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Apple cuts off unofficial avenue for rebuffed iPhone apps

post #1 of 137
Thread Starter 
After an iPhone app developer successfully discovered a workaround for being turned down at the App Store in iTunes, Apple has cracked down and barred an unofficial method as well, potentially raising an anti-competition dispute.

Almerica, the creator of a podcast download and playback tool known as Podcaster, faced a second hurdle in as many weeks when Apple shut down access to creating ad hoc licenses for the utility.

Until this point, the developer had been using the method, originally intended for education and software testing, as an impromptu distribution tactic: new licenses would be created in exchange for a $10 contribution. The approach left out the App Store entirely and consequently left Apple out of its 30 percent revenue from each sale.

While Apple itself didn't attempt to explain its move, the clampdown came after the company rejected Podcaster for reasons still disputed today. The iTunes operator had left Podcaster in limbo for several weeks between July and the end of August, only to turn it down over its alleged duplication of iTunes functionality. Neither the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store nor the music player in the iPhone and iPod touch firmware offer the ability to download podcasts.

The attempt to shutter Podcaster outside of the App Store has already been labeled a risky precedent by critics, who note that Apple is now attempting to regulate both its official source for its devices' apps but also unofficial routes as well. It echoes similarly controversial moves by Verizon and other carriers who in the past have barred unofficial apps from their phones in an attempt to control all app revenue.

"This puts Apple in a dangerous legal position," says Phone News' Christopher Price. "Before today, Apple had rights to assert that the App Store was only one sales channel, which they had every right to control. Now Apple is asserting rights to control any and all sales channels of software to iPhone and iPod touch owners."

A completely closed development environment such as this is likened to a "walled garden" where the iPhone maker has a virtual monopoly and can shut out viable competitors to its own software.

Apple also shows no plans for a turnaround. Although Almerica has since found that Podcaster's installer still works and that those who already elected to receive the app will obtain a working copy, Cupertino-based Apple has begun attempts to minimize the controversies that trigger such unusual methods in the first place. A recent rejection notice reported at Mac Rumors came with a non-disclosure agreement that prevents discussion of the reasons behind the rejection and so doesn't let this developer or others voice public opposition to their exclusion from the App Store.
post #2 of 137
Apple behave, you're really pushing it now. Please respect your developers.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #3 of 137
That's one way to fix the bad publicity over rejected apps. Not the one we were expecting though.
post #4 of 137
Absolutely disgusting.
post #5 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

Apple behave, you're really pushing it now. Please respect your developers.

I have absolutely no sympathy for Almerica. As an iPhone developer, I don't feel any disrespect from Apple. I understood the rules when I signed up.

The ad hoc provisioning method was not intended to be used to sell software outside of the App Store. What Almerica is doing is disrespecting iPhone developers. Potentially causing Apple to disable Ad Hoc provisioning in defense and thereby making it difficult to beta test software outside of the developers own hardware.
post #6 of 137
You know, it's funny. Check out the Apps Store and its FlyCast App. Start FlyCast. Look at the Guide. Touch "On-Demand Audio". A list appears. What do you see? Podcasts! Lots and lots of podcasts!

Golly.
post #7 of 137
Description for Podcaster shows "Podcaster allows you to stream and listen to all your favorite audio podcasts without having to sync with iTunes."

That's stupid. It is in the SDK license agreement that you cannot make something to get around iTunes.

Those dudes should stop fighting Apple. Instead, change the company name and product name, submit the app with a different SDK membership, and never mention again. They will get approved.
post #8 of 137
I'll support Apple in a lot of what they do, but I think they need to fix things here. This guy put a lot of time into making this app, only to have it rejected. I wouldn't have said that it contravened any of Apples rules, but then they don't publish a clear list of guidelines... NDAing everything is also really frustrating - I'd like to buy a book on iPhone development, but I can't! From my point of view, it makes Apple look like Big Brother, and that worries me, as I'm normally very supportive...

I think, to a certain extent a 'walled garden' is ok, but Apple need to make it 100% clear what they'll allow, so as not to waste developer's time. They also need to treat developers better or they'll just not bother.
post #9 of 137
Hey Apple, I hope you're listening:

F you.

Please stop screwing your developers.

Once again, f you.
Fragmentation is not just something we have to acknowledge and accept. Fragmentation is something that we deal with every day, and we must accept it as a fact of the iPhone platform experience.

Ste...
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Fragmentation is not just something we have to acknowledge and accept. Fragmentation is something that we deal with every day, and we must accept it as a fact of the iPhone platform experience.

Ste...
Reply
post #10 of 137
Devils Advocate regarding NDA changes:

Wonder how developers would feel if, after they submitted an application for approval, found that Apple had copied every blog in town about what a pathetic piece of crap app had just been submitted to them?

Up until now, developers have been able to visibly & vocally complain about Apple, however, for all we know, the app could have been complete crap, and Apple can't really explain that to anyone without trashing some developer.

Perhaps it's better if both Apple & devs zip it up in this case, as what's going on is not making either party look good.

Just sayin'
post #11 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by iPhoneCoder View Post

I have absolutely no sympathy for Almerica. As an iPhone developer, I don't feel any disrespect from Apple. I understood the rules when I signed up.

The ad hoc provisioning method was not intended to be used to sell software outside of the App Store. What Almerica is doing is disrespecting iPhone developers. Potentially causing Apple to disable Ad Hoc provisioning in defense and thereby making it difficult to beta test software outside of the developers own hardware.

Uhhhh, nice first post. Are you sure you're not posting from the bowels of 1 Infinite Loop?

If you are, can you please tell your bosses to stop fucking with developers? This is getting tiresome.
Fragmentation is not just something we have to acknowledge and accept. Fragmentation is something that we deal with every day, and we must accept it as a fact of the iPhone platform experience.

Ste...
Reply
Fragmentation is not just something we have to acknowledge and accept. Fragmentation is something that we deal with every day, and we must accept it as a fact of the iPhone platform experience.

Ste...
Reply
post #12 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


Until this point, the developer had been using the method, originally intended for education and software testing, as an impromptu distribution tactic: new licenses would be created in exchange for a $10 contribution. The approach left out the App Store entirely and consequently left Apple out of its 30 percent revenue from each sale.

The end should not justify the means. Imagine what would happen if everyone started auto repair bodyshop in their garage because the city , for whatever reason, refused to give them a permit to open one!

They should have released the software for jailbroken iPhones instead of going through this mess.
post #13 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

The end should not justify the means. They should have released the software for jailbroken iPhones instead of going through this.

They signed an NDA that explicitly stated that they could not distribute any app they developed with the iPhone SDK outside the Apple iTunes store, let alone develop an app that circumvented in acquiring video..
post #14 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by iPhoneCoder View Post

I have absolutely no sympathy for Almerica. As an iPhone developer, I don't feel any disrespect from Apple. I understood the rules when I signed up.

The ad hoc provisioning method was not intended to be used to sell software outside of the App Store. What Almerica is doing is disrespecting iPhone developers. Potentially causing Apple to disable Ad Hoc provisioning in defense and thereby making it difficult to beta test software outside of the developers own hardware.

Good one. Apple told him to do it. Good one Steve.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #15 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by g3pro View Post

Hey Apple, I hope you're listening:

Fuck you.

Please stop screwing your developers.

Once again, fuck you.

Are you a developer? Then speak for yourself. We don't need your assistance.
post #16 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by g3pro View Post

Uhhhh, nice first post. Are you sure you're not posting from the bowels of 1 Infinite Loop?

If you are, can you please tell your bosses to stop fucking with developers? This is getting tiresome.

Nice try!

While I've developed for the Mac since 1988 and been to Apple on many occasions, attending coding workshops, I have never worked for Apple.

I agree that it would be nice if Apple would establish clearer guidelines for apps. It would be great if Apple sped up the submittal and vetting process. I would also love it if they would put my apps, at the least, in the iTunes New apps section.

Now I have 2 posts.
post #17 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post

Are you a developer? Then speak for yourself. We don't need your assistance.

Yes, I am. A developer for OTHER platforms as well.

Fragmentation is not just something we have to acknowledge and accept. Fragmentation is something that we deal with every day, and we must accept it as a fact of the iPhone platform experience.

Ste...
Reply
Fragmentation is not just something we have to acknowledge and accept. Fragmentation is something that we deal with every day, and we must accept it as a fact of the iPhone platform experience.

Ste...
Reply
post #18 of 137
Quote:
"virtual monopoly"

Ah, yes. As distinct from an "actual monopoly."

In any case I do hope Apple makes their guidelines clear enough that people don't do work on app THINKING it will be allowed, only to find out very late that they can't sell it!

And of the well-known app rejections, NetShare is the only rejection I can agree with. It's also the only rejected app I myself would actually want... ironically enough.
post #19 of 137
In may years of dealing with Apple on many issues, it has always been my experience that if you go about making your case in a civil verifiable manner and genuinely are reasonable, Apple will do the right thing. I have had countless customer satisfaction and technical issues satisfied.

That said arrogance , impatience and demands for immediate knee jerk action will most certainly not get you anywhere.

Apple is a company that is regularly venturing into uncharted territory - it takes time to iron out wrinkles. It is unreasonable to expect immediate perfection of everything . Yeah we were supposed to all be perfect and I'm sure that all the righteous screamers are, but forgive those that aren't we need to digest all the details. The devil is in the details.

Chill
post #20 of 137
I personally find the larger problem to be the conflicts between the app store model and almost any open source software. This denies developers the ability to port or expand upon already well established projects that could be maintained and improved upon by a community.
post #21 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by iPhoneCoder View Post

I have absolutely no sympathy for Almerica. As an iPhone developer, I don't feel any disrespect from Apple. I understood the rules when I signed up.

Amen. They either didn't read Apple's terms, ignored them, or didn't understand them.

There's an effort to bring Frodo, the Commodore 64 emulator, to the iPhone. I have pointed out several times that such a port would violate Apple's developer terms, as Frodo would enable folks to run interpreted third-party code -- a big no-no.

Fellow developers: reading English code is as important as reading Objective-C. Learn to do so and you'll save yourself time, resources, and bitter words.
post #22 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post

They signed an NDA that explicitly stated that they could not distribute any app they developed with the iPhone SDK outside the Apple iTunes store, let alone develop an app that circumvented in acquiring video..

I know. But what I mean is if you want to break the contract then break it in a away that keep you away from Apple reach (not legally though). I am not supporting what they did either way.

I always wonder what happened to taking contracts seriously! Why would anyone sign a contract and then whine about the terms? If you don't like it then don't sign it.
post #23 of 137
Along these lines, yesterday MochaSofts RDP Lite and RDP full version were removed from the Apps store. Too bad because they were cheaper and worked much more reliably than WinAdmin for remote desktop. I don't know reason why but we are left with still quirky WinAdmin as the only Windows Remote Desktop application for iPhone.
post #24 of 137
Apple's DICTATORSHIP !
no other word to describe their action !
May be they took the time to steal all the ideas and will soon add such an application... if they do so, they are the worst
post #25 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by breeze View Post

In may years of dealing with Apple on many issues, it has always been my experience that if you go about making your case in a civil verifiable manner and genuinely are reasonable, Apple will do the right thing. I have had countless customer satisfaction and technical issues satisfied.

You may have a point. I will say that Apple rejecting apps because they compete with Apple's own is anticompetitive. Apple is taking quite a chance being so stubborn and uncommunicative about this policy.

The only reason I can see them justifying it is if they have future plans they have yet to reveal to us.
post #26 of 137
I don't see Apple doing anything wrong here. Why?
1- Apple hosts your app for free if you are willing to offer it for free, and that is very generous, because you don't have to pay for maintaing a website or try to generate traffic to your site.

2- If you decide to charge money for the app then Apple keeps 30% of that price. Which is also very generous because you don't have to maintain an ecommerce website or spend lots of time, energy, and money advertising, and if you spoke with anyone who worked on Google Click Ads they'll tell you "IT'S NOT CHEAP".

Well... Almerica attempted to circumvent Apple's 30% slice by pretending that the app is for FREE to get the free hosting, then the app would request you to make a payment on Almerica's website.

I don't know about you, but that is anything but right.
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post #27 of 137
Apple is doing a TERRIBLE job handling the roll out of the iPhone SDK. The NDA clauses are ridiculous. Yet Apple's discussion boards are filled with people talking about iPhone development. If Apple took the NDA seriously, they would shut down every developer account of everyone who posts iPhone development discussions. The NDA just gives them a big stick they can wield as selectively as they choose. Wake up on the wrong side of the bed? Ban a few people. Feeling good? Let some crappy apps into the store.

I hope they create some "sanctioned" way for devs to distribute their own apps. If you want something that's been blessed by the Big A, the shop at the App Store. If you're more daring then download direct from the dev - with no need for jailbreaking!

I was excited about the iPhone as a platform, but Apple keeps curbing my enthusiasm.

- Jasen.
post #28 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by g3pro View Post

Hey Apple, I hope you're listening:

Fuck you.

Please stop screwing your developers.

Once again, fuck you.

Wow, tell us how you really feel!

Why does Apple bashing and trolling make people feel so good?

Reply

Why does Apple bashing and trolling make people feel so good?

Reply
post #29 of 137
You can argue whether or not Apple should have approved Podcaster or not, or even whether Apple should be allowed to approve apps at all if you like ... however, it's pretty hard to argue that Apple should have allowed one developer to use an ad hoc distribution system, and not everybody else. The guy signed a developer agreement, submitted an app, had it refused, publicized that refusal, set up ad hoc distribution to sell his app and then complained about that when that door was closed.

Hundreds of other developers have submitted thousands of apps and managed to play by the rules - whether the rules are good or bad, they are clearly listed and should be enforced fairly for all developers.
post #30 of 137
We in the USA are used to such tactics and have become almost immune to them.

I'll be curious to see what the European Union has to say about such policies after cracking down on MS so hard.

Apple, youve bit off more than you can chew on this one.

Apple has clearly made their stance and IMHO it's as anti completive as it gets.
EU come to the rescue of developers all over the world to stop this.

If not the developer community for the iPhone will turn and run as it's doing.
There has to be some jurisdiction that does not allow this type of control.

Remember, where not just dealing with the USA now the iPhone is a Global Phone and along with that comes Global Responsibility.

Kind of sounds like the stock market doesn't it. The US is writing a blank check and Apple is writing its own policies and changing them when it doesn't meet their criteria of a qualified Application.

Someone has got to step in from a higher level than this board and stop this.
post #31 of 137
Want to know the most frustrating thing about being an iPhone developer? People who review your app saying it should be cheaper/free. Next most frustrating is people reviewing your app suggesting features the app already has or otherwise saying things that make it obvious they didn't even buy it.

Apple's review policies are way, way down on the list of frustrating things about iPhone development.

The good part is handing off the app to Apple and have them take care of all the work for you, selling your app around the world in all sorts of currencies and distributing it to all localities without needing to monitor any bandwidth, security, credit card clearances, etc. Seriously, at the risk of being called a troll, there are a lot of whiners around...
post #32 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by Booga View Post

Want to know the most frustrating thing about being an iPhone developer? People who review your app saying it should be cheaper/free. Next most frustrating is people reviewing your app suggesting features the app already has or otherwise saying things that make it obvious they didn't even buy it.

Apple's review policies are way, way down on the list of frustrating things about iPhone development.

The good part is handing off the app to Apple and have them take care of all the work for you, selling your app around the world in all sorts of currencies and distributing it to all localities without needing to monitor any bandwidth, security, credit card clearances, etc. Seriously, at the risk of being called a troll, there are a lot of whiners around...

Are you a developer? If not than you speak with no experience.

Either way it's wrong & this room has a right to be "whiners" if that's what you want to call them (me).

I hope you speak for a very few devolopers if you are one. If not then PISS off you have nothing to say.

This is wrong and needs to be stopped.
post #33 of 137
I still respect Apple's right to reject apps from the app store. However, not telling developers why the app was rejected is troubling. Whats REALLY EXTREMELY HORRIFYINGLY TROUBLING is Apple taking the extra step and telling developers who were rejected that being notified of rejection falls under the NDA.
So they are taking away developers rights of complaining or asking why the app was rejected in the first place.

Apple wants a walled garden to keep the iphone's quality 2nd to none...fine. But they are simply NOT doing what they need to do to develop the STILL fledgling iphone dev community into something thriving and growing.
They should be laying the groundwork for the building of relationships. Yes, the average developer who just wants to make a buck will churn out cute little apps that have some utility. But Apple is keeping the REALLY INNOVATIVE apps from being born and thus stifling innovation.

This is NOT GOOD.....not not good.

You know what the really disgustingly sad thing about this is? After all this Apple is still the best tech company out there.
That means all in all this planet on a whole is pathetically primitive despite what us trained monkeys have been taught is "innovation".
Gawd I'm depressed now.
post #34 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post

They signed an NDA that explicitly stated that they could not distribute any app they developed with the iPhone SDK outside the Apple iTunes store, let alone develop an app that circumvented in acquiring video..

Some mofos are always trying to ice-skate uphill.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

 

Get the lowdown on the coming collapse:  http://www.cbo.gov/publication/45010

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

 

Get the lowdown on the coming collapse:  http://www.cbo.gov/publication/45010

Reply
post #35 of 137
The point is that as an iPhone developer, you have no choice but to depend on the AppStore
post #36 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacOldTimer View Post

Are you a developer? If not than you speak with no experience.

Either way it's wrong & this room has a right to be "whiners" if that's what you want to call them (me).

I hope you speak for a very few devolopers if you are one. If not then PISS off you have nothing to say.

This is wrong and needs to be stopped.

I'm an iPhone developer and I disagree with you. It's too easy to cry "anti-competitive", "fascist", "disrespectful to developers" because of policies and rules that you don't care for.

Please explain how Apple is being "anti-competitive". In your opinion, what is Apple doing wrong? How would you run the process?
post #37 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post

I don't see Apple doing anything wrong here. Why?
1- Apple hosts your app for free if you are willing to offer it for free, and that is very generous, because you don't have to pay for maintaing a website or try to generate traffic to your site.

2- If you decide to charge money for the app then Apple keeps 30% of that price. Which is also very generous because you don't have to maintain an ecommerce website or spend lots of time, energy, and money advertising, and if you spoke with anyone who worked on Google Click Ads they'll tell you "IT'S NOT CHEAP".

Well... Almerica attempted to circumvent Apple's 30% slice by pretending that the app is for FREE to get the free hosting, then the app would request you to make a payment on Almerica's website.

I don't know about you, but that is anything but right.

The point is that, as an iPhone developer, you have no choice but to depend on the AppStore
post #38 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mukei View Post

Apple's DICTATORSHIP !
no other word to describe their action !
May be they took the time to steal all the ideas and will soon add such an application... if they do so, they are the worst

Don't get bent out of shape. The way the article was written it was intended to inflame the passions of developers. That isn't the whole story, obviously.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

 

Get the lowdown on the coming collapse:  http://www.cbo.gov/publication/45010

Reply

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

 

Get the lowdown on the coming collapse:  http://www.cbo.gov/publication/45010

Reply
post #39 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcassara View Post

There's an effort to bring Frodo, the Commodore 64 emulator, to the iPhone. I have pointed out several times that such a port would violate Apple's developer terms, as Frodo would enable folks to run interpreted third-party code -- a big no-no.

You do realize that reading and interpreting virtually any data feed: HTML, XML, or any other formatted data file is effectively running interpreted third-party code?

Just yet another area where Apple's terms are less than clear.
post #40 of 137
Quote:
A recent rejection notice reported at Mac Rumors came with a non-disclosure agreement that prevents discussion of the reasons behind the rejection and so doesn't let this developer or others voice public opposition to their exclusion from the App Store.


There is an easy way to complain: Bring your notice of rejection to the antitrust authorities and ask them to investigate whether Apple is breaching the provisions of the Sherman Act or any other provisions of the consumer protection laws.

This should keep Apple busy for a while, and all the work (and expense) is done by government authorities. For good measure, notify your antitrust complaint to business journalists for them to report it to the general public.

After a while, Apple will realize that it is easier and cheaper to obey the law and not screw up independent developpers.

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