Apple is once again showing how bad an idea it is to be a developer on its platforms. If you are an iPhone developer, the delay in payments isn't all you should be worried about. Apple's binge of greed has just begun.
Every developer for iPhone is required to sign a contract with Apple in order to sell their application in its store. Recently they have added a new clause to this agreement, in light of their new iPhone OS 3.0, and a probabily upgraded App Store. According to the new clause, if an application user decides to get a refund for their application, the developer will have to refund the user, but Apple will still retain the right to keep their commission!
Apple keep a commission of 30% per sale. What this means is that, in case a user requests a refund, the developer, who gets 70% of the sale, will have to have to refund THE WHOLE AMOUNT to the user, and Apple gets to keep their 30%. Not only is this unfair, but it has the potential to cause great financial damage to the developer of the application, who may not even be at fault.
Here is the actual clause, for those who want the actual legal lingo:
In the event that Apple receives any notice or claim from any end-user that: (i) the end-user wishes to cancel its license to any of the Licensed Applications within ninety (90) days of the date of download of that Licensed Application by that end-user; or (ii) a Licensed Application fails to conform to Your specifications or Your product warranty or the requirements of any applicable law, Apple may refund to the end-user the full amount of the price paid by the end-user for that Licensed Application. In the event that Apple refunds any such price to an end-user, You shall reimburse, or grant Apple a credit for, an amount equal to the price for that Licensed Application. Apple will have the right to retain its commission on the sale of that Licensed Application, notwithstanding the refund of the price to the end.
They have already faced widespread criticism for having vague policies for approving applications and have also been criticized for rejecting applications because they provided similar functionality to the applications provided by them.
Any platform depends greatly on the content available for it. The iPhone's continued success relies on the fact that there are a large no of developers churning out applications for the iPhone. How many developers do they think they'll attract with the kind of policies that they are implementing?