Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Apple and the App Store Process - Thoughts

First take the time to read this post: Sentence First - verdict afterwards

Now I have defended the App store process many times, and I think that in many ways it is a good thing. It keeps some of the garbage out, and provides for a family friendly environment. However, Apple goes too far in some cases. I can't provide a better example than the one I linked to above. There is no good reason for them to act this way, and it is exactly this kind of behavior that makes developers avoid the platform.

Apple should follow a set of clear and documented policies when restricting apps from the app store. Anyone should be able to review these policies and check to make sure they are within the rules that Apple has described.

Most people would be fine if Apple kept pornographic apps out. I also think the restriction on apps with too little functionality would be fine as long as the factors used to test this are documented. Keeping apps out that do malicious or dangerous things with the users device or data should also be restricted. Apple also does a great job of keeping non-working apps from the app store. Simple "does it work" QA, is a great service being provided to the developer community.

Having said that I feel that it is in Apple's best interest to never do any of the following as long as the basic restrictions do not apply.

  • Apple should never restrict apps that duplicate or compete with their own apps.  Let the users decide whether these apps are better or not, that one small bit of extra functionality may be all the difference in the world.

  • Apple should never restrict an app based on some arbitrary hard to define concept like is described in the above link. What the hell is the clear and agreed upon definition of a Desktop or Widget app?  Thats just dumb.

Apple should know better.  If these apps are somehow bad for the users then let the market decide that, Apple restring this will only create bad juju for the Developer community.