Apple in Your Eye

Website Claims Apple Developers Are Trying to Form a Union

Just in time for WWDC!

screen shot 2012 06 07 at 4 24 11 pm Website Claims Apple Developers Are Trying to Form a UnionIf a labor organization forms and only reporters follow it, is it for real? Earlier today, SiliconBeat reported on a new website called App Developer Union ostensibly launched to organize iOS developers burned by Apple’s policies–just days before this year’s WWDC. The site also has an accompanying Twitter (@AppDevUnion) and an attendant hashtag (#appdevunion). But so far, its only followers are four tech reporters, including us, and a men’s lifestyle blog.

As SiliconBeat noted, the domain’s registration information on WhoIs is listed as private. Of course, that doesn’t mean that their grievances don’t ring true. It’s quite possible that interested developers might be nervous about publicly signing up for the cause. After all, Apple’s had an uneasy relationship with developers for years. Back in 2009, Marco Arment said of their reluctance to answer questions at WWDC, “We could probably have a more open discussion with Kim Jong-il about North Korea’s nuclear policy.”

The list of complaints on App Developer Union’s website range from Apple’s response to the more recent Lodsys patent debacle to Apple’s long-standing revenue-share cut of 30 percent from app sales, a policy that has been in place since Apple owned its App Store for third-party developers in 2008.

1. Put a stop to the cloning of apps: developers give sweat & tears to creating them and it’s not fair, or good for the ecosystem, when cloned apps become promoted apps.

2. Resolve the Lodsys patent issue by one or more of the following:

  • Show the developer community your license to the Lodsys patent so developers can make a fully informed decision about whether to take a license or to rely on Apple’s
  • Indemnify app developers against Lodsys (and others) on your platform
  • Pay for the developers’ patent license(s) out of your cut

3. Get to something more equitable than that 30% share you are taking from app sales; the more money app developers make, the better off the ecosystem!

Guess we’ll have to wait until next week’s WWDC to see if the group gains traction. In the meantime, the website also turned their requests into an easy-to-digest video narratives, if you’re looking to stoke your populist ire.

Follow Nitasha Tiku on Twitter or via RSS. ntiku@observer.com