The San Francisco Chronicle’s Wendy Lee reports on a startup trying to bypass the App Store:
When iPhone users want to download apps, they mostly go to a single place: Apple’s App Store…. Venture capitalist Ernestine Fu aims to solve that problem. Her firm, Blackstorm Labs Inc. of Mountain View, sells technology that allows developers to distribute their apps without going through the App Store. Instead, the apps are available through links that consumers can send to their friends.
This seems to be an attempt to build app platforms inside other apps. WeChat is currently offering a function that sells “mini functions” in an in-app store.
I appreciate the financial opportunity that might exist by suctioning off even a small percentage of Apple’s 30 percent cut in App Store revenue, but this seems like a bad business to be in. Apple has shown repeatedly that any attempt to abuse or bypass Apple’s methods will get your app removed from the store. Hiding inside Facebook Messenger or WeChat means it would be a higher-stakes escalation if Apple were to make an issue of it, but Apple’s showdown with Spotify suggests that Apple isn’t afraid of escalating things with major vendors if it means safeguarding the walls of the App Store.