1. baarn's Avatar
    There is always a lot of discussion on CB about the app gap, its causes and what BB could/should/did/didn't do and the dire state of BBW in general. I've been having a look at the procedure for submitting apps to BBW and am now beginning to think that BB's biggest problem is that they are overrun with lawyers.

    Let's ignore the fairly clear vendor guidelines, the light bedtime reading BBW vetting criteria, even the slightly more meaty SDK license agreement as well as a bunch of other similar but important to read and comprehend documents. No, lets just look at exhibit A, the BBW Vendor Agreement - 17k words, and its partner in crime, exhibit B, the BANGO Vendor Agreement - 11k words words (sorry, no link since it's imbedded in the webpage of the signup process). To sign up for a BBW vendor account you must explicitly select a box to agree to these terms and conditions (and I'm sure other document terms by proxy). I suspect there may also be something from Digital River hidden away somewhere, since DR is mentioned in the FAQ, but I didn't notice anything.

    To summarize A&B - 28k words of the finest international legalese that would moisten the bedsheets of any aspiring legal professional.

    I accept that a certain amount of legal protection is required for handling transactions on a grand scale, more so when things cross international borders, but really I imagined that BB's position in this was to make things as simple as humanely possible for developers to use their platform so that they could focus on doing what they are good at - developing great apps. BB and their partners would handle the grunt work and present a nice sleek simple SPOC for the developers.
    Instead, they created horribly long and incomprehensible legal agreements and forced developers to deal not just with them, and their legalese, but also with Digital River, Bango, PayPal and theirs. Oops, PayPal, I forgot to mention them. If you want paid, you must have a PP account (with the only possible exception if PP is not available in your country). Remember, PP is not a bank and they kind of do whatever suits them. (No, I'm not a fan.)

    Now you may say that this is just a cost of doing business, blah, blah, blah, but BB were trying to get developers to buy-in to a proprietary app platform. Apple did it, but they were a step ahead in the game, treated developers fairly well and also are skilled marketeers able to create a buzz. Google delivered an ostensibly open platform which of course allowed more tinkering - a desirable factor for developers. BB offered a closed proprietary system and tied it to a complex legal framework that raised the bar sufficiently to put many (IMO) off touching it. Fair enough, I suppose many developers, particularly bedroom ones, will not even read the T&Cs and just pile on in - the old stick your head in the sand trick. But the risks remain.

    Just to compare, taking Google's Google Play Developer Distribution Agreement and Google Play Developer Program Policies together we have 7.5k words of moderately clear language (though there may be other relevant documents that I'm not aware of, merchant services etc).
    On Amazon I found the APP DISTRIBUTION AND SERVICES AGREEMENT, which comes in at around 11.5k words, but again there may be other docs. At least with Amazon you have a SPOC and they pay directly into your bank account.

    So I guess what I'm now thinking is that BB's committee-style legal department also bore a significant part of the responsibility for the poor performance of the BB10 devices.

    What do the devs here think, did you read the T&C's? Did you understand them? Did you care?
    Anyone miscalculate their secondary revenue fees, received an annual audit and been fined $10,000 plus the underpayment?
    07-18-15 01:46 PM
  2. paulwallace1234's Avatar
    I didn't read them no, I could probably make an App quicker than it would take me to read it all.
    sirius27 and baarn like this.
    07-18-15 01:50 PM
  3. dosto's Avatar
    Having practiced law for 20 years, you make a compelling point. Ironically, from our first year of law school, future lawyers are taught to write with clarity and simplicity in mind. Sadly, all too often, we fail to do so. Blackberry app developers have enough challenges as it is; no need to make it even more so with 28k words of legalese.

    Posted via CB10
    07-22-15 06:15 PM
  4. BCITMike's Avatar
    Having practiced law for 20 years, you make a compelling point. Ironically, from our first year of law school, future lawyers are taught to write with clarity and simplicity in mind. Sadly, all too often, we fail to do so. Blackberry app developers have enough challenges as it is; no need to make it even more so with 28k words of legalese.

    Posted via CB10
    What came to mind
    07-23-15 01:17 AM
  5. Omnitech's Avatar
    I'm guessing that the PayPal requirement had something to do with making it easier for a company that doesn't have the extensive connections with banking/payment resources that a company like Amazon has, and BlackBerry already partners with PayPal for things like app payments, so it's a low-hanging (and presumably lower cost/simpler) fruit.
    10-12-15 08:02 AM
  6. baarn's Avatar
    You're probably right with the low hanging fruit, but I wasn't really wanting to criticise PP in this thread, just BB.

    But how about another little gem from the "Built for BlackBerry App Program" (again no link possible). B4B allows you to get that little badge/logo added to your app on BBW and, to get it, your app is vetted in more detail to make sure that it is optimised for BB devices. You must agree to a further 5893 word document.

    Except where prohibited by law, each Vendor grants (and agrees to confirm this grant in writing, if requested) permission for BlackBerry and those acting under its authority to use Vendor's name, photograph, biographical information, voice and/or likeness for advertising and/or publicity purposes in any and all media now known or hereinafter invented or developed without regional restrictions and without additional compensation, notification or permission, in perpetuity.
    So, if I agree to the terms, BB, or anyone else if BB let them, can make a worldwide blockbuster movie about my life featuring Tom Cruise (since my mug is too ugly), require me to promote it with at least my voice but perhaps also my image, and get no compensation for the privilege apart from a small logo in BBW?

    I can see that BB really respects the privacy of its third party app developers.
    10-12-15 09:53 AM
  7. Omnitech's Avatar
    You're probably right with the low hanging fruit, but I wasn't really wanting to criticise PP in this thread, just BB.
    I have no idea why you would conclude what I wrote above was some sort of criticism of Paypal. I simply pointed-out that BlackBerry probably uses them because it's easy and inexpensive for them to use that service compared to the alternatives.


    I can see that BB really respects the privacy of its third party app developers.
    I personally don't think there should be some kind of big privacy protection for a company who is doing business with the public and expects the public to trust them enough to give them money on faith.

    It's not like a private citizen who needs protection from gangsters, street thugs and unscrupulous salespeople trying to defraud them out of their money by tricking them, or politicians that want to marginalize them because of, for example, their race or gender.

    When I see a company that expects me to give them money, trying to hide from me (no contact address, obscured domain registration details, little information about the company or how they operate, or who is involved, etc) the last thing I want to do is give them money for something when I have no idea who they are. I think you have that backwards, honestly. If you're providing product or service or product to the public, your company needs to be publicly approachable and scrutinizable to some degree.
    10-12-15 11:46 AM
  8. baarn's Avatar
    I have no idea why you would conclude what I wrote above was some sort of criticism of Paypal. I simply pointed-out that BlackBerry probably uses them because it's easy and inexpensive for them to use that service compared to the alternatives.
    Oops, maybe I wasn't clear enough - I was referring to my own post and trying to avoid getting side tracked with PP since they are not really what I'm moaning about in this thread.

    I personally don't think there should be some kind of big privacy protection for a company who is doing business with the public and expects the public to trust them enough to give them money on faith.
    Not everyone selling apps on BBW is a company. They may be sole-traders (or the equivalent in your area) operating out of their own home or garage (not necessarily just one person though). I know some people on the forum here have a disdain for garage developers, but the past has shown that big things can happen from meagre beginnings. Besides, the big devs have fled BBW.

    Anyway, what do you understand as "big privacy protection"? It's one thing maybe requiring vendors to allow dissemination of their names and business addresses to verified customers, quite another to expect them to willingly allow their unspecified detailed personal information to be used in perpetuity for unspecified promotional purposes. Hell, as I read it, they could probably write some promotional drivel and demand that a vendor voice a TV advertisment for them - for free.

    It's not like a private citizen who needs protection from gangsters, street thugs and unscrupulous salespeople trying to defraud them out of their money by tricking them, or politicians that want to marginalize them because of, for example, their race or gender.
    Whilst I agree that a company is not a "personal entity" deserving of the same privacy of an individual, I do feel that even companies need protection from all those things that you list. A company is just a collection of private individuals after all.

    If you're providing product or service or product to the public, your company needs to be publicly approachable and scrutinizable to some degree.
    Cuts both ways - a vendor/company should know who he is dealing with to make sure that the money paid is legitimate (not stolen etc.) and that the product is not going to be used for nefarious purposes.

    At the end of the day, my point is that BBW should be there to make life easy for app consumers and for app vendors. Part of that is being fair and not placing unecessary burdens on those involved. I just think that BB is far too fond of long, complicated and overbearing T&Cs which do nothing if not add an additional reason for developers to just go elsewhere where they feel more welcome.
    10-12-15 06:40 PM
  9. Omnitech's Avatar
    Not everyone selling apps on BBW is a company. They may be sole-traders (or the equivalent in your area) operating out of their own home or garage (not necessarily just one person though). I know some people on the forum here have a disdain for garage developers, but the past has shown that big things can happen from meagre beginnings. Besides, the big devs have fled BBW.
    I have nothing against small/solitary developers. But ANY company expecting to sell a product to the public, as far as I'm concerned, must be transparent enough for their customers and potential customers to understand who they are and whether they are trustworthy. This is a "cost of doing business". It's fine if you want to hide from everyone, you can do that. But you can't do that and simultaneously "put out your shingle" and sell products to the public with any degree of success. People in general don't like giving money to secret parties that they have no idea will be around tomorrow, for example when they discover a problem with the product and then discover the company has disappeared and they just threw their money away.


    Anyway, what do you understand as "big privacy protection"? It's one thing maybe requiring vendors to allow dissemination of their names and business addresses to verified customers, quite another to expect them to willingly allow their unspecified detailed personal information to be used in perpetuity for unspecified promotional purposes. Hell, as I read it, they could probably write some promotional drivel and demand that a vendor voice a TV advertisment for them - for free.
    These software vendors would not have any business at all if it weren't for the platform developer, in this case BlackBerry. As such, the platform developer wishes to be compensated for providing this software platform opportunity to their potential vendors. Perhaps since Blackberry, unlike some competitors, does not charge exorbitant fees simply to license the development tools necessary to develop for the platform, and since the "commission" they charge to developers on BlackBerry World is also lower than some other competitive app stores, they are probably hoping to generate some other "payback" from their developer relationships, in the form of being able to, in rare cases, publicly name them for promotional purposes. This hardly seems like some kind of egregious "privacy abuse" to me. You want privacy abuse? Try looking at ANYthing related to Android. Now THAT's privacy abuse.



    Whilst I agree that a company is not a "personal entity" deserving of the same privacy of an individual, I do feel that even companies need protection from all those things that you list. A company is just a collection of private individuals after all.
    That argument is just about as useful as claiming that humans should be treated like a big bowl of water, because the human body is composed of about 60% water.

    Companies are not simply a collection of individuals. They have unique characteristics that have to be taken account of. Especially when they have limited liability, as in corporations. I want to laugh my head off when these giant, wealthy corporations want to claim they have "free speech rights". LOL. Only because of some dimwit judges here in the USA has that concept made any headway, and Thomas Jefferson would be appalled if he saw what the USA had done with that 250 years later.



    Cuts both ways - a vendor/company should know who he is dealing with to make sure that the money paid is legitimate (not stolen etc.) and that the product is not going to be used for nefarious purposes.
    Unlike traditional retail, getting paid by BlackBerry via electronic methods in this day and age is about as guaranteed a form of payment that exists. This is not your grandmother's retail store, where you had to worry about bad checks, counterfeit currency, or being held at the point of a gun. As for customers using software for "nefarious purposes", you are really stretching that one.



    At the end of the day, my point is that BBW should be there to make life easy for app consumers and for app vendors. Part of that is being fair and not placing unecessary burdens on those involved. I just think that BB is far too fond of long, complicated and overbearing T&Cs which do nothing if not add an additional reason for developers to just go elsewhere where they feel more welcome.
    Probably 99.9% of the reasons app developers are abandoning the platform these days has nothing to do with BBW T&C's, it's really down in the noise floor.

    The platform is basically dead at this point. I see no indication it will be revived, either.
    Asuhmiaseh likes this.
    10-21-15 07:19 PM
  10. baarn's Avatar
    These software vendors would not have any business at all if it weren't for the platform developer, in this case BlackBerry.
    And BlackBerry didn't have an economic business either partly because it didn't retain the value of its third party app vendors.
    Again, it cuts both ways.

    Probably 99.9% of the reasons app developers are abandoning the platform these days has nothing to do with BBW T&C's, it's really down in the noise floor.
    I'll not argue with this.

    The platform is basically dead at this point. I see no indication it will be revived, either.
    And I'll even agree with this.

    The rest of the stuff we'll have to agree to disagree on, since this thread is flogging a dead horse now too...
    10-25-15 02:16 PM

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