There’s been alot of hubub and strife in the press lately around high- profile iPhone app rejections, delays and developers “swearing off the platform”.

Interestingly to me, most of the outcry is coming from users, not developers. As an iPhone developer myself, I’m much more directly affected by these policies than the typical iPhone owner, so you would think I would get more bent out of shape over the situation, but I don’t. I was wondering to myself why this is on the ride home and then the reason occurred to me;

I’m benefitting from it.

Anyone who has worked on a software project at a company knows what it takes to get a new project started. The are business cases, budgets, schedules and all other sorts of things that take time and money; a substantial up-front investment.

As an individual developer, none of these things are required. I’m not saying their’s anything wrong with them, but I can start writing a new app whenever inspiration strikes, and if I decided for any reason to abandon it before it ships, there’s no loss that threatens my future projects, no stigma attached to a “failed project” and no external pressure to “press on” even though I’ve realized it’s a bad idea just to save face.

In a traditional software company this is usually not the case. Projects are rarely aborted voulentarilly and when they are, there is explaining to do (or resumes to update).

Facing these facts, the App Store approval process is absolutely terrifying. Not only is there an ambiguous time delay at the end of your project, but there is the very real risk that you may not be able to ship your app at all, resulting in spectacular failure.

This doesn’t have to happen very many times to a software company before someone in command is going to say enough is enough and move on to less risky ventures, reguardless of the merits of the platform.

The indie on the other hand enjoys the luxury of flexibility. Certainly an outright rejection is a dissapointment, but most indie developers take on smaller projects which amount to a few months of work. Having to toss this aside hurts, but you get to keep the experience and in reality, most rejections can be reversed if the developer is willing to be flexible and take the time necissary to work with Apple until their app passes muster. This is something that a major project with traditional investment and deadlines can rarely afford.

Finally for the indie, no one is going to say “that’s it, were not sponsoring any more apps that might get rejected” other than the developer themselves. They are free to continue working with the platform as long as it takes (or until their personal interest expires).

Rarely does such a corporate policy produce favorable conditions for the “Little Guy”, so I suggest that all of you coders with day-jobs think twice before jumping on the bandwagon of criticism that has become so fashionable as of late.

note: I’m not saying I agree with Apple’s policies, but that there is more than one way to look at it.

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