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Apple's Difficult App Store Decisions Determined by Executive Review Board Run by Phil Schiller

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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When Apple has to make a difficult decision regarding an app in the App Store, its fate is determined in a meeting of a group called the Executive Review Board or ERB, led by Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller.

The detail was shared in a CNBC report on how the App Store works, which gives an inside look at Apple's App Store review team.


The Executive Review Board meets once per week and discusses controversial apps or iPhone apps that might be infringing on App Store guidelines, and it has the final word on whether an app can stay on the store or if it's going to be removed.

The ERB also creates the policies for Apple's Worldwide Developer Relations department, otherwise known as the App Review team that looks over every app submitted to the App Store. Last year, the ERB was the team that decided to ban the controversial Infowars app from the App Store for violating Apple's content policies.

Apple runs multiple App Review teams around the world, and according to CNBC, recently opened up new offices in Cork, Ireland and Shanghai, China. Over the course of the last few years, hiring for the team has ramped up.

People on the app review team are paid hourly, have employee badges, and receive healthcare, like any other Apple employee with Apple opting to use a full in-house team rather than relying on contractors. The main App Review team is based out of an office in Sunnyvale, California, which is close to Apple's Cupertino campuses.

According to CNBC, new hires start out on iPhone apps, but as reviewers gain more experience, are able to evaluate apps with in-app purchases and subscriptions as well as Apple TV and Apple Watch apps. Each reviewer claims a batch of apps using a web portal, then checks over the app using an iPad (or Apple Watch or Apple TV for those apps). The app is compared to Apple's App Store guidelines, and reviewers decide whether to accept, reject, or hold the app.

Reviewers are expected to get through 50 to 100 apps per day, and evaluating most apps takes a short amount of time. Number of apps reviewed per hour is tracked by Apple, and they're also evaluated on whether or not review decisions are later overturned.

When an app is rejected, developers can appeal to the App Review Board, which is separate from the Executive Review Board, to get the decision overturned. Several appeals may eventually send an app to the ERB, though. Most apps are rejected for common reasons, but edge cases or apps that are publicly sensitive go to Phil Schiller's ERB for more careful evaluation.

Apple doesn't give apps from major companies special treatment, according to CNBC, and all apps are required to go through the same exact review process.

For more on how the App Store review process works, make sure to check out CNBC's full report.

Article Link: Apple's Difficult App Store Decisions Determined by Executive Review Board Run by Phil Schiller
 

Veraxus

macrumors newbie
Aug 2, 2012
20
62
That explains how/why Apple crippled the Steam Link app, despite it effectively just being a remote desktop client. The fact that the client I use intentionally disables features on my PC (and that Apple thinks they have any ethical right to dictate that) is outrageous.
 

Villarrealadrian

macrumors regular
Aug 13, 2016
124
185
I think it wold be better it the apps shown were decided by your apps and apps that could go together, just a thought
 

aardwolf

macrumors 6502
May 30, 2007
364
135
When I wrote my very first app, it only worked in landscape mode (because the design didn't lend itself to portrait mode). It was rejected, because they said all apps must rotate. I appealed, gave them a list of several games (like Angry Birds) that only worked in landscape mode, and they eventually let my app in. I did eventually design my app to be able to handle portrait mode...
 

rjp1

macrumors 6502
Mar 27, 2015
442
1,404
When I wrote my very first app, it only worked in landscape mode (because the design didn't lend itself to portrait mode). It was rejected, because they said all apps must rotate. I appealed, gave them a list of several games (like Angry Birds) that only worked in landscape mode, and they eventually let my app in. I did eventually design my app to be able to handle portrait mode...
One of my apps is for an enterprise client. It is my favorite one to work on, because we just build and push to devices.
 
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genovelle

macrumors 65816
May 8, 2008
1,103
987
RE: "Apple doesn't give apps from major companies special treatment,"

That's Total BS !
How so? There is of course a difference if Apple is involved in the development of the app because it uses unannounced features Apple is testing.
 

gnasher729

macrumors P6
Nov 25, 2005
17,395
4,621
Reviewers know major companies will complain to Apple. Overturned decision means a loss of income for the reviewer regardless of whether the initial decision was correct. A perfect recipe for institutionally enforced bias.

Actually, appeals are rare. The easiest thing is to fix whatever the reviewer is complaining about, and submit the app again.
 

macfacts

macrumors 68040
Oct 7, 2012
3,879
4,642
Cybertron
If a reviewer is going thru 100 apps a day, no way they can catch all the bad stuff.
[doublepost=1561152725][/doublepost]
So let's get this straight... The man in charge of deciding whether an app stays or goes, or deciding what changes need to be made to an app, is the VP of marketing. Can anyone say conflict of interest? That makes no sense at all.


Basically the person in charge of marketing is also in charge of security.
 

NickName99

macrumors 6502a
Nov 8, 2018
946
2,744
Anyone else feel like this story wasn’t really much of a story? I mean it’s nothing like the exposés on Facebook’s content moderators.

If you want to read a real exposé, read this: https://www.theverge.com/2019/6/19/...-interviews-video-trauma-ptsd-cognizant-tampa

I thought of that article as well, those Facebook contractors have it incredibly tough.

This article seemed like a mildly interesting look into Apple’s approval process. Nothing horrible, the employees seem to be treated relatively well, the process seems relatively well thought out. Like “yep this looks fine, adults are in charge” sort of thing. It’s nice seeing a large American tech company not being evil.
 

nwcs

macrumors 68000
Sep 21, 2009
1,927
2,556
Tennessee
Anyone else feel like this story wasn’t really much of a story? I mean it’s nothing like the exposés on Facebook’s content moderators.

If you want to read a real exposé, read this: https://www.theverge.com/2019/6/19/...-interviews-video-trauma-ptsd-cognizant-tampa
Yeah, regardless of Apple’s stuff that verge article reveals the real evils going on in more ways than one. People should get more miffed about that than petty slights from Apple on their apps.
 
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