A small group of developers for Apple platforms has banded together to request new features and policies from Apple, and its members say they have ideas for ways to make it easier to make a living on the platform, reports. They’re calling it “The Developers Union,” and they launched a website where devs can sign up to share their support of a free trial feature for the app store.
The union has some notable names attached, including Jake Schumacher, director of the documentary , and NetNewsWire and MarsEdit developer Brent Simmons—along with a product designer named Loren Morris and a software developer named Roger Ogden.
The group says it will start with the free trial push but that it will follow that up with “other community-driven, developer-friendly changes” including a “a more reasonable revenue cut.” The starting revenue share is 70-30 in Apple’s favor, presently. Google offers a similar rate, but Microsoft recently announced a cut to its share of revenue to developers’ favor.
The organization’s webpage explains why a free trial feature is the first ask:
Free trials are a great place to start and gather the momentum needed to create significant change. Trials allow developers to show users their creation and establish value. Before iOS, Mac developers relied heavily on free trials, and they were able to make a living while making great software.
Apple’s App Store currently allows for free trials of subscription services, but not other types of apps.
According to the article, the group hopes to have 1,000 supporters this week and 20,000 before the start of Apple’s 2018 Worldwide Developers Conference in early June. However, calling it a union isn’t quite right—there’s no collective bargaining involved, and there are no member dues. It’s technically more of an ongoing petition as currently presented.
Loren Morris said this in a phone interview with :
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.
Last year, Apple overhauled the App Store to improve discoverability, spearheaded by a page of editorial content on new apps and games. Ars spoke with prominent iOS game developers Team Alto (known for and ) and were told that the changes were good ones, but smaller indies have complained that it’s easy to get lost in the noise.
Apple’s services business, which includes the App Store, is one of its fastest growing. To date, Apple says $86 billion has been paid out to app developers—$26.5 billion of that was paid out in 2017.