Sunday, August 2, 2009

Apple Backlash: An Example Of Apple's Ludicrous iPhone App Policy

By Benedict Wee

To add to their "Let's screw people cause we can" list, Apple wants the developers who made apps that have been pulled from the App Store to give refunds to the people who bought them.

Kevin Duerr and his team Riverturn (creators of the VoiceCentral app which has a Google Voice function and hence got pulled by Apple without explanation) talked to MacLife on Friday and explained how the lack of communication and the issue of the refunds have left a bad taste in their mouth.
“Apple made it impossible for our customers to receive the fixes, updates, and support by pulling the app. We were fulfilling our end of the bargain. Why should those refunds come out of our pocket?” says Duerr. “The refund issue and lack of respect for our mutual customers has further soured us on the belief that Apple cares at all about their developers … other than the dollars they bring in.”
Kevin also elaborated on the lack of any communication from Apple, only finding out that there was a problem when a potential customer emailed the team complaining that any attempts to purchase the app was met with an error message. Kevin thought it was just the occasional glitch and passed it off as such until a competitor posted a similar situation on his blog.

After days of emailing the various channels available at Apple, Kevin received a call from them "explaining" (used in a very liberal sense) the situation. Richard (from Apple) told them that their app was pulled because "it duplicated features of the iPhone... causing confusion in the user community". When Kevin then gave similar apps that duplicated iPhone features Richard replied that he couldn't discuss the other apps.

Richard also refused to provide any information that would make the VoiceCentral app compliant with Apple's newly-enforced policy or suggesting any avenues in Apple that would be able to help them. To visit the bizarre conversation Kevin had with Richard (who I honestly think is a robot) you can visit their blog here.

Till now, Kevin has not managed to attain any sliver of information about his dead application or how he should proceed with Apple.

Let this be a lesson to those app developers out there, Apple thinks you guys live on air. If you don't however and need to make an actual living developing, there's always Android, WebOS (for the Palm Pre), BlackBerry, Symbian and Windows Mobile (you could win a Surface!) that provide better developer support and an all-round positive experience.


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