Internal Apple Documents Reveals Plans to Allow Sideloading, Ecosystem Lock-in Strategy and More

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Apple has been very clear about not allowing sideloading of apps. Now new internal documents have surfaced as part of Apple. Vs. Epic legal trial. Most interestingly, the documents reveal that Apple’s plans about allowing sideloading of apps persuade users to lock into the ecosystem with the help of gift cards and measures to address issues with the App Store review process.

Most of the internal documents pertain to allowing sideloading of apps on iPhones. Apple seemingly explores the possibility of allowing iPhone users to sideload apps outside of the App Store. The discussions range as far back as 2008. In fact, one of the communication software chief, Scott Forstall, asks Steve Jobs about what text should appear to the user while sideloading apps on iOS. Jobs not only agreed to the idea but also approved the following notification: “Are you sure you want to open the application ‘Monkey Ball’ from the developer ‘Sega’?”

Locking in customers to Apple Ecosystem

Furthermore, in 2010 Jobs said in a corporate strategy presentation that the company should aim to “tie all of our products together, so we further lock customers into our ecosystem.” A few years later, in 2013, Apple’s senior vice president of software and services, Eddy Cue, praised the move to bundle iTunes gift cards with new Apple devices. He felt it is better than putting up an iTunes card for sale to lock customers into the Apple ecosystem. Cue expressed displeasure at Apple Retail Team for not focussing on selling iTunes Store gift cards.

Who’s going to buy a Samsung phone if they have apps, movies, etc., already purchased? They now need to spend hundreds more to get to where they are today.

On a related note, our apple stores (online and retail) are the only distributors around the world that decreased year over year in iTunes card sales. We are starting to make progress again with retail, but it is always an uphill battle. Our teams just don’t get the ecosystem. We (Val and team) just heard from Jennifer that iTunes cards are not a priority for her. This is ridiculous. Who leaves Apple products once they’ve bought apps, music, movies, etc!

In 2012 Cue asked App Store head Matt Fischer that Shazam should not be featured. He said, “we are not going to promote something that puts its goal as replacing our music player unless it is significantly better than our player, and this is not.” Interestingly, Apple acquired Shazam in 2018 and ever since then, they have been aggressively promoting the app.

Phil Schiller Highlights App Store review lapses

Recently, multiple reports have highlighted scam app issues on App Store. It seems like the problem is not something new. In fact, in 2012, Apple Marketing chief Phil Schiller called out Apple executives for the lapse in the App Store review process.

What the hell is this???

Remember our talking about finding bad apps with low ratings?

Remember our talk about becoming the “Nordstroms” of stores in quality of service?

How does an obvious rip off of the super-popular Temple Run, with no screenshots, garbage marketing text, and almost all 1-star ratings become the #1 free app on the store?

Can anyone see a rip off of a top selling game? Any anyone see an app that is cheating the system?

Is no one reviewing these apps? Is no one minding the store?
This is insane!!!”

Once again, in 2019, a scam app that claimed to measure blood pressure using an iPhone camera reached the top App Store raking. In yet another document, Schiller proposed that Apple could reduce the App Store fees to 25% or even 20% to “maintain $1b a year run rate.” You can read the full documents for more insights on juicy internal communications.