A group of developers have joined forces, penning an open letter asking Apple to commit to making certain key changes to the App Store. Calling themselves The Developers Union, the group is specifically pushing for Apple to allow free trials for all apps in both the iOS and Mac App Stores by July 2019.
We believe that people who create great software should be able to make a living doing it. So we created The Developers Union to advocate for sustainability in the App Store.
Today, we are asking Apple to publicly commit — by the tenth anniversary of the App Store this July — to allowing free trials for all apps in the App Stores before July 2019. After that, we’ll start advocating for a more reasonable revenue cut and other community-driven, developer-friendly changes.
So far, 162 app developers have signed on to the new “union” which was the initiative of veteran Apple developer Brent Simmons along with independent artist Jack Schumacher, product designer Loren Morris, and Roger Ogden. While initial efforts are focused on calling for an opening up of free trials — something that many developers have been asking for since the beginning of the App Store — the group is making it clear that this is only a start, and seems to have been chosen as a good common cause that all developers can agree that will help gather momentum. Apple has long resisted the idea of free trials, along with things like upgrade pricing, forcing developers into often cumbersome workarounds, with the current strategy being to rely on free downloads with in-app purchases. The Developers Union also plans to advocate for getting Apple to adjust its revenue sharing strategy, but is also making it clear that it’s goal is to be community-driven and is therefore open to whatever ideas its members are concerned about. In an interview with Wired, the group hopes to reach a thousand members this week and gain 20,000 by WWDC in early June, and the team has added that non-developers are welcome to join as well in order to add their support to the mix. As Loren Morris told Wired, “It’s a non-union union in a way. I’m not super interested in creating a traditional union; I’m more interested in bringing the voice of indies back into the spotlight and this is a step in that direction.”