Back in the days, Microsoft Corporation corporation had this penchant of spotting a desktop app with great features / potentials, buying up that company, or if they can’t be brought, going ahead to ’embrace and extend’ what the app offers. That’s the end of that app, as a standalone entity.
Sometimes, crazy as it is, they buy up, with a view to kill off.. kaput! This still happens, even on the mobile front.
This is like the whales not allowing the smaller fish to exist in the ocean. Not good for the ecosystem.
Back then, as a small developer, pray that Microsoft doesn’t get interested in your app offering (if you want to remain independent). Otherwise, you would not remain (/ independent) for long.
History has a way of repeating itself.
A similar scenario appears to be playing out on the Mobile Operating Systems – Android and iOS. You could have a really good app as a third-party developer, toil and labor to improve it for years. Then, GBAM, you could get pulled out on (spurious) allegation of infraction of some rule, and get pulled off the App Store. This happened on Android with the wonderful Kii keyboard, and is very common with Apple Inc, where the reason adduced is sometimes illogical, or ni reason is offered.
The painful thing is that not all App (Developers) are created equal. App usefulness is not about the size of the company behind it. A Telegram App would get pulled off on both Android and iOS and get reinstated in a jiffy, but a Kii keyboard, being a one-man developer, remains banned on some spurious allegation, despite entreaties, and obvious travesty of justice.
Apple is particularly notorious for employ double standards in determining what app gets pulled, and which remains. Sometimes they pull an app so that they can replace that app with their own offering!
Another way many otherwise established apps get decimated is when the platform owner decides to include a functionality in the OS that used to be what a third-party is based on, or improve an existing OS functionality to the point where the third-party app becomes irrelevant.
The most recent example is the Swype keyboard (which originated the swiping METHOD) of keyboard input way back in the Symbian days, deciding to Call It Quitson both Android and iOS.
The native Google (AOSP) keyboard has become so good, and gets bundled with lots of Android device that third-party keyboard app developers are not finding things funny. They would be attempting to make money competing with a vastly improved native FREE offering. That’s not a sustainable business plan.
What would be the motivation to continue the development?
It is the reason why the revamped Kii keyboard (earlier kicked out of the Google Play Store) – in its first coming – has been abandoned by the Kii developer (in its second incarnation) because there is simply no point spending energy on what would earn you nothing.
If you are a Mobile app developer, you are probably better off being a niche developer. Don’t make an Android email app. Or, à browser. Or a keyboard app. Or expend energy building a nifty utility that would eventually be spotted and baked directly into the OS. Those are areas the platform owners are deeply interested in.
Taking this precaution ensures the big fish doesn’t swallow you when you start making too much riotous splash in that particular app niche. You can almost count on it to get your aggressive march abbreviated, eventually if you dabble in the wrong sector..
He who owns the platform makes the rules. Apple would utilize features in apps that they ban third-party apps from using, just like Microsoft Corporation used to make use of undocumented features of the Windows OS in their apps to give them an edgd. They even sometimes implemented underhand things in the OS that make competitors’ offerings malfunction sporadically !
The more things change, the more they remain the same.
The more time moves on, the more time remains still regarding certain Human Behavior.