Why App Stores are not a good idea for users

Five minutes ago, I tried to fire up BBEdit because I needed to quickly edit a configuration file. Instead of opening, a dialog window of Apple’s App Store appeared, telling me that I needed to log in to the App Store in order to launch that application on my computer.

Now let me see if I get this straight: I bought BBEdit on the App Store, yes. I downloaded from the App Store and installed it on my computer through the App Store, yes. So the system should know that this is legit software – WITHOUT calling home and REFUSING to launch the software that I paid for.

Now this might not be an issue when you’re at a location where you have constant access to the Internet.

But such as it is, I spend around 12 hours every week on ICEs and other trains and do not have reliable Internet access during that time but still need to work. I see the same dialog popping up rather frequently when I try to use iTunes on the train to listen to some music. iTunes still lets me listen to my music even when I click on the ‘cancel’ button and do not even try to establish the connection to the iTunes store.

With BBEdit, today, the story was different: Cancelling the ‘login to the App Store’ window also cancelled the launch of the application. Not being able to connect to the App Store would render the entire application useless.

It’s another drop in the ocean of issues with Apple’s hard- and software that shows me that using this platform for my line of work is a very bad idea and a wrong choice. I wonder what some of my colleagues would do when they took MacBooks to some remote oil rigs in the desert to fix disrupted satellite connections and that dialog would pop up. And yes, my company is in exactly that business and this is where our field technicians work and make their living.

Sorry, folks. I totally understand that software developers need some kind of protection against illegal copies. But THIS is the wrong thing to do and today it became very obvious to me that I won’t ever buy software from Apple’s App Store again — I will not support this kind of “Gängelei”, as we call it in German. (‘Patronizing’ seems to be the direct English translation, but in my understanding that word does not really catch the meaning that we put into ‘Gängelei’.)