Harsh Language

Apple’s in danger! Because they don’t have a modern programming language and runtime, unlike their competitors. And even if they introduced one tomorrow, getting their developers to switch over would be difficult and take many years, putting them even further behind.

That’s John Siracusa’s thesis (paraphrased) in his latest Hypercritical podcast. He mentions Microsoft’s C# and .NET transition, a decade long and still with a significant amount of non-adoption.

I don’t know about that. But it occurred to me that Apple’s transition, when and if it happens, will be far swifter, due to the App Stores.

Microsoft has to convince its developers to switch. With rational arguments! On iOS, at least, Apple can simply require it as a prerequisite of approval. Apple’s unequal treatment of their developers has led to a situation where none of the aspects of such a demand would even be new.

Onerous, sometimes arbitrary approval requirements? Check. Retroactive new requirements that, if not met, will get you yanked from the store after a certain date? Check. Little expectation of influence or bargaining power on the part of its applicants? Check check check!

It amazes me how well-positioned Apple is to force such a transition. I imagine they could go from language/runtime initial introduction to required status for iOS App Store inclusion in less than, say, two years. As long as the iOS App Store remains lucrative, developers have both the financial incentive and the mental conditioning to go along with it.

And does anyone doubt that the Mac App Store will have a similar stranglehold, in effect, on app purchases within 1-2 OS revisions?