Silicon Valley-There is a new suit complained against Apple’s unreasonable App Store review guidelines on behalf of 31 local developers in China.
On August 8th, Daxiao, a Chinese law firm filed a case with Chinese government about Apple removing apps from its App Store without a detailed explanation and unreasonable 4.3 Review Guideline.
Things are getting much more serious. There are more than 31 developers complaining about Apple’s unreasonable 4.3 App Store review guideline. Xu Yun, a lawyer from Chinese Fair-In law firm, said: “We have formally filed this issue with China State Administration for Industry and Commerce and hope it can be solved soon.”
The 4.3 App Store review guideline is the main reason for the complaint. The guideline is “Don’t create multiple Bundle IDs of the same app. If your app has different versions for specific locations, sports teams, universities, etc., consider submitting a single app and provide the variations using in-app purchase. Also avoid piling on to a category that is already saturated; the App Store has enough fart, burp, flashlight, and Kama Sutra apps already. Spamming the store may lead to your removal from the Developer Program.”
According to the lawyer, this guideline is vague and subjective depending how each Apple reviewer feels. The application of this guideline is also erratic and random.
While reviewers remove many apps with similar design for different markets, they leave many untouched. The lawyer said: “If you search “Toyota dealer”, you will find many apps have the same design. In fact, if searching “Ford dealer” app, many use the same design as Toyota’s app, like Ford, Honda, Hyundai, GM, Chrysler, etc. This also happens to apps like Days Inn. They are all same but none of them get removed. This is a clear violation of Apple’s 4.3 spam policy and obviously it is unfair to other developers. ”
“The App Store has enough fart, burp, flashlight, and Kama Sutra apps, so we understand that Apple wants to provide the best products for its users. That is what our developers have been trying to. But if Apple looks into these 31 developers carefully, they will easily find that all these apps target different people and each one has its own database and unique design. Also these apps were approved before but got removed suddenly without giving any detailed reason. Our developers have tried many times to communicate with Apple but still don’t know the reason. If Apple wants others to obey their rules, maybe they should follow their policy first,” Xu Yun Said.
Derek, developer of a single farmer dating app also pointed out that, “We believe that the 4.3 rule is really confusing and unreasonable. If an app is rejected or removed for violating App Store guidelines, there is an escalation process for all developers to ask for another review of their situation and assistance getting their app quickly back on the store.”
Another developer added,”After getting removed, we changed the app design according to Apple’s 4.3 reviewing rule and submitted to Apple but the status is still waiting for review for over 3 weeks without any explanation. And there is one more “ridiculous” rule: developers need to put their 2 or 3 apps into one container even though those apps target different groups of users. Putting them into one container only confuses all users with very bad user experiences! And Apple just ignores its developers even they are doing their best to satisfy Apple now?”
Steve Jobs had been relentless in trying hard to provide users around the world the best product and best user experiences. Not just unique design. In fact, he failed many time in earlier trying to be just unique. We don’t think Steve would agree with the current Apple practice for sacrificing product quality and user experiences in exchange for having different looking products. In fact many removed have way better product quality and user experiences than the untouched apps. The traffic and user-retention rates for them are much higher. The market decides the winners, not Apple unique-design-crazy reviewers.
Mobile platform ios, android, window are fighting over developers. Apple is driving away tons of developers due to its misleading policy of focusing on the look, instead of the product quality and user-experiences. It is time for Apple to make the “right” decision now before being deserted by more and more developers.