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Discussing the Mac App Store and Billings with Marketcircle


As the first iOS feature to go back to the Mac, the Mac App Store presents unique challenges and benefits to developers. I spoke with Marketcircle CEO Alykhan "AJ" Jetha about his team's experience with moving Billings (our previous coverage of this app) to the Mac App Store, as well as the restrictions that keep their other applications out.

TUAW: How soon after learning about the Mac App Store did you decide to use it to sell Billings?

AJ: It was a no-brainer; an easy decision. We knew right away that we'd want Billings in the Mac App Store.

What was the process like, and how did the vetting process compare to that of the iOS App Store?

We submitted the first version on November 3rd. It got initially rejected because we were using the Sparkle update tool. Of course, Apple wants us to use their own. So, we removed that, but left a checkbox in the preferences that offered to check for updates automatically, and got rejected again because of it. We removed that and re-submitted, then ran into a private API call. We worked that out, resubmitted, fixed one more minor issue and were approved a couple of days before the store went live.

Are there any changes to licensing with Billings in the Mac App Store? Apple's terms and conditions are pretty loose as far as how many computers can run an app downloaded from the store.

With Billings, it doesn't really matter, as data is in one place and can move around as you please. We don't care how many Macs you install it on. We care about connecting to the data. It's different with Daylite and Billings Pro. In that case, we're concerned with connecting to the server. One license means only one person can connect to the server at any one time.

That leads me to my next question. What about Daylite and Billings Pro? Can we expect them in the store any time soon?

Daylite and Billings Pro are limited by nature of the rules. Specifically, Daylite Server operates background sync operations regardless of whether the app is running or not. That's in violation of the rules. Even with server out of the equation, these apps sync automatically in the background without the user knowing. Again, that's not allowed. We're hoping Apple will relax these rules.

How do you feel about the Mac App Store's future?

Developers must be in the store. Look at our job as developers. We have a fair number of challenges. Two of the most critical are downloads to customers and installation. The Mac App Store solves both.

When a user downloads an app from a developer's website, s/he could get a DMG or a ZIP file. When they open it, they could find that one developer handles installation differently than another. We saw that this was confusing a lot of users. Many would get confused and not bother.

The next problem is the purchase process. Sometimes its in-app, sometimes via a website. The Mac App Store takes care of all of that.

Thanks to AJ for his time! Be sure to check out for the latest on their products.

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