iPhone App Developers Threaten To Sue Apple Over Late Payments

We’ve reported in the past on how Apple has not only been late on payments to iPhone app developers, but has also neglected to pay some developers for their app sales at the store entirely. We thought that perhaps our post might call Apple’s attention to the problem. Apparently, developers complaints have gone unheard at Apple and now they are so upset that some of them are threatening to sue Apple for breach of contract.

As we wrote earlier, Apple’s delay in payments is affecting some developers but not all of them. Some are being paid but other developers are claiming no payment from Apple for sales and continued poor customer support from Apple. You can read the complaints on the developer forums here and here.

Apple’s contract, which is embedded below, says that payment will be made to developers within 45 days of the end of the month. Developers are claiming that there are massive delays in payments for as early as last fall and are not being paid the amount of money that the developers are in fact due from sales. One developer, who hasn’t been paid since November 2008, forwarded us an email chain between Apple’s App Store finance team and himself. An Apple employee, who was responding to the developers complaints, wrote that the developer’s continued emails about the late payments was “bordering on harassment,” and claimed that the finance team receives thousands of emails a day and couldn’t get to his right away. Another developer on the forum says that he hasn’t been paid since September and is owed close to $7000 for sales.

It’s not clear how serious these threats are. After all, it is a forum and it’s a lot easier to vent and make empty legal threats in an anonymous forum. But it appears that despite the media reports, developer complaints, emails, and calls surrounding the delays in payments, Apple has not corrected its system at all. It’s definitely cause to wonder what is going on with Apple. Didn’t Apple just post its best second quarter earnings in the history of the company? We also recently wrote about Apple’s seemingly unfair refund policy, which puts developers at a clear disadvantage. And Apple owes a lot to iPhone app developers-the App store just reached 1 billion app downloads thanks to those very same savvy developers who have created useful and creative apps.

As we wrote in the past, Apple is in danger of alienating developers and giving them reasons why they shouldn’t be developing for the iPhone (on the forums, a few developers said they may even give up on the App store)—namely, they’re at the mercy of Apple, which is making a habit of taking its developers for granted.

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