The Power Of Instant Approval

Back in the early days of web video, it wasn't clear who would win the competition for video upload to the web. There was YouTube, Vimeo, and the big dog was Google Video. I tried all of them. YouTube was by far and away the best experience.

Google Video required you to wait for days to see the video you uploaded. It was so annoying that I wrote this post exactly four years ago today (how's that for a coincidence?). This line sort of sums it up:

Posting stuff to the Internet has to be instantaneous.  What if wrote
this post on Tyeppad and it took me 10 minutes to see the result?  What
if I posted a photo to Flickr and it took a day to see it?

I was reminded of that post when I was reading Bijan's post on mobile apps this morning. Bijan makes the same point about developers and the iPhone app store:

Developers are getting extremely frustrated with the Apple App Store
(understatement). I’m hearing it can take developers 4 weeks to get an
update released. That’s dysfunctional.

The argument Apple makes about approving every app is similar to the argument Google made about approving every video. They want to make sure only quality stuff gets into their service. And I suppose it is even more important when we are talking about software running on your phone.

I'm not going to argue with the logic of those points of view, but I'll make this observation. Instant gratification is a very powerful force, for both consumers and developers. The web is full of success stories that have embraced the power of instant gratification and also full of failures that made people wait too long.

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#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. Justin Pirie

    Let’s hope Google have learnt their lesson and give the iPhone a run for it’s money with Android. Better devices and more apps will help that no end.Thinking about it- that was a really expensive lesson- buying youtube…

    1. fredwilson

      I think it was a good buy. Can’t say that about most billion plus web buys

      1. Justin Pirie

        Agreed. Would have been cheaper to get it right first time tho ;)Kudos for hosting Steve Blank and inspiring yesterdays post.

  2. kidmercury

    this is why i don’t believe in the big catch all communities. i am never sympathetic to whatever crapple is whining about because i view them as an arrogant company, but i do understand that they want a filtering mechanism of some sort — ultimately all stakeholders in the ecosystem will benefit from a well designed filter. but crapple will never be able to do a good job filtering because they are trying to be too big. what they need to do is embrace the idea of working with others and in some way push the app moderation process to the edge — i.e. get the developers themselves involved in the app moderation process, or find a way to fund other businesses that can do it. given how much excitement there is surrounding crapple’s iphone platform by developers willing to trade their freedom for rounded corners, this should be very feasible. but of course, it would require an attitude adjustment on the part of crapple’s management, and perhaps acceptance of the fact that platforms are really about communities, not about genius or vision (they are nice to have and can be competitive advantages but still over the long haul the community is the top dog up in this piece, something i don’t think crapple will ever really understand).

    1. Mark Essel

      Hell yeah KM. Community crowd sourced filters are so much stronger than internal product tests. We have billions of eyes waiting to chew on information and data. Let us use them to sift through the chaff for the wheat.The new filters will incorporate user feedback with automated utilities to help people zoom out and in like google earth’s navigation on information they are interested in.

      1. Dave Pinsen

        Don’t “crowd sourced filters” back up at some point when there are too many products to test? Isn’t that the case with iPhone apps now? I don’t have one, but I remember reading that there was a huge number of apps on the app store. Maybe Apple is less concerned with ticking off developers at this point than it is with quality control for users? Just a though.

        1. Mark Essel

          There certainly needs to be a pre-filter if the audience who is reviewing products (or anything) isn’t a sufficient size to help collaboratively search the space for quality.The flip size to crowd sourced search is that you want the right crowd to review stuff for you personally.Universal reviews by everyone breaks down to the average tastes, which ironically no one likes.

          1. kidmercury

            great point mark, you definitely want the right crowd, and IMHO one of the big dangers in all the open/crowdsourced stuff is that you can easily attract the wrong crowd. for instance, if apple were to crowdsource the app moderation process, one of the first problems they’d face is people trying to game the system; i.e. teams of developers trying to force bad apps in. we see this with digg spam. but it can get quite deceptive: i know in the search engine marketing world there are folks who have invested in being trusted moderators of wikipedia, and once they earned the trust, they started spamming and blocking competitors. IMHO wikipedia, like many great nation states, won’t fall from external threats, rather it will collapse from within. it will be an inside job.

          2. Mark Essel

            Oh man you covered so many principles of design theory, and evolutionary engineering I need to focus on one. The inside job concept is dead on, corruption is hard to stop because greed is an infinite energy source.Let’s start simple, Trust is something we can’t automate. The better we get a grasp on Trust the better the entire concept of focused communities can be.I Trust you Kid to be yourself here, in Fred’s virtual bar. To be biased to your own creations (who isn’t), and to be biased towards concepts and ideas that harmonize with your own. Your opinions now matter to me, can open up my mind to new information, design theories, or even historical details I may have missed.

          3. kidmercury

            you nailed what IMHO is the most valuable asset any startup can have: trust. it’s why i like blogging so much, because it think it’s the ultimate way to build trust.

          4. Mark Essel

            Heck ya, you gotta start somewhere and show you are in it for the long haul. Building/revealing latent value is a life long quest. Any business I’m part of has to show up, reliably and authentically. Nothing up my sleeves but an irresistable desire to build a better mouse trap before the lights go out.

        2. fredwilson

          They can get both by opening up and empowering users to flag bad shit

    2. Dan Lewis

      I think you nailed it. Businesses which focus on platforms and formats are typically horizontal — they are agnostic as to the type of content they serve, but will only serve it within their platform. So the NYT will print sports, tech, business, op-ed, science, weddings, etc. Content providers, on the other hand, are typically vertical: they want their content on all platforms, but only within their area of expertise. You’ll never see Mike Arrington on Baseball Tonight or Thomas Friedman discussing VOIP on a podcast.Unfortunately, a lot of platforms don’t realize that they’re not actually content providers — witness the NYT. And the only reason they need to curate the content they publish and distribute is because of analog limitations on space. It’s this problem, and the related need to demand control over your product editorially, which is the unavoidably fatal problem the Times has today.I think Apple is falling into the same trap, but unlike the Times, there’s no reason they need to fall prey to the problem. Apple will not, as you pointed out “[]ever be able to do a good job filtering” because, let’s face it, it’s not their appropriate role in the process. Beyond algorithmic filtering, they need to outsource this to someone — vertical experts, communities, crowd wisdom, whatever — or they’ll be open to competition which does.

      1. Mark Essel

        Nice explanation of horizontal and vertical models. Curation versus content generation, businesses shouldn’t muddle the two.

        1. Dan Lewis

          I think there are a few roles: creation, editing (that is, curation,and probably entails aggregation, but that may be distinct), anddistribution. The best companies/products focus on one of those, andnot all. Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, and Twitter can all be looked atas distribution — they clearly don’t create the content nor edit it,but they certainly distribute it. Apple is trying to be bothdistributor and editor of the app store content, and that’s probably abad idea.

    3. fredwilson

      Ooh. The fan boys are gonna hate this comment kid

      1. kidmercury

        disqus needs to give me the option of adding rounded corners to my comments, that way the crapple fanboys will put up with anything i say, mesmerized by how cool and hip rounded corners are

  3. Mark Essel

    In an open design ecosystem we are given the choice to reinforce Apple’s (or Google video’s) filter. We are free to discover a path that bypasses obstacles/barriers (Dave Winer explains this thought well I can’t find the post). Even YouTube isn’t satisfactory if you want to share higher quality images (HD is changing that), so folks goto or elsewhere.Data packets reroute dynamically on the web to find their way to a destination IP.Information is finding the best route to each of us and blogging has been a big part of that, cutting out the middleman. Users sharing data invariably choose the easiest and most effective way to share articles, audio and visual information.The internet is evolving by reducing friction between nodes (our minds). Quality information is being filtered using advanced methods and systems (readers, search, social shares, twitter lists).Open = Freedom The freedom for users to discover the best choice for them. Our diversity ensures that there will always be many options.

    1. fredwilson


  4. loupaglia

    I don’t disagree with the existence of app store moderation process. It is a risk though for the amount of time it takes. The biggest frustration danger that I see Apple having is lack of transparency in the review and approval process. If they could add transparency to the process by making it more clear when it was under review and more clear reasoning for rejection (ie not that is competes, I mean, confuses users with existing software). That could go a long way and would reduce the perceived time to market. Involve the community (alpha release) and they will embrace it even further.

    1. fredwilson

      Google is taking the let it up and take it down if its bad approach. I think that works better in systems of this scale

      1. loupaglia

        I do not disagree from a logistics perspective. But Apple succeeds as an experience company and let’s face it, they succeeded quite well by not always listening to users. While often not the right approach, it works for them. I can’t deny that being more open is quite a change from their proven methods and DNA.

      2. Guest

        I think that remains to be seen but even if it works for Google, which I truly doubt that it will in time when bad Apps start showing up and people are getting ripped off, it is Apple’s prerogative to be more diligent if they want to – Joe Consumer just doesn’t care about this issue…

  5. OurielOhayon

    I think the approval process at Apple should be indeed based on “instant gratification” as you call it. It is should have 2 levels. By default you’re in. Apple comes after and bring a grade level to differentiate “reviewed by apple” apps from others. This way they would still offer the quality with this filter without causing frustration from users. If they really wanted to go one step further i would argue they should crowdsource the certification process. But this is not in Apple’s DNA

    1. markslater

      good idea. and no they wont.

      1. awaldstein

        Great idea and the only answer i can think of. It’s not in their DNA as Ouriel says but it is in their DNA to change behavior by making technology consumable. I’m not writing them off yet.

    2. Erica

      Yep, I agree — much like Twitter has “verified” accounts, Apple could have verified apps, and even pop up a warning box when you install an unverified app that says something like “Warning: May cause instability…” It’s the only way to make this workable long-term.-Erica

      1. awaldstein

        This is one of the old Open Source models. Huge mass of apps and code in a Forge. Some boil up and become supported and verified and managed and charged for.

      2. OurielOhayon

        Here is the details of my thoughts on how the Apple app process should looklike…

    3. fredwilson

      You are 100pcnt right on all of this ouriel

  6. isfan

    I’m generally of the opinion that mobile apps are not going to exist long term for many reasons. Approval delays and restrictions is one of the reasons.If done properly, a mobile website can come very close to the experience of an app. As wireless connections get better, browsers improve, and technology advances, the distinction between what a resident app can do and what a web app can do will become so slim that it won’t make any sense to do anything but web based (perhaps with exception of gaming for a while). Imagine developing something once for any smartphone vs doing a separate app for iphone, blackberry, android ….Don’t believe me? Just look at what happened with desktops. 90% or more of everything I do is based on web based applications … from google docs, gmail, blogging, twitter, banking … and the list is growing.Skate to where the puck is going to be ….

    1. fredwilson

      Yup. Only issue is when. I fear its gonna take longer than we want

  7. jz

    Apple understands the power of instant gratification of end users better than anyone. Things like: instant on of my Macbook, my iphone came in a Fedex box fully charged which i can use instantly, etc. These are integral parts of total user experience that many companies either don’t understand or unwilling to deliver. It takes time and money to pay attention to these details so as to guarantee “everything just works”. In the iPhone app approval process, all it takes is a few bad apps to ruin user experience and people will hate Apple, not the developers. Developers who want instant gratification at the expense of users, should go somewhere else, those who invest time and effort to create apps that make end users happy will be rewarded in the long run. It’s not easy to deliver “everything just works”, it takes time and money, which is why very few companies even come close to match Apple product user experience. It’s about users, users, users, not about developers, developers, developers. Apple choses perfection in user experience over developer’s instant gratification. Apple wins.

    1. Dave Pinsen

      Key distinction you make there between users and developers.

    2. kidmercury

      this is simply history repeating itself. when you don’t cater to developers, you lose apps, and hence you lose users. just like why windows put the smackdown on crapple back in the day. the control freak strategy is a niche game, and it actually made a bit of sense back in the 80s when crapple wanted to focus on educators and artists as customers to establish their presence in the market. but now crapple is trying to go pop and be a control freak. they will collapse under their own hubris.

    3. fredwilson

      In the early days of a market apple’s approach works. As users get more sophiticated, it fails. Case in point: pc/windows

      1. Dave Pinsen

        Would you mind explicating that, Fred? From a business perspective, Windows has been a juggernaut, driving MSFT to Dow component status.

  8. thewalrus

    this is why mobile platform fragmentation is not all bad. sure, its a pain in many ways, but competition is the only guarantee that these kinds of problems get solved by the market. it’ll never be as open and fierce as the web, but one giant leap forward from the carriers….

    1. fredwilson


      1. thewalrus

        And not to defend the slow approval process – open and instant is good….BUT having walked a few miles in the shoes of a mobile/platform vendor….there is a legitimate concern regarding (expensive) customer service calls. This is a HUGE potential cost. So when the whole chain is owned by a single entity; device -> platform -> app store….they are (at least perceived) to be liable for any potential issues from dissatisfied customers when a virus blows up the phone, leaks data, or cranks up a massive phone bill.The web as a platform is decoupled from hardware so this risk is removed – MSFT/explorer being the exception which goes some way to their lack of leadership in this area also. Yet another reason why incumbents don’t/can’t move first :)Interested to see how BUG will handle this….as a challenger disruptive openness is a key strength….but as one grows you become a target and it becomes a real issue…

  9. ryan singer


  10. anand

    …One bad app can totally ruin a consumer experience. Let’s take Gmail for example. Some of their labs apps are totally experimental. If you install the wrong one, Gmail won’t load or will take hours to load. But Gmail’s labs clearly warn us that these apps are experimental. And I think that’s what Apple should do too — take some of the borderline apps they reject and let the user decide if they want to take the risk to try them out. If they don’t work, the user can still uninstall them.Not a complete solution, but this might reduce the amount of rejected apps.

    1. fredwilson

      Or let all apps in but you have to earn your way into the recommended list

  11. Jennifer Johnson

    so true, and excellent idea to put pressure on apple.reminds me of a 2003 article from wired on jeff bezos – where he predicts that “instant on” was the most powerful aspect missing from the internet (which we now have, ironically, also in many ways powered by apple as well)…apple absolutely needs to find a way to have real time approval, or perhaps go the craigslist way, no approval required with a combo crowd/apple-sourced quick removal.

    1. loupaglia

      Does Amazon have “instant on” for all book submissions or only from reputable suppliers? This is the equivalent of letting anyone submit their own book to a Kindle ecosystem but in this case it is trickier because it is an app and actual code is runiing that could hose the device and device experience.

    2. Aaron Klein

      Here’s the best crowd sourced removal process. It’s called uninstall.I can install any BlackBerry app over the air without anyone’s approval. If it hoses my phone, I wipe it and start over. My own fault for loading a bad app. So I’m picky about who I trust.If I load an app and it slows the phone down, I uninstall it.The PC model still works fine without telecom carriers and smartphone OS makers controlling what software you can and can’t run.I wouldn’t let Microsoft, Sony and AT&T decide what I run on my PC, and it makes no sense for them to make the decisions about innovation on the mobile web.

      1. fredwilson

        I’m with you aaron!

      2. Guest

        Oh yeah the Blackberry app process is awesome, I think the App fail rate is somewhere in the 50-60% range. I love paying for an App and then having it suck horribly. Thank God Apple tests them before I plunk money down – they’re doing all of us a favor and most of you are complaining about it. I bought a Twitter App on my Blackberry a couple of weeks ago, can’t remember, think it cost around $5, sucked, didn’t work, horrible, wasted time, never had that happen from the i-Phone App Store.

        1. Aaron Klein

          50-60%? LOL, what a joke. I’ve installed exactly one app on BlackBerry that I didn’t like. It worked fine, I just didn’t like the UI, so I booted it. Every other app – Yahoo Messenger, Pandora, Google Maps, TwitterBerry, etc. – works great.Glad you’re willing to sacrifice the freedom of innovation on the mobile web in exchange for saving $5. Ever heard of declining the charge on your American Express card? That way, you can preserve innovation for free.

          1. Guest

            I wish I had the same experience that you have!!!! The Apps that I downloaded that were broken or sucked were TweetGenius, Thompson’s Reuters, Yellowpages, Frugalytics, The Weather Network and The Street – I’ve had a pretty consistently bad experience but maybe I’m the exception, definitely no contest when compared with the iPhone App Store experience to be certain.I did fix the charges on my card but I’m a busy guy (as are you) and that is a pain.RE “sacrifice(ing) the freedom of innovation on the mobile web in exchange for saving $5” – being sensationalistic aren’t you?

          2. Guest

            Aaron, I like the way your blog looks, who is your host and what blogging solution do you use? I tried to E-mail you from your blog but it wanted me to fill out a form and give a code and a bunch of other stuff that stifled my creativity and destroyed my innovation on the web (just kidding!)Nice blog…

          3. Aaron Klein

            Maybe a little bit, but you struck me as overly biased with the 50-60% number with no additional context. Allow me to reel in the tone of my response a little bit. :)This discussion has fascinating parallels with the civil liberties vs. security debate going on in our country. I’m not sure I’m willing to give up the freedom and innovation of the mobile web to get the “never have a bad app” experience…any more than I’d be willing to give up my constitutional rights in exchange for a life guaranteed to be crime and terrorism free.But I guess consumers will vote with their dollars like Americans vote with our ballots.I think Fred’s point is that there are multiple angles to the principle of “it just works”, and someone else having “it just works” for app approval may lure the app developers away from what is perceived as the “it just works” app platform.The mobile web is too important to have one smartphone OS maker or one telecom carrier deciding what innovation goes forward and what doesn’t. It’s the same point with net neutrality. And I’m a conservative who generally votes Republican, so this is not an issue that skews politically.

          4. Guest

            “The mobile web is too important to have one smartphone OS maker or one telecom carrier deciding what innovation goes forward and what doesn’t.”The mobile web is very important. I love that the Droid brings competition, which is what will drive innovation. There have been plenty of advances and some setbacks for certain but there are some privileges that a market leader gets and there is some responsibility that a market leader has and I think Apple generally balances both pretty well…

  12. John Minnihan

    Apple could make this nearly instant.Here’s how: every app submitted goes thru an automated test suite that determines whether it (the app) breaks any basic phone functionality, and possibly adheres to some form of rigor around use of APIs by looking at the call stack(s).This could all be done programmatically & would only take as long as it takes (i.e. purely a function of the test & not arbitrary human factors). If the app doesn’t pass, you get a Failure Code that you can then lookup offline to determine what you need to review/fix/change. The app developer’s progress is then time-bound to him/herself & not to the approval process.Quick iterations of the test suite would ensure that it works well & doesn’t over- or under-aggressively fail new apps & updates.

    1. Nick Giglia

      I agree – Apple’s only role in the app approval process should be determining whether the app destabilizes the phone, or whether it has malicious code in it. This could be done fairly quickly through the test suite you describe, and the rest can and should be left up to the users. I think at this stage of the game users understand that they assume the risk of using one tool over another in either an app platform or an API (for example, Brizzly vs. TweetDeck for a Twitter client).

    2. loupaglia

      But code reliability and standards adherance is only half the equation. What about the qualitative half which involves a human evaluation on the actual content of the app. Letting everything through may work in an open source world but it is very much misaligned to the corporate DNA of Apple and what many can attribute to their success.

      1. John Minnihan

        By receiving a passing grade, you *are* making qualitative assertions about the app under test. The quantitative aspects are easily tested, I agree, but Apple’s insistence that quality may be ensured only thru human review is misguided – it won’t scale, is seen as arbitrary, and in fact produces counter-qualitative results that are difficult if not impossible to measure.Apple could turn this into another revenue stream: paid human review that receives a ‘Reviewed by Apple’ stamp or something similar, a cost which they could recoup thru slightly higher app prices. That gives users a way to provide their *own* human review by looking for the stamp, if they care. This mechanism would quickly show – through actual results – whether users need or want that extra level of review, and whether they would pay for it.

        1. ShanaC

          You can fudge that.

      2. fredwilson

        Let the users determine that stuff

    3. paulhart

      I was about to make almost exactly the same comment.We already know that Apple is performing static analysis on submitted applications. The first change I would make would be to do that analysis as soon as an application is submitted. That way someone can “fail fast” rather than having to sit in the queue for weeks only to find out something that could’ve been decided within minutes.Next, I would introduce something akin to the Pre model of store, but with some Apple twists. Apple already has the infrastructure to do provisioning and app signing, but currently you can only distribute through their channel. I’d like to see a new “external delivery” option, similar to ad-hoc but without the device limits.The process in a nutshell: you would submit your app to Apple, they would perform the automated analysis of the app, and if you passed a signed file would be returned to you. These applications would have limitations in API access beyond the normal “public-only” stuff (i.e. no StoreKit, no push notifications, maybe limited network access). However, the apps could be distributed outside the store.Apple would retain some significant control over the apps that are approved for distribution and would keep the app store controls in place, but enable more instant approval for many applications.

      1. fredwilson

        Great ideas guys. This is what apple should do

      2. Guest

        Why should Apple have to hire additional resources to do a fail fast analysis? Do you truly think that Apple should incur additional costs so that a developer can get a couple extra days notice that their App sucks and failed UAT?

        1. paulhart

          Apple wouldn’t be hiring any additional resource. Everything for the ‘fast fail’ would be automated. The initial point is to get the stuff that’s going to fail out of the queue more quickly. The follow-on is to create an entirely automated process for developers to be able to ship something, but not in the App Store channel.Resource would be required to develop the functionality, clearly, but that’s CAPEX, not OPEX.

          1. Guest

            Boy that changes everything…Apple would still have to make an investment. Whether or not they could capitalize it depends on a number of accounting rules, cost of the investment, etc.Net-out, you’re asking Apple to dig into it’s pockets to do something (possibly substantial) for what is essentially going to have the net effect of driving revenue a few weeks early and have a slight positive impact on IRR. I think it may be a valid idea once the number of Apps equals “x” and it could show a positive ROI but again, I trust that Apple is a pretty solid business that is making those assessments on their own…

          2. paulhart

            Dan,Agreed, I don’t think that Apple *needs* to do anything – from an end-user perspective everything meets their “just works” criteria.Some developers would take advantage of the ability to get their app into a distributable state more quickly. However, the App Store is the holy grail for distribution, warts and all, and the majority of developers will still want to get in there.In theory creating an external-to-Apple distribution channel would be a loser from a revenue perspective, but there are ways to limit the allowed functionality of those apps such that the App Store would be the channel of choice for most apps.So: ROI may not be measured in dollars but in happy devs sticking to the platform. I know that doesn’t really fit into a 10-K, but there it is (and halo effect of having more apps to push hardware sales is always nice).

          3. Guest

            Paul I think that makes some sense. For all we know Apple is fast at work developing these sort of things, hope they do. I don’t think they are at any risk for developers not sticking to the platform any time soon.The thing that bugs me about a lot of the comments and even Fred’s post is that most people on here are looking at this blindly from a developers lens and my point has been there are a multitude of lenses to look at this thing from including a business/profitability lens, a resource lens, a technology lens, a contractual lens and an end user lens. This is not a single dimensional issue.

    4. fredwilson

      Killer idea

  13. Marcin

    I think the problem is Apple trying to do two things at the same time – protect the user and censor the content. While everyone agrees the users need to be protected – censoring the content is hardly a necessity. Appstore is a terrible UX in terms of finding the right apps, so other ways for finding content are advisable (like just looking it’s home page on the web, or being referred to it), I can hardly believe that a crappy app would stay in the Top Downloads to do any harm anyway. Other point is applying digg style voting and giving authority to ‘bury’ Apps based on user’s performance.

    1. fredwilson

      Right on

  14. awaldstein

    Apple is at inflection point of figuring out how to leverage its success or fall under it. It’s a great system because it controls everything, thus guaranteeing my experience. Control equals my freedom in a way.On the developer side, its the opposite. I’d make the case that over time, restricting freedom for developers will always fail and the successes of the system will simply move somewhere else. You’ve got to let the market on both sides be open.BTW–an impossibly difficult choice and place for Apple. It’s easy to cry ‘Open’ from the outside of a huge machine. I’m doing it as well here. Interesting and crushing to manage when you are actually driving it and making the revenue tradeoffs. Putting pressure on them is the thing to do. Watching them find a new path will be interesting.

    1. ShanaC

      Yes yes it is, especially because the more specialized the application you need, the less clear it isA) you can or should be running it off a websiteB) it will be approved by the app store.There are still people out there that support legacy OSes for the legacy software, because those legacy software packages are much more stable than anything on the market. And they are highly specilaized peices of software. eventually they will have to go. But I really don’t want to think about IPhone versus Tablet and integration between something like some obscure MRI program which may or may not be secure and the App store and its own wierdness. The way the store works it’s not going to to happen.And yet everyone will want it to happen. Why shouldn’t a doctor pull up an MRI on his phone? to explain to his/her patient something? That would be a lot easier and perhaps long term cheaper than having monitors everywhere.Same with large accounting firms. I could see wanting custom apps. Not going to happen in an App store environment. The phone is not a corporate phone.Or any large firm. A lot of them have custom software suits, or redevelopments of existing software that have been repackaged and tweaked for just them. That’s the way the world works. If Android lays an extra security layer, those things will fly like hotcakes, because you can add your entire firms productivity package in one entire candy bar for a lot of small tasks.It’s a huge market, and Android won that market. Sorry Iphone. You just aren’t a corporate phone buddy.

      1. awaldstein

        Shana. Actually I agee with you. Open is the change that really changes things surely. Holding onto legacy systems cause they work is never an answer of course. So yes, in concept, from that perspective of change agent, the iPhone looses.BUT, its too early to decide. Both companies have extended human behavior with the power of their technology. No small accomplishment. Neither has blinders on. The market is vast. The race is never over. You and I will be winners of their battle to win us.

    2. fredwilson

      For apple, yesFor many, no

      1. awaldstein

        Agreed. Apple is the exception to all rules but its own.

  15. Aaron Klein

    Apple is annoying. Great products, but they have slowly morphed into what they said they were replacing in 1984. At some point, will Luke Skywalker wake up and notice his lightsaber has turned red, and he’s wearing black gloves and a mask?It still amazes me that BlackBerry, the mainstay of corporate America, is the world’s most open mobile platform. It has all of the apps I need, installed over the mobile web from the app owner’s site. Neither AT&T nor RIM have any control over it (similar to how AT&T, Microsoft and Sony have no clue what I run on my PC).

    1. awaldstein

      Aaron. Well phrased. I’m taking the contrary point here. I think that if Apple has built products that have changed well, the world, they can find a way to morph themselves and adapt as well.Maybe i just don’t want to change hardware systems again πŸ˜‰

      1. Aaron Klein

        Let’s hope. I think highly of the products they build but the twin issues of centralized control and stubbornness in design are problems.By stubbornness in design, I point to the four issues that made me an ex-iPhone user: lack of keyboard, lack of changeable battery, lack of multitasking, lack of real mobile e-mail.I gave my iPhone to my wife who had never had a smartphone before and doesn’t need those things and she loves it. It’s a great consumer phone.

        1. awaldstein

          Aaron-hey are real ‘lacks’. I keep my iphone because it does more than it takes away, for now. For me personally, I’m the consumer and well, I consume. Usually its the pluses that drive me rather than the things that annoy. When that is not the case, I vote by switching.Big picture, of course open is better and the heralder of real change. I simply believe that its always changing, we are always switching. At the end, neither of the phones we are talking about will be around and our learned behaviors on how we use them will drive something new and better. I count on market forces driving change and creativity. Neither Apple or Google have a lock on these.

          1. Aaron Klein

            I think that is largely true although the question is when does the platform effect take over.$1500 for new copies of Office and Photoshop have kept me from switching to the Mac for years. Will those barriers eventually tie us to a platform in mobile?Right now there are no mobile apps I can’t live without. Even if BlackBerry had no apps, I’d still be on it for the reasons I stated above (although it does have every app I want as of now).

          2. awaldstein

            Honest answer is of course ” I don’t know”. A great discussion, thanks.

          3. Aaron Klein

            It was a great conversation, thanks to Disqus. I’ve been mobile all morning, replying by e-mail! πŸ™‚

          4. awaldstein

            I’m participating at 36,000 ft en route to SF for a few day. Kinda cool. I’m a big Disqus fan as part of the real time glue behind this and other communities. My two cents on the subject–http://arnoldwalds…

          5. Aaron Klein

            Great post in particular and great blog in general. Thanks!

          6. awaldstein

            Thanks for the kind words.

          7. fredwilson

            Disqus ftw

          8. kidmercury

            we gotta keep track of things that have been ftw’d here at AVC. so far: disqus, seo, smo, cartoon avatars, fredbucks, blog stars, unemployment

          9. ShanaC

            I don’t think the office/photoshop thing is worth it at this point. And I think microsoft knows it. And I think adobe knows it. They give tremendous discounts to students. You can’t tie someone to the platform forever, especially the markets surrounding those platforms change.(or not so tremendous depending on the school…)

          10. Aaron Klein

            All I’m saying is, I was in Best Buy last week and lingered at the Mac table. Should I do it? Should I pay $2200 for that sleek looking machine and run Windows on it? Or should I pay $2200 for it, then go spend $1500 on new copies of Office and Adobe CS4 to run it on OS X?The Sony Vaio with 6GB of memory, 550GB hard disk, blu-ray player, DVD burner and 1960px screen ended up earning my $999 instead, and I don’t have to shell out any more money for new versions of software.That’s the platform effect in operation… πŸ™‚

          11. ShanaC

  …It’s $25 for office on top of that. Just so you know. Some schools give it away. and offer even steeper discounts. (not that they won’t check for id…)Umm yeah, there are inefficiencies in the market. These should lock up post classes…Clearly, the list price is not the actual price. And they know it, and they want to get out of pure software fast.

        2. fredwilson

          Did you write the Droid Does commercial?

          1. Aaron Klein

            If I had, I would have licensed a lot more from Lucas than the word “droid” – Darth Vader would have made an appearance vowing to “crush the rebel apps before they innovate any longer” πŸ˜‰

    2. fredwilson

      But developing apps for bberry is way too hard and rim doesn’t help very much

      1. Aaron Klein

        Should be fixable. It’s not like they have a lack of cash or engineering talent. I hope they do.I’d be perfectly happy if they adopted Android but built their e-mail solution on top of it. I haven’t tried Droid e-mail yet, but nothing (iPhone, winmobile) has yet to beat BlackBerry e-mail. It practically merges e-mail and IM with how good the push is.

        1. fredwilson

          yeah, a rim droid with rim email on it would rock

          1. ryan singer

            I’ve rid my iPhone of the Mobileme push and instead sync email, contacts and calendars using Google Apps push on the Exchange server. I get email on my iPhone way before my Macbook gets it. Push is awesome! I love that you can choose which mailboxes you want pushed. droid uses gmail and google apps, so a blackberry droid should “ROCK” haha. I like you Fred, you rock!

  16. RacerRick

    Yeah, just an update (not the original app) takes at least two weeks right now. You can change one image out or change one word and it’s a two week wait, minimal.It’s ridiculously annoying. And the iTunes “connect” developer website has the worst user interface. Insult AND injury.But there’s nothing else that offers the opportunity of the iPhone app store right now for small developers.So it’s worth it.

  17. Guest

    The end user experience requirements of a mobile phone are different than when you log on the web to casually search or utilize a web video. A phone user wants the device to work, in fact, demands it. You pick up the mobile phone it needs to work, period. This is why Apple takes a lot more diligence on the front side of the application process. I DO NOT want to pick up my phone and have some ill performing app make it not work.I agree with jz, Apple is being diligent and an entitled developer community is confusing Apple’s responsibility to them versus their responsibility to their end users. It’s a business model that is working for Apple because the end users of this phone, the average consumer, could care less how long it is taking the developers to get into the App Store.If it takes 4 weeks to get an update released, write that into the development model and quit whining. Four weeks is not a significant amount of time. Most of the applications I develop that make it to third party platforms and processors take 9-months in the B2B environment.Apple could sell and staff an accelerated model where the developers pay for accelerated UAT testing but they’d probably cry about that one too.I love Apps on the i-Phone and gobble them up but I support Apple in this one – if you ran that business you’d think the same way that they do…

    1. markslater

      if you dont like the app – uninstall it. How hard is that?

      1. Guest

        And no developer or hacker would ever write an App to leave a trojan, malware or virus would they or no developer would ever write an App that could take control of other apps or strip your personal information from the phone. That probably could never happen right? No thanks, I’ll wait 4-weeks. Deep breath, patience is a virtue and all that stuff…

        1. kidmercury

          that is the argument against using P2P networks, yet on the good P2P networks, the crowd filters our the crap and the overall experience is quite safe. the key is how it is all orchestrated, you can have the qualified nerds filter out the trojans, while the regular users can simply see what the nerds of highlighted. but this entire discussion is irrelevant, as any real solution requires a change in the psychology of crapple, which does not seem likely any time soon.also four weeks is an eternity in the digital world, just ask anyone who has submitted an app to the iphone and wanted to make one small change that would make the app exponentially better. app development is supposed to be a highly iterative process, a four week delay destroys that capability.

    2. fredwilson

      Apple has alterior motives in this as others have pointed out in this thread. They cover themselves with the ‘I’m protecting you’ but they are also censoring as well.

      1. kidmercury

        it’s a conspiracy for sure!

        1. Guest

          You guys seem naive as to how to monetize a platform. Open access/open source is not a mandate, it’s a choice and a revenue model that frankly hasn’t historically played out wepll in the real world. Apple is censoring what Joe Q consumer, otherwise known as the customer, wants them to censor and what they are contractually required to censor via their relationship with AT&T so they can make a lot of money. It’s working for them…RE to the P2P network comment above is like comparing a skyscraper with a raisin. #1 Apple never got into the phone business to be a P2P, wasn’t their business model, doubt that it ever will be, they have shareholders to answer to which means they have profit responsibilities – not saying you can’t profit from P2P just saying it’s not easily done. Relative to 4-weeks being an eternity – all I can say is not in the business world that I live in nor anybody else I know – that just rings unintelligently to me. How long did it take Apple to build the phone? Let’s get some scale here. If a programmer doesn’t like it taking 4-weeks to make a small change a couple suggestions: (1) Don’t make the small change. (2) Make it in the first place, do more testing ahead of time. (3) Wait four weeks, don’t think the world will quit spinning.I truly hope that Apple doesn’t bow down and alter their business model that dare I say has yielded one of the most successful products in this deep recession. I love the stability. I don’t get it when I use BB Apps and soon enough bad Apps will hurt the Droid user experience market but it’s too new yet. You are the very vocal but very small minority…

          1. kidmercury

            You guys seem naive as to how to monetize a the contrary, we are old-timers who understand technology history. this is the same as crapple’s OS vs windows back in the 80s. the only difference is that crapple’s strategy made more sense back then. now it is illogical and insulting. windows had the more open platform, and thus was able to attract the developers, and thus got the apps, and thus got the market — in spite of having a platform many if not most would regard as inferior.Open access/open source is not a mandate, it’s a choice and a revenue model that frankly hasn’t historically played out real in the real world.surely you jest. there is a little company by the name of google. if they tried to block access to their index, or if they required a four week approval process to ensure there was no spam in their index (spam of course being defined however they would like), they would not be the juggernaut they are. instead google understands that having a larger and more diverse index that is filtered by the behavior of users and the sites they index is to their advantage. billions in revenue suggest they may be correct.Apple never got into the phone business to be a P2P, wasn’t their business model, doubt that it ever will beto the contrary. crapple is a network, a platform, an intermediary — whatever you want to call it. it connects a lot of stuff. just like P2P networks. the example is quite relevant because it shows that connecting a lot of stuff in a safe manner does not require a big centralized authority pretending to act in your interests.If a programmer doesn’t like it taking 4-weeks to make a small change a couple suggestions: (1) Don’t make the small change. (2) Make it in the first place, do more testing ahead of time. (3) Wait four weeks, don’t think the world will quit spinning.all your suggestions are valid here. yet it does not change the fact that both developers and customers want applications that innovate. crapple has the lead here, but they are extremely naive and filled with hubris if they think they do not have to cater to the wishes of developers, customers, and innovation at large.

          2. Guest

            Real hard to take you serious when you refer to Apple as Crapple – it implies a bias that discounts their success which seems to be a bias that you take into this debate and shields you from the most simplest of truths on this topic which is: It’s their platform to manage and monetize however they want. It is working for them. The average consumer who is giving their $$$’s to Apple doesn’t care if it takes 4 weeks to get an update on an App.The Google comparison is a bit “out there” and every day I read some blog where the geek universe hates how Google censors things. First and foremost Google is not a P2P in any conventional word, they are a web services company who focuses on search, hosting and product delivery but no reason to dive into that.Your commentary on Apple being a platform and ergo is a P2P is also so very far out there that I’m not sure how to respond. Banking systems are a platform and they connect with a lot of third party applications, are they a P2P too?No matter what I say your “crapple” attitude is clearly defined so I’m wasting my keying but I bet you $1,000 that this does not impact Apple in the least little bit. I guarantee you in two years Apple will still be leaps and bounds ahead of Droid or any other phone relative to end user experience, sales and revenue – end of story – Apple wins.The Droid sold 1/8 of what the second gen iPhone did on the first week – there are only so many geeks – it’s not going to catch up at all, not even going to be close, game over… And Crapple continues to gain share, profitability and end user service marks…

          3. kidmercury

            banking systems can be thought of as P2P, anything that connects users is P2P, as P2P stands for peer-to-peer. banking systems are more justified in having a control freak strategy because they are niche. that is why crapple’s control freak strategy was more acceptable back in the 80s when they were aspiring to be a niche OS aimed at educators and artists. it actually was an astute strategy back then, although they should have opened up once they got their foothold in the market. that was the lesson they should have learned back then. looks like they didn’t learn it. those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.

          4. Guest

            Apple originated the open source standard from an OS perspective. Whatever you do, don’t tell the banks that they are P2P, that would violate a good number of Federal Laws. You’re on a tangent.Bottom line still is, the average consumer doesn’t care if Apple takes 4 weeks to approve an App and the more open source phones are not going to make a dent in their market share…

          5. kidmercury

            your points:1. apple originated open source standard2. apple is a great business3. there is no money in open sourcelogic problem.instead of using the term P2P, which we appear to be defining in different ways, let’s use the term, “thing that connects users and apps” — TTCUAA for short. TTCUAA does not violate any federal laws. TTCUAA does not require a powerful central authority to operate smoothly and safely, as P2P networks illustrate. with that said, powerful central authorities is one way of running a TTCUAA. however, that approach tends to work better in a niche TTCUAA.but, we can agree to disagree. i’m an old-timer so i’ll always bet on history, doubly so when it’s being ignored. but in a way i admire your refusal to respect history, as a brash spirit is often a prerequisite for accomplishing the unprecedented.

          6. Guest

            My point about Apple originating open source is a little strong – what I was trying to say was that Apple has been fairly progressive for some time on open standards relative to their OS. I have no idea who came first, sorry for the miscommunication on that front…Apple is a great business, maybe the best there is around today. Your objectivity comes into questions if you dispute that and mind you I’m not an Apple guy. I’ve had an i-Phone for 18 months (never had one problem with it, ask me how many blackberries I’ve been through in that same period of time – the answer is 6) and I’ve had an i-Mac for three months. You seem to not like them and resort to name calling but hey, to each their own. I’ve had PC’s since 1993.Don’t think I ever said there was no money in open source of if I did, surely not what I meant. Whether a company goes open source or not however is truly up to their business model and general shareholder obligations, etc. and Apple has chosen for now to not have an open platform approach with the i-Phone. I understand the business reasons for that and clearly it is working for them. Additionally I nor most i-Phone users care if it takes 4 weeks for approval for developers. In the grand scheme of things, that is petty. Sure, I want Tumblr2 App right now but I’m not going to break out in hives if I have to wait another couple of weeks and neither is Tumblr so people need to take a chill pill on the topic.Banking systems do not connect users to Apps, they connect federally regulated data on consumers to the information systems that the bank (the end user) utilize to manage risk and compliance obligation, hence my comment – not arguing on the definition or the way a P2P can work – bottom line, banking systems are not P2P – I work with the FTC on this kind of stuff every single day, talk about headaches!!!As I sorted through the string, it’s hard for me to ascertain your most pivotal points. Here are mine…1. Apple’s success is indisputable. The i-Phone is a very solid product that is in some ways, like Google, keeping the technology sector afloat during this tough economic period. Beyond being cool and working really well, the i-Phone is doing what many other “cool” products aren’t, it’s making money.2. Developers do not like the turnaround time and closed nature of the i-Phone platform but the average consumer could care less.3. There are legitimate business reasons for Apple to adhere to the model that they have and there are end user considerations for the model that they have. For example, there is contract language between AT&T and Apple RE bandwidth allocation of Apps and with certain Apps that have competitive features. It is what Apple had to do to come to market and it drives the business model and most people on this string completely ignore that.Dan

  18. Brian

    I think everyone is forgetting an important point: billing.Apple takes 30% of all revenues. However, if a refund is required the developer must fund 100% of the purchase price. An Apple review insures the app will not break and require a ton of refunds which could put developers out of business. You lose a ton of money if you have to issue refunds.Waiting for approval is a pain, but putting a bad paid app in the app store is deadly.The great thing about competition is it gives us choices. Users can decide how open they want the system and developers can decide what systems they want to support. I think Apple vs. Android vs. WebOS vs. Windows Mobile gives everybody the freedom to choose the platform that fits them best.Open is great for technical people but poor for your average user. We should embrace the diversity of platforms.

    1. Guest

      You’re spot on – people just don’t get the business risk components of this…

  19. markslater

    Apples refusal to cede some antiquated design principal once again rears its very ugly head. I get it – you are great designers – i have one in my hand – its awsome – and your software is pretty good too – thanks for all of that. But now i want it to be as much my fone as it is your design masterpiece. You cant just assume that your design is so profound that this validates a lockdown on some aesthetic. See because i want to decide certain things thanks. and if i don’t like some things i uninstall. you may as well just cede the market to droid. this is what is so hellishly frustrating about apple – its like meeting an absolutely stunning woman only to have here open her mouth and expose a grill of english teeth.

    1. RichardF

      LOL @mark – you are spending too much time in the US

    2. Mark Essel

      Great analogy πŸ™‚

    3. kidmercury

      markslater 1, crapple 0

    4. ShanaC

      I’m going to step in for a moment while I’m putting together my BA project.There are two really different ways of of designing stuff. And they need to be in balance.Complexity sitting in front of you is a beast. Rube Goldberg contraptions may work well, and do what you want, but will they get you everything you need as you need it in an some sort of misunderstable way. Simplicity strips it down to the basics. Your machine will do the task at hand, and maybe if you figure out through your own creative brute force it might do a bunch more, but beyond that, you’re toast, and you will need a different machine. Good objects, especially ones that mediate experiences, such as “smartphones” should lay in balance between raw simplicity and raw complexity.In affordance, you don’t want to hide too much from the user, but you do want to hide some things. You want them to be able to figure it out “naturally” through their own already mediated experiences that they’ve already had in the past. Don’t push the user’s buttons too much, or they’ll get annoyed. Do push their buttons when you absolutely have to though (like an emergency). Do cause the user to grow with the object. You sound like you’ve outgrown your phone.I just started to use Ubuntu. (I won a second machine, a netbook, so I partioned the drive, half windows, half Ubuntu) I’ve never been a Linux user before. I wanted to eventually learn how to use Linux, so I stuck it on. Ars wrote up that Canonical seperated a design and UX team and paid them for Unbuntu. they hadn’t every flaw of Linux would show up in the UX. I use EMACs. I don’t know why I chose EMACs. I also have another notepad program installed. I’m still have trouble calling up the two seperately. I don’t know what each can do, or how I should figure it out. That’s a UX issue. The fact that they have a lot of features, that’s rube there. It can be simplified without killing everything. This is affordance in front of me. I can learn how to use EMACs. (and I will one day). Will I use every feature? (no)Would it be better for the Linux community for new users switching to Ubuntu if it were made clearer by the affordance what was what. (yes, more people would switch, and over time, more people would use and learn about linux) Does that mean that the Linux community should stop developing complex objects? (no, clearly there is a need for those programs, it’s how do you fit them in so that the learning curve is appropriate for the right people to get their hands on them at the right time) It should be an object that grows with me. I should be able to slowly master my Ubuntu distro over the course of my lifetime/its lifetime/my computer’s lifetime.Same with your phone. Same with most designed objects. Know that they have a lifespan. Don’t invest your money in something that you can’t see growing with you throughout the object’s lifespan. In the case of a “phone”, that’s one to two years. A computer, that can be up to five years, sometimes longer.(Totally off topic shameless plug from yesterday: I’m still developing the AVC people list on twitter. I’m going to need help. So you can ping me @shanacarp, or you shall not be on the list, because I can’t search for everyone, It’s time consuming. Also, If you are going to join the list, please help by finding one more person who will help find other commentators on the list, as I have asked politely asked in the background, because it really is a time consuming favor to the community)

    5. fredwilson

      This is what my wife thinks about many architects. They often put their quest for the perfect design ahead of usability

    6. Your Name

      Hey, less of the racial slurs please.

  20. niallsmart

    @jz So true. Let’s not forget that “instant gratification” is the main reason for the success of the app store (OTA purchases constitute over 80% of all sales). I remember installing some apps on a Series 60 phone 2-3 years back, and it was far from seamless πŸ™‚ Poor vendor websites, handset-specific cable tethering, credit card billing and buggy desktop apps were all part of that (very broken) model.

  21. Andrew Warner

    It also inhibits iteration. How can an app store developer quickly respond to customer feedback in an environment like this?

    1. fredwilson

      It is not agile, for sure

  22. Murat Aktihanoglu

    Here’s a proposal for Apple:The initial submission of an app should go through the existing approval process. But subsequent updates should be available immediately, with the approval process either going on in the background or subject to user feedback.Android Market is coming strong with its instant approvals, which enables fixing bugs instantly and iterating. Apple will have to respond to that.

    1. fredwilson

      That’s exactly my point. Once again, a comment that makes the point more crisply than the post

      1. Guest

        Fred, not practical at all. This assumes that upgrades and enhancements are never screwed up… As a person who runs a very large product group I can tell you that most bugs come from enhancements and updates, not sure what the universal number is but in my world, it’s almost 90% of the problems we have…

  23. Mark Essel

    Great correlated message from O’Reilly, blasted iPhone fails could use a hand linking it (or I can do so when I get to a PC)

    1. fredwilson

      Yeah. Tim wrote a big post yesterday

  24. CarlosPero

    The Apple app store approval needs to take a *reasonable* amount of time, but it may never be instant. For weeks of development work, what’s reasonable? I’d say between one day and one week. It’s not important to have it available immediately, considering the amount of effort that went into making it. That’s a nice contrast to the Flickr experience, where photos are mostly uploaded unedited and thus should post immediately. As for YouTube, people expect and understand that it may take a few minutes to properly encode the video for serving.Again those are different than the App Store, because Flickr and YouTube give you the content to you each time. The content can be taken down and made unavailable, unlike the App Store where once it’s published and you purchase/download it it’s on your phone and there’s hardly anything that can be done about it.

  25. ryan singer

    true that. I have a love hate for Apple and they keep moving closer off the love list

    1. fredwilson

      I love them and hate them equally and always have

  26. Scott Gatz

    We have been frustrated at times with the apple approval process – just a minor bug release release takes 2 weeks and so does a major new version. Also, seems that popular existing apps don’t necessarily go any faster than a brand new app.As far as our own learnings, we run a reviews site and we started out moderating every single review. It helped us keep our quality high (we deleting lots of junk), but our review count was incredibly low. We switched to instant approval (and we would take down bad stuff we would see) and our review count almost tripled immediately. And the quality seemed to go up – we deleted a lot less. We learned from that and now try to ensure faster and easier ways for our users to get instant feedback.

    1. fredwilson

      I learned the same lesson with comments. I used to approve them six years ago . I quickly learned to let them go up immediately and then I take them down if they are spam or violate the spirit of this community

  27. bijan

    The instant approval effect is an important oneI always get turned off when I’m put “on hold” by a web service. Two examples of being put “on hold” recently:1. I tried to post a comment on a blog. The blog was set up to moderate comments and as a result my comment didn’t get posted until an hour later. Didn’t like that much.2. I was evaluating a new web service. The site requires email verification which means that after I register I had to wait for a confirmation email in my inbox. A few hours later I eventually found it in my gmail spam folder. Not good either.

    1. Dave Pinsen

      Bijan,Re 2., my new site features a message board that requires one to register with an e-mail address and a user name — but: you can post comments right away. You’ll need the temporary password the site e-mails you to sign in the next time you come to the site, but the first time you can register and comment right away. No delayed gratification.BTW, I mentioned the Cult to Fred here a couple of months back. I don’t know if he ever pulled up any of their tunes, though.

      1. kidmercury

        damn dave you run a trading site? you should’ve told me. i’m going to sign up for your aff program and will sponsor a community member over on my site to do a review.this is now the second potential monetary transaction i’ll be making through, the other being using morgan warstler’s company (which i am a big fan of….talk about a “power to the people” company). there’s a kickback opportunity for sure somewhere in these AVC-enabled transactions for fred. blog stars ftw!

        1. Dave Pinsen

          Hey Kid,It’ll be great to have you on board as an affiliate, and thanks for offering to sponsor a review on your site.BTW, I blogged about eating some of my own cooking on Friday, if you want to see the post: Covered short of a David Einhorn stock for 27% profit in less than two months. Not bad for a short during this liquidity-fueled rally.

    2. fredwilson

      Both of these things happen to me all the time. And I agree that they are both sub optimalI think the problem with verification emails getting caught in spam filters is so bad now that we need a new ‘best practice’ for email verification. I suggest web developers not wait for the verified address to onboard a new user and just prompt for a verification click thru every time a user returns until they get one eventually

  28. Steve Johnson

    Too bad VC takes so long – would be nice if this industry found a way to provide instant approvals!

    1. kidmercury

      lol, very true, and an even bigger problem than what crapple has created

    2. fredwilson

      yeah, that’s true.but the VC industry is not a platform

  29. camilolopez

    Apple’s definition for quality applications is very subjective. Apple should have a basic automated process to determine the core quality of application and then let the market determine its future. It has to be efficient. They should focus on tools that let users find good applications similar to what they do in itunes, what Pandora does for new artists.

  30. michael lazerow

    The web was built on instant gratification — instant chat, stock portfolios, sports scores and more!

  31. hypermark

    There’s no doubt that Instant Approval is hugely powerful. But, as applied to iPhone, I would say that the concept is paradoxical. Apple is a governed platform, pure and simple. While the litmus test to gain access to App Store, and everything that entails (one click purchase, download, install, instant use), can yield simply wacky App acceptance/rejection outcomes, consumers by and large also don’t have to worry about viruses, performance crushing apps and the like. That’s all good, IMHO. The problem is that once you iterate that relatively high-touch process out to simple bug fixes, you have a deeply unfriendly scenario that is at odds with both consumers and developers. In the real world, every product has bugs, simple UI tweaks can materially enhance the experience and tiny feature adds can often materialize in a day or so that add real utility. In the iPhone world, the power of Instant Fix is lost, and you see this all of the time in App Store review comments where the developer is pleading for customers to not ding them for a bug fix submitted three weeks ago.A (seemingly) better approach would be to Fast Track ‘right of decimal point’ fixes/updates by known developers with some verified history in App Store (and some defined protocol on what constitutes ‘right of decimal point’ fixes/updates).The Instant Fix cases would and should be treated differently than New Developers and/or Major Updates.Even the grocery story differentiates between Full Cart shoppers and the Express Lane user (5 items or less). Apple should refine their approach accordingly.

    1. fredwilson

      i like this idea of express lane approval

  32. kimhill

    Quote: “The web is full of success stories that have embraced the power of instant gratification…”Is it possible that Apple is intentionally adding some “friction” to the process?

  33. Dave Pinsen

    I’m a little surprised by the push back jz has gotten here. I’m no expert on Apple — I’m pecking this away on a Dell now using Windows XP (which cost $100 to downgrade to, btw) — but he seems to have made a key point about who Apple’s customers are. And Apple seems to do a good job of getting its customers to part with their cash.Separately, this Tech Crunch post about foursquare today seems relevant to this AVC post. Coincidence?

  34. GiordanoBC

    I agree with the sentiment, but let’s not forget that Apple charges for those apps, and it’s therefore considered a retailer in multiple countries. As such, there are regulatory issues: if apps with sensitive or forbidden content were released without scrutiny on App Store in China, Singapore or any of the other countries where media is regulated and / or restricted, Apple would be held responsible for it, with potential business and legal implications for them.

    1. fredwilson

      good point giordano

  35. deepeshbanerji

    simple solution: allow all apps to be live immediately, with a huge disclaimer of what is / isn’t appropriate — with the consequences being an app may be taken down on further – let the game go on and apple can throw the red challenge flag and reverse the play if neccessary — with the caveat given to users that this will happen to inappropriate content.

  36. Siddhartha Dhiman

    I do not see how we can compare Internet with Mobile Phone apps. Surely developers can wait for approval time. If the application is good it will be hit with users if released instantly or released after some time.

  37. brisbourne

    A very interesting debate. Two additional points that I don’t think have popped up in any other comments:1) Apple’s control freakery partly stems from a desire to limit competition to its other services, most notably iTunes2) The idea that the optimal consumer experience is delivered by limiting choice to what Apple deems as good quality is rooted in 20th century paternal notions of the company-consumer relationship that are hard for many to shake, particularly as shaking them runs counter to traditional strategy ideas about the importance of control

    1. kidmercury

      droppin’ it like it’s hot, nic. great points

    2. fredwilson

      apple is a 20th century company. nice observation.

  38. Colm Brophy

    There’s a huge feedback issue around this. In the digital world, when we don’t get (near) instant feedback, our default assumption is that it hasn’t worked. So we try again. And again. And eventually clog up the tubes and make the problem much worse than it should be.

  39. kevinmurphy

    There is that word instant again…

    1. fredwilson

      indeed. i think it needs to go into our “words to live by”

  40. Doug Kersten

    I really don’t understand why Apple continues to do this. They have to be aware that it is a big problem that could really impact them negatively in the future. I would even concede that poorly applied rules can be tolerated as long as turn-around is quick. Even if this will work for now, because Apple is top dog, it does so much to harm their brand in developers eyes I can’t see the long-term advantage, and they are needlessly opening themselves up to competitors for something that is extremely simple to solve. Has Apple become so bureaucratic that they just can’t address the issue? Is this the canary in the coal mine???

  41. ADstruc

    With respect to the Apple store, I would reckon that the approval delay is tied to the fact that someone is paying for the app. It would create a customer service hell for Apple if they didnt vet each application. Now, they could accelerate this process by only vetting, an online marketplace for outdoor advertising.

  42. Manish Jhunjhunwala

    Fred – completely agree with the instant gratification part. That was one of the key motivations for creating Trefis. Sure when I was at mckinsey i could do my own analysis reading the Ks and Qs and building my own model to get some understanding of what percent of Apple’s value or stock price (not revenues) is iPhones (is it 5%, 25% or 55%?). But what i really wanted was a place where I don’t have to do the basic legwork – it should give me a reasonable starting point for answers to these questions, and then let me play with the assumptions.Anyways, techcrunch tells you what we do (and they probably have more credibility with you than I do), so rather than explaining what we do, here is a link, I think you/your readers might find it interesting……….

  43. dennisgorelik

    It puzzled me why Google Video lost to YouTube.Thank you for the insight (instant gratification on YouTube vs painful delay in Google Video).What’s funny — Larry Page was a persistent proponent of instant gratification when implementing AdWords.I guess Google founders simply don’t have enough time to appropriately influence all key Google products, so in the end product success depends on the product manager’s set of believes [about what’s important and what’s not].

  44. jz

    If a well polished app makes people happy, people will buy it and the developer will make money. When a developer makes money, he’ll keep developing. Money and user feedback are powerful motivation. This is how Apple run its business and it has been quite successful. there are 120,000 developers and the list is growing rapidly, those who don’t like Apples’ way of doing business are free to go somewhere else. We the users couldn’t care less how frustrated a few developers feel. You want make money from users, what’s so wrong about a few months delay? Steve Jobs won’t let any Apple product go on sale if its not ready, why should he cut corners for developers?

  45. ShanaC

    But how they getting past Apple? That’s how windows won…

  46. markslater

    great first line!

  47. ShanaC

    Can you get stats about Nassau County and Suffolk County in NY- LIPA has among the highest charges in the US due to the fact that LILCO built a nuclear power plant that now needs to be decontaminated in Shoreham. (…. Prices were kept high after the decontamination it seems, or they’re paying off the debt.Meanwhile, there are pricewars for broadband in parts of Nassau.So I’m not sure A = B here. Just saying.

  48. dv

    iPhone Enterprise Developer Program. In-house development and deployment for corporations.

  49. ShanaC

    How are they not breaking the User end agreement?

  50. ShanaC

    I’m assuming I did a good job of finding fallacy. No I don’t mind the complaining. I’m just very, rationally literally minded? I prefer Socratic irony?I’m assuming here that I caught the post hoc ergo propter hoc, but I never studied latin, so…

  51. Dave Pinsen

    They built a nuclear power plant that was never used, due to protests by your fellow Long Islanders. Your collective reward is higher electricity prices.

  52. fredwilson

    Spot on