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MacRumors
Sep 1, 2009, 03:27 PM
http://www.macrumors.com/images/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com/iphone/2009/09/01/chess-wars-app-update-rejected-over-shiny-chat-bubbles/)


http://images.macrumors.com/article/2009/09/01/161235-chess-wars-bubbles.jpg
Image courtesy of Joe Stump's Flickr page

Blunder Move's Chess Wars app, which allows users to place chess with Facebook friends via Facebook Connect, has been rejected due to chat bubbles that reportedly imitate those of the iPhone's Messages app too closely, according to the blog (http://bit.ly/Ea2iZ) of one of the developers, Joe Stump. [Warning: this blog post contains profanity and may be NSFW.]

Chess Wars was initially released in early July, with an update to fix bugs released on July 30. Stump's blog describes that major bugs in version 1.1 required an update that was subsequently submitted to the App Store for approval. This latest update has been waiting in the App Store approval queue for about 6 weeks.

According to his blog, Stump was finally contacted today by Apple with information on the reason behind the approval delay:

They said they were rejecting the application because our in-game chat looked too much like Apple's SMS application. I've asked if we changed our chat bubbles to look like Facebooks if we'd be allowed in. Our contact at Apple is going to be getting back to me soon.

The promised follow-up from the contact at Apple resulted in the latest update to the blog post:
UPDATE: Just got off the phone with Apple while I was writing this blog post and they told me, no joke, that the chat bubbles are, in fact, trademarked. Furthermore, they suggested I could, among other suggestions make them "less shiny."

TechCrunch (http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/09/01/developers-be-warned-apple-has-apparently-trademarked-those-shiny-chat-bubbles/) and other sites have followed this story and helped to provide publicity that likely prompted Apple's direct contact with Blunder Move today.

The current version (1.1) of Chess Wars can be found here (http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=320513634&mt=8) (link opens iTunes).

Article Link: 'Chess Wars' App Update Rejected Over "Shiny Chat Bubbles" (http://www.macrumors.com/iphone/2009/09/01/chess-wars-app-update-rejected-over-shiny-chat-bubbles/)



Unspoken Demise
Sep 1, 2009, 03:30 PM
Well, Apple has trademarked shiny bubbles. I gotta go stop those kids down the street before they get arrested.

Seriously Apple?

Small White Car
Sep 1, 2009, 03:38 PM
Tweetie got away with this.

I guess it's just the right amount of shiny?

mrkgoo
Sep 1, 2009, 03:41 PM
I doubt anyone 'has got away with it'. If the shiny bubbles are trademarked, then Apple should've been stopping this a long time ago. Perhaps they've just realised this and are cracking down now. The problem lies in not informing the developers before.

If Apple ARE cracking down on this (and they're not going to go look for old apps - probably just new ones that have updates - which is kind of stink, as it punished developers who update), then they should send out a memo to all developers: Get rid of your shiny bubbles; Check your keywords for violations, etc.

Shame, because I liked the unified look.

If Apple have it trademarked, they have every right to demand them to change. It's simply stupid, though, that they are preventing an Apple app from being too Apple like. Still, if this were to be ported to another device, they don't want that device looking too similar to Apple's.

tobefirst
Sep 1, 2009, 03:44 PM
Tweetie got away with this.

I guess it's just the right amount of shiny?

The current Tweetie chat bubble theme does not have any shininess. Beejive, on the other hand...

Small White Car
Sep 1, 2009, 03:47 PM
The current Tweetie chat bubble theme does not have any shininess. Beejive, on the other hand...

Hmm, so perhaps they're serious about the 'less shiny' comment.

I wonder if Tweetie coincidentally changed theirs or if they were told to change as well.

tobefirst
Sep 1, 2009, 03:50 PM
I wonder if Tweetie coincidentally changed theirs or if they were told to change as well.

Good question. I wonder, too, if I'll see an update to Beejive in the coming days as a result.

Michael73
Sep 1, 2009, 03:55 PM
Most trademarks can be used with the express written consent of the trademark holder. Why not ask Apple for use? Not in Apple's favor is the fact that they've been selectively applying enforcement which could lead a judge to rule against Apple. As in, either Apple goes back and cracks down on everyone or they just let it go and let developers use the darn chat bubble.

One the other hand, Apple probably has a small army of patent lawyers working in their legal department. The company owns patents numbering in the thousands. I think it's rather unreasonable for a small developer with limited resources to know what "is" and "is not" permissible based on all the trademarks out there. Chat bubbles....who da thunk?!?

SFStateStudent
Sep 1, 2009, 04:02 PM
Another reason to JB, and put whatever BUBBLES I want on my iPhone.....:eek:

Unspoken Demise
Sep 1, 2009, 04:04 PM
They should make them MORE shiny. :D

That-Is-Bull
Sep 1, 2009, 04:15 PM
Wasn't an app rejected once for not looking enough like Apple's UI? They wanted UI consistency to avoid user confusion... And now this one's rejected for being consistent?

Scooterman1
Sep 1, 2009, 04:18 PM
I realize that we have 'Freedom Of Speech' in this country...... But, with a mouth like theirs on the Blog, I'm glad they were disapproved.

Duncan-Idaho
Sep 1, 2009, 04:44 PM
I'm a self-admitted Apple fanboy (and owner of AAPL), but Apple's tyrannical App approval process actually drove me to jailbreak my iPhone last week. I feel sorry for elitists who are too proud to JB their phones (I wasn't one of them, I just didn't know what I was missing out on). After realizing my phone's hidden potential, I'm glad to be somewhat free of Apple's App Store tyranny.

Apple is actually doing harm by being unnecessarily strict. I've jailbreaked many iPhones for friends and family this week. I'm just a domino. Watch the community grow as Apple increases the pressure.

"If you can't open it, you don't own it."

Krizoitz
Sep 1, 2009, 05:03 PM
I'm a self-admitted Apple fanboy (and owner of AAPL), but Apple's tyrannical App approval process actually drove me to jailbreak my iPhone last week. I feel sorry for elitists who are too proud to JB their phones (I wasn't one of them, I just didn't know what I was missing out on). After realizing my phone's hidden potential, I'm glad to be somewhat free of Apple's App Store tyranny.

Apple is actually doing harm by being unnecessarily strict. I've jailbreaked many iPhones for friends and family this week. I'm just a domino. Watch the community grow as Apple increases the pressure.

"If you can't open it, you don't own it."

You are in the vast vast VAST minority my friend. I'm not saying I think Apple is doing the right thing here (frankly I think they are not, its a pretty dumb move IMO) but 90%+ of the iPhone users out there don't know/don't care about some random app like this being rejected. Heck most users don't care about Google Voice being rejected.

Tech heads/nerds/power users (aka the people who comment on blogs like this one) notice and care, but we are a vocal minority (sometimes too vocal, sometimes not enough).

I also think the situation is/will get better as Apple gets a better grasp on the whole appstore process. Its clear from Phil Schillers comments and communications that they are aware of the issues and are working on better approaches. Although to be honest I don't think Apple is ever going to give a model that pleases everyone, because too many people want what Apple isn't going to give, but thats a nother discussion for another day.

For the vast majority of users the downsides of jailbreaking (of which there are some) compared to the benefits just aren't worth it. For most people its a matter of Can i make calls, send texts, check e-mail, check twitter, check facebook, play some games.

djdole
Sep 1, 2009, 05:24 PM
Heaven forbid any UI on their phone is standardized. :mad:

Next up:
APPLE REJECTS OWN SDK FOR BEING TOO CLOSE TO OWN SDK.

Detlev
Sep 1, 2009, 05:34 PM
Cry, cry, whah, whah. Amazing this can even make news. These guys stole the chat bubbles right out of iChat and now they think Apple is bad for protecting their assets. It sure takes a set to ride somebody's coat tail to the top, take credit for the work, stab them in the back, and cry poor when caught.

knewsom
Sep 1, 2009, 05:35 PM
Didn't they just reject a bunch of apps because they "veered from the user experience of the iPhone"? So what, you can't make apps look like the rest of the iphone interface, but you can't have them different either? Sheesh, what a crock! Had I invested a bunch of money and time into developing an iphone app, only to have it yanked for some stupid reason like either of these, I'd be furious.

nytesky
Sep 1, 2009, 06:04 PM
Why did he release an app that was full of bugs in the first place?

Duncan-Idaho
Sep 1, 2009, 06:09 PM
You are in the vast vast VAST minority my friend. I'm not saying I think Apple is doing the right thing here (frankly I think they are not, its a pretty dumb move IMO) but 90%+ of the iPhone users out there don't know/don't care about some random app like this being rejected. Heck most users don't care about Google Voice being rejected.

Tech heads/nerds/power users (aka the people who comment on blogs like this one) notice and care, but we are a vocal minority (sometimes too vocal, sometimes not enough).

I also think the situation is/will get better as Apple gets a better grasp on the whole appstore process. Its clear from Phil Schillers comments and communications that they are aware of the issues and are working on better approaches. Although to be honest I don't think Apple is ever going to give a model that pleases everyone, because too many people want what Apple isn't going to give, but thats a nother discussion for another day.

For the vast majority of users the downsides of jailbreaking (of which there are some) compared to the benefits just aren't worth it. For most people its a matter of Can i make calls, send texts, check e-mail, check twitter, check facebook, play some games.

I understand how you formulated your opinion. Here's mine.

1. This isn't an issue of minorities or majorities. 'The vast majority of' Americans are overweight. Since the majority of Americans eat unhealthy and don't care about health food stores or gyms, let's shut them down and not give them the attention they deserve.

2. Many people didn't notice or care when Michael Vick was allowed to play in the NFL. It doesn't mean he should still be able to play. He should be publicly hung. People's lack of awareness on an issue does not justify complacency.

3. The positives of jailbreaking outweigh the negatives. My phone has never crashed since jailbreaking. I can run apps in the background. It's easy to JB. It's easy to restore. There is a mythos that jailbroken phones don't run efficiently. False. I am not in the minority on this.

4. The situation won't get better until Apple let's us truly own our iPhones, i.e. developers being in control of what Apps they can create for iPhone OS, not Apple. Desktop apps have never been scrutinized so heavily by Apple. Why should mobile apps?

djdole
Sep 1, 2009, 06:43 PM
The situation won't get better until Apple let's us truly own our iPhones, i.e. developers being in control of what Apps they can create for iPhone OS, not Apple. Desktop apps have never been scrutinized so heavily by Apple. Why should mobile apps?

I agree 100%

Even though I understand the viewpoint Apple has taken that they do not wish poor quality apps to reflect negatively upon the image of their iPhone, no one (with half a brain) goes to the app store, browses apps (where the third-party software company's name is PROMINENTLY DISPLAYED) and thinks that Apple was the creator of said software.

Besides, has apple never heard the FAMOUS idiom: "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery"?

bytethese
Sep 1, 2009, 07:26 PM
Heaven forbid any UI on their phone is standardized. :mad:

Next up:
APPLE REJECTS OWN SDK FOR BEING TOO CLOSE TO OWN SDK.

Reminds me of the Coke Zero commercials where Coke tries to sue Coke Zero for "Taste Infringement"...

Compile 'em all
Sep 1, 2009, 07:30 PM
Trademarking chat bubbles?

What a load of BS!

aznkid25
Sep 1, 2009, 08:10 PM
Doesn't the Facebook app have the shiny chat bubbles in facebook chat? Does that mean the Facebook app shouldn't have been approved?

matthewlesh
Sep 1, 2009, 08:21 PM
This isn't exactly the the first time this has happened. Over a month ago the first update too iTweetReply was rejected for using similar chat bubbles to the standard SMS app, though these bubbles were used in an earlier version..

See: http://blog.syncode.com.au/2009/07/21/itweetreply-1-1-rejected/

vvebsta
Sep 1, 2009, 08:58 PM
this is ridiculous...i could understand if it was for say an android app or whatever that other one is...but is on the freaking iPhone!!!

jedijoe
Sep 1, 2009, 09:59 PM
apple chat bubbles suck, have always sucked, and they are a giant waste of screen space.

Apollo21
Sep 2, 2009, 12:01 AM
Am I really supposed to believe that Apple was the first company to ever make a shiny bubble? And how many designs could one possibly use in a chat program? Certainly not enough that you should be able to trademark it, or after 30 companies covered the possibilities, it would be illegal to make any more!

ArtursBoy
Sep 2, 2009, 01:36 AM
Man, am I the only one who thinks this whining from some developers needs to stop?? Just change the damn colors or whatever you need to change and get on with it.

Is it that hard to see that by them coming on forums like these and start complaining about the Apple approval process makes the App Store look bad, which can eventually hurt overall sales because of the negative publicity, hence hurting potential sales of their own apps ??

Seriously, they got their rules, you wanna sell your product on their "store"? then play by them. If they ask that you need to fix or adjust something then just do it, why make such a big deal? why are stories like these even posted? Granted there might be instances where the approval or denial of apps are newsworthy (like the approval of a Vonage App, or the "denial/delay" of a Google Voice App), but to complain over the request of a change of color?? C'mon.

tabasco70
Sep 2, 2009, 02:17 AM
I wonder why'd they do this.

They want things to look uniform (no themes) so why not let apps use the same 'look'?

If a developer designs and makes his/her own bubbles, chances are that it's not gonna look as good as Apple's.

Eraserhead
Sep 2, 2009, 03:41 AM
Apple seem to keep making really bad decisions with the AppStore :rolleyes:.

g3signal
Sep 2, 2009, 03:52 AM
Exactly what I was thinking. There is a lot of blaming Apple who has the responsibility of making sure trademarks and other things don't become lawsuits on down the line. I can't imagine all the things they have to keep track of and I'm sure some of it gets through by human mistake.

Man, am I the only one who thinks this whining from some developers needs to stop?? Just change the damn colors or whatever you need to change and get on with it.

Is it that hard to see that by them coming on forums like these and start complaining about the Apple approval process makes the App Store look bad, which can eventually hurt overall sales because of the negative publicity, hence hurting potential sales of their own apps ??

Seriously, they got their rules, you wanna sell your product on their "store"? then play by them. If they ask that you need to fix or adjust something then just do it, why make such a big deal? why are stories like these even posted? Granted there might be instances where the approval or denial of apps are newsworthy (like the approval of a Vonage App, or the "denial/delay" of a Google Voice App), but to complain over the request of a change of color?? C'mon.

mixel
Sep 2, 2009, 03:52 AM
Seems weird they'd be rejecting things for visual consistency..

Do they have HIGs for the iphone? Do you have to consciously avoid doing what they ask? That would be pretty funny. I would've thought trying to make your app fit in with the others is a good thing.

Probably best to just use less shiny bubbles!

RedTomato
Sep 2, 2009, 07:37 AM
Am I blind? I've looked at the photos on this thread and on the blog, and I can't tell the difference between the photos.

Unspoken Demise
Sep 2, 2009, 07:44 AM
Am I blind? I've looked at the photos on this thread and on the blog, and I can't tell the difference between the photos.

Isnt that the point?

226896
Sep 2, 2009, 08:29 AM
This is absolutely pathetic, seriously Apple, take your head out of your ass.

whooleytoo
Sep 2, 2009, 08:33 AM
I wonder if Apple is paying anyone a license fee for its use of chat bubbles? They obviously didn't invent them.

The entire IP debate is starting to give me a migraine. Someone takes another's idea, makes miniscule changes, then claims it as their own; and goes out of their way to prevent anyone else from doing similar.

It's pointless, impractical and counter-productive.

dark-saito
Sep 2, 2009, 09:21 AM
Rejection over "shiny?" Is this serious...? Apple is being ridiculous...

Hopefully BeeJive figures something out... I love the app, and I don't want to have to wait more than I have to for group chats because they "use the shiny" of the Apple messages...

Though I wouldn't mind matte bubbles <3 If anyone has tried the MatteUI on a jailbroken iPhone/iPod touch, you will know what I'm talking about. It's much better anyway :P

dejo
Sep 2, 2009, 09:38 AM
Do they have HIGs for the iphone?
Yes. It's called the iPhone HIG (http://developer.apple.com/iphone/library/documentation/userexperience/conceptual/mobilehig/Introduction/Introduction.html), a.k.a. the Mobile HIG.

ViViDboarder
Sep 2, 2009, 09:45 AM
They should change it to Monospaced text with a black background like a terminal output.

Then we'll see if Apple rejects it fro not looking enough like SMS.

kas23
Sep 2, 2009, 09:57 AM
What about these new icons with the diagonal lines (like Beejive)? Is this illegal too?

Rodimus Prime
Sep 2, 2009, 09:59 AM
Man, am I the only one who thinks this whining from some developers needs to stop?? Just change the damn colors or whatever you need to change and get on with it.

Is it that hard to see that by them coming on forums like these and start complaining about the Apple approval process makes the App Store look bad, which can eventually hurt overall sales because of the negative publicity, hence hurting potential sales of their own apps ??

Seriously, they got their rules, you wanna sell your product on their "store"? then play by them. If they ask that you need to fix or adjust something then just do it, why make such a big deal? why are stories like these even posted? Granted there might be instances where the approval or denial of apps are newsworthy (like the approval of a Vonage App, or the "denial/delay" of a Google Voice App), but to complain over the request of a change of color?? C'mon.

I think the problem here is apple is inconsistent. Apple is rejecting some apps for one thing and then turn around and allowing other apps with the same issues though

or in this case they are rejecting updates to apps were accepted one the first round then turn around and rejecting it on a area they did not even change. For example here is the chat bubbles. When the app was first submited they allowed it. On the update the chat part was not messed with and they rejected it for the same reason.

Apple needs to get some clear rules out and stop changing them. Apple seems to be following a womans rule book.
Rule 1. As soon as any one figures out a rule it has to change.

dark-saito
Sep 2, 2009, 10:17 AM
What about these new icons with the diagonal lines (like Beejive)? Is this illegal too?

HA! That's funny... I would probably be laughing harder, if i wasn't so worried that would be a reality... That's a tad scary...

(On a sidenote, the new BeeJive icon is appealing to the eyes... It doesn't look so bland like it used to.)

Cartoonkid
Sep 2, 2009, 10:58 AM
I don't hear Hasbro or Wham-o bitching about Apple using shiny bubbles. I remember blowing all kinds of shiny soap bubbles as a kid, LONG before Apple was around.

I agree that lack of consistency in app approvals is part of the problem. They need to apply the same set of rules to all developers. But the bigger problem, imo, is that Apple is too full of themselves at times.

It's not like they're using the shape of the Apple logo as their bubble.

MadeTheSwitch
Sep 2, 2009, 11:07 AM
Seriously, they got their rules, you wanna sell your product on their "store"? then play by them. If they ask that you need to fix or adjust something then just do it, why make such a big deal? why are stories like these even posted? Granted there might be instances where the approval or denial of apps are newsworthy (like the approval of a Vonage App, or the "denial/delay" of a Google Voice App), but to complain over the request of a change of color?? C'mon.

I don't think color change is the issue. Not knowing about what to work around in the first place is. As is uneven enforcement of said rule. All Apple has to do is publish a complete guideline of limitations for developers to work in. And then hold all developers to that same standard. Simple.

dja9674
Sep 2, 2009, 01:47 PM
Wow, I just built a CSS look-a-like for comment sections on a website I am working on. I guess I will have to change them. WEAK

cmwade77
Sep 2, 2009, 01:57 PM
Ok, if anyone bothered to check the original Article, the developer wasn't whining, heck the developer originally didn't come on the forum, it was reported that it was denied, until this starting gaining attention Apple didn't even tell them any details as to why the bubbles were not acceptable, only when this gained attention did Apple talk with the developer and said you can make them less shiny.

I also think that Apple is doing the wrong thing here, it should actually require developers to use their chat bubbles to make things all look consistent.

niuniu
Sep 2, 2009, 02:00 PM
So make them less shiny and quit whining. Apple have provided developers with a multi-million dollar industry, an opportunity that devs hadn't had before. If Apple don't want anyone imitating their interface on the App Store, that's their prerogative.

Don't like it devs and consumers? Then GTFO and go party with Android :eek: :mad: :p

Full of Win
Sep 2, 2009, 02:11 PM
I call BS

Apple said in their Google Voice filing with the FCC

"The application has not been approved because, as submitted for review, it appears to alter the iPhone's distinctive user experience by replacing the iPhone's core mobile telephone functionality and Apple user interface with its own user interface for telephone calls, text messaging and voicemail,"

So, when the user interface is emulated, it is grounds for denial. However, when its not emulated close enough, as in the case of Google, it is also grounds for non approval.

Wow, talk about consistency.

CallsignBaron
Sep 2, 2009, 02:24 PM
What about consistency in the UI? I thought Apple was all about consistency. Seems the bigger Apple gets here lately the more they resemble Microsoft. :confused:

Don't panic
Sep 2, 2009, 02:43 PM
I think the problem here is apple is inconsistent. Apple is rejecting some apps for one thing and then turn around and allowing other apps with the same issues though

or in this case they are rejecting updates to apps were accepted one the first round then turn around and rejecting it on a area they did not even change. For example here is the chat bubbles. When the app was first submited they allowed it. On the update the chat part was not messed with and they rejected it for the same reason.

Apple needs to get some clear rules out and stop changing them. Apple seems to be following a womans rule book.
Rule 1. As soon as any one figures out a rule it has to change.

:D
the entire process is becoming more and more Onionesque

Slurpy2k8
Sep 2, 2009, 09:02 PM
Cry, cry, whah, whah. Amazing this can even make news. These guys stole the chat bubbles right out of iChat and now they think Apple is bad for protecting their assets. It sure takes a set to ride somebody's coat tail to the top, take credit for the work, stab them in the back, and cry poor when caught.

Are you ******** me? Or are you just mentally insane?
They took credit for Apple's work and stabbed them in the back because..they used the same style of chat bubbles in their chess app?

Get some help, and get your head deep out of Apple's ass. Its clouding your thinking.

nakago5000
Sep 2, 2009, 10:53 PM
http://www.apple.com/legal/trademark/appletmlist.html

I don't see chat bubbles anywhere on their list....nor is it a logo, so i don't think it -can- be trademarked, but i'm not sure.

Bubba Satori
Sep 3, 2009, 08:20 AM
It's official. Apple has completely gone crackers. They've turned into the North Korea of the computer biz. Sad.

http://engleman.thinkhost.com/images/jobsceo.jpg

Glorious Leader

intrepid00
Sep 3, 2009, 09:39 AM
http://www.apple.com/legal/trademark/appletmlist.html

I don't see chat bubbles anywhere on their list....nor is it a logo, so i don't think it -can- be trademarked, but i'm not sure.

Maybe it's actually copyright. I fail to see how they could a trademark something that has been used since comics. It's very clearly gernerized. The review monkey proably doesn't know the differance between copyright and trademark. One key differance is copyright you do not have to enforce. Tradmark you do.

Still this is all kinds of ********. Could you imagine you made an app for windows and MS flipped out if you use System.windows.forms

mackpro
Sep 3, 2009, 12:28 PM
OMG this is the last straw Apple! Google Voice was one thing but CHESS WARS??!?? OMG! I AM GOING TO SMASH MY IPHONE AND MY 17" uMBP

kdarling
Sep 3, 2009, 01:31 PM
Apple is run by a salesman, with tons of lawyers at his side.

They go after anyone that they think might dilute their use of certain images... whether they actually made them up first or not.

Remember last year when Apple tried to sue New York for using an apple (http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/04/04/its-like-comparing-apples-to-apples/?hp)in their city recycling campaign?

NYC should've sued Apple in reverse and made them use a Pear or something, since the city's nickname came first. :rolleyes:

alFR
Sep 5, 2009, 05:55 AM
OMG this is the last straw Apple! Google Voice was one thing but CHESS WARS??!?? OMG! I AM GOING TO SMASH MY IPHONE AND MY 17" uMBP

I'm assuming you're being sarcastic, but if not then I'd almost guarantee that you won't do that. However, if you do, please post video so we can all have a good laugh.