Dropbox working with Apple to resolve app rejection issue

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
After a number of developers using the Dropbox SDK reported that Apple was rejecting their iOS apps from the App Store because of links to an external purchase option, the cloud storage provider has confirmed that is working with Apple to address the issue.

Developers recently took to the Dropbox forums to discuss the rejections, as highlighted by The Next Web. Apple had taken issue with a new version of the Dropbox SDK that included a link to the "Desktop version" of its website on the page for creating accounts that could allow users to purchase additional space outside of the app.

Dropbox, which has more than 50 million users across 250 million different devices, released a statement about the issue to AppleInsider on Tuesday.

"Apple is rejecting apps that use the Dropbox SDK because we allow users to create accounts. We're working with Apple to come up with a solution that still provides an elegant user experience," the statement read.

A Dropbox employee appeared to have issued a temporary solution on the company's forums with a new version of the SDK that removed the offending link. The employee promised to share next week information about a "better solution."

Dropbox screenshot
Source: Dropbox.com


Apple began banning links to out-of-app purchases last year with the introduction of its App Store subscription service. The policy has been controversial and has affected several prominent app publishers, including Amazon, The Wall Street Journal and Barnes & Noble.

Dropbox founder Drew Houston revealed last year that Apple co-founder Steve Jobs offered a nine-figure sum for the startup in late 2009. After Houston and his partner declined, Jobs reportedly warned them that Apple would enter their market. Apple went on to unveil its iCloud service last June. Though iCloud and Dropbox are different in many ways, the two services are seen as overlapping in their efforts to provide seamless syncing and storage solutions.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 22
    jameskatt2jameskatt2 Posts: 718member


    DropBox knows the rules.


     


    Remove the offending link. Period.


     


    There is no excuse for it.

  • Reply 2 of 22
    scaramanga89scaramanga89 Posts: 207member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jameskatt2 View Post


    DropBox knows the rules.


     


    Remove the offending link. Period.


     


    There is no excuse for it.





    Heil!!

  • Reply 3 of 22
    gootoorgootoor Posts: 1member


    Lets hope this issue gets resolved soon

  • Reply 4 of 22
    seanyseany Posts: 2member


    To me this is nitpicking. Dropbox is only offering extra storage beyond their free option which is the default.


    Is it only Apple that is allowed to make money? This does not conflict with any revenue stream from Apple as the iCloud service is integrated into the OS.

  • Reply 5 of 22
    doh123doh123 Posts: 323member


    Apple's policy of nickel and diming everything is outrageous.. I don't know why people who want to sell subscriptions don't just boycott the store.


    They want a 30% cut from someone who makes a subscription even though Apple never does anything to assist in that subscription at all... a 30% cut of something completely handled outside of Apple... which is ridiculous.


     


    They should just put a note with it not being a link saying "this is for current users of dropbox.com only, you cannot sign up for a new account in this app"  then people will be smart enough to figure out how to go sign up for their own account.

  • Reply 6 of 22
    markbyrnmarkbyrn Posts: 608member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by doh123 View Post


    Apple's policy of nickel and diming everything is outrageous.. I don't know why people who want to sell subscriptions don't just boycott the store.


    They want a 30% cut from someone who makes a subscription even though Apple never does anything to assist in that subscription at all... a 30% cut of something completely handled outside of Apple... which is ridiculous.


     


    They should just put a note with it not being a link saying "this is for current users of dropbox.com only, you cannot sign up for a new account in this app"  then people will be smart enough to figure out how to go sign up for their own account.



    If they want to handle it outside of Apple, they can put the app outside the store as a web app but they obviously want to use the app store to sell and advertise their paid product, and so they need to follow the store rules.  It's not that difficult, there's no need to foam & fulminate about it.   

  • Reply 7 of 22
    brian wardbrian ward Posts: 47member


    Things like this make me miss Microsoft.  Software that can be used any way you please and with whoever you please.  iOS is the operating system that Dropbox uses to interface with their customers.  It is a tip of a much larger service and yet Apple is, in effect, demanding a share in the fee for their much more broad service.  This is overreaching and I believe it has everything to do with Apple wanting to restrict Google Drive's ability to get on their devices.  If iCloud didn't suck so bad, maybe no-one would even consider Dropbox or Google Drive.  How about delivering a better service and beating these other companies on innovation?  I am ready to throw my hands up in the air and get rid of my Apple gear.  Argh!  So frustrating!

  • Reply 8 of 22
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,215member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jameskatt2 View Post


    DropBox knows the rules.


     


    Remove the offending link. Period.


     


    There is no excuse for it.



     


    This wasn't actually dropbox but yes the rule has been there for the last year. So really there's no excuse for the developers not to abide by it. 

  • Reply 9 of 22
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by seany View Post


    To me this is nitpicking. Dropbox is only offering extra storage beyond their free option which is the default.


    Is it only Apple that is allowed to make money? This does not conflict with any revenue stream from Apple as the iCloud service is integrated into the OS.



     


    Who said that only Apple was allowed to make money?



    Apple keeps 30% to cover the cost of running the app store. It's roughly a break-even situation, so if Dropbox paid someone else to do it, they probably wouldn't be any better off. 



    Even after subtracting Apple's 30%, Dropbox keeps 70%, so what makes you think that only Apple is allowed to make money? Furthermore, Dropbox is free to do a million other things to make money. They can sell their added storage capacity on their web site. They can charge for the app. They can build and sell motorcycles if they wish. They can do anything they want - except break the rules that they agreed to when signing up for Apple's App Store.

  • Reply 10 of 22
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


     


    Who said that only Apple was allowed to make money?



    Apple keeps 30% to cover the cost of running the app store. It's roughly a break-even situation, so if Dropbox paid someone else to do it, they probably wouldn't be any better off. 



    Even after subtracting Apple's 30%, Dropbox keeps 70%, so what makes you think that only Apple is allowed to make money? Furthermore, Dropbox is free to do a million other things to make money. They can sell their added storage capacity on their web site. They can charge for the app. They can build and sell motorcycles if they wish. They can do anything they want - except break the rules that they agreed to when signing up for Apple's App Store.



    I see his point though because everyone is selling things on their website. It just so happens that what Dropbox is selling is identical to a service that Apple is selling. If Dropbox indeed was selling motorcycles, I seriously doubt Apple would care about the link. The way it is going, they might as well make the UIWebView API private because no one will be able to use it legally except Apple.

  • Reply 11 of 22
    atchijovatchijov Posts: 10member


    Since when its become illegal to sell ANYTHING via Mobile Safari?  Last time I checked you were NOT allowed to sell things directly inside your app (unless you are using Apple provided APIs), but it was perfectly OK to open any URL in Mobile Safari.  Drop Box API does exactly this - its open specific URL in external browser.  I had an app which was originally rejected by Apple because it was opening a URL in web view and you could navigate to the page with "buy" button inside this web view. Solution - suggested by  Apple - was to open the same URL in external browser (Safari).  There are millions of apps which do just that.  Opening buy/donate/subscribe pages in Safari. Are they all going to be banned now?

  • Reply 12 of 22
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by atchijov View Post


    Since when its become illegal to sell ANYTHING via Mobile Safari?  Last time I checked you were NOT allowed to sell things directly inside your app (unless you are using Apple provided APIs), but it was perfectly OK to open any URL in Mobile Safari.  Drop Box API does exactly this - its open specific URL in external browser.  I had an app which was originally rejected by Apple because it was opening a URL in web view and you could navigate to the page with "buy" button inside this web view. Solution - suggested by  Apple - was to open the same URL in external browser (Safari).  There are millions of apps which do just that.  Opening buy/donate/subscribe pages in Safari. Are they all going to be banned now?



    I think they are still in the app since the offending link is said to be part of the Dropbox SDK. The link to purchase storage is at least three or four clicks removed from the login screen. It is not like they have a button inside the app that says "BUY" they are just letting people navigate around their website using UIWebView.

  • Reply 13 of 22
    atchijovatchijov Posts: 10member

    Quote:


    I think they are still in the app since the offending link is said to be part of the Dropbox SDK



    No. Drop Box SDK opening a URL using standard iOS mechanisms.  If you have DropBox app installed, it will launch DropBox app. If not, it will open URL in the Safari.

  • Reply 14 of 22
    akacakac Posts: 511member
    Some of the people commenting here don't have a clue about the actualities of what's going on. The ones who say "its Apple's rules, they know about it, blah, blah, blah" don't actually understand anything about this article. Apple's rules are that you can't have a buy link in your app if you don't also have a in-app purchase buy link. That's not what Dropbox is doing. And its not dropbox, but their SDK. And its not even a buy link anywhere except if you navigate their whole website in the app. Essentially you could say that almost any app that allows a web view breaks Apple's rules by being so open ended. Apple's rules are fine. But the way they are handling it here are not because its not actually breaking the letter or spirit of the rule. Its just some stupid reviewer who took the rule way too far.
  • Reply 15 of 22
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by atchijov View Post


    No. Drop Box SDK opening a URL using standard iOS mechanisms.  If you have DropBox app installed, it will launch DropBox app. If not, it will open URL in the Safari.



    Ok, however in either case, it seems rather remote that you could construe the link to the 'Desktop Version' of a website as an attempt to circumvent the in-app purchase rules when the actual purchasing page is so many clicks away from the initial page that you are sent to and there seems to be no attempt whatsoever to guide you to the actual purchasing page either.

  • Reply 16 of 22
    atchijovatchijov Posts: 10member


    Yes. This is why this goes beyond DropBox vs. Apple.  If this approach is "new norm", no application which opens URLs in Safari is safe. At the same time, what prevents you from serving page without "BUY"/"Donate" button while you app gets approved and start showing it once you get into the App Store? What prevents you from serving one page if request comes from "inside" of Apple's network and different page for the rest of the world?  As any un-enforcible rule it does more harm than good.  The only thing Apple can gain this way is bad PR.

  • Reply 17 of 22
    ktappektappe Posts: 763member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by charlituna View Post


     


    This wasn't actually dropbox but yes the rule has been there for the last year. So really there's no excuse for the developers not to abide by it. 



     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jameskatt2 View Post


    DropBox knows the rules.


     


    Remove the offending link. Period.


     


    There is no excuse for it.



     


    Wow, I was trying to figure out how Fanbois would defend this move. And it seems the only defense of the rule is "it's the rule". Can you be more blind? Discuss the MERITS of the rule people, not just parrot 'the law is the law" in a braindead fashion. 

  • Reply 18 of 22
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ktappe View Post


     


     


    Wow, I was trying to figure out how Fanbois would defend this move. And it seems the only defense of the rule is "it's the rule". Can you be more blind? Discuss the MERITS of the rule people, not just parrot 'the law is the law" in a braindead fashion. 



     


    OK. The merits of the rule:



    1. Apple created a great app store - the best in the world.


    2. As part of the requirements for creating this great App store, Apple insisted on a walled garden to provide security and minimal standards for the apps


    3.  In order to ensure security and minimal standards, Apple rejects apps that don't follow the rules.


    4. Dropbox didn't follow the rules and it is therefore impossible for Apple to ensure security and minimum standards, so they told dropbox to fix the app.


     


    Seems like the merits are pretty clear.

  • Reply 19 of 22
    techguy911techguy911 Posts: 267member
    jragosta wrote: »
    OK. The merits of the rule:


    1. Apple created a great app store - the best in the world.
    2. As part of the requirements for creating this great App store, Apple insisted on a walled garden to provide security and minimal standards for the apps
    3.  In order to ensure security and minimal standards, Apple rejects apps that don't follow the rules.
    4. Dropbox didn't follow the rules and it is therefore impossible for Apple to ensure security and minimum standards, so they told dropbox to fix the app.

    Seems like the merits are pretty clear.

    You still didn't list any merits, just re-iterated that Apple made rules, Dropbox didn't follow them, therefore Apple should reject the app.
  • Reply 20 of 22
    sandy009sandy009 Posts: 52member


    i just wished dropbox did follow the rules :(

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