In October, Apple added a new clause to its developer terms and Conditions that allows the company to reject or remove apps that promote other apps. At the time, no apps had been considered in violation of clause 2.25. Unfortunately, the hammer has finally fallen. The very popular app aggregate website AppShopper recently had its app removed from the App Store thanks to the vaguely worded condition.
The rule is this:
2.25 Apps that display Apps other than your own for purchase or promotion in a manner similar to or confusing with the App Store will be rejected
Apparently, Apple thinks that AppShopper is too similar or confusing with the App Store. Which is funny because, they neither look alike, nor do they offer much similarity in service and presentation. Apple has popular apps listed by categories (i.e. Top paid apps and top free apps), while AppShopper has a variety of ways that popular apps can be listed, including by price drops, something that Apple doesn’t have at all.
TheNextWeb spoke with developer Ben Guild, creator of AppMap, who believes that Apple is trying to rid the App Store of discovery services (The App Store is notoriously bad at app discovery). “App discovery is a really interesting space with tons of room for innovation,” Guild said, “but perhaps it’s a space that Apple itself wishes to solely focus on.”
The Apple review team approved guild’s app because it “provided significant alternate functionality.” It tracks popular apps by location so that you can see what is being used in your area.
If you have ever used AppShopper, you’ll know that it provides many alternate functions that the App Store doesn’t. It is better designed with a better search engine and more filtering options and apps listed, minute-by-minute, with their launch date, change date, etc. If you want to find out which apps have been updated within the past 24 hours, you can’t find a list of them in the App Store, but you can on AppShopper.
This is just the start of something bigger. AppShopper will be the one of the first of many app discovery applications that will lose out in Apple’s attempt to force people to stay inside their garden walls.