New Developer Program
you sir, can I have another...
What is happening?
Apple just changed their developers program --
again. And there is no doubt that they took stuff
away from developers. Developers are incessant
whiners, but of course that doesn't mean that their
whines are always unjustified. So I'm going to play
good cop and bad cop, and let both sides of me
vent. I am not happy, but the rational side admits
there is SOME validity to what they are doing. So
schizophrenic Dave will debate with himself:
Apple's behaving like adults
Those bastards are screwing me again
Apple works hard and deserves money for the
services they offer. As annoying as they sometimes
are to developers, their fees were less than "the
other side", and their services are better.
This transition is just Apple maturing, and
charging what is fair for services rendered.
Apple cycles between being fabulous to their
developers, to treating them like the IRS treats
everyone. Apple can transition pretty quickly, and
it seems we just went from a peak to a valley.
Help us Hiedi Rosen, why'd you leave us to the
jackals and the jackasses?!
Apple's new Developer Program that could be
summed up as:
Behaving like the big boys.
No more free rides for developers. You want to
play, you've got to pay -- and the fee's didn't go
Apple's new Developer Program that could be
summed up as one of their old ad campaigns:
It does less, it costs more, it's
OK. Maybe that isn't exactly Apple's old ad
campaign -- but it could be their new one. Ouch it
On the balance, Apple is being no worse than
Microsoft. In fact, it seems they went out of their
way to model their program after Microsoft's, but
they try to be a little better.
Microsoft is worshipped in the business world,
and they can make a buck off of anything. It is
about time that Apple got over their small company,
NIH origins, -- and they start making money
EVERYWHERE they can (or at least losing less).
Development support costs a lot, and Apple needs to
show sustained profitability in order to help the
platform, and get more "security" -- to stem the
tide of idiots predicting Apple's immediate demise.
This is another good step in that direction.
So much for thinking different. They are now
thinking the same. So what if they are a little
better than Microsoft -- the most hated company in
the computing world, known for gouging its
customers. I don't like Microsoft (and how they
treat developers), and I don't care if apple is
being 5% nicer. That just means that they are
giving me a little foreplay, before they give me
what comes next. Oh, boy, don't I feel privileged.
Apple needs to be more than a little better -- they
need to be a LOT better.
Developers are a bunch of whiny, cheap pansies.
If Apple loses a few premadona's that is no big
loss. What are they going to do? Go over to Windows
where they are treated worse? This is the usual
flatulence, and they really only want to get
Apple's family jewels handed to them for free. This
is proven by their overreaction to such a small
Apple needs all the developers they can get!
Especially now. Apple should be out there treating
developers like they are Gods, in order to keep and
encourage MORE development. They need to be
pleasing those that have been loyal to them through
all this turmoil, and for making Apple what it is.
Without Developers there is no Apple!
Apple will have more money coming in, and now
they can afford to help the remaining developers
more. Also, Apple has been giving away more tools
(like MPW, and so on) to developers. They deserve
to charge more. They have even added more support,
like having some free services under the new
program, and so on.
Instead Apple seems determined to treat
Development Support like it can be a profit center.
Every time they do this (and they do it every few
years), they lose developers. Maybe it can be a
profit center if you are Microsoft and you are a
monopoly -- Apple isn't. They should be out there
encouraging as much development as possible, not
The New Program
Under the old program, every developer (and
their friends) were becoming developers just so
that they could get hardware discounts (that
weren't that good anyway). The administration costs
and overhead was hurting them. Add in all the
complexities of these pseudo-developers, and the
waste in shipping lots of documentation and CD's to
people who threw it away or didn't care (they were
only in it for the hardware), and this was a
The new program eliminates hardware, which
should help with the focus on developers
(not moochers). The added revenue can improve
services, and Apple is expanded the list servers,
giving discounts on tools, and may be giving more
software in the future (like Rhapsody seeds which
includes a whole development environment).
Under the old program, I was paying $250 a year
(an Associate), and I was getting my developer
CD's, my software seeds, occasional hardware
discounts (that I could usually beat through
mail-order places), and little support. I could
access their Web Site, and be involved in some
With the new program, I can pay $500 to get the
same thing, except I don't get the hardware
discounts (which Apple had been making less useful
for me each year). Am I supposed to be impressed?
They throw me some carrots, like $100 gift
certificate for Metrowerks products, and now I can
get two (less than valuable) tech support questions
answered per year. But it all comes down to twice
as much, and I lose my hardware discounts. Gee,
So some people will blow wind, and say they are
going to leave. The ones that do weren't that
serious of developers, or they will get support
through companies, schools and other institutions
-- which will help Apple focus more on the core
developers. Apple can't be all things to all people
-- they have to cut the cord and build
organizations to support themselves and each
So what will I do? I will let my subscription
run out, and walk away. I won't stop developing for
Macs, but I can't afford to keep my own
registration up to date. I'll just have to use the
developer programs from the companies I work for,
instead of also maintaining my own. Doesn't hurt me
much -- but it hurts Apple. Not just because of me,
but because they loose small developers like
Small timers can still get the Developer discs
for $99. The only thing they lost was access to
NDA'd stuff and pre-releases. Apple had security
problems with this anyway, so tightening that up
isn't going to hurt the company. There is still
plenty of value in the developer program. The OS
releases alone (that come on the discs) would add
up to a couple hundred dollars in value (if not
I had a tough enough time encouraging people try
to become developers with the costs what they were
-- even though it was a good value, and you got
monthly CD's and so on. But now it is going to be
much harder sell. Great move Apple. The $250 was
too much for many people to get started -- the $500
is way out of the range of students and
home-hackers. Say good-bye to small developers.
Apple needs to focus its services on those that
are making products that help the platform. Small
BUSINESSES and garage software companies can afford
the $500 a year. Especially compared to the other
costs ($ thousands for the computers, $ thousands a
month in developer costs and so on). So it doesn't
hurt businesses -- only the kids, and those not
serious about making products. So those that are
whining should keep perspective. They can spend
hundreds of thousands in time, but can't afford
$500/year? Yeah, right. Besides, they don't NEED to
pay that to create a product. The beta-software
only help if they are working on cutting edge
stuff, and if they get in touch with our
evangelism, or special teams, they can get that
And if you don't think this is a big deal (only
screwing your small developers), remember that
almost every great revolutionary product that has
come out for the Mac, came from the small
developers (who may now be big). Adobe was small.
BareBones is small. Metrowerks started small.
Central Point, Aldus, Macromedia, Silicon Beach,
Fifth Generation, MacPlay (interplay) and so on and
so forth, not to mention fabulous shareware
developers -- they all started as SMALL developers,
and made the Mac what it is. Most of the
best developers (as far as supporting Mac)
are still the small developers. The big boys are
big bureaucracies, and they don't support the Mac
as well as the little developers do. So this move
is especially hurtful.
Costs are irrelevant to
what businesses can charge -- they have to charge
for what is the value. Apple's material is
certainly worth a lot more than they've been
getting. And this all goes to pay for an area of
the business that loses money. The more that comes
in, the better Apple can afford to offer more
The annoying part is
knowing what it costs. For $.50 a disc (each
month), which is the only real value I've gotten
out of Apple, I get to pay $40 each month. What a
deal -- for them. Everything else I get is a fixed
cost for them (they have to do it anyway, and
giving me access doesn't cost them a
There are many that trust Apple. Apple is a
business, and is looking out for their best
interests -- but not blindly so. They don't want to
chase off developers, they want to support their
developers -- but they have to balance business
with support. Apple has been giving developers more
(tools, services, etc.) and now they add costs to
It is hard being a Mac Developer. Mostly because
of boneheaded mba-types in management and
marketing, and the witless apple-bashing press. But
developers aren't helping when they overreact to
small changes, and whine about everything.
Developers should put down their megaphones (get
off their soap boxes), stop sending Apple hate
mail, stop bitching in every newsgroup and email
list, get off their asses and create
There are many that just don't trust Apple.
Developers think they know it all ('cause they do).
When they don't like a decision, or ten in a row,
they start getting pissy. Apple has given them a
lot to question and get pissy about! This is just
another in a long trend of easily questionable
moves, Apple's boneheaded moves hurt them, why
shouldn't they complain?
It is hard being a Mac Developer. 33% of that is
because of misinformation (mostly the press). 33%
of that is because of mind-numbed mba-followers,
who can't do math, and who listen to the herd and
fail think for themselves (whether they are VC,
accounting, or management). But the last 33% is
because when I turn my back for a second, Apple is
trying to stick a knife in it. Thanks a lot guys.
Stop nickel and diming me, and stop changing things
every other year!
I've been an Apple
developer, since I could barely scrape enough together to
afford it -- my AppleLink ID was was 0400 (or their 400th
developer), so lets just say I've been around a
For outsides who may have seen
the car-wreck on the list-groups, this bitch-fest is
nothing new. Every time Apple changes anything they get
this reaction. After a while people calm down and figure
out that they were over reacting, or at least they resign
themselves to their new reality.