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Apple Blindsides More AppStore Developers 716

Posted by kdawson
from the moving-walls-and-stairways-too dept.
For a while now Apple has said it doesn't want "widget-like" apps in the store; but where is the boundary of that fuzzy statement? The developers of My Frame, of which three versions had already been approved for the iPhone/iPad, found out that they had already crossed it when Apple informed them their app would be pulled. My Frame had options to overlay data on whatever photo was displaying: a Twitter stream, weather, etc. When one of the developers wrote to Steve Jobs on a whim to ask what unwritten rule their app had violated, Jobs wrote back: "We are not allowing apps that create their own desktops. Sorry." "I see now why people are so angry at the 'murky' nature of the App Store, and I'm starting to agree with them. My Frame was approved by Apple 3 times (once for each version we released), and ... now, at version 1.2 they decide it's to be removed? How can a company be prepared to invest into a platform that can change at any time, cutting you off and kicking you out, with no course of action but to whine on some no-name blog[?] There is no alternative platform, despite what others may say about Android, it's immature and their app store(s) are a wild west nightmare. It really is Apple's way or the highway...." A few blogs have picked up the story.
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Apple Blindsides More AppStore Developers

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  • It's time. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Beelzebud (1361137) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @03:50PM (#32422734)
    It's time to retire the Bill Gates Borg photo and replace it with a Steve Jobs Borg photo for Apple stories.
    • by Pojut (1027544) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @03:54PM (#32422790) Homepage

      Either that, or a picture of Steve Jobs' face, with one half looking like a wolf and the other half looking like a sheep.

    • Re:It's time. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sosume (680416) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @03:57PM (#32422830) Journal

      I wish there was a 'bring to the attention of the slashmods' button.. but yeah, it looks like Apple is acting a lot worse than Microsoft ever did.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        I wish there was a 'bring to the attention of the slashmods' button..

        Report it for abuse. If you get reprimanded in any way, it'll still be worth it.

      • by goombah99 (560566)

        I really have to wonder if there is more than meets the sound-bite here. It sounds absurd yes. But then again it would be absurd to be so capricious. Maybe were not getting the full story? Apple is if anything not illogical in their choices. You may vehemently disagree with their choices but the choices all have an internal logic. I can't see any logic here. I suspect this may be a BS story.

        • by goombah99 (560566) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @04:19PM (#32423232)

          the app is still in the store. Perhaps this story is not true?

          http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/my-frame-alarm-clock-displays/id364532249?mt=8 [apple.com]

          Some sheer speculation: perhaps if you have an App that changes the apparent user interface it will be purged?

            For example I would expect that an app
          1) create it's own desktop
          2) place functionality of other apps on this desktop

          could be used for example to make it a work-alike to a google phone or could be used to fool the user into entering passwords by looking like the real desktop.

          tunes4 is supposedly going to crank up the sandboxing of apps, with encrypted memory partions. Perhaps these apps that merge data from other apps are going to get purged?

        • by erroneus (253617) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @04:21PM (#32423254) Homepage

          I think it is more like that somehow yet another Appstore app somehow got reviewed by someone who was too lenient or that it was re-reviewed by someone who is less lenient. Whatever the case, I think the review process it likely to be rather inconsistent with several different human beings reviewing different apps. The patent process works like this. The TSA screening process works like this. Even the police work like this. The same rules tend to get implemented differently depending on who is charged with interpreting and applying the rules.

          • by heckler95 (1140369) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @04:32PM (#32423458)
            The problem isn't subjectivity amongst the reviewers, but rather that the rules are a secret. The speed limit on a given road should be unambiguous, let's say 55 mph. Police Officer A might overlook people driving 60 mph and Police Officer B might pull somebody over for doing 56 mph. The point is that the driver knows that the rule is 55 mph and they can make an informed decision and weigh the risks of driving a particular speed.

            In this case, there was no speed limit sign, and the legal limit changed from 55 mph on Monday to 25 mph on Tuesday.
            • by Bobfrankly1 (1043848) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @05:06PM (#32423942)

              The problem isn't subjectivity amongst the reviewers, but rather that the rules are a secret.

              Maybe the problem isn't that the rules are a secret, but rather that there are no rules...and judgments are made up on the fly to deal with what they perceive as threats to either the market share or their intention of how the iphone is intended to be operated.

              • by HeronBlademaster (1079477) <heron@xnapid.com> on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @06:00PM (#32424684) Homepage

                An even worse problem is that Apple's followers don't seem to see a problem with Apple keeping the rules secret from the developers writing for Apple's platform.

                I'm having a huge argument with a friend right now about this. He thinks it would be a huge PR mistake for Apple to publish concrete, clear App Store submission rules, and that therefore they shouldn't do it. (His reason? People would be pissed about all the exceptions to the rules that Apple makes for wealth developers.)

                And he doesn't have a problem with Apple favoring wealthy app developers even when it harms the independent and small business developers.

                (If you're curious, we were talking about Apple's "no scripting" rule, which they conveniently ignore for developers like EA and PopCap.)

                • by JohnBailey (1092697) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @06:59PM (#32425304)

                  I'm having a huge argument with a friend right now about this. He thinks it would be a huge PR mistake for Apple to publish concrete, clear App Store submission rules, and that therefore they shouldn't do it. (His reason? People would be pissed about all the exceptions to the rules that Apple makes for wealth developers.)

                  And he doesn't have a problem with Apple favoring wealthy app developers even when it harms the independent and small business developers.

                  You forgot rule one..
                  Apple is right no matter how many logical hoops have to be jumped through to justify it. Everybody else is wrong, even if the fabric of reality has to be altered to accommodate this.

                  It's like arguing with a Scientologist. Cults are like that. No matter how strong your point, it will be translated into " I can't afford an iProduct, so I'm jealous". Even if you make twice what they do, and buy gear that costs far more than an iProduct does.

                  Forget logic, sound arguments, valid points.. Just tell him that Steve has cooties, and walk away. You are not dealing with a rational person. And if they bring the subject up, just say you don't argue religion.

        • by Tridus (79566) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @04:26PM (#32423358) Homepage

          Except for the numerous other times apps have been approved, then removed when Apple changes their mind? Or stuff that was rejected for no discernable reason then approved under media scruitiny?

          Apple is a perfect example of the sheer idiocy of this process. People are making totally arbitrary decisions over what can and can't be sold, with no consistency or logic. The policy can change on a whim, at which point previously allowed things are no longer allowed.

          Without the amazing skills of Apple's marketing department, this pathetic joke of a store would fail horribly.

          • by eulernet (1132389) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @04:56PM (#32423818)

            People are making totally arbitrary decisions over what can and can't be sold, with no consistency or logic.

            No, the logic is quite clear: any product that competes with Apple's ones is automatically removed.

            Of course, you cannot guess which app Apple will release in the future, so releasing an app is like playing the lottery.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by gumbi west (610122)

          The app is still live on the store. I wonder if this isn't just a great marketing stunt?
            queue, "2)???"

    • Re:It's time. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Beached (52204) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @03:57PM (#32422836) Homepage

      More like Species 8472

    • by stagg (1606187) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @03:58PM (#32422846)
      Or Steve Jobs in a sheep suit.
    • by Sponge Bath (413667) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @03:59PM (#32422858)

      Steve Jobs wearing robes and holding stone iTablets with invisible commandments?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      I'm pretty sure Linus is an actual robot though. Sent back in time to save humanity.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by sonicmerlin (1505111)

      You're right! In fact, we should now replace all anti-Bill Gates memorabilia with these pictures: http://www.neowin.net/forum/topic/272750-pic-funny-bill-gates-pics-from-1983/#entry585309992 [neowin.net]

      Ooo...sssmmmooking!

    • Re:It's time. (Score:5, Informative)

      by sjonke (457707) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @04:13PM (#32423132) Journal

      The fact that My Frame 1.2 is in the app store... that doesn't change anything does it?

    • Re:It's time. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by TomXP411 (860000) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @04:14PM (#32423140)

      No... Bill should stay Borg. Microsoft is the precursor to the Borg: they want nothing less than to own every computer on the planet.

      Google is the precursor to SkyNet. Think about it: Google owns a huge network of systems employing AI routines to parse natural-language databases. One day, Google's search engine will become sentient. So perhaps a Google logo with those red eyes would be appropriate satire.

      Steve Jobs...he's more like Emperor Ming from Flash Gordon. He has immense power, but rather than use it for the betterment of his people (his customers), he makes arbitrary decisions for his own amusement. Attempts to appeal to him with logic fail. Attempts to sway his emotions fail. Even decisions that seem like they would harm Apple only make him stronger in the long run.

      • Re:It's time. (Score:4, Interesting)

        by painandgreed (692585) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @04:53PM (#32423762)

        Steve Jobs...he's more like Emperor Ming from Flash Gordon. He has immense power, but rather than use it for the betterment of his people (his customers), he makes arbitrary decisions for his own amusement. Attempts to appeal to him with logic fail. Attempts to sway his emotions fail. Even decisions that seem like they would harm Apple only make him stronger in the long run.

        Actually, I'd say that Apple is more like the Federation. They are using their power for what they see as the betterment of their people. They have all these rules as to how society should be run: no money, no alcohol, etc. If you ever want to join Star Fleet and move up in the ranks, you'd better be in line with all those rules. However, if you don't want to follow the rules, you can always just pack up and head to uncharted territories or join the borg, and they won't stop you.

        • Re:It's time. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by TomXP411 (860000) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @05:05PM (#32423938)

          Except that we're casting companies as fictitious villains... not good guys.

          Besides, even the Federation doesn't stop people from doing things their way: after all, Starfleet crew somehow get Latinum to gamble and spend at Quark's, and people are free to do anything they want - as long as it doesn't hurt anyone else. This is entirely 180 out from Apple's approach: Apple says you can't do anything they don't like.

          If you're going to talk about Star Trek empires, Apple is more like the Romulan Empire than the Federation: absolute control, complete arrogance, and absolutely convinced that they can do nothing wrong: even to the point of blaming Vulcans for their own destruction (which Vulcans actually tried to prevent.)

      • Re:It's time. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by RevWaldo (1186281) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @05:00PM (#32423872)
        Emperor Palpatine perhaps?

        "In order to ensure our security and continuing stability, the Mac OS will be reorganized into the first iPhone OS and App Store, for a safe and secure platform which I assure you will last for ten thousand years!"

        (200,000 apps and 4 billion downloads later...)

        "So this is how openness dies... with thunderous applause."

        .
      • by bitt3n (941736) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @05:49PM (#32424510)

        Steve Jobs...he's more like Emperor Ming

        no wonder he hates Flash

    • Re:It's time. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Qwavel (733416) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @04:36PM (#32423516)

      I think we've got it backwards.

      Apple has in the past blocked apps:
      - because they criticize prominent politicians,
      - because they mention Android,
      - because they compete with Apple services,
      - because they had soft porn, and weren't from Apple approved companies,
      - for no discernible reason at all.
      (All of these instances have been reported here on /.)

      But now Apple decides to block an app due to changed GUI guidelines and NOW we think there is a problem!

      When Steve Jobs chooses to respond to an e-mail, you know that this is an example they want to highlight - it follows the script. When the FCC has to get involved and force Apple to reverse course and stop lying about the reasons for app store rejection - that's when we start to understand the app store.

  • by oldhack (1037484) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @03:51PM (#32422742)
    Sucks to be you. Don't write for iStuff.
    • by Knara (9377) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @04:06PM (#32423000)

      Sucks to be you. Don't write for iStuff.

      I kind of agree with you on this. The blurb quoted basically reads to me as "there isn't an easy alternative that allows me to do almost no marketing in order to have people buy my app."

      While I sympathize with the author(s)' feeling that the AppStore's rules border on the completely arbitrary, there *are* alternatives, just not brain-dead, no-work easy alternatives.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gilesjuk (604902)

        The problem with Android is the fragmentation. Having one company designing the hardware and software as well as dictating things can be a model of simplicity.

        When Microsoft released the XBox they could have just made the OS and published a specification, pretty much like they did with the MSX, but nope, they realised it would be a disaster.

        With Android there are too many handsets, too many software versions in the wild, different touch screen types, different touch screen sizes. It's hard to optimise an ap

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Sancho (17056) *

          That's going to happen to Apple soon enough. There are already multiple processor speeds and RAM amounts. The next version is expected to be a different resolution, as well as having new hardware (front-facing camera.) The new iPhone OS will not fully support all iPhone devices, limiting the usefulness of some apps on these devices. There's also no word yet whether or not (or how) the API gracefully degrades on phones which do not support such features.

          I suspect that with both phones, you will be able t

        • by Khazunga (176423) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @06:06PM (#32424746)

          The problem with Android is the fragmentation.

          Fragmentation is needed for a competitive environment. It's an added problem, partly for developers but mainly for google, and they are handling it quite well. Properly accounting for different hardware targets in both the hardware development and in the software development kits is a daunting task. However, and I feel everyone is repeating the fragmentation mantra without giving proper credit to Google, Android handles fragmentation quite well. Apps are always forward-compatible (write for 1.5 and you get ~100% compatibility with existing handsets), and they announce the hardware they need.

          Do you need a camera? Declare it on your manifest, and the app appears on the market only to devices sporting a camera. Do you absolutely need multitouch? Declare it. Do you need an SD card? Declare it. The only drawback is that every requirement you add narrows down the range of devices your app appears in.

          Would it be better if there were fewer devices all alike? It'd be like the narrowing decision would have already been made for you. Oh, right. That's the Apple way: Users are too stupid, let's decide for them.

          In the end, it's different. It's not worse. It's more complicated for the developer, in exchange for a larger user base. Before anyone mentions there are more iPhones than Android devices, please first consider that: a) there are more Android devices than iPhones being sold today and; b) Android covers a much wider range of price-points, and is thus in reach of a much larger user base, so this tendency is likely here to stay (think how Nokia is still king of mobile handsets).

  • Fine Line Indeed (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TrisexualPuppy (976893) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @03:53PM (#32422762)
    I have some guys here at work who use their iPhones for VNC quite religiously. VNC is a tad bit closer to "its own desktop" than this app, granted it is a snapshot of another machine's desktop. Where do you draw the line, Mr. Jobs?
  • by ArbitraryDescriptor (1257752) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @03:54PM (#32422780)
    Is he hoping that Steve reads:

    "There is no alternative platform, despite what others may say about Android, it's immature and their app store(s) are a wild west nightmare. It really is Apple's way or the highway..."

    and rewards his loyalty with an exception?
    • by eldavojohn (898314) *
      He's calling him out. At best he'll trigger Jobs to outline his logic similar to the Flash issue. At worst his concerns fall on deaf ears. But for the rest of us, it might be a little pointer in the right direction.

      Jobs wants to maintain complete control with the experience on iDevices and the second you try to make your application look more capable than just a regular application in the sense of altering look and feel, you're stepping on his turf and he will show up with the ban hammer. Jobs is n
    • by SkankinMonkey (528381) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @04:05PM (#32422994)
      Actually, he clarifies this in his comments on the blog post: Australians can't sell paid apps on the android marketplace yet. This obviously makes it hard to make money and pay rent.
      • by ergo98 (9391) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @04:27PM (#32423374) Homepage Journal

        Actually, he clarifies this in his comments on the blog post: Australians can't sell paid apps on the android marketplace yet.

        Google is a terrible retailer. I love my Nexus One, but buying it from Google demonstrated that they aren't good at selling things, or being a conduit for selling things.

        The marketplace is a good example. Us Canadians only recently got the ability to actually buy pay apps, and of course we (like most of the world) still don't have the ability to sell apps, at least with Google handling the transaction.

        Which is why many apps have gone to either ad support, or some sort of activation key that you buy from a more world-capable transaction enabler like PayPal.

    • by TomXP411 (860000) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @04:21PM (#32423250)

      Anyone who says Android can't compete head to head with any other mobile OS is either deluded or has not really checked it out.

      The sad part is that he's totally wrong. You can't use an Android 2.x device and think of the platform as immature or incomplete. Sure, there are some differences between Android and iPhone OS, but there are also differences between both of those platforms and other mature platforms, such as Blackberry and Windows Mobile.

      And I wouldn't call the apps store(s) a Wild West: there's ONE official Android app store. You can, of course, use the unofficial app stores as well, but anyone who buys a first-tier Android handset is going to have the Android Market right there on their phone. The fact that you're not limited to just the Android market is certainly not a drawback; it seems to me that this is exactly what the OP wants: an alternative market that is not controlled by the hardware manufacturer.

      Apple is just now including features in the iPhone that were in Android from the start. In fact, every major new feature in iPhone OS 4 is already in another mobile platform. More Android handsets were activated Q1 2010 than iPhones. Android is making its way in to all kinds of devices, not just phones and PMP's.

      The last thing I'd call Android at this point is "immature."

      • by hedwards (940851) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @04:47PM (#32423692)
        As a Nexus One owner, I have to say that Android is still somewhat immature. Google hasn't gotten around to implementing everything that it's reasonably capable of. As in there's still chips and bits of hardware which haven't been implemented in the OS yet and there's still no good way of syncing up google docs without a third party program.

        That being said, because Google doesn't randomly kick people out of their market place for duplicating functions or using non-approved languages the situation is a lot less of a problem than it would be for Apple. OTOH I do wish that they'd implement some sort of rudimentary filtering mode for adult applications. I don't care if it defaults to disabled, but it's potentially problematic to be using my Nexus one to look for the latest applications and come across app after app of soft porn.

        Still, it is quite usable and for the most part everything works the way that it should in a reliable and efficient fashion.
      • Region coding (Score:5, Interesting)

        by tepples (727027) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [selppet]> on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @05:23PM (#32424200) Homepage Journal

        there's ONE official Android app store.

        Which isn't open to every country, not even every industrialized country. Most developers don't want to have to go through a supported country's immigration process just to be able to sell apps.

  • iPhone developers are up in arms at Apple requiring them to use only Apple toolkits, sacrifice a Windows developer at their local Apple Shop every Sunday and maintain an altar to Steve Jobs in their homes. And eat a bug [newstechnica.com].

    Apple is famous for its rigid control over its devices, in its quest to maintain user quality. Developers have worked under increasing restrictions in their attempts to provide quality applications for the iPhone such as I Am Rich, Magic 8 Ball and iFart.

    "Not a big deal," said Mr Jobs in a personal email. "Cross-platform development leads to a worse user experience every time. Also, the video of you eating the bug has to be H.264 QuickTime or your app is out. Extra points for cockroaches."

    "This clause shows a fundamental lack of understanding of the creative freedom developers need," said iPhone developer Greg Slepak. "Software is an infinitely malleable creation of pure thought. Toolkits, languages and frameworks are only a way to develop something people will want. It's like telling Rembrandt what brand of brushes he's allowed to use."

    He paused to chow down on a palmetto bug for his MacBook's camera. "I'll tell you, a lot of iPhone developers are seriously considering Android, just as soon as Google develops a suitably exploitable stream of mindless thralls that will generate us a gushing torrent of money."

    "Thanks for the video, Greg," said Mr Jobs, "but we've just added section 3.3.1.a: 'In particular, when Greg Slepak submits an application, the bucket of cockroaches in the video have to be Apple-branded and genetically engineered in Cupertino.' So we've rejected your application, cancelled your membership and zeroed your account.

    "Of course, you're free to apply again. Or not, if you don't want a goddamn dumptruck full of money backed up to your house. It's a free country."

    • by Chyeld (713439) <chyeldNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @04:10PM (#32423086)

      Apple is famous for its rigid control over its devices, in its quest to maintain user quality.

      You know, the sad thing is, I remember a time when it wasn't true. When I preferred to use the Macs in the computer lab at the university over the PC's specifically because I could carry around a floppy full of extensions that all I needed to do was drop into the extension folder and reboot and have a machine that looked and mostly worked completely different from any other Mac.

      Stuff like Kaleidoscope [kaleidoscope.net] were just the tip of the Iceberg, with the fact that 'hacking' resources on the Mac was a trivial task, you could customize almost anything you wanted in your apps. This is stuff that Windows never had and still doesn't.

      But then Steve had to go and get to the top of the hill, and it turned out that he was just a smarmier, better dressed Bill. That's sort of sad. Back when there really were two camps, really the only difference between the two was their fashion sense.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mcrbids (148650)

      As I read this (obvious satire) post, I see that it's modded +5 insightful. And, deep down, a little piece of me dies...

  • Tired. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by qoncept (599709) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @03:56PM (#32422826) Homepage

    How can a company be prepared to invest into a platform that can change at any time

    I don't know. Why don't we ask someone who ha ---- Oh wait, that's you!

    Years later, after it's been documented in to oblivion that Apple dicks app store developers over. The developers either know full well what they are getting themselves in to or they are completely retarded. Yet we here we are, hearing the same tired $@%&ing story once again. The insignificant details are different but nothing else is.

    App store devs, you KNOW you have two options: Deal with it or don't. Now, please, kindly tell your story on Twitter, Facebook status updates or somewhere else no one is paying attention and quit robbing the rest of us of our mental bandwidth.

  • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @03:57PM (#32422832) Journal

    There is no alternative platform, despite what others may say about Android, it's immature and their app store(s) are a wild west nightmare

    You know, maybe if half the iPhone App Developers decided to opt out of Apple's ridiculous system, and started developing more apps for Android, perhaps there would be more incentive to improve their app store to put it on par with Apple's.

    Just sayin' man.

    Another thing, this is like complaining that you didn't get into the NFL when you chose pro football as your career. Perhaps you should have done a little research before becoming an iPhone App developer, Hmmm? The fact that you got INTO the App store - AND were successful enough to have it sell at all, is considered lucky in my opinion.

  • Sounds familiar (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anon-Admin (443764) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @03:58PM (#32422854) Homepage Journal

    Sounds like what Second Life did. I used to play the game with SL, developed in-world items and scripts. Every time I started to make money at it, SL would make the script "Illegal", discontinue some function I was using, start giving the same thing away for free or start charging for something that was free. All in all the moving target made it impossible to work in the environment. Thus, I stopped and walked away.

    If Apple starts changing the rules and making the environment less appealing for the developers then they will move, unlike second life there are competitors and other opportunities.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ukyoCE (106879)

      This is exactly why Blizzard's EULA says addon authors can not profit from their creations. Blizzard regularly incorporates functionality "from" addons into the game, since that's their job as a game maker. They've also had to regularly block addons from doing things that interfere with the game (whether servers or gameplay). Not to mention deprecating old APIs.

      Everything you mentioned Second Life doing sounds totally reasonable from the perspective of a game developer, and only sounds bad when you frame

      • Re:Sounds familiar (Score:4, Informative)

        by demachina (71715) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @05:23PM (#32424204)

        "Does Linden Labs pitch SL as a platform for for-pay items and scripts?"

        Linden dollars, their currency, are convertible to and from U.S. dollars at an official peg of L $270 = US $1 and to Euros, though conversion rates vary on real exchanges. Linden Labs has always pushed it as a platform where you could make money from land, services and script/object sales, though at the same time their terms of service have said their currency has no actual value and if their database loses yours you are out of luck. During its boom time it was a mecca for gambling untill the U.S. Congress clamped down on online gambling. As I recall when Linden outlawed gambling it caused a significant decline in their user base and fortunes. They have also struggled with EU value added tax.

        All indications are Linden wants their cake and to eat it too leading to the ambiguity the grandparent referenced. They want Second Life to be a fully functioning online economy amd at the same time shirk most of the complications that entails.

        Like all game economies involving virtual goods and currencies, just about everything is arbitrary and can change at the whim of the people controlling the servers. There are fascinating parallels that can be drawn between virtual game economies and real world economies. When you have fiat currencies, central banks which can create money(wealth) out of thin air, and central banks/goverments which can the rules overnight and indulge in massive bailouts of the well connected, you start to notice real economies are pretty much the same kind of sham as virtual game economies, the stakes are just higher.

        Cory Doctorow's latest creative commons book "For The Win" touchs on some of these issues, though like most of his books he raises interesting ideas and then falls a little short in making a good novel out of them.

  • Last Line (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LBArrettAnderson (655246) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @03:59PM (#32422870)

    There is no alternative platform, despite what others may say about Android, it's immature and their app store(s) are a wild west nightmare. It really is Apple's way or the highway...
     
    This just isn't true anymore. Yes, the market does have its issues, but it is certainly an alternative if the app store won't allow your app. Android will overtake iPhone in the near future as far as overall market share goes (since it's on all sorts of low-end devices nowadays, as well as multiple carriers, not to mention the very best phones these days run android, not iPhone OS, and it doesn't look like this summer's iPhone will be any better than them).
     
    While it may have its downsides as compared to the app store, completely ruling out the android market is just foolish.

  • Android: Wild West (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sonicmerlin (1505111) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @04:01PM (#32422912)
    Google has publicly stated that Froyo (Android 2.2) came out 6 months ahead of schedule. And yet... there seems to be no timeline for their improvement of the UI or accessibility and organization of the market place. While freedom is important, a little standardization would go a long way in improving the Android platform for both developers and consumers.
  • Troubling (Score:4, Interesting)

    by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @04:01PM (#32422916) Homepage

    It seems to me that this is troubling for the developer, but it's also troubling for the customers. It means that users have bought applications that suddenly have no possibility of being maintained properly. Bugs will never be fixed. New features will never come. It turns iTunes into a fairly risky marketplace.

  • It's there (Score:5, Informative)

    by sjonke (457707) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @04:03PM (#32422958) Journal

    As pointed out by Anonymous Coward, My Frame 1.2 is in the app store right this second:

        http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/my-frame-alarm-clock-displays/id364532249?mt=8 [apple.com]

  • by aardwolf64 (160070) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @04:09PM (#32423058) Homepage

    I've been trying to release an iPad version of my app since launch. It has been rejected by Apple four times. Each time, we fixed what they asked us to, and each time they found something else to reject us for.

    1. Contained links to Paypal (just like our approved iPhone app.)
    2. Doesn't rotate (like MANY other iPad apps)
    3. Contained iTunes Links to Points apps (just like other Mafia apps, and our iPhone app.) They are forcing us to implement in-app purchasing.
    4. Our website contained a contest... After 10,000 people downloaded our free app and created a free character, we would give a free iPod Touch to one of them. Apple called us today and said that we aren't allowed to give away Apple products from a website associated with the app. They said we can give away a Zune HD, but not an iPod Touch. :-|

  • by w0mprat (1317953) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @04:11PM (#32423094)
    Android phones now outsell iPhone OS phones, the OS has been excellent since 1.6, the market is really taking off. Last I checked there was everything you might need in the Android Market, inlcuding many things you can't get on iPhone. Then there's home screen widgets.

    Mod me down but Android an immature wild west platform? My ass.

    There is no alternative platform, despite what others may say about Android, it's immature and their app store(s) are a wild west nightmare. It really is Apple's way or the highway..."

    Somehow freedom != wild west? I'll take the highway thanks.

    • by mini me (132455) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @04:29PM (#32423404)

      Android phones now outsell iPhone OS phones

      That statement doesn't mean a whole lot in the grand scheme of things. Apple sells more iPod touches than iPhones [theappleblog.com], and iPad sales have been phenomenal [abh-news.com].

      I think Android is a great platform with a bright future, but it isn't anywhere near catching up to iPhone OS numbers yet.

      • by mdm-adph (1030332) <[mdmadph] [at] [gmail.com]> on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @04:53PM (#32423770) Homepage

        iPod touches/iPads != iPhones. The same apps won't work on it if they require microphones, cameras, etc., and thus these devices shouldn't be counted.

        Either accept that or all the arguments about Android "fragmentation" go out the window! Or, we could start including Android MID's and Tablet's and hell, even GM's new Volt in-car computer in with the Android numbers.

        • by mini me (132455) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @05:17PM (#32424118)

          All of the iPhone OS devices, except the first gen. iPod touch, have microphone inputs. If you want to get technical, even the first gen. iPod touch supported microphone input through a third party extension. iPhone OS devices without a camera still allow in-app access to photograph data through the Library. The lack of certain hardware only limits what the user can do, it does not prevent the user from using the application outright unless the developer also chooses to limit who can use the app.

          I have never made an argument about Android fragmentation. If I can write a general information-centric application that will run on all Android-based smartphones, tablets, in-car computers, etc. there is no fragmentation and all of the devices should be counted towards Android sales.

          With that said, from what I understand, you often cannot guarantee that your Android app will be able to use even basic system features. That does sound like a real problem.

  • by droopycom (470921) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @05:01PM (#32423888)

    iPhone:
      How can a company be prepared to invest into a platform that can change at any time, cutting you off and kicking you out, with no course of action but to whine on some no-name blog

    Android:
      How can a company be prepared to invest into a platform that is immature and whose app store is a wild west nightmare.

    Well, choose your poison...

  • But these engineers and bloggers are some serious whiners. If Wal-Mart or Target or any large store or any store, for that matter, stops carrying some real-world product, does it make it onto slashdot? Hell no! Because that's the nature of business. Your customers can stop buying your product at any time, even when those customers are resellers. Why do these people feel that it is their God-given right to sell products through these istores or whatever?

    Talk to any successful business owner about the concept of having only one customer for you business and they'll say you're stupid.

  • by dave562 (969951) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @05:57PM (#32424646) Journal

    I notice a handful of developers who have a beef with the way Apple runs their App store, but do any users actually care? Are there hundreds of thousands of users who are hating Apple right now because Apple is denying the users access to a killer application that they simply can't live without?

    The whole issue surrounding the app store seems really contrived to me. Users who actually care about wanting to run specific types of applications will buy a phone that they can run applications on. Users who want an iPhone will buy an iPhone. Plenty of huge corporations like Starbucks, Bank of America and others have developed iPhone apps. Fandango has an app for finding movies that runs on both the iPhone and the G1 (and probably other Android phones too). If there was a huge problem with Apple exclusivity, I'd expect corporations like BofA and the like to be complaining that Apple is preventing them from offering their customers the same kind of applications that are offered on Android.

    Other than some niche apps, there doesn't seem to be a real problem. If app devs really have uber ideas for applications then they should be able to build those apps on alternative platforms and the users will come. If they do build them and the users don't show up, the app obviously wasn't all that compelling in the first place.

    I'm not a big Apple fan, but I recognize their right to tailor their product as they see fit. It isn't as if they are the entire mobile device market. They aren't even half of it. There are alternatives. As much as I dislike the Apple fanboys when they trot out their tired, "You aren't the target market" meme, it seems to fit in this case. Apple isn't targeting developers. They are targeting end users.

  • by jamie(really) (678877) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @06:04PM (#32424730)

    Anybody bother to check to see if the app has been pulled before providing a billion web hits to this app? No? Great! I have a feeling my app is about to be pulled too.

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