’s no way my grandmother could figure that out and it’s a bad customer experience.

One take I haven’t really heard is, I like the walled garden but it’s time the garden gets bigger and the wall gets shorter. I’d like to see Apple really rethink the app guidelines, and not have it so clearly profit driven. I really dislike all the special carve outs and treatment for some apps, but harassment for other developers.


I feel like they might be missing a trick. They need a “movie” they show for free, that extols the virtues of Netflix and shows how to use it on various platforms and sneaks in how to signup on their website.


At least the password managers all work well on Safari for speedy log in. :laughing: