Apple Answers App Store Critics - InformationWeek

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8/12/2009
01:12 PM
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Apple Answers App Store Critics

The company is reaching out to developers who've complained that the iPhone App Store's vetting process is arbitrary and unfair.

Apple appears to be making a stronger effort to reach out to developers who are frustrated with the company's approval process for the App Store.

The App Store has been wildly successful since its introduction a little more than a year ago, as more than 1.5 billion programs have been downloaded. Developers have been flocking to the mobile store too, as there are more than 65,000 programs in the marketplace.

But there has been increased grumbling that the App Store's vetting process is arbitrary or unfair, and Apple's decision to block the Google Voice app has led to some government inquiries. Developer Steven Frank publicly boycotted the iPhone because of the App Store approval process, and he said Apple's VP of worldwide marketing, Philip Schiller, recently sent him a personal e-mail to discuss his issues with the store.

"I laid out my case to the best of my ability, and had a senior VP from Apple tell me 'we hear you,'" Frank said in a blog post. "It seems like at this point, continuing my boycott doesn't really achieve anything in the grand scheme of things except making my life a bit more miserable. As I tried to explain in my response to Phil, I don't complain about the things I hate -- I complain about the things I love."

The move comes a week after Schiller responded directly to tech blog Daring Fireball's assertion that Apple censored a dictionary app. Normally, Apple does not publicly elaborate on why an app gets rejected beyond saying it violates the developer's agreement, or it duplicates existing functionality of the iPhone.

Apple said it is constantly adjusting its App Store process in order to make it the most attractive platform for developers. Rivals are already trying to take advantage of growing frustration with Apple, as Google has repeatedly stressed its Android Market is less restrictive than the App Store.


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