BlueMail restored to Apple's Mac App Store after dispute [u]

Posted:
in General Discussion edited February 2020
Apple has now approved a newly submitted version of BlueMail to the App Store, four months after the developers sued for allegedly removing the app unfairly.

Blix's BlueMail is back on the Mac App Store after eight months
Blix's BlueMail is back on the Mac App Store after eight months


Blix, developer of BlueMail, had filed suit against Apple for allegedly removing the app unfairly, and abusing its market dominance. Apple has now approved a new version of the app.

A revised version of BlueMail has been returned to the Mac App Store, eight months after it was removed by Apple for what were said to be violations of the store's requirements. Blix, the app's developer, has disputed this and maintains that Apple unfairly removed it while also infringing the company's technology.

Specifically, Blix claims that Apple has used its patented technology to power the new "Sign in with Apple" feature. Co-founder Ben Volach, in an email to AppleInsider, said that Apple's restoring the app comes after both the lawsuit and Blix's call out to small developers to join its complaints against the way the App Store is run.

"We're happy that users can once again get BlueMail through the Mac App Store, but we know this isn't the end," wrote Volach. "Our experience has shown that until the app review process includes effective checks and balances, Apple holds too much power over small developers."

One solution could be to include external independent members and observers in Apple's App Review Board," he continued, "just as a public company's Board of Directors represents its shareholders."

Craig Federighi introduces
Craig Federighi introduces "Sign in with Apple," which Blix says is a reason its BlueMail app was removed


The version of BlueMail now back on the App Store is a new revision that Blix submitted on February 6. Blix says, however, that the update did not change key elements of the app that Apple had disputed, yet it was quickly approved.

A spokesperson for Apple told AppleInsider that the the company has been trying to work with Blix on getting their app restored.

"Blix's mail app is currently available on the iOS App Store and they have a brand new communications app available on the Mac App Store," said the spokesperson. "We have attempted on multiple occasions to assist them in getting their BlueMail app back on the Mac App Store. They have refused our help."

"The App Store has a uniform set of guidelines, equally applicable to all developers, that are meant to protect users," continued the spokesperson. "Blix is proposing to override basic data security protections which can expose users' computers to malware that can harm their Macs and threaten their privacy."

Blix has not confirmed what changes it made to comply with App Store guidelines, but information from Apple suggests that the key update was to do with Gatekeeper. Apple says that Blix did not follow the latest guidelines concerning Gatekeeper until this latest version.

The company's other co-founder, brother Dan Volach, however, believes that the fast approval was instead because of how his company had been reaching out to the public, to developers and to Apple's CEO.

"When we wrote to Tim Cook in November, we heard back in hours," he said. "When we wrote to Apple's developer community, BlueMail was back on the App Store within a week."

Update 12:55 PM Eastern Time: Added details from Apple about the App Store appearance.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    Company statements notwithstanding, it’s a new version that was approved.

    And yes, if you want to play in Apple’s arena, then you have to play by Apple’s rules.
    agilealtitudeDancingMonkeysmwhite
  • Reply 2 of 20
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,174member
    sacto joe said:
    Company statements notwithstanding, it’s a new version that was approved.

    And yes, if you want to play in Apple’s arena, then you have to play by Apple’s rules.
    ....Which is part of what Blix is trying to change. Regulators don't sound opposed to looking at it.
  • Reply 3 of 20
    I wonder why AI is using a picture of Blue Mail with a 2 star rating when the App Store has it at 4.5...

    Apple [email protected]?
    williamlondon
  • Reply 4 of 20
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,174member
    I wonder why AI is using a picture of Blue Mail with a 2 star rating when the App Store has it at 4.5...

    Apple [email protected]?
    Good observation. Where did that image come from, and there's just one rating?
    edited February 2020
  • Reply 5 of 20
    "The App Store has a uniform set of guidelines, equally applicable to all developers, that are meant to protect users," continued the spokesperson. "Blix is proposing to override basic data security protections which can expose users' computers to malware that can harm their Macs and threaten their privacy."

    These apps are such huge privacy and security holes. Thanks but no thanks. I'll just keep using the stock email app where I feel confident that my login credentials are safe and that my email isn't be read by 3rd parties.
    n2itivguyRayz2016
  • Reply 6 of 20
    Is the app any good?
    williamlondon
  • Reply 7 of 20
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,471member
    I wonder why AI is using a picture of Blue Mail with a 2 star rating when the App Store has it at 4.5...

    Apple [email protected]?
    Just checked now and it's down to 3.3 with 4 ratings. So take your conspiracy theory and shove it up your you-know-what. Let's revisit the issue when there are more reviews and ratings, shall we. Your knee-jerk reaction that AppleInsider is an Apple ass kisser is offensive and ludicrous. Haters gonna hate. And that goes for GoogleGuy too.
    williamlondonmwhiten2itivguyRayz2016leavingthebiggbshank
  • Reply 8 of 20
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 1,730member
    After this little p****** contest and the revelations that third party mail apps were mining data, I know there is no way in h*** I’ll be installing BlueMail 
    lkruppn2itivguyRayz2016seymour
  • Reply 9 of 20
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,262administrator
    I wonder why AI is using a picture of Blue Mail with a 2 star rating when the App Store has it at 4.5...

    Apple [email protected]?
    That's because it was a newly uploaded and released version, and at the time, the two-star rating was what was displayed because that's all that there was. It is an unmodified screencap. Things have progressed since then.

    Take a minute to revisit the commenting guidelines, while you're at it. You're not going to get any more warnings, about anything. If you were a new user, that "kissass" comment would have resulted in a ban.
    edited February 2020 williamlondonmwhiten2itivguydysamorialeavingthebiggbshank
  • Reply 10 of 20
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,471member
    I wonder why this outfit just didn't offer their warez on their own website. After all, this is macOS, not iOS, and users can still install anything they want to on their Macs. There are a number of developers who choose not to put their apps on the Mac App Store, like Quicken, The Print Shop, Hallmark Card Studio, and a myriad of others.
    williamlondonmwhite
  • Reply 11 of 20
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,174member
    I wonder why AI is using a picture of Blue Mail with a 2 star rating when the App Store has it at 4.5...

    Apple [email protected]?
    That's because it was a newly uploaded and released version, and at the time, the two-star rating was what was displayed because that's all that there was. It is an unmodified screencap. Things have progressed since then.



    Thanks for the clarification Mike. I should have recognized it was a "new app" just uploaded rather than reviews of the previous one which had been removed. Makes sense now.
  • Reply 12 of 20
    The article could be a little clearer about the relationship to the Sherlocking issue that Blix has also complained about (in a lawsuit, IIRC). It’s the reason Blix has been able to take such an aggrieved stance about this App Store removal, even though they may not be related.

    On the other hand, they might be related, in that once Apple implemented Sign In With Apple then there were new rules about how that sort of thing is handled by the OS — workarounds that were once okay were suddenly no longer okay. It may be similar to the kerfuffle over parental-control apps when Apple introduced Screen Time into iOS. The rules changed overnight, which sucked for those developers, but it’s unreasonable for them to expect Apple to provide them with the roadmap for the OS — they just have to adjust, or die.

    The whole idea of Sherlocking is interesting — I think often there’s a failure to see the mothership’s point of view — the OS can’t do everything at first — not every feature can be implemented in v1.0. An independent developer focused on one little corner of the OS can refine it and improve it, but ultimately the OS is going to catch up and then the developer has to innovate further, or die. They can’t sit still.

    I remember I loved Watson and used it, but I didn’t think that developer had any special right to whatever it was — honestly I can’t remember what Watson did. Whatever it was, it is something that I now utterly take for granted.
    edited February 2020
  • Reply 13 of 20
    It's not sounding so fresh for Blix, as they'd have to be delusional to think their niche* PR campaign had any effect on Apple's app store process. (Spotify had a much larger campaign, from a well known brand - and that didn't hurry things along either.)

    The idea that Apple is deliberately putting them under the thumb because of the Sign-in with Apple feature is also tenuous. Sign in with Apple doesn't actually give Apple anything, it's not a revenue service and they're not selling the data. The idea that they need to knock out a competitor is absurd.

    It just seems like they're a developer that isn't getting their way, and childishly concocting an imaginary backstory that makes them a victim.

    * "niche" is being polite, the campaign is minuscule and made no waves (likely because legit developers saw it for what it was).
  • Reply 14 of 20
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,262administrator
    The article could be a little clearer about the relationship to the Sherlocking issue that Blix has also complained about (in a lawsuit, IIRC). It’s the reason Blix has been able to take such an aggrieved stance about this App Store removal, even though they may not be related.

    On the other hand, they might be related, in that once Apple implemented Sign In With Apple then there were new rules about how that sort of thing is handled by the OS — workarounds that were once okay were suddenly no longer okay. It may be similar to the kerfuffle over parental-control apps when Apple introduced Screen Time into iOS. The rules changed overnight, which sucked for those developers, but it’s unreasonable for them to expect Apple to provide them with the roadmap for the OS — they just have to adjust, or die.

    The whole idea of Sherlocking is interesting — I think often there’s a failure to see the mothership’s point of view — the OS can’t do everything at first — not every feature can be implemented in v1.0. An independent developer focused on one little corner of the OS can refine it and improve it, but ultimately the OS is going to catch up and then the developer has to innovate further, or die. They can’t sit still.

    I remember I loved Watson and used it, but I didn’t think that developer had any special right to whatever it was — honestly I can’t remember what Watson did. Whatever it was, it is something that I now utterly take for granted.
    The lawsuit is linked in the story, and we've talked about Sherlocking at some length.
  • Reply 15 of 20
    gatorguy said:
    sacto joe said:
    Company statements notwithstanding, it’s a new version that was approved.

    And yes, if you want to play in Apple’s arena, then you have to play by Apple’s rules.
    ....Which is part of what Blix is trying to change. Regulators don't sound opposed to looking at it.

    Looking is easy... Them actually doing anything about it is quite a different kettle of fish...

  • Reply 16 of 20
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 3,430member
    Take a minute to revisit the commenting guidelines, while you're at it. You're not going to get any more warnings, about anything. If you were a new user, that "kissass" comment would have resulted in a ban.
    Why would you be harsher on a new user?
  • Reply 17 of 20
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,262administrator
    dysamoria said:
    Take a minute to revisit the commenting guidelines, while you're at it. You're not going to get any more warnings, about anything. If you were a new user, that "kissass" comment would have resulted in a ban.
    Why would you be harsher on a new user?
    There is a difference between a one-post user and even somebody with 50, in much the same way you treat somebody you’ve known for 15 minutes differently than somebody you’ve known for years.

    This is not the venue to discuss it further. If you really want to talk about it, we can do so in DM.
    bshank
  • Reply 18 of 20
    On the other hand, they might be related, in that once Apple implemented Sign In With Apple then there were new rules about how that sort of thing is handled by the OS — workarounds that were once okay were suddenly no longer okay. It may be similar to the kerfuffle over parental-control apps when Apple introduced Screen Time into iOS. The rules changed overnight, which sucked for those developers, but it’s unreasonable for them to expect Apple to provide them with the roadmap for the OS — they just have to adjust, or die.
    I don't think it's unreasonable at all. And Apple does provide a roadmap, of sorts, at WWDC - it's just a relatively short period of time to adjust. Tell someone they have cancer and a life expectancy of six months and everyone's sympathetic; tell someone their business will lose its revenue stream in six months and nobody else cares. But both situations are catastrophic for the individuals concerned.

    Apple NEEDS third party developers. The more apps available for their devices, the more devices they sell (SOFTWARE SELLS SYSTEMS!), and they can't write all of the software themselves. They won't keep developers by forcing a situation where the revenue for third parties is relatively low and the risk is relatively high.
  • Reply 19 of 20
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    gatorguy said:
    I wonder why AI is using a picture of Blue Mail with a 2 star rating when the App Store has it at 4.5...

    Apple [email protected]?
    That's because it was a newly uploaded and released version, and at the time, the two-star rating was what was displayed because that's all that there was. It is an unmodified screencap. Things have progressed since then.



    Thanks for the clarification Mike. I should have recognized it was a "new app" just uploaded rather than reviews of the previous one which had been removed. Makes sense now.
    If you weren’t in such a rush to further your ‘bad for Apple, good for Google’ agenda then you might’ve worked that out for yourself. 
  • Reply 20 of 20
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member

    On the other hand, they might be related, in that once Apple implemented Sign In With Apple then there were new rules about how that sort of thing is handled by the OS — workarounds that were once okay were suddenly no longer okay. It may be similar to the kerfuffle over parental-control apps when Apple introduced Screen Time into iOS. The rules changed overnight, which sucked for those developers, but it’s unreasonable for them to expect Apple to provide them with the roadmap for the OS — they just have to adjust, or die.
    I don't think it's unreasonable at all. And Apple does provide a roadmap, of sorts, at WWDC - it's just a relatively short period of time to adjust. Tell someone they have cancer and a life expectancy of six months and everyone's sympathetic; tell someone their business will lose its revenue stream in six months and nobody else cares. But both situations are catastrophic for the individuals concerned.

    Apple NEEDS third party developers. The more apps available for their devices, the more devices they sell (SOFTWARE SELLS SYSTEMS!), and they can't write all of the software themselves. They won't keep developers by forcing a situation where the revenue for third parties is relatively low and the risk is relatively high.
    This is an epic fail of analogy. You’re saying that being told you have six months to live is equivalent to being told you have to alter the security flow on your app? 

    I think I know which one I’d rather deal with. 

    Get a freaking clue. 
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