App rules are absurdly twisted.

Apps have become a huge economy, but the rules that govern them are almost impossible to understand.

Apple and Google have twisted their 10-year rules for app stores like Pretzel to the point where they no longer understand. This made purchasing digital stuff in the app hellishly complicated.

One example: Although in theory not yet a reality, you can use your Amazon account to purchase ebooks from the iPhone app on Kindle. You cannot purchase e-books from the Android version of the app. Until recently, Kindle purchases were virtually banned under Apple’s rules, but that’s fine under Google’s rules. Now the opposite.

Confusing? Yes. Apple and Google have written long, complex guidelines for their apps, and frequently amend those rules to protect their own interests. (I mentioned earlier that Apple’s app rules are much longer than the US Constitution.)

Want something more ridiculous? Paying for a podcast subscription is easy today on Patreon’s iPhone app. Apple aside, allow Patreon to take your personal information and credit card details.

However, buying another type of digital subscription can be completely different. When you buy a platinum membership for dating service Tinder in the iPhone app, you’re effectively signing up for Apple, and Tinder is by your side.

Apple takes a significant portion of that dues forever. If you want to quit, tell Apple, not Tinder.

Buying a 6-month membership through the Tinder app costs $14.99 per month for some people, but $13.50 when purchased on the website. (The price difference is how Tinder partially recovers the up to 30 percent commission it pays Apple for each app purchase.) Oh, and paying for a dating app will soon be similar to paying on Patreon. can. Netherlands.

For now, paying for Tinder through the Android app is similar to how Patreon works. But that’s because Match Group, the parent company of Tinder, has sued Google for preventing the company from changing its rules.

{deep breath.}

It can be tedious to elaborate on why Apple makes a distinction between buying a subscription on Patreon and buying a subscription on Tinder. Amazon’s Android app lets you buy a paperback copy of “1984” but not the ebook version, and why new Netflix subscribers previously could sign up from the Android app, but not now. Or, sort of can’t. Another pretzel twist.

I’ve been calling and scouring for hours trying to figure out every detail of the paragraph I just read. The logic of the app economy could be illogical if buying things in apps in 2022 requires too many rules, exceptions and explanations.

Over the years, some companies that make apps have been dissatisfied with how Google and especially Apple are controlling many aspects of this economy. Both specify apps that are easily downloadable through the app store and when you process purchases through the app directly.

When you use the app to buy things that exist in the real world, like Uber rides or meal kit subscriptions, those purchases bypass Apple and Google. The fight is about buying things we use digitally, like trinkets used in smartphone app games or dating app subscriptions.

The problem is that the distinction that seemed reasonable when Apple created the App Store in 2008 doesn’t fit into the modern digital economy.

I’ve written before about YouTube videographers who can’t understand why Apple or Google deserve the chunks (potentially forever) their fans pay them through their app.

In all the days of Zoom, does it make sense for Apple to have different rules, such as buying a gym class you can take in person and a class you take virtually at home? Apps like Facebook that monetize ads don’t give Apple and Google much of their revenue, but why don’t apps sell digital subscriptions?

And the app rules change frequently, making it more complex.

This month, Google put more stringent restrictions on apps to process and block more digital product purchases.

Again, there is a bit of meaning behind all these pretzel twists. Apple and Google want to avoid bypassing regulations and fees by the major smartphone video game, the biggest-grossing smartphone video game in the app world. And they say they are trying to respond to complaints that they have too much control or that they are burdensome for small business owners.

But the more Apple or Google makes concessions to appease angry governments and some angry developers, the more their app store logic can seem arbitrary.

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