September 13th 2008
By Mike Flaminio
By now, we've all heard the news that Apple refused to sell (PCWorld) Podcaster on the AppStore on the grounds that it duplicates functionality already in iTunes.
This has led to a firestorm of protest from the technorati:
Dave Winer--I wouldn't invest in or develop an iPhone app because Apple could decide not to approve it, and if they don't approve it you can't sell it. You can't even give it away. You don't find out if you've been approved until the last step, after you've fully invested, so you could lose, totally, if Apple says no. [Continue reading]
John Gruber--[B]latantly anti-competitive exclusion of apps that compete with Apple's own? There is no trade-off here. No one benefits from such a policy, not even Apple. If this is truly Apple's policy, it's a disaster for the platform.
Harry McCracken--The company should also publish a detailed list of policies relating to App Store acceptance, so both developers and users know what's kosher. It should have some sort of mechanism for developers to gain tentative approval for an application's function, so they don't waste time writing something that Apple would never accept.
And, yup, these guys are all right--Apple should have a clear set of policies, enforce them with an even hand (ie hire an ombudsman) and offer developers that fall afoul of the rules a method of appeal.
However, it should be noted, and this position likely won't endear me to anyone, if the developer of Podcaster deserves fair(er) treatment from Apple, then so do the people who created Pull My Finger and I Am Rich. High brow, low brow and everything in between deserves to be treated the same...
What's your take?