Rogue Amoeba Retreats from iPhone Development Over App Store Policies

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Nov 13, 2009.

  1. macrumors bot

    MacRumors

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    In yet another example of a high-profile developer team stepping back from Apple's App Store, Rogue Amoeba today announced in a lengthy blog post that it will no longer develop applications for the iPhone following an extended run-in with App Store reviewers over a bug fix update to the company's Airfoil Speakers Touch application. The application allows users to stream any audio content from a host computer directly to an iPhone or iPod touch.

    In simplest terms, Apple's objections to the use of "Apple Logo and Apple-owned Graphic Symbols" in the application led to multiple rejections of an update designed to fix a critical performance bug, leading to a delay of over three and a half months before the updated version was finally approved and made available to the public.

    While Apple's objections to the use of Apple-owned images in iPhone applications are well-known, Rogue Amoeba's situation was rather unique in that the images did not originate from the iPhone application itself, but were being sent from the host computer sending audio to the device. Those images were generated using Mac OS X tools specifically designed to aid developers in this process.
    After multiple rejections, including one involving a sympathetic Apple employee who attempted to assist with the situation, Rogue Amoeba was finally able to satisfy Apple's reviewers by stripping out the "Apple-owned" images and substituting in an image of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) logo linked to an explanation page detailing the company's difficulties with Apple.

    The lengthy and frustrating experience has clearly led the developers to reevaluate their efforts for the iPhone platform, and they have decided to step back from further App Store development.
    Article Link: Rogue Amoeba Retreats from iPhone Development Over App Store Policies
     
  2. macrumors 601

    jaw04005

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    #2
    Well, I’ve dismissed most of the other complaints. But this is Rogue Amoeba. Phil Schiller needs to get involved with this immediately — completely unacceptable. They are one of the premier Mac shareware developers.
     
  3. macrumors member

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    #3
    This is very disheartening since they were using information specifically supplied by Apple for the use of developers. It's time for a significant revamping of the approval process before we see any more problems like this!
     
  4. macrumors 6502

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    Santa Monica, CA
    #4
    Why does Apple think it's okay to continually alienate and turn away developers?? :confused: Why do fanboys continue to excuse such incidences? Why aren't people SICK of this kind of behavior from Apple? :mad:
     
  5. macrumors 6502

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    #5
    Lets see how long they will stay away. There are buckets of DOLLARS waiting to be made in the App Store.
     
  6. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2006
    #6
    Obviously people are. Rogue Amoeba and Joe Hewitt both jumping ship on the same day doesn't seem to be a coincidence to me.

    However, until this has a noticeable impact on the user, most won't be as upset as the developers are. Facebook will continue where Joe left off, and Rogue Amoeba's app served a very specific audience (albeit very well). If Facebook were to, say, remove their app from the store, then this might hit people's radar in a meaningful way.
     
  7. macrumors regular

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    #7
    The app talked about in this discussion was free, offered as an added-value feature of the desktop application. While useful, it was never the core feature of the purchased product.

    Rogue Amoeba's only other app, a radio tuner, sold for $9.99 but saw only middle of the road reviews and likely did not fare as well as the $1.99 radio apps.
     
  8. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2007
    #8
    Rogue Amoeba offers terrific programs. I don't use Speakers on my iPhone very often, but Airfoil and its associated programs (Sunflower, Instant Hijack) run on my MBP very frequently.

    I certainly understand Apple's need to protect its intellectual property and to ensure there is a clear distinction in consumers' minds between what portion of the iPhone experience reflects Apple's efforts and what portion is provided by others. Nonetheless, when dealing with partners whose employees tend to be computer science experts rather than legal experts, and where the partner has demonstrated a real commitment to Apple's platforms and a real ability to deliver Apple-worthy products, I think Apple would be wise to go the extra mile to make life easier for these partners.

    As another poster implied, when some amateur developer gripes about Apple's approval process it's one thing, but when a developer of the caliber of Rogue Amoeba backs away, it's time for Apple to respond constructively.
     
  9. macrumors Core

    Joined:
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    #9
    the tide is turning against Apple here, they need to clean up their act and get this whole thing working better.

    i understand the walled-garden approach and respect that, but they also need to get the store cleaned up/organized and they need to work better with developers - which might just mean hiring more people to work with them on a daily basis.
     
  10. macrumors 68040

    Unspoken Demise

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    #10
    Agreed.

    And at Rogue Amoeba: k bai

    With the FB guy, I was mildly interested, but now people are just gunna jump on this bandwagon. I dont care if you leave frankly.
     
  11. macrumors 6502a

    dvdhsu

    Joined:
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    Palo Alto, CA
    #11
    Aplenty needs to clean up their act here.
    Rogue isn't a small homegrown company, they deserve to be respected. With policies like this, the App Store might just eventually die.
     
  12. macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 14, 2009
    #12
    this sucks for the iphone. airfoil was great. i tried a different app 'airphones' but it was unreliable.
     
  13. Moderator

    dejo

    Staff Member

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    #13
    Jeff LaMarche's (co-author of "Beginning iPhone Development") take on this situation:

    http://iphonedevelopment.blogspot.com/2009/11/rogue-amoeba.html

    I definitely can see both sides of the argument. And I speak from personal experience. One of my company's apps, [app]CraigsHarvest[/app], was rejected for a similar reason: we had included a cropped version of the Setting app icon in our help file, in order to better direct our users to where to changes their settings. But Apple rejected it because we were using their icon. So, we complied and removed its usage.

    But there has to be some kinda happy, middle-ground here. There already are a number of Apple-owned icons that we are allowed (in fact, encouraged) to use, such as Compose, Action, Bookmark (see below attached images). Maybe Apple could expand the range of images, icons, etc. they own that we, as developers, could be allowed to use.
     

    Attached Files:

  14. macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    Not to be an I TOLD YOU SO type of guy BUT.... :D

    I've been trying to get people to understand that the Apple's doctoral grasp has over the App store was something that NEEDED to be addressed and people kept drinking the koolaid saying... It's ONLY one or two Apps.... we don't need to worry... then it was HEY its ONLY google and Apple has every right to axe their Apps cause they are getting too BIG...

    Well now other developers are starting to pull back.. Developers who people FINALLY seem to care about... Well all I have to say is welcome to the party nice to see you're finally seeing the light. :confused:
     
  15. macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2008
    #15
    I've always felt the sheer number of applications available for the iphone was a huge advantage to the platform. But if this bad press continues Apple will lose this advantage. I want quality applications not junk.

    What bothers me most about the above is the inability of anyone in charge to THINK. They just blindly follow "rules" laid out without stopping to use their greatest gift; their brains.

    Apple needs to get on top of this right away. They need to understand this is a learning process and adapt/amend procedures that don't work. I appreciate that they are trying to do, but junk still gets through and quality is being driven away in frustration. :(
     
  16. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2004
    #16
    99% of these are in a huff self important 'tempest in a teapot' stories;
    its not required-nay not even helpful to be a fanboy to point this out-just 2 good eyes and a brain;
    Alway been complainers, always will be;
    If the rules are clearly spelled out and they dont follow them-then they shouldnt be crybabies in public
    simple
    CAREFULLY read APPLEs developers rules
    follow them
    dont try to breach them
     
  17. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
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    #17
    And Gruber's response to this response:

    http://daringfireball.net/2009/11/airfoil_touch_situation


    Sorry, but imho there is absolutely *no* reason to defend Apple here.

    w00master
     
  18. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2007
    #18
    On the surface, Apple's position on this specific application seems ridiculous. Having said that, I don't know if the App store approval process changes much. If the iPhone was open to any application, then Apple could have taken legal action against Rogue Amoeba. I suppose it would be more difficult than just denying the app, but Apple would have a way to squash this app, if they wanted to.
     
  19. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
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    #19
    I have to disagree. Rogue Amoeba in *no way* violated Trademark or Copyright rules with this. In fact, they used Apple's own OS X APIs.

    w00master
     
  20. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2004
    #20
    99% of these are in a huff self important 'tempest in a teapot' stories;
    its not required-nay not even helpful to be a fanboy to point this out-just 2 good eyes and a brain;
    Alway been complainers, always will be;
    If the rules are clearly spelled out and they dont follow them-then they shouldnt be crybabies in public
    simple
    CAREFULLY read APPLEs developers rules
    follow them
    dont try to breach them

    you dont need a PhD to understand this
     
  21. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2007
    #21
    My only complaint about apple is their overprotective nature regarding the iPhone ! It's perhaps the single biggest reason why people are reluctant to switch! Many of my friends feel that paying a premium and not being allowed to do what they want is a deal breaker! I understand that apple needs to protect it's user experience but as an advanced user I find myself becoming more frustated at the lack of flexibility!

    I believe that this aspect will be apples biggest problem! I mean ... Just let me do what I want ! I am even willing to click a pop up that says you might f up your phone and have to restore it if you do this !

    I applaud the developers for taking a stand! It's a great platform! But has fundamental flaws that need to be fixed before it can be truly great !

    I think actually I'm going to fill in some feedback forms for apple saying just that! I encourage all of you to do the same !!!!
     
  22. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    #22
    There is no real-world solution to this problem as long as Apple insists on vetting every app and update. No company can be perfect in such a vast (many thousands a week) undertaking, so every developer runs the risk that his app will be caught in some bizarre limbo while an easily-fixed bug sits out there slowly damaging the developer's name. Unfortunately, there are only two solutions to this problem: customer pressure for Apple to reduce its oversight (followed by complaints by those apparently scared of having to vet applications on their own), or lawsuits. I suspect the latter is the only plausible solution.
     
  23. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    #23
    So, did you even READ what Rogue Amoeba had to say?

    I'm seriously amazed with you apologists. You guys are defending Apple in an instance where they are CLEARLY in the wrong.

    w00master
     
  24. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2008
    #24
    I agree with you. If they are using an image sent by Mac OS X for just such a purpose they are not doing anything wrong.

    It makes me think that maybe there are some lowly app reviewers who are letting the power go to their heads.
     
  25. macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2001
    Location:
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    #25
    Yeah, right. It would take a whole lot more than a few dozen (heck, a few HUNDRED) cheesed-off developers to kill the app store. If they turned all development off today, it would still be successful.

    That said, when Rogue Amoeba jumps ship over what seems a pretty blatant case of policy clashing with logic and common sense, that's a bad sign that you're doing stuff wrong.

    It's not 100% black and white, but really, Apple should be doing a better job than this. They do seem to be gradually improving--there have been many signs that they ARE listening to the complaints, and moving toward addressing at least some of them--but the company should be doing more.

    If anything, I'd much rather the app store approval process were brutally exclusionary about apps with bugs or ugly/non-"iPhone-like" UIs than nit-picking branding issues.

    Basically, if the walled garden had a bouncer who was a style-nazi I'd be much happier than the relatively lenient lawyer currently standing at the gate.
     

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