Victory
Petitioning 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino, California Apple

Apple: Please Allow Small Businesses to Publish Apps In The App Store

3,273
Supporters

Our hope with this petition is to open a constructive dialogue with Apple to reconsider their new App Store approval guidelines by giving small businesses a fighting chance against large corporations who can afford custom iOS development.

"4.2.6 - Apps created from a commercialized template or app generation service will be rejected."

With these words, Apple has now made it clear that drag & drop app building - which simplifies, speeds up, and makes iOS development affordable for small businesses - is no longer accepted in their App Store regardless of the quality of the app.

What’s the story?

It has become evident that the business model of “drag and drop app builders” using pre-built components that facilitate, speed up, and make mobile app development affordable for small businesses is no longer accepted in the App Store.

Why is this important?

Any small business that cannot afford custom mobile app development will be affected by this ban. Custom app development costs vary, but it can be anywhere from $20,000 to $200,000 depending on their feature requirements. They will no longer be able to offer their customers a personalized app experience on iOS comparative to the Taco Bells, Starbucks’, and McDonalds’ of the industry. Small businesses will not be able to compete with larger brands because they will not be able to offer similar customer experiences on a much smaller budget.

What types of businesses and organizations are affected by this ban?

  • Restaurants
  • Gyms & Fitness Clubs
  • Hair Salons
  • Schools & Universities
  • Non-profit Organizations
  • Local Governments
  • Religious Organizations
  • Local Radio & News Outlets
  • Any Business or Organization who cannot afford the high cost of building a native iPhone app

Why is this ban problematic?

The functionality of apps can be similar (e.g. a restaurant uses a food ordering system with a built-in loyalty program), however, its content and purpose are as different as the customers using the mobile apps. You can still build a “unique” app with a templated framework. The reasoning behind the 4.2.6 rejection is problematic because Apple is not concerned with the end product but rather with the method with which the app is created. More specifically, if your app is easy to make but the end product is unique & functional, your app will still be rejected due to its templated code.

Are there better alternatives for cleaning up the App Store?

We understand that Apple is looking to “clean up” the app store and we are happy to see that uploading 1000s of the same version of a particular game is no longer acceptable. However, Apple could have taken a more targeted approach in order to give small businesses a fair chance. They could have removed these types of apps from its respective categories and allowed them to only be searchable through direct search.

Users of mobile apps built by local businesses are typically not downloading these apps by searching through the “Food & Dining” category as an example but rather these customers are searching the business name directly in App Store, scanning a QR code, or download the app directly from an iTunes App URL.

Other solutions:

Another solution that moves native app features onto Progressive Web Apps or PWAs. This technology is backed by Google and it allows you to build app-like mobile experiences without the app store. Customers would no longer need to download an app to access powerful features like mobile food ordering or loyalty programs. They simply access it through their web browser. Google supports it, but Apple has not implemented the technology onto their mobile Safari browsers.

Other items to note:

Senator Ted W. Lieu has gotten involved and has since sent a letter to Tim Cook, the CEO at Apple, in regards to these that will affect millions of small businesses and other organizations worldwide.

“It is my understanding that many small businesses, research organizations and religious institutions rely on template apps when they do not possess the resources to develop apps in-house,” wrote Lieu, a Democrat, in the note obtained by Recode. He urged Apple to “examine possible changes” to its guidelines.

You can view his letter to Apple here: https://www.scribd.com/document/366675400/12-1-17-Letter-From-Rep-Lieu-to-Tim-Cook

Other organizations that support this petition:

"AppMakr has helped thousands of community groups, churches, entrepreneurs and small businesses to join the app economy by giving them a cost-effective, easy way to build high-value apps for the iOS community. We would love to see Apple continue to support this important ecosystem by leveraging the iTunes App Store important role in economic development." - Jay Shapiro, CEO of AppMakr

"We feel the 4.2.6 rejection ruling is a necessity to safeguard the quality of the Apple's App Store, however many smaller organizations (including festival promoters) cannot afford custom iOS development. This new guideline creates an unfair market situation and competitive advantage for larger players, unfortunately also killing the innovation that typically arises from the 'challengers' in our industry and most like many other industries as well." - Robin Van den Bergh, CEO of Appmiral

"Apple’s 4.2.6 rule is very destructive and unfair not only to developers but also to millions of nonprofits worldwide. 85% of all nonprofits are small organizations and there is no way they can afford to build their own custom apps. Companies like ours are trying to remove those high-cost barriers and empower every small nonprofit to impact lives and be more effective human change agents. We really hope Apple will revise this rule and will come up with a wiser decision." - Yuri Gorzey, CEO of Impact Factors

What is our goal with this petition?

We are simply looking to open a constructive dialogue with Apple and see if there is a middle ground to be met with their new approval guidelines. We also hope to show Apple the true impact these changes have on a very large industry which cannot afford custom iPhone development (small businesses) and discuss ideas that would allow small businesses and local organizations to continue creating iPhone apps affordably,  while also helping Apple's initiative to declutter the App Store.

This petition was delivered to:
  • 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino, California
    Apple

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