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New EU Regulation Gives Developers More Protection and Transparency in App Store Review

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App Store developers in the European Union now have more protections afforded to them following the passage of new regulations this week, according to MCV/Develop and GamesIndustry.biz.


As noted by developer Steven Troughton-Smith, one of the new requirements is that operators of app distribution platforms like Apple provide developers with a minimum of 30 days notice before removing their apps from the App Store, with exceptions for illicit or inappropriate content, safety concerns, counterfeiting, fraud, malware, spam, and apps that have suffered a data breach.

Other protections for developers include transparency on how ranking charts and "trending" lists are generated, mandatory disclosures by platform operators about preferential treatment being given to any specific developers or publishers, and access to third-party mediation for any disputes that can not be resolved through the normal app review process.

Apple has been under increasing scrutiny for its App Store practices, with the EU currently exploring antitrust issues related to the platform. The company also recently found itself embroiled in controversy over its rejection of apps for new premium email service Hey for not including an in-app subscription option.

Apple has taken a few steps to address app review concerns in recent weeks, allowing developers to challenge not only decisions about whether an app is in violation of Apple's review guidelines but also the guidelines themselves. Apple will also no longer delay bug fix updates for most guideline issues, allowing those updates to be delivered to users while any guideline issues can be addressed in a subsequent update.

Article Link: New EU Regulation Gives Developers More Protection and Transparency in App Store Review
 

Moonjumper

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Jun 20, 2009
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The exceptions are generally the reasons for apps being removed from the store, so it shouldn't affect Apple as much as some others. It is a good idea, I just hope the implementation is better than some other legislation (GDPR for example, a good idea, but does not work well, hopefully it will be like some Apple products: better on the second iteration).
 
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Analog Kid

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Mar 4, 2003
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Seems mostly reasonable. At least as it's written here, it prevents Apple from taking an app down, but doesn't force them to approve an app that violates their policy. Hopefully that means more front end review and less uncertainty and disruption once you're actually on the store.
 
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User 6502

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Mar 6, 2014
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Shame they didn't tell Apple to stop snookering progressive web apps (PWA) as well. Some of us think that's designed to favour the App Store
They are slower and require more resources than native apps, why would anyone want that?
 
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mi7chy

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Oct 24, 2014
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That's great and all but how about protection for consumers like unbundling Safari app update from iOS updates and make it updatable independently through app store? That way the device isn't rendered useless for basic browsing when iOS updates stop.
 
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AAP8

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Sep 7, 2010
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That's great and all but how about protection for consumers like unbundling Safari app update from iOS updates and make it updatable independently through app store? That way the device isn't rendered useless for basic browsing when iOS updates stop.

Thats harder than it looks because Safari is really just a fancy wrapper on the Web UI View available to almost every other application on the SDK. I can see being able to update your iOS on unsupported devices being an option though - if Apple got people to agree to the limitations - but in a world where Android updates are far and few between for most people - Apple looks pretty good already.
 
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Rogifan

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Nov 14, 2011
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Other protections for developers include transparency on how ranking charts and "trending" lists are generated, mandatory disclosures by platform operators about preferential treatment being given to any specific developers or publishers, and access to third-party mediation for any disputes that can not be resolved through the normal app review process.
Does this mean Apple would have to disclose any agreements where a company might not be paying the 30% or 15% fee because they worked out a special deal?
 
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LeadingHeat

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Oct 3, 2015
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As it’s written in this article, this seems reasonable enough. It could have gone a lot worse I feel like. This wordage seems to protect customers while still giving the company hosting the App Store (and all that entails) the freedom to do what’s best for the company and its customers.
 
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bobbie424242

macrumors regular
May 16, 2015
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Buuuuuuuuuuuuut.... It is Apple's store ! It should be able to do what it wants ! Including deciding who lives and who dies. Remember, Apple is $DEITY tier and nobody should be able to challenge its actions, always for the greater good of mankind.
 
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gnasher729

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Nov 25, 2005
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with exceptions for illicit or inappropriate content, safety concerns, counterfeiting, fraud, malware, spam, and apps that have suffered a data breach.
I was a bit worried until I read that.
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Does this mean Apple would have to disclose any agreements where a company might not be paying the 30% or 15% fee because they worked out a special deal?
Are there any? Netflix is paying 30% of its app store revenue - which unfortunately for Apple is zero - so no exception. Spotify is paying 30% of its app store revenue - they are quite unhappy with that, but no special deal.
 
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Cosmosent

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Apr 20, 2016
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Other protections for developers include transparency on how ranking charts and "trending" lists are generated, mandatory disclosures by platform operators about preferential treatment being given to any specific developers or publishers, and access to third-party mediation for any disputes that can not be resolved through the normal app review process.

First, ALL good changes !

Second, IMO, if AAPL was forced to disclose "per-Qtr, per-Category" Revenue Numbers for the TOP TEN iOS App Stores around the world, & add a few simple "search filters," the App Store could potentially blossom OUTSIDE of Game Apps & Streaming Media Content Apps, where it already does well !

Some very basic search filters I would like to see implemented:

1.) filter-off Apps that have NOT been Updated the past 30 days !

2.) filter-off Apps that have NOT been Rated the past 30 days !

3.) filter-off App Ratings & Reviews older than 30 days !

Third, Cook testifies to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee on July 27th !

Specifically, it's an Antitrust Hearing !!!

Fourth, in its current state, IMO, the iOS App Store is ONLY about 1/3 as good as it could be !

There is ALOT of room for improvement !

And the changes to make it Blossom (for ALL App Types) would be trivial to implement !!!
 
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Appleman3546

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May 13, 2019
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At least a developer will get a 30 day notice before his app will be removed for lack of compatibility with the latest software, giving them time to update it
 
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Glideslope

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A quiet place in NY.
30 day notice with the exception of illicit or inappropriate content, safety concerns, counterfeiting, fraud, malware, spam, and apps that have suffered a data breach.

Thats one VERY wide brush. ;)
 
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Unregistered 4U

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Jul 22, 2002
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Hopefully that means more front end review and less uncertainty
Yay, MORE front end review! I’m sure developers are going to LOVE that. Unintended outcomes, indeed!
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At least a developer will get a 30 day notice before his app will be removed for lack of compatibility with the latest software, giving them time to update it
Lack of compatibility isn’t a surprise to a developer, though. Apple communicates these things well in advance. And, if the developer is the type to miss “All apps must be recompiled by December 13th, 2021, they’ll also miss the notice 30 days before December 13th. :)
 
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jimbobb24

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Jun 6, 2005
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So Apple will have to reveal how they promote diversity in their apps? Interesting.

Hopefully since developers are getting protections the EU will magically force all developers to protect consumers who buy apps that get abandoned. EU - they should have to support their apps for at least 25 years. Think of the rights of the people!
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At least a developer will get a 30 day notice before his app will be removed for lack of compatibility with the latest software, giving them time to update it
Or....they will just notify ALL developers 30 days before the release of new operating system that all apps will be removed if they are not compatible.
 
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gnipgnop

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Feb 18, 2009
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So basically a 30 day grace period for apps that intentionally sneak a terms violation past the approval process?
 
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DeepIn2U

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May 30, 2002
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Shame they didn't tell Apple to stop snookering progressive web apps (PWA) as well. Some of us think that's designed to favour the App Store

web apps well duh access via a browser. No point in shaming Apple or its App Store when web apps are perfectly available in any modern browser right? What am I missingin your pint here?

All in all I think these are sound and fair guidelines. The hope of shutting down apples payment and fee systems gets the boot and rightfully so.
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So Apple will have to reveal how they promote diversity in their apps? Interesting.

Hopefully since developers are getting protections the EU will magically force all developers to protect consumers who buy apps that get abandoned. EU - they should have to support their apps for at least 25 years. Think of the rights of the people!
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Or....they will just notify ALL developers 30 days before the release of new operating system that all apps will be removed if they are not compatible.

No Appe is not needing to promote diversity in their apps; just in overhaul apps within the App Store. Metrics, preferential gives etc. This will heavily affect staff suggestions.
 
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Johnny907

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Sep 20, 2014
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This is a step in the right direction. When can publishers in the US expect protection from Apple’s arbitrary BS when it comes to the App Store review process?
 
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Spendlove

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Apr 9, 2015
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It would be, except this is the EU we're talking about. Since when is it up to the them?

Because the EU cares about the citizens that live within the borders. Unlike a lot of other countries including my toxic dumpster fire of a country.
 
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Shirasaki

macrumors G4
May 16, 2015
10,394
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This regulation sounds like something that can regulate how Apple run App Store in EU region a bit but I feel Apple can pretty much work around it one way or another, making this legislation not as effective as general public might believe. One example is that super big brush of apps that Apple can still remove without 30-day notice.
 
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