Is the iTunes app store just a “get rich quick” scheme?

App store logoThe iTunes app store comes in for a lot of flak due to the seemingly random way they reject apps. Then there are the stories that the developer must repay the full cost to the customer (including Apple’s cut) whenever a refund is provided. This week though, Apple plumbed new depths of piss-taking over its handling of its developer-partners when it insisted the developer must meet the cost of refunding money to customers after Apple pulled well-established apps from the app store.

Such stories make me think that anyone getting involved in developing an application for the iPhone must be really quite mad. You have to stump up cash up front – both in terms of buying the right to be a iPhone developer and in development costs – with no guarantee that you’ll even be allowed to publish your app. Then, assuming it is published, it could be removed without proper warning and explanation at any time, and all of the money you do earn demanded back off you. To set up a business on top of such a house of cards is sheer madness.

Assuming iPhone developers aren’t all mad, another possible conclusion comes to mind. There are various schemes that have similar rings to Apple’s app store business practices: pyramid schemes, “get rich quick” books and foreign banker/ lottery email scams. All of these scheme pray on people’s gullibility and greed to con them out of money on the promise of huge riches in return. Does that sound familiar?

Now if only I could get my hands on a list of the email addresses of all iPhone developers, I’m sure I could flog many of them a copy of a “get rich quick” ebook and retire a billionaire!