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Censorship The Media Apple

Bad PR Forces Apple To Reconsider Banning Mark Fiore's App 241

cmiller173 writes with word from Wired that "After bad press over banning Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist Mark Fiore's app from the app store, Apple has asked him to re-submit the entry."
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Bad PR Forces Apple To Reconsider Banning Mark Fiore's App

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  • by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Friday April 16, 2010 @08:17PM (#31879150)

    It seems like Apple is rethinking some of it's heavy-handed decisions and approving apps that would surely be rejected like Vonage's VoIP, Opera's web browser, and this one and letting them in on their delayed applications, or calling up submitters and asking them to resubmit previously rejected apps. This is far from an isolated incident, and I wouldn't be surprised if we find Google Voice in the app store soon.

    I think there's several factors involved here:
    - FCC investigation into AT&T... if they can't allow streaming video from Sling but can allow streaming video from MLB, what's the difference? If they can't allow streaming video because of lack of bandwidth, why didn't they buy more when spectrum recently went up for auction?
    - Government investigation into Apple... If they're abusing a monopoly app store when there's clearly ways to implement competitors on jailbroken devices... why the monopoly?
    - Bad press... every major app rejected is a reason to get a Droid or some other more open development platform's device.
    - Competition... When the EDGE iPhone first came out, it was revolutionary carrying only the default 20 apps because it was doing things that it's at-the-time competitors couldn't do. Now there's several platforms that look like the iPhone and do things the iPhone doesn't... that iDon't/Droid Does ad must have gotten to them.

    So there you have it... the tide is changing, and we might see some more "impossible" things happening soon.

    • by WrongSizeGlass ( 838941 ) on Friday April 16, 2010 @09:14PM (#31879502)

      It seems like Apple is rethinking some of it's heavy-handed decisions ...

      Naw ... they just want to reject it again to prove they were right the first time. Remember that "Think Different" really means "Think like us" ;-)

    • No rethinking (Score:3, Interesting)

      by SuperKendall ( 25149 )

      It seems like Apple is rethinking some of it's heavy-handed decisions and approving apps that would surely be rejected like Vonage's VoIP, Opera's web browser, and this one

      The first two would now "surely be rejected". There was no reason for Vonage or Opera Mini not to be accepted, they fell perfectly fine within the existing rules.

      The last one, the cartoon app - that did NOT fall within any published rule, and that is the problem. If you are going to have a rule, fine - but tell people what it is. There

      • It was an Apple rule that anything that duplicated functionality of an included app like Skype/Google Voice/Vonage allowing phone usage or Opera allowing web browsing similar to Safari was previously cause for rejection and that rule is now looking repealed.
      • by Wovel ( 964431 )

        There is a rule on defamation, the mistake the reviewer made was in consider defamation and ridicule to be the same thing.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by pigphish ( 1070214 )
      More likely the creative crowd/apple sheep don't think its "cool" to be banning award winning writers. This would also seem to be at odds with Apples "we are cool"/"you are fool" marketting campain.
    • I wonder how much (if any) influence Android has over this decision and some others. Sure the iPhone is clearly being Android but Android is not going away and will continue to gain popularity. I think Apple will have to loosen their grip but will keep some controls to help avoid the mess that can be found in the Android app store. Though I think most of Android's market issues are mainly in the games section.
    • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) * on Friday April 16, 2010 @11:26PM (#31880128) Journal

      It seems like Apple is rethinking some of it's heavy-handed decisions

      The lesson here is that as consumers, if you don't hold a companies feet to the fire with things like bad publicity, they're not looking out for your best interests.

      Unswerving fandom to a corporation is not only misplaced, but always works against consumers. You want to be a fan of a person, an artist, a writer, a great athlete, a craftsman, that's fine, because as a human being, he has a desire to do something of value, even if for the appreciation of one other person. A corporation's only reason for existence is to make a profit, and profit does not respond to people's desires or needs or appreciation of beauty or excellence. You think a product is a good value, or makes you happy, then by all means buy it, but when you start tattooing a logo on your tricep, you are going to spoil it for everyone. A corporation sees that and the response is: here's another one that will take whatever we dish out. After all, what are you going to do once you've defined yourself by the companies from which you buy? Once you've entered the 21st century phenomenon of corporate fandom, are you really capable of making a rational decision, even for yourself?

  • Wrong article? (Score:5, Informative)

    by feuerfalke ( 1034288 ) on Friday April 16, 2010 @08:22PM (#31879188)
    Er... the first link is to an article headlined "Satellites key to keeping aircraft away from Iceland's volcanic cloud." I guess it's a bit much to expect Slashdot editors to actually check the links in a summary, huh?
  • Simple. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cosm ( 1072588 ) <thecosm3@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Friday April 16, 2010 @08:25PM (#31879206)
    If the cost of losing customers due to bad press is greater than the cost of changing their policies/practices, they will change (usually temporarily) to alleviate the bad press. Next.
    • If AT&T's network can't take apps that the Verizon/Sprint/T-mobile networks can... then is the money they're getting for exclusivity from AT&T worth it?

  • This will be more the exception that proves the rule than anything particularly earth-shattering.
  • by mozumder ( 178398 ) on Friday April 16, 2010 @08:26PM (#31879220)

    so that any publisher could submit apps without Apple's editorializing.

    It would be nice if more publishers were allowed onto the app store, instead of only Pulitzer-prize winners.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 16, 2010 @08:28PM (#31879244)

      Fortunately, you don't have to be a Pulitzer prize winner to develop an Android app.

  • Wow. Overzealous Slashdot babble may have actually done some good for a change. I feel stupid for bitching about it.

  • by YesIAmAScript ( 886271 ) on Friday April 16, 2010 @08:37PM (#31879300)

    If I were him, I'd put links indicating what Apple did wrong right in the splash/main screen of the app when I re-submit it. Then see if Apple dares to reject it again or will instead swallow their pride and approve it. I'd really hope for the latter, but either would help raise awareness of how problematic Apple's policies are.

  • do no evil (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 16, 2010 @08:38PM (#31879304)

    google's motto is "do no evil",
    apple's moto is "do no bad pulicity"
    and they both suck at it.

  • Not only is this pushing for more leniency on app content, but Fiore mentions in the article that he would like to use flash, as his cartoons are all made in flash. I doubt he could have enough weight to affect the availability of flash, but people like him can make it a more common complaint.
  • by jgreco ( 1542031 ) on Friday April 16, 2010 @08:46PM (#31879366)

    He has to *resubmit* it? What, do they delete them after they reject them? That seems odd.

    • by OrwellianLurker ( 1739950 ) on Friday April 16, 2010 @09:11PM (#31879486)

      He has to *resubmit* it? What, do they delete them after they reject them? That seems odd.

      Probably so that they can say that the second application was slightly different and/or more appropriately reviewed. If they just change their minds, it would be a blatant acknowledgment that they "screwed up" or whatever.

    • by Fantastic Lad ( 198284 ) on Friday April 16, 2010 @11:36PM (#31880190)

      He has to *resubmit* it? What, do they delete them after they reject them? That seems odd.

      It's all about control. He must respect their little system, whereby he asks them for permission and they get to exercise total arbitrary power over him. Even in fault, the plaintiff must do the grovelling and play his part as head-bowing subject.

      I think around Apple, the 'Submit' button means something far yuckier than it does, say, when posting on Slashdot.


      • Kafka's app (Score:3, Funny)

        by rishistar ( 662278 )

        Makes me wish Kafka was still around to try submitting an app.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by nine-times ( 778537 )

        Well it's not as flashy, but there are some possible reasons to ask him to resubmit. First, their system might not really be build for retrieving rejected apps. It is possible that rejected apps are discarded, and they don't have easy access to a copy.

        Also, it could specifically be about the PR. If they simply say, "Oh, yes, we changed our mind and we'll put this application on the store," then it's unclear what that means. It could be a specific instance of bending the rules for a Pulitzer Prize winne

  • Of course (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Unka Willbur ( 1771596 ) on Friday April 16, 2010 @08:49PM (#31879390)
    How many small publishers, authors or artists without access to the media that Mr. Fiore has won't ever get the lordly invite to "resubmit"" their content for King Jobs' oh-so-kindly "reconsideration"?
  • Facts? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Graham J - XVI ( 1076671 ) on Friday April 16, 2010 @08:52PM (#31879398) Homepage Journal

    Who says it was due to bad PR? You might want to avoid stating guesses as facts.

    • Re:Facts? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by prockcore ( 543967 ) on Saturday April 17, 2010 @12:10AM (#31880312)

      What else could it have been? They rejected the app in December. He won the Pulitzer Prize recently and "Apple rejects Pulitzer Prize winner" is all over the news now. You think it's coincidence that they changed their mind 5 months later?

  • Told Ya (Score:3, Informative)

    by gyrogeerloose ( 849181 ) on Friday April 16, 2010 @08:59PM (#31879436) Journal

    And here's [] the proof

  • I wouldn't do it (Score:4, Informative)

    by grasshoppa ( 657393 ) < minus caffeine> on Friday April 16, 2010 @09:11PM (#31879480) Homepage

    Fuck Apple. I'd go with the google app store and call it a day.

    • by Wovel ( 964431 )

      Of course then that would defeat the purpose because no one would see your cartoons. If you had said: F*CK apple I am going to convert my web site to something that will work on every platform, I would be with you. Going to Android would be silly.

    • To me the issue is simple: Apple claims jailbreaking your iPhone in order to run apps of your choosing is a violation of the DMCA. The DMCA is a piss poor, innovation-stifling, megacorp-appeasing law. As long as Apple supports the DMCA I will not buy one of their products, I will not buy from iTunes, and I will not recommend their products to my family, my friends, or my clients.

  • He should call up HP and MS and ask for an endorsement deal.
  • meh. (Score:4, Informative)

    by siddesu ( 698447 ) on Friday April 16, 2010 @09:29PM (#31879602)
    wake me up when apple reconsiders its near-moronic app policy, not a single case. because it is the policy that is the problem, not its application.
    • wake me up when apple reconsiders its near-moronic app policy, not a single case. because it is the policy that is the problem, not its application.

      Even if they do, what's to stop them from going right back to it when the heat's off? I'll stick with my Android phone for the time being: does what I want and more, and I don't have to contend with stupid policies. I'm on T-Mobile and while they initially had Google pull all tethering apps off the Android Market, they seem to have rethought that particular policy. Hell, right on their website they tell you how to do it. As the 3G underdog they're doing things right, competitively speaking: I wouldn't cons

  • I just got a cease and desist letter from the Department of Justice - they claim I'm monopolizing my wife.

    Thank you! I'll be here all week - be sure to try the buffet!

  • by Nom du Keyboard ( 633989 ) on Friday April 16, 2010 @11:28PM (#31880148)
    I'm continually surprised by how much crap everyone is willing to put up with from Apple, while worshiping the ground that Steve Jobs walks on. The same guy who actually had to leave Apple before we got an Open Mac. How long before SJ starts selling once-worn mock turtlenecks on eBay for a few extra bucks?
  • by Go_Ask_Alex ( 459685 ) on Saturday April 17, 2010 @12:42AM (#31880430)

    Never heard of Mark Fiore before Apple making a stink out of an app. Checked out Fiore's website and love it, can't wait for the iPad app !!

  • The upshot of this seems to be that we're all now expected to seek out this "comic" b/c (1) it's been given a Pulitzer, and (2) reading it "sticks it to the man" (the man in this case is Steve Jobs).

    Free PR notwithstanding, this "comic" is not really up to the standards of most parodies on youtube.

    It seems to be a choice between being a "Pulitzer-zombie", or an "Apple-zombie".

    In the end, a zombie is a zombie: "They're all messed up." -- John Russo & George A. Romero []

  • by ad454 ( 325846 ) on Saturday April 17, 2010 @09:41AM (#31881200) Journal

    Both Apple and news media organizations (press/newspapers, radio, television, etc.) were interested in the possibilities of the iPad (and other similar devices) as a news consumption device. This is especially true for newspapers that have been suffering due to falling revenue, especially from classifieds because of Craig's List and eBay, and a public less interested in reading news on dead trees.

    But Apple's censorship of a Pulitzer winning cartoonist send chills down the spines of all of the news media organizations, since they suddenly realize how vulnerable their content is to the arbitrary and inconsistent censorship whims of companies like Apple, Amazon, Sony, etc. which have total control over the applications and media on their devices.

    Imagine if Sony blocked all news publications on its Sony's Reader Store which have published accident and recall information about Toyotas in order not to harm or offend a fellow Japanese companies. Imagine if this was 60 years ago and each electronics company only sold TV's which would only receive programming from their affiliated stations.

    Apple hoped that by allowing Mark Fiorre's app, they could do damage control, but I think that it is too late, since this incident really drove home how bad the censorship situation is with these locked down platforms.

    At the end of the day, consumers pressure is not enough to be able to force companies to open up their platforms. In the growing mobile phone, media players, e-reader, and game console markets, not one of the major platforms is fully open for the consumer and are full of DRM that restricts options and allow censorship. (Yes that includes Google Android devices which are being locked down by many carriers!)

    Governments need to step in and force all hardware and operating system manufactories and distributers to have an application and data distribution and execution model that is fully open to all. If you buy the device, it should be yours to do with as you see fit, as long as it does not interfere with others.

The primary function of the design engineer is to make things difficult for the fabricator and impossible for the serviceman.