Monday, August 4, 2008

Bad Apples In The App Store?

My criticisms of Apple's conduct in the service space haven't exactly been gentle. The newest to come to my attention is one I didn't think Apple would have the lunacy to botch: the very App Store that made iPhone 2.0 software such an anticipated download. The formula is simple: Apple and developers share revenue from applications sold on the App Store, and App Store applications all come from registered developers with digital certificates that enable users to authenticate at every launch that their application is a real, bona fide, certified, not-a-piece-of-anonymous-malware work of Objective C. It's important both to Apple's security model and to its marketing campaign that the App Store is accepted as legitimate by potential users (who might be put off if it seemed Big Brother-ish or likely to prevent use of quality applications), actual users (whose use of the store will make the iPhone as a platform for development of user apps), and developers (because, duh, without them there are no third party apps at all).

All developers need to do is sign up, get the certificate, and submit apps that don't break the rules in order to sit back and wait for user feedback (and money) from actual use.


Um ... maybe not.

Apple apparently offers, and then pulls -- and then intermittently without explanation returns to sale and withdraws -- applications. Apple ignores developer contact while this is going on.

Let me spell it out for you: the App Store is so irrelevant to Apple as a revenue stream that it's manned only on Tuesdays and only by a one-armed chimpanzee who couldn't get work in one of those food-or-cocaine experiments that psych departments keep running, to the amusement of the department that tries to treat simian substnce disorders. The one-armed monkey hasn't figured out email yet, as he's still pressing the space bar looking for a hit of coke.

Or maybe the App Store is being run by the same guys who are making sure MobileMe doesn't result in commercial service accounts.

It seems that automated email systems were making sure that Apple and its developers could never get two humans in contact with one another. The fact that developers haven't got a clear connection to the folks who make the yes/no decisions on apps and can provide timely feedback on rejections is kind of silly. Both Apple and its developers have a lot riding on the App Store being accepted as an effective and legitimate way to get software to users.

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