App Store Snafus in Mountain Lion

TLDR: Developers have to surrender license and design control, plus 30 cents on the dollar for a fully featured app. Users get gimped F/OSS and popular 3rd party apps.

So before the Mac app store existed, you paid for software and licensed it directly from the company. Buy TextMate 1, you get TextMate 2… maybe 8 years later… for free. Besides TextMate, I had a copy of Delicious Library 2. The same version of DL2 is in the App Store now, but the developer's doles out from a small handful of redemption codes; one does not simply convert third party licenses to app store licenses.

So come Mountain Lion, there will essentially be two versions of Delicious Library 2, it's just that mine will be more limited than the one that somebody else bought in the last couple of months. Easy workaround: release Delicious Library 3. No good deed going unpunished, you don't get to upgrade pricing.

Companies like Microsoft, Adobe, Google, and VMware don't need exposure to the App Store, but by managing the licensing themselves—institutional pricing, student discounts and the like, their apps are denied a full featureset.

Maybe you have an open source project as a hobby. Unless you're getting a lot of donations or feeling flush, it seems pretty dumb to pony up as a registered developer just to qualify for App Store review, but it's the only way to make use of all the APIs you need/want.

And yep, so far there's no problem at all if Uncle Mela (Italian for "Apple") gets to wet his beak a little. Even so, what are the chilling effects on an app with the calibre of DeCSS, the next time something like that comes around? It might be as dependent on restricted APIs as it is unlikely to survive approval.

Surely 1 Infinite Loop has spent some time thinking this out, and an almost equal number of hours not giving half a damn. These are the tricks and traps that await you.