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How Apple created a climate of fear among developers

by on26 March 2015

Retraction always follows criticism

A top development blog has revealed that there is a climate of fear among the developer community about criticising the fruity cargo cult Apple's slumping software standards.

 Eli Schiff who is better known for his design work said that critics of Apple software were having to bury their criticisms for face the wrath of the company.

"Critics go on to reverse their opinions and praise the products of modern minimalist UI design because it is more convenient not to risk questioning powerful industry leaders," Schiff wrote.

For example Marco Arment engaged his critical faculties toward, what is in his opinion, the "rapid decline of Apple's software." He argued that Apple has "Lost the Functional High Ground," ignoring of course that they already lost the aesthetic-usability high ground. He explained, "I'm not looking forward to OS X 10.11 or iOS 9 — I'm afraid of the bugs they'll bring and the basic functions they'll render unreliable."

However after the story was published he updated it with a label that reads "I regret having published this." He continued, "I should feel good about this, but I don't. I inadvertently caused a shitstorm of negativity, and it feels horrible."

Arment said that he did not want to be known for criticising Apple – it was just not worth it. Arment also said he was scared of having damaged his relationship with Apple

UK developer Matt Wilcox, who wrote a similar piece said that he noticed someone from Cupertino appear on his web analytics page and suddenly he was scared of offending Apple.

This climate of fear comes at a time that developers are realising that there are only approximately 3000 apps profitable enough to support a median income of $50k for their developer.

David Barnard, the creator ofLaunch Center Pro, who pointed out that developers were so frightened of Apple they don't even publicly share all the crazy rejections for fear of reprisal from Apple.

Part of the problem is the rare material which comes from Apple. Apple's App Store Review Guidelines, reported to be written by Senior Vice President Phil Schiller, threatens developers who show Apple up in the press. "If you run to the press and trash us, it never helps."

Even when Apple behaves badly to developers and they have to complain, they feel they have to praise the company at the same time as they moan.

For example James Allworth, a former Strategist for Apple had to say:"I'm generally pro-Apple. I love what they do, I'm completely invested in their ecosystem, I loved working there previously."

However that was before he said: "Apple's former Chief Evangelist Guy Kawasaki had a mailing list of devout Apple employees and fanatics would go about promoting Apple's interests by destroying the opposition.

Allworth described what was expected of him when Kawasaki would rouse the mailing list:

"I was one of the ones that used to send emails to journalists that said anything other than kind things about Apple. Like they used to post negative articles about Apple and a whole horde of Apple proponents would bear down upon this poor unsuspecting soul."

In other-words Apple was running a Scientology-like programme to destroy journalists and developers who were seen as threats to the faith.

Last modified on 26 March 2015
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