Angry developer says Apple is 'like The Godfather' — won't refuse offer of alternative app marketplaces despite hurdles

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(Image credit: Future)

A developer incensed by Apple’s new EU App Store rules says “many” app developers are “angry and upset” with the company, likening Apple to The Godfather with its application of measures designed to comply with the Digital Markets Act. 

Colton Adamski told the BBC this week that while Apple “says it's opening up… it still has a tight fist around iPhones.” The report says the 22-year-old “former hacker and businessman” is hoping to launch one of the very first alternative app marketplaces on iPhone in the EU, alongside the likes of Mobivention, a B2B-focused store for businesses, and MacPaw’s Setapp

Interestingly, the BBC reports that Adamski “has been running an unofficial iPhone app store for more than six years” which he describes as a “grey business.” As you might expect, Adamski “jumped at the chance” to create a legitimate store for customers in the EU when it became clear the new Digital Markets Act would pave the way for third-party app stores on the iPhone, a move confirmed by Apple earlier this year. 

Too many hurdles? Developers react to App Store changes

According to the report, “Colton's excitement diminished though when he and his team started reading Apple's terms and conditions.” Adamski “compares Apple's rules to a gangster from The Godfather or Sopranos. Yes, you can open your shop on their turf, but you have to do exactly as they say or they will shut you down.” 

Specifically, the report notes several hurdles to creating a new alternative app marketplace. Adamski highlighted Apple’s requirement that developers “Provide Apple a stand-by letter of credit in the amount of €1,000,000 from a financial institution that’s at least A-rated or equivalent by S&P, Fitch, or Moody’s, and maintain that standby letter of credit as long as your alternative app marketplace is in operation.” This requirement has recently been waived for developers who are “a member of good standing in the Apple Developer Program for two continuous years or more, and have an app that had more than one million first annual installs on iOS in the EU in the prior calendar year.”

Adamski also highlighted Apple’s much more controversial Core Technology Fee, which says developers “will need to pay €0.50 for each first annual install of their marketplace app,” after one million downloads. As per the report, Adamski “feels this is like a so-called protection fee paid to a mob under the guise of making sure a shop owner's business is safe,” Adamski told the BBC “Many app developers I know are angry and upset. How on earth can they explain this Core Technology Fee? We don't see Android pulling that nonsense.” 

Several big-name players, most notably Spotify, have already called out Apple for perceived malicious compliance over the DMA. They claim that Apple is making it as painful as possible for developers to take their business away from the App Store. A letter drawn up by Spotify and Epic and signed by 34 companies and associations says Apple’s new structure “seems designed to maintain and even amplify Apple’s exploitation of its dominance over app developers."

Unlike The Godfather, however, it seems as though Adamski believes that with its alternative app marketplace policy, Apple has made them an offer they must refuse because the bar for compliance has been set so high. Despite this, the report says Adamski “is determined to make his app store work,” but that “It's proving to be really tough but me and my team are working hard because this is literally the future of iPhones.”

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Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9

  • Lestat1886
    So shut up, put your work where your mouth is and go develop an app for a third party App Store on Android..
  • Annie_M
    Lestat1886 said:
    So shut up, put your work where your mouth is and go develop an app for a third party App Store on Android..
    This tickled me, and I completely agree with you!
  • Ledsteplin
    I agree with him. Those fees are ridiculous. Apple's just being difficult, because they lost that fight in the EU. Apple wants a monopoly on everything. Not to mention all your money.
  • Lee_Bo
    Well, to play devils advocate, you’re in the Applesauce. You either play by their rules or you don’t play at all.

    Don’t get me wrong, I do not agree with this.

    But it’s Apple’s party. They can cry if they want to.