What is the Mac App Store

Is the Mac App Store in crisis?

Stephan Wiesend

The App Store for iOS generates billions in sales, but many developers are dissatisfied with the Mac App Store. We explain why.

EnlargeThe Mac App Store is not without controversy among developers.
© Fotolia / Natalia Merzlyakova

No developer who wants to sell a tool or game can bypass the iOS Store. Thanks to the success of the iPhone and iPad, there is a huge crowd who can install any app exclusively through Apple's iOS store. When the Mac App Store was introduced, it was expected that the iOS store would also be successful with the desktop version. In our opinion, however, that only partially worked. Today the store is very popular with users, mainly thanks to the simple automatic update of the apps.

Apple neglected the developers a bit. You are not completely enthusiastic, which is especially evident in the app offer. The real bestsellers are still missing: Software companies like Microsoft and Adobe don't need a middleman for their sales who charge a 30 percent commission. Microsoft only offers free apps like One Note. Adobe has also only released its low-end programs Premiere Elements and Photoshop Elements. But many smaller developers also prefer to sell their apps themselves: They mainly offer software that costs more than 50 euros themselves. These include Cyberlinks Photodirector, Papyrus Autor, DxO Optics Pro and professional audio programs from Steinberg such as Cubase.

Actually, it should be the store's job to quickly become known as a small developer. However, the same programs have been in the top positions of the top-selling apps for years: WISO Steuer, Affinity Photos and 1 Password, dJay Pro, PIxelmator and PDF Export. It's no wonder: once you're in the top 30, it's easier to stay up there.

What reforms were needed

Apple is obviously not completely satisfied either and has brought some innovations. Editors introduce new apps via “New apps and Games we love” to give newbies a chance. More importantly, one of the biggest annoyances for developers was the inability to respond to user reviews - even if they were completely unjustified In the near future it should finally be possible to point out misunderstandings. There have even been users who wanted to praise an app and only gave it one star out of ignorance ... However, there are still some points of criticism, especially technical limitations with Setting the apps and upgrade options.

Low income

Many developers are disappointed with the income, even in the US store apparently a place in the sales charts does not mean high sales. The developer Jeff Johnson was delighted when his social media app Underpass appeared in 18th place in the “Top Paid Social Networking” ranking! The app also reached 29th place in the ranking of the top-selling apps in the area of ​​social networking. However, a single purchase was sufficient for the placement - which earned the developer 70 cents and Apple 30 cents. Johnson never expected to make a lot of money with the app. He's not the only one astonished that one can stand so high in one of the many rankings with so few sales. Even if social networking is only a marginal area, you shouldn't expect too high sales from the Mac App Store.

EnlargeAfter a single purchase, this app landed in one of the top lists.

It looks better, of course, for apps in the iOS store, but one shouldn't forget that money is made primarily with games. The times when you could earn huge sums of money with a Pups app are simply over. One example is photo apps: a few years ago, the iOS photo management system offered hardly any options, and you had to resort to third-party apps to beautify photos. Today you can make the most important corrections with on-board tools, besides, the competition is huge and there are countless free apps such as Snapseed, Photodirector and more.

But if you have to pay salaries for ten employees and the rent for an open-plan office, a thousand euros a day should come in to avoid going broke. That can hardly be done with a German-language app and actually only possible with iOS apps.