By Pavel Durov
I hope you all liked the latest Telegram update – our 8th major update this year. This new version of Telegram could have become available to you several days earlier. But it didn’t, because of Apple’s desire to control every mobile app in the world. Few iPhone users realise how the policies of Apple make their lives worse. That’s why I decided to write the post below.
In the last few months, many prominent app developers voiced their disapproval of the App Store policies Apple imposes on all apps. Why should that concern you if you own an iPhone? Here are 7 reasons.
HIGHER PRICES. Apple’s 30% commission makes all apps and digital goods more expensive for you. It goes on top of the price you pay to developers for any services and games you buy on your phone. You pay more for every app, even though Apple already charged you a few hundred dollars more for your iPhone than it cost to make. In short, you keep paying even after you have paid.
CENSORSHIP. Some content in apps like Telegram is unavailable to you because Apple censors what is allowed on the App Store, which it fully controls to enforce the 30% tax. Apple even restricts us – app developers – from telling our users that certain content was hidden for iPhone users specifically at their request. Apple should realize how ridiculous their attempt to globally censor content looks: imagine a web browser deciding which websites you are allowed to view.
LACK OF PRIVACY. In order to install an app from the App Store, you must first create an Apple account and log in using it. After that, every single app you download and every push notification you receive is tied to your account, making you an easier target to track. Since the main reason you have to use an Apple account to download an iPhone app is Apple’s desire to enforce their 30% commission, the cost of their greed also includes your private data.
DELAYS IN APP UPDATES. You get new versions of your apps several days or weeks after they are actually ready, because Apple’s review team is notoriously inefficient and often delays approval for no apparent reason. You would think Apple could use the billions of dollars it receives from third-party apps to hire additional moderators. Somehow they are unable to do even that, and us – big apps like Telegram – typically have to wait several days or even weeks to publish updates.
FEWER APPS. Apple’s 30% commission on apps goes on top of all the other expenses developers must pay for: government taxes such as VAT (~20%), wages, research, servers, marketing. Many apps would have been net profitable in a world without Apple’s 30% commission, but being forced to surrender 30% of their revenue to Apple makes them unsustainable. As a result, many of them go bankrupt and lots of great apps you could have enjoyed just don’t exist.
MORE ADS IN APPS. Because Apple makes selling premium services and accepting donations one-third less meaningful for developers, many of them are forced to show ads in their apps in order for their companies to survive. Apple’s policies skew the entire industry towards selling user data instead of letting them adopt more privacy-friendly business models like selling additional services to their users.
WORSE APPS. Billions of dollars are taken from developers who could have otherwise spent those funds on improving the quality of the apps you use every day. Instead, this money rests idly in Apple’s offshore bank accounts and does nothing for the world, while app developers struggle to find resources for the research and development the world needs.
The situation is so bad that one would expect Apple’s 30% cut to be unsustainable. Yet it’s been around for more than 10 years and is still there. In my Telegraph post here, I’m explaining how Apple has been able to trick consumers and regulators into inaction for so long.