updated 01:30 pm EST, Mon November 23, 2009
Defends Apple control of sales
Speaking in an interview, Phil Schiller -- Apple's senior VP of worldwide product marketing -- has responded to ongoing criticisms of the App Store approval process. A number of developers have complained that it may take weeks or months for an app to be approved. Even after such delays an app can still be rejected, sometimes for what may be considered arbitrary criteria.
Schiller firstly defends Apple's control of who can sell iPhone apps, which not only redirects a 30 percent royalty to the company but places limits on supported software. Only jailbroken handhelds, for instance, can change themes or run unsanctioned tethering. "We've built a store for the most part that people can trust," says Schiller. "You and your family and friends can download applications from the store, and for the most part they do what you'd expect, and they get onto your phone, and you get billed appropriately, and it all just works."
Some 90 percent of rejections are said to be connected to technical problems, whether bugs or features not operating as intended. Roughly 10 percent of rejected apps are deemed "inappropriate," whether for offensiveness or genuinely serious concerns, such as data theft or aiding illegal acts. An overlapping 1 percent are said to cover gray areas, which can force Apple to adopt new policies.
Perhaps indirectly referring to the situation of Rogue Amoeba, a company which got into trouble for linking Apple images meant for developers, Schiller admits that the company may be too strict on trademark issues. "We need to delineate something that might confuse the customer and be an inappropriate use of a trademark from something that's just referring to a product for the sake of compatibility," says the executive. "We're trying to learn and expand the rules to make it fair for everyone."
Schiller tangentially observes that the parental censorship options on iPhones and iPods are a result of pressure from politicians, asking what Apple was doing to safeguard children. These have however allowed to company to permit more violent games, as well apps with limited "adult" content. The company still maintains a total ban on pornography.