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Censorship Google Apple

Mentioning Android Is a No-No In iPhone App Store 441

Posted by kdawson
from the wash-your-mouth-out dept.
donberryman writes "Apple has told a software developer that its application cannot be included in the iPhone App Store if it mentions Google Android. The developer just wanted to mention that the app was a finalist in Google's Android Developer's Challenge." The developer complied with apparent good humor. Here is their blog post, which includes the text of the iPhone store's not-quite-rejection.
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Mentioning Android Is a No-No In iPhone App Store

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  • by SQLz (564901) on Friday February 05, 2010 @12:44PM (#31035720) Homepage Journal
    Wow the list of magical things you can't do with your iPhone app sure is growing.
  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Friday February 05, 2010 @12:46PM (#31035778) Journal

    The wording of Apple's reply is a gem in and of itself:

    While your application has not been rejected, it would be appropriate to remove “Finalist in Google’s Android Developer’s Challenge!” from the Application Description.

    Please log into iTunes Connect to make appropriate changes to the Application Description now to avoid an interruption in the availability of Flash of Genius: SAT Vocab 2.2 on the iPhone App Store.

    That's a nice app you have there; would be a shame if anything happened to it...

  • by QuoteMstr (55051) <dan.colascione@gmail.com> on Friday February 05, 2010 @12:48PM (#31035810)

    Even if beginning with the best of intentions, a censor will always, eventually, come to use his power to censor to benefit himself.

  • Remember a time.. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by pablo_max (626328) on Friday February 05, 2010 @12:49PM (#31035816)

    Does anyone remember way back when anti-competitive behavior was illegal? I guess it just depends on which company does it.

  • Makes sense (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Flavio (12072) on Friday February 05, 2010 @12:53PM (#31035880)

    Apple can't have Android inside Steve Jobs' Reality Distortion Field.

  • by OverlordQ (264228) on Friday February 05, 2010 @12:53PM (#31035886) Journal

    Does anybody think Barnes and Noble would be willing to post a sign saying your book was #38 in its category on Amazon?

    Yes?

    "Hey they book got good reviews, it must be good, let me buy it."

    Impulse purchasing ftw.

  • by MikeBabcock (65886) <mtb-slashdot@mikebabcock.ca> on Friday February 05, 2010 @12:53PM (#31035888) Homepage Journal

    Lots of books have their review list, etc. shown on the back. Do you think the Washington Post wouldn't review a book that has "#4 NYT Best Seller" on the cover?

  • Uuuuh wrong? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) <taiki&cox,net> on Friday February 05, 2010 @12:57PM (#31035948)

    I think everyone's going to dogpile on Apple for this, but I think they're missing the point, the point of the removal isn't the word Android, or Google, but the whole phrase of Google Android Developer Contest. They want to be disassociated with that contest. Given that Apple hasn't delisted apps that claim compatibility with other phones, and they even list a whole crap load of Android podcasts and other Android content in the iTunes store, I don't think Apple's paranoid about just the Apple or Google part.

  • by Shatrat (855151) on Friday February 05, 2010 @01:02PM (#31036052)
    It's not really illegal until you've actually eliminated or prevented competition through it.
    As it is hopefully the backlash from their North Korea style platform management should be enough to handle it.
    I know I certainly wouldn't have an iPhone at any price.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 05, 2010 @01:10PM (#31036140)

    That's been a known limitation since, well, forever. How did you miss that in your basic research before spending several hundred dollars on a device specifically known on Slashdot to be artificially limited by the manufacturer?

  • by bhartman34 (886109) on Friday February 05, 2010 @01:13PM (#31036182)
    Except, in this case, Apple didn't even start with the best of intentions.
  • by Buelldozer (713671) <cliff.gindulis@net> on Friday February 05, 2010 @01:14PM (#31036190)

    My mother gave my son a 32G iPod touch for Christmas. The iPod itself is a fantastic piece of gear but every time I have to launch iTunes to sync music into it I go on a 15 minute profanity riddled rant. iTunes is buggy, slow, and generally the biggest pile of shit software that I am forced to use. To say that I hate it with the intensity of a thousand burning stars would be an _understatement_.

    Why, oh why, won't Apple let me push music to it like every other, non-Apple, media player that we own?

    Steve Jobs deserves to be kicked in the DICK for this, hard.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 05, 2010 @01:14PM (#31036194)

    Don't worry, any company that has tried to introduce artificial limitations like this always ends up defunct soon enough. Apple is just lasting longer than most.

    It'll probably start with the developers. They'll get sick and tired of paying $99 a year just to develop goddamn cell phone apps. They'll get sick and tired of Apple's unnecessary censorship and app publication restrictions. They'll move to more open platforms.

    It'll continue with the users. Those, such as yourself, who buy Apple products expecting a useful product will become dismayed, never buy another Apple product, and will suggest to other people that they also avoid Apple.

    Eventually, the near-religious Apple fanatics will lose interest. Their market is basically made up of those born between 1980 and 1995, the so-called "Hipster" generation. In a few short years, we'll see these people grow up, having faced real-world financial pressure since leaving college. They'll have kids, and won't have money for over-priced Apple designer products.

    The next generation, those born after 1995, don't give a fuck about Apple and their products. Hell, I was in the mall last week and overheard a group of teens making fun of Apple products as being for "queerfags". Five years ago, these are the sort of teens who'd be going fucking crazy for iPods.

  • No, but... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KingSkippus (799657) on Friday February 05, 2010 @01:16PM (#31036230) Homepage Journal

    Does anybody think Barnes and Noble would be willing to post a sign saying your book was #38 in its category on Amazon?

    No, but then Barnes and Noble isn't the only place you can sell your book. If you don't like their policies, you can also put it up for sale on Amazon, Books-A-Million, any number of local bookstores, and probably even stores like Wal-Mart, Target, etc.

    On the other hand, Apple's app store is the only place to offer applications for iPhones, iTouches, and now iPads. The author of this application can't simply go through some alternate means of distributing his application without asking people to jailbreak their device, something that is at best iffy to do if they want to maintain service.

    If Apple would let developers put their apps up for download from their own web site or alternate app stores, then I wouldn't complain. Apple has the right to accept, deny, or place any conditions on apps in its app store that they want. However, that's only half the story. My problem with their attitude is that they have set themselves up so that their store is the only store in town; they have a monopoly over distribution of iDevice applications. They have final authority over what I can and can't run on a device that I own, and as this story illustrates, they are grossly misusing that authority.

    Personally, I can't understand why anyone would want to by an iPad, given that it is going to maintain this paradigm. With phones, people are somewhat used to this. With the iPad pushing into the netbook and ultraportable laptop market, though, it is completely unacceptable. Imagine if you bought, for example, an HP laptop, and they told you the following: "Congratulations on your new HP laptop! To obtain applications, visit apps.hp.com. Oh, and we're sorry if it causes any inconvenience, but that is the only way you may install applications on this new laptop. Everything else is blocked, and if we find out that you're trying to install apps from anywhere except hp.com, your laptop could be deactivated. Congratulations again!" Well, that's Apple, and it boggles my mind that anyone would tolerate it.

    These shenanigans are precisely why I, as a developer, got a refund on my developer program application and told them that I will be not be developing for the iDevices. It's also why I, who used to be an advocate for Apple devices, am strongly urging people to not buy their products these days.

  • by RPoet (20693) on Friday February 05, 2010 @01:17PM (#31036240) Journal

    "With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censored, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably." -- Judge Aaron Satie

  • by ircmaxell (1117387) on Friday February 05, 2010 @01:18PM (#31036254) Homepage
    Because it's a selling point for the app. Take "Bump" for example... Simply stating it's compatible with Android and iPhone is a huge selling point (if they charged for the app). Especially as more and more apps are letting you interact with other people, it's definitely a good selling point that you can interact with non iPhone users.

    Is this type of advertising hurting Apple? Not in the least. In fact, I'd argue that it's doing the exact opposite. With the rejection of an app because it said "Android" in it, it makes me wonder if there's any commitment on their part to support device interoperability (even if just on the app level)... And that question COULD hurt them on the business end (and the power users who are on the fence)...
  • by Buelldozer (713671) <cliff.gindulis@net> on Friday February 05, 2010 @01:20PM (#31036290)

    I know, replying to an AC and all that, but I hate iTunes so bad I'm going to do it anyway.

    I like the iPod touch and would like to have one for myself but I absolutely, positively, 100% WILL NOT buy an iPod as long as I'm forced to use iTunes. It's just not going to fucking happen. I am advising my friends and family not to buy them either, based SOLELY on how terrible iTunes is.

    Once I'm forced to use iTunes a few more times my hatred will probably reach the level of a holy war.

  • Hmmm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lunix Nutcase (1092239) on Friday February 05, 2010 @01:30PM (#31036432)

    You know it's rather funny to see all the whining and bitching and demonizing of Apple over this when the app developer himself says:

    I suppose it’s logical, and I’m not complaining; Apple is a wonderful company to work with. I took out the offending bit from the description.

  • by zlogic (892404) on Friday February 05, 2010 @01:31PM (#31036458)

    IPhone's app market definetly has a larger marketshare than Android. They're using this to silence developers mentioning other platforms, basically that's like Microsoft telling an app vendor that their app will be erased from all Windows users' PCs if the app's packaging contains a "compatible with Mac" logo. And a "best Mac app of the year" award.

  • by Lunix Nutcase (1092239) on Friday February 05, 2010 @01:32PM (#31036478)

    It'll probably start with the developers. They'll get sick and tired of paying $99 a year just to develop goddamn cell phone apps. They'll get sick and tired of Apple's unnecessary censorship and app publication restrictions. They'll move to more open platforms.

    That's amusing considering the app developer himself says: "Apple is a wonderful company to work with."

    It'll continue with the users. Those, such as yourself, who buy Apple products expecting a useful product will become dismayed, never buy another Apple product, and will suggest to other people that they also avoid Apple.

    You widely overestimate the impact of the whining of a bunch of Slashtards on Apple's consumers. Why would they get dismayed when Apple has huge customer satisfaction? The world at large doesn't care what a bunch of DRM-whining neckbeards think, no matter how much you wish it so.

  • Attention (Score:2, Insightful)

    by lluBdeR (466879) on Friday February 05, 2010 @01:36PM (#31036532) Homepage
    Android is now an un-word
  • by Dog-Cow (21281) on Friday February 05, 2010 @01:39PM (#31036582)

    The latter, of course.

    Apple could have come out with a phone that could not have any apps added to it at all. This would have been perfectly legal. Silly, perhaps, but legal.

    Taking this same phone that can't have apps added to it and allowing apps to be added from Apple's site is no more illegal than the previous situation.

    IOW, you are an idiot.

  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Friday February 05, 2010 @01:46PM (#31036668) Journal

    Because, 1) none their competitors do not have similar restrictions in place, and 2) they do not provide any venue for installing applications on one's iPhone apart from the App Store, so censoring that is effectively censoring the entire platform.

    Also, Apple does not "subsidize" anything here. The developer wrote application for their own money, and a cut of any sales of the app go to Apple, part of which is used for store maintenance. It is a very large stretch to call that "subsidizing" in any way.

    Well, I guess you're one of those guys who think that kicking people with t-shirts mentioning companies competing with Olympic sponsors out of Olympic venues [spinwatch.org] was a grand idea. After all, the logic is exactly the same.

  • by Dog-Cow (21281) on Friday February 05, 2010 @01:48PM (#31036700)

    It works perfectly for users. Apple doesn't care about the developers. It never has.

    Users have a simple App to access the store. All the apps are tested for compatibility, and the store won't let or will warn if you try to purchase an app that is not compatible with your device. The apps are tested to ensure they follow basic UI guidelines and that they fail gracefully when connectivity is limited or unavailable. Purely as a user, what's not to like?

  • by mrdoogee (1179081) on Friday February 05, 2010 @01:59PM (#31036860)

    Devils Advocate here, If you didn't want to get banned from the app store, you'd probably be saying "Apple is a wonderful company to work with." too.

    Just sayin'.

  • by Dancindan84 (1056246) on Friday February 05, 2010 @02:08PM (#31036954)

    Windows is Windows.

    Even if you just look at what's still in support you have:
    OS:
    2000
    XP Home/Pro - (And if you don't just look at desktop you have Starter/MCE/Tablet/XP Pro 64-bit link [wikipedia.org])
    Vista and all its sub-editions
    7 and all its sub-editions
    Ref: link [wikipedia.org]

    Then if you consider IE6/7/8 since so many apps these days interact with the browser in some way (even what people wouldn't consider web apps), you get a huge number of possible permutations.

    You'd never say "Windows is Windows" if you've ever had to do any kind of development/support for a large, diverse group of Windows users.

  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Friday February 05, 2010 @02:12PM (#31037002) Journal

    How is saying an app won an Android Developer Contest not irrelevant to the iPhone platform? That strikes me as the very definition of irrelevancy, because it's not the same platform.

    It's an application doing the same thing, and written by the same people. Yes, I think that's relevant. You know those stickers they often place on movies - e.g. "Avatar, from the director of Titanic"?

    As a side note, you yourself have cherry-picked one particular highlight, and ignored the other two, which plainly state that "platform compatibility" and "general platform references are not relevant" - which, to me, unambiguously says that even mentioning that there is an Android version of the same app would already break this rule.

    Furthermore, the original poster is pointing out that many apps in the app store today mention Android. Well you just totally blew by that one, didn't you? How do you mesh you assertion that Android is verboten when plainly it's not by the presence of counter-examples?

    It's very well documented that Apple review process is extremely inconsistent, and one application can pass, while another one can be blocked, both featuring the exact same thing. We've also seen cases of an application being allowed, but a subsequent version being blocked, because of something that was present in the original version. There have been a slew of /. stories on this - I'm too lazy to look them up, so JFGI.

    So, I'm not at all surprised that some applications got away with mentioning Android, while others did not.

  • Re:No, but... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Friday February 05, 2010 @02:15PM (#31037048) Journal

    I was going to mod the parent, but decided to correct you instead.

    No, but then Barnes and Noble isn't the only place you can sell your book. If you don't like their policies, you can also put it up for sale on Amazon, Books-A-Million, any number of local bookstores, and probably even stores like Wal-Mart, Target, etc.

    Here, let me fix that for you:

    No, but then iPhone App Store isn't the only place you can sell your software. If you don't like their policies, you can also put it up for sale in the Android Market, on the internet, any number of websites, and probably even stores like Wal-Mart, Target, etc.

    That the software can not be sold on Apple's proprietary web site if it's description mentions Apple's competitor does not prevent the author from selling it for use on non-Apple devices.

    If HP did as you state, people would not buy the HP device. Instead they would buy from someone else. HP does not make the processor, motherboard, BIOS, or operating system. WinTel components are a commodity. Apple hardware and the Apple OSes are not commodity.

    People tolerate it because they see value in Apple's name, reputation, and price. They want to play in Apple's sandbox.

    If you don't want to play by Apple's rules, don't play in Apple's sandbox. Don't whine about it like the little bitch your
    post makes you out to be.

  • Re:Hmmm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by vtavares (148447) on Friday February 05, 2010 @02:22PM (#31037144)

    Sure, of course he'll say that. He needs to sell his app. Would you say bad things about someone who just threatened you?

  • by Duradin (1261418) on Friday February 05, 2010 @02:26PM (#31037218)

    Or just set in your preferences to not have iTunes manage your library. But where's the uninformed rant in that?

    (FYI metadata is where it's at these days. Storing it in the filename is soooo 90's.)

  • by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Friday February 05, 2010 @02:32PM (#31037294) Journal

    You are using a false analogy.

    The Washington Post does not sell the book, only it's reviewer's opinion of the book. At no time does the Washington Post have to mention the NYT or it's best seller list and Post's customers never see the competitor's name in the Post's review.

    In this case, the description of the product in the App store mentions Android and the Android contest. Android and Google is in direct competition with Apple and its devices.

    Do you think you would see "#4 best seller on Amazon.com" on a book sold at Borders or Barnes and Nobles?

  • by SoupIsGoodFood_42 (521389) on Friday February 05, 2010 @03:15PM (#31037800)

    Why, oh why, won't Apple let me push music to it like every other, non-Apple, media player that we own?

    Because most people don't want to do it that way and Apple doesn't want to spend the extra time supporting a feature that only a few nerds are going to use.

    iTunes works fine for me, BTW.

  • Good for Apple. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BitZtream (692029) on Friday February 05, 2010 @03:55PM (#31038420)

    I'm sick of seeing app descriptions like the one used for this app before the change.

    Telling people that its great for Android is of no value what so ever to an iPhone user.

    Its just a wasted fluff piece that takes up space for what should be a real app description.

    Listing off the reasons why other people think your app is awesome BEFORE you actually tell anyone what your app does is fucking annoying for those of us looking for apps.

    Most of us don't give a shit what awards you've one, awards are generally politically based and rarely a direct relation to how good something is, regardless of the award.

    I don't want to read about 10 different awards you got, I want to know what the app does and what features its got that make it worth my money and/or time.

    Everyone here is bitching about Apple being so controlling and 'censoring' and you guys STILL DON'T GET IT. You keep going on about how Apple is wrong all the while ignoring that they have a growth rate thats off the charts.

    I appreciate that Apple wants this pointless bit of information removed from the description, it does nothing useful to me. I don't use android, and if I'm buying a flashcard app for my iPhone I'm probably not also going to carry it around on my Android phone since having both would be retarded in and of itself.

    You might be wise to listen to their marketing department. They've always been the smaller company that could. People like Apple (outside of the fanboys of geekdom, we all have our own things that we love, we don't count) for a reason, maybe its cause they are trendy, but I think its more than that, and this is an example of one of those reasons.

    When you go to the store and buy a boxed application that runs on OS X and Windows, and it says so on the box, its because it runs on both. They don't put the OSX version in the box and advertise that you can go buy a Windows version if you want also. Nor do Windows only versions of software tell you about the Mac version. This App is sold in a store for software that when you buy/download it, it will only work on the iPhone (barring some hacked device that runs iPhone OS or a vm or simulator), so theres no reason to mention Android, it will just confuse all the people who have NO FREAKING IDEA what Android is, which is pretty much everyone outside this community. They may know that Google has the Nexus One, or that you can buy a Droid, but they have no clue what Android OS is.

  • by SoupIsGoodFood_42 (521389) on Friday February 05, 2010 @05:22PM (#31039590)

    Yeah, I do have to ask, because it works fine for me. So well that I have never considered using anything else. But then again, I am running it under OS X.

  • by stewbacca (1033764) on Friday February 05, 2010 @05:55PM (#31040030)

    You made his point nicely by not giving a single good example of what's bad about iTunes. Background services? What are those to the average user? The interface is slow and clunky? Compared to what? I can shuffle through a thousand album covers in full screen mode as fast as my mouse will let me. Songs change instantly...what is slow? I can burn a CD in a couple of minutes...please tell me, what is slow?

    I'll give you an example of a good example of what is slow: iTunes and iPods have become slower than they used to be for syncing and transferring songs. I don't know why and I don't care why, I just know they do. I used to be able to sync my library (or add new songs to the library at a rate of about 3-4 songs per second. It now takes a couple seconds per song. Although this doesn't sound that bad, multiply it by a few hundred songs, and it is annoying. I probably could streamline the process by turning off album art and gapless playback and the thing that evens the sound on every song, but I'm a typical user and either don't have time, or don't care enough.

  • by Jesus_666 (702802) on Friday February 05, 2010 @06:27PM (#31040464)

    It'll continue with the users. Those, such as yourself, who buy Apple products expecting a useful product will become dismayed, never buy another Apple product, and will suggest to other people that they also avoid Apple.

    Except for those Apple users who have actually ever used an Apple product and will probably keep doing so because most Apple products are actually fairly good. As are most Microsoft products, for the record, even if I dislike them.

    Yes, my iPod touch doesn't multitask. Doesn't mean it's not still a decent MP3 player with a PDA built in, which I got for a extremely good price (35 EUR through the Back to School rebate offer); multitasking would occasionally be nice but I don't miss it enough to care. Yes, it needs iTunes, which apprently sucks big time on Windows. This doesn't faze me either as iTunes is a pretty good program on Mac OS and I use it anyway.

    Yes, Macs are expensive. Until you require a certain feature set (like anything involving FireWire 800) that puts Mac prices on equal footing with those of comparable devices. That might even happen if you're shopping for a decent notebook; the Apple tax is above zero mainly for desktop systems.

    It's easy to find things to hate about the company but it's not like they consistently produce useless junk that people pay pay at 500% market value for no reason at all. Most consumers do use their brain when making purchases and they have (often valid) reasons for their decision. Yes, even those who buy products you personally dislike.

    Hell, I was in the mall last week and overheard a group of teens making fun of Apple products as being for "queerfags".

    Just like Modern Warfare 2, every video game but Modern Warfare 2, Win7, every OS but Win7, rap, every music genre but rap (and especially metal), metal, every music genre but metal (and especially rap), motorcycles, everything but motorcycles... If we assume the failure of everything some teenager has described as "for fags" we are looking at the end of human culture within the next twenty years.

  • by Kielistic (1273232) on Friday February 05, 2010 @06:42PM (#31040598)
    Trent Reznor is famous and has lots of hipster cred? Even Apple won't punch a lion in the mouth if it will affect their image.
  • Re:Good for Apple. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Al Dimond (792444) on Friday February 05, 2010 @07:36PM (#31041126) Journal

    You don't like the way the developer advertises his app. I don't like the fact that Apple decides for him how he can do it.

    Why do people that don't own iPhones care? Because we don't want to own iPhones. We would rather that closed ecosystems lose mindshare and fail so we aren't economically compelled to write software for them.

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