[154] Apple 成就了 App Store 紅海生態?

前陣子,曾是開發人員的 Matt Gemmell 這篇〈Damage〉文章引起不少討論

文中列出幾個 Apple 造成 App Store 生態圈低劣,對開發人員極度不友善但對黑蘋果極度有利的策略。底下截錄並提供我自己的看法:

Target the largest customer base, so they get 30% of the biggest potential income. That means selling at a low price, because most customers will only pay low prices, and all customers prefer low prices. This teaches customers that software’s average value is low.

由蘋果一手主導的削價競爭,目的是讓 iOS 生態圈快速聚集並留住使用者,而做苦功的是被抽 30% 版稅的開發人員。長久下來造成終端消費者認為軟體應該低價,最好是一元有找。到了最後變成被迫免費,開發人員要活下去必須想辦法從 IAP 中獲利。

Build a universal app (iPhone and iPad versions, in the same package) to increase the attractiveness and convenience of owning multiple iOS devices. You’ll earn a “+” in your app’s buy-button on the Store. This teaches customers that supporting multiple devices isn’t something to pay extra for.

策略性鼓勵並誘導開發者撰寫 Universal app,而不是手機、平板各一套。

教育消費者:同一個產品,一個版本要能多機不同尺寸共用。而開發適合不同尺寸裝置所花費的心思,通常不會小於( 1 device dev time x 2),造成開發人員不會因為產品功能更複雜獲得更多報酬。

Also include an Apple Watch version within the iPhone app. As above.

附贈 Apple Watch 版本也是剛好而已。一次購足嘛。

Provide regular updates, at no cost; so much so that there’s no mechanism for paid upgrades at all. This teaches customers that they should expect free upgrades for life, no matter how little they paid for the software initially.

一毛錢不能收之無限升級的設計,無法靠北。雖然可以出個 v2 版本重新收費,只不過被罵無良開發者的機率頗高,還可能因此大幅影響營收。

Make exactly one sale of an app per person, ever, regardless of the number of devices they own, how often the app has been updated since they last used it, and so on. This also teaches customers that they’re entitled to come back to a free app at any point in the future, no matter how long ago they paid for it.

Ideally, make exactly one sale of an app per family. This reinforces the commodification of software; it’s to be shared around.

手上有十台機器的傢伙,也只能收一次錢。喔,一個家庭也只能收一次錢,即所謂家庭號。心態大概是這樣:「我媽用的跟我用的是同一套,只是複製一份而已,要另外收錢未免太無良了吧?」

一人購買,全家享用,多棒的概念?而且,「家庭號」比較貴嗎?並沒有。

Sell only through their store, with their distribution mechanism, their product page design and user flow, and their 30% cut — which doesn’t provide for marketing or discovery of any kind beyond searchability, and the very small chance of being featured in some way. The majority of customers probably have no idea that the price they pay for an app is almost 43% higher than the amount the developer will receive, before tax (i.e. that Apple takes 30% off the top).

一順位抽走了 30%,App Store 的功能卻是弱到讓人抓狂。使用者找不到適合的 app,開發者吸引不到足夠的使用者。


軟體公司,不論是硬地(Indie)或有規模的公司,要活下去就要有足夠而且穩定的營收。以 App Store 這種鼓勵「削價競爭」的策略,最後活下來的都是「好」公司嗎?我不這麼認為。看看那些收 IAP 收得嚇嚇叫的手遊廠,Apple 及遊戲開發商錢賺得飽飽,但是兩者的手段皆以最大化自己的利益為考量,Apple 才不管什麼生態不生態,鞏固營收最重要。長遠來看,對整個 App Store 生態是有害的。

軟體開發人員發現 App Store 養活不了自己,紛紛出走或乾脆放棄該平台。劣幣逐良幣,剩下來的多是以啃食消費者「金錢」與「時間」的無意義軟體。你說還是有很多人在 App Store 上獲得巨大成功啊。那些是少數,而你不希望這世界只有那些個指標型的公司存活,那不健康。

一篇文章提供了稍微不同的觀點:由歷史來看,其實現在的低價競價有很大的原因來自於早期低劣的 App 造成使用者不良印象,漸漸地,人們不再願意事先付費買軟體,而傾向先用用看再決定要不要付費。作者說 Apple 沒有規定你只能賤賣軟體,價格還是由你定,接不接受由市場決定。不無道理,但作者也承認 Apple 是可以做點什麼來降低損害。

我覺得舉 Mac App Store 上依然有很多售價相對高昂的軟體為例來反駁 Apple 在 App Store 上造成的傷害,說不通。App Store 是唯一一個 App 上架到 iOS 的管道,MAS 則依然有傳統的通路可行。其實,許多軟體公司已經看到 MAS 未來可能發生的「慘況」,紛紛跳船,公開表示不以 MAS 做為販售 Mac app 的唯一管道。

走傳統管道對 Apple 來說最直接的影響是少了 30% 版稅可抽,Apple 當然不可能放過任何製造營收的機會,許多新功能要求 MAS 才能使用。開發者的需求與請願呢?與 Apple 利益抵觸者,無效。付與不付 30% 版稅,當然是直接抵觸,Apple 會怎麼做,應該很清楚了。

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