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Censorship Google Apple

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

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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  • Android (Score:5, Funny)

    by d34dluk3 ( 1659991 ) on Friday February 05, 2010 @12:43PM (#31035712)
    There's not an app for that.
  • 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 ahankinson ( 1249646 ) on Friday February 05, 2010 @12:54PM (#31035894)
      Want an app that mentions Android? There's an app for.... oh, wait. Scratch that.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 05, 2010 @01:00PM (#31036010)

      And what kills me is that all of the iPhone limitations are caused by Apple being shitty company. Seriously, Apple, why the fuck can't I sync my iPod Touch on Linux? It's not that nobody is willing to make a program to do it; its that Apple went out of their way to make this impossible. It's the first and last Apple product I'll ever make the mistake of buying.

      • by Tim C ( 15259 ) on Friday February 05, 2010 @01:06PM (#31036096)

        I was rather irritated to find that my nice, new 16GB iPod Touch, shiny and gorgeous and amazing as it is, does not present as a USB mass storage device, unlike pretty-much every other mp3 player including most iPods to date. Great, so now I need to carry a USB memory stick with me as well? Thanks Apple.

        • by marcansoft ( 727665 ) <<moc.tfosnacram> <ta> <rotceh>> on Friday February 05, 2010 @02:28PM (#31037244) Homepage

          You can use libimobiledevice and ifuse to mount your iPod Touch under Linux, if that's all you need. You can use it as a generic mass storage device (no need to jailbreak either) as long as you have these tools.

          For what it's worth, I understand Apple's decision on this regard. There is a void in USB regarding smart devices with onboard filesystem drivers which run an OS. Basically, there's no USB File Transfer Protocol, just raw block-device USB Mass Storage (which is useless for devices that run their own OS and can't just expose a block device - not to mention that iPhone OS devices use HFS, not FAT). There's a Picture Transfer Protocol for digital cameras, and Apple does support that, but only for pictures. They made their own protocol for the other stuff. Really, iPod Touch devices aren't music players, they're embedded computers with an OS which you just happen to be able to play music on, and there's no standard "USB file transfer between OSes" protocol.

          What is inexcusable is their insistence in trying to cryptographically stop people from syncing their iPods and iPhones with third-party software. But this is one layer above, and it affects the music database. The underlying nonstandard USB protocol was a practical necessity (although, incidentally, their implementation is horrid).

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Actually, Android phones have been able to work around the issue without requiring a new protocol or any specific, non-standard sync application.

            They simply expose some partition through USB as a block device, but the partition is unmounted by the embedded OS before being handled to the USB host. From the host point of view, the device is like a removable disk drive, and when the user chooses to switch the partition to the PC side, it's like if someone just inserted a disk in the removable drive.

            It's kind o

            • by EndlessNameless ( 673105 ) on Friday February 05, 2010 @04:41PM (#31039042)

              It's kind of silly that the phone is unable to access the files in the partition while they're being accessed by the PC, but nonetheless, I think it's a cleaner solution.

              It's not silly at all. When the PC has block-level access, the OS assumes its file system driver has sole control over that partition. This is, at the very least, true of NTFS (and wouldn't be an unreasonable assumption for most file system drivers).

              If they made it so that the phone and the PC could both access the partition, there would have to be provisions for simultaneous changes/writes, syncing issues when both systems load the same file, and many of the other complications you see with network shares.

              It's far simpler to lock the partition for whatever system is using it than to deal with all the edge cases where simultaneous use can cause the loss, desyncing, or corruption of data.

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by marcansoft ( 727665 )

                Keeping things clean with simultaneous access really isn't hard as long as your API is file-level, not block-level (block-level concurrency is just about impossible without specific filesystems designed for that). Network filesystems have other issues to deal with that can be simplified in this case (e.g. latency).

                Of course you have to lock against opening the same file for writes from both sides, but these issues occur in multitasking OSes anyway and they're fairly well understood. For example, iTunes uses

          • by GweeDo ( 127172 ) on Friday February 05, 2010 @03:23PM (#31037944) Homepage

            My Android phone has no problem supporting both Microsoft's Media Player sync and mounting as a mass storage device...and I happily would consider it more than just a music player too.

          • by ratboy666 ( 104074 ) <fred_weigel AT hotmail DOT com> on Friday February 05, 2010 @04:13PM (#31038684) Journal

            No USB protocol for smart devices... Um, no...


            Would work just fine for the data that the iPod supports.

            So, that's not a good excuse for Apple causing this much pain. MTP could be added in a firmware update. And, the check-file updating could be done on the device if the MTP path is chosen. Yes, MTP users may be disadvantaged (by synching more slowly), but (for me anyway) it would beat having to start Windows XP(tm) in a virtual machines, and then launching iTunes.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by spire3661 ( 1038968 )
            It was NOT a practical necessity. Why is it that EVERYONE ELSE can do it but Apple? My PSP presents as a mass storage device when i set it in usb mode and it has a standalone smart OS too..
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by marcansoft ( 727665 )

              No one can do it. The PSP presents its MemoryStick card to the OS, and in USB mode it can't do anything with it anyway. Android phones do the same thing with an internal partition. There is no standard USB protocol that allows the sharing of a partition between a device and the host OS.

              Using existing mass storage protocols requires that whatever storage exists be switched from the embedded OS to the host OS, because they're low-level protocols that are designed for raw storage. This is a significant drawbac

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Buelldozer ( 713671 )

        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

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        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

        • by Buelldozer ( 713671 ) 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.

          • I use Open Source to put music on my Ipod. GTKpod, Amarok, etc... And yes, by the way, there are FOSS utilities that will allow you to mount even a non-jailbroken Ipod touch out there. Google IFuse, for example
        • 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.

      • Perhaps Apple doesn't want to support the ever changing linux environment and is bound by contracts to their media partners that media transfers are done through a controlled channel?

        Windows is Windows. OS X is OS X. Linux is ... Suse? Gentoo? Redhat? Slackware? Gnome? Enlightenment? KDE?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Windows is Windows.

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

          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 deve

      • by marcansoft ( 727665 ) <<moc.tfosnacram> <ta> <rotceh>> on Friday February 05, 2010 @02:24PM (#31037176) Homepage

        You can []. They tried really hard, not just by using proprietary everything but also using ridiculously obfuscated crypto, but we broke it again. No jailbreaking needed.

        For those who love magic 16-byte keys, the magic "freedom for Apple music players" number this time around is 618ca10dc7f57fd3b4723e08157463d7 ;)

  • 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...

    • (mods) This is not funny, it's the truth.

    • According to TFA, Apple apparently replied with "503 Service Temporarily Unavailable". Harsh but fair.
  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Friday February 05, 2010 @12:47PM (#31035788) Journal
    So how is this developer's desire to port something from Android to the iPhone and advertise it different from Apple's desire to have Windows applications running on OSX [] and actively advertise it?

    Oh, now I get it. You push the little guys around [] when you're the big man on campus []. Certainly is interesting I can find literature about Symbian [] on your site. Tell me, if a very popular Symbian or Blackberry app was ported to the iPhone, would you allow the developer to advertise it? Because I'm betting you would.
  • by QuoteMstr ( 55051 ) <> 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.

  • 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 Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Friday February 05, 2010 @01:01PM (#31036018) Homepage

      Of course not. It causes a ripple in the field bubble and will start a cascading collapse killing everyone inside or transporting pieces of them to random locations. We would have arms and other body parts fused to buildings all across Cupertino and that would be a big Faux Pas in social circles.

      To avoid being embarrassed at the next dinner party keep all things android at least 20 feet from your apple iPhone or iTouch.

  • Uuuuh wrong? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RyuuzakiTetsuya ( 195424 ) <taiki AT cox DOT 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.

    • Re:Uuuuh wrong? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Attila Dimedici ( 1036002 ) on Friday February 05, 2010 @01:03PM (#31036062)
      Right, they don't want their devlopers to realize that Google encourages and rewards outstanding developers.
    • Re:Uuuuh wrong? (Score:4, Informative)

      by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Friday February 05, 2010 @01:37PM (#31036546) Journal

      the point of the removal isn't the word Android, or Google, but the whole phrase of Google Android Developer Contest.

      That's not what Apple's response says at all:

      we found that your application contains inappropriate or irrelevant platform information in the Application Description and/or Release Notes sections ... Providing future platform compatibility plans or other general platform references are not relevant in the context of the iPhone App Store.

      So, yes, this is about Android as a whole, not just the contest.

  • by Mark19960 ( 539856 ) <{moc.gnillibyrtnuocwol} {ta} {kraM}> on Friday February 05, 2010 @12:58PM (#31035974) Homepage Journal

    I don't see this guy mentioning that his application was a finalist in a developer challenge as such.
    If anything it makes it stand out...

    Gee, how did Apple find out in the sea of 5,000 applications that turn your phone into a flashlight?
    They probably search for 'android' and snuff the mention of it out.

    It is their store.... they can do what they want and for that reason I don't buy from it.
    I have seen tons of apps on the android store that mention iPhone or the fact that the same application was written for it.
    We don't see Google snuffing those out....
    This Apple has worms in it.

  • New app submission (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ArhcAngel ( 247594 ) on Friday February 05, 2010 @01:02PM (#31036050)

    I wonder how a game where an archer (who just happens to look like a certain Android) shoots an Apple (that just happens to have a bite taken out of it) off of it's pedestal would be received? Hrmmmm...

  • by cstdenis ( 1118589 ) on Friday February 05, 2010 @01:25PM (#31036348)

    "Winner of the Google developer challenge for (competing app Apple forbids the name of)"

  • 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.

  • Apple doesn't want to list an app that mentions a competitor. (And in a fairly irrelevant way, too. The fact that another version of the app won an award doesn't necessary have any bearing on the iPhone incarnation, does it?) So, in effect, they don't want to advertise for the competition on their own system.

    OK, maybe it seems a bit petty, but this isn't really censorship. It seems more like intelligent business practice.

  • Jeez, Apple, what were you thinking when you did this? You come across as a bully. As a Mac user I'm disappointed.

    1999 iMac DV SE, 200? eMac, multiple iPod shuffles, 2.4 duo 15" MacBook Pro, iPod Touch 2G, iPhone 3GS
    • I suppose it’s logical, and I’m not complaining; Apple is a wonderful company to work with.

      From the horses mouth.

      • City 17 is a great place. After all, "It's safer here."

        I was told to leave all my luggage at the rail station. I suppose it's logical, and I'm not complaining; Civil Protection is a wonderful security force to work with.

        I'm looking forward to the next JobsCast.

  • Old wording: Finalist in Google's Android Developer's Challenge!

    New wording: Finalist in Large Internet Search Company's Human-Looking Robot Developer's Challenge!

    At least he was able to preserve the basic meaning in the reworded version.

  • Attention (Score:2, Insightful)

    by lluBdeR ( 466879 )
    Android is now an un-word
  • Stevie boy is finally cracking up? This sounds like the (lost) battle with Microsoft back in the 80s.
  • by xleeko ( 551231 ) on Friday February 05, 2010 @01:38PM (#31036570)
    Your droids ... They'll have to wait outside.
  • by Ukab the Great ( 87152 ) on Friday February 05, 2010 @02:21PM (#31037118)

    with Apps involving sex, Hitler's Mein Kampf, and Android.

    So much for my dream of making a game where you fight Nazi hooker androids.

  • by dskoll ( 99328 ) on Friday February 05, 2010 @03:02PM (#31037634) Homepage
    Announcer: Buy an iPhone and see why 2010 will be like "1984"
  • 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.

    • 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.

Where there's a will, there's an Inheritance Tax.