Apple Forces Mention of Google's Android Off App Store


Have the gloves officially come off with Apple demanding Flash of Genius: SAT Vocab's developer remove a mention of Google's Android from their App Store application's description? This does come just days after Steve Jobs fired away claiming Google’s “don’t be evil” motto was “BS”. Coincidence? You tell us.

According to Cult of Mac:

In an email to the developer of “Flash of Genius: SAT Vocab” developer Tim Novikoff, Apple wrote “it would be appropriate to remove ‘Finalist in Google’s Android Developer’s Challenge!’ from the application’s description. Apple wrote that the edit was required to “avoid an interruption in the availability” of the flash card application.

As of this post Novikoff has removed the mention and the app remains available in the App Store. He does have plans to get in touch with Apple to figure out a way to sneak in his top 10 finish in the Android developer contest without ruffling any Apple feathers.

Is it just us or do you think Apple is going just a tad bit too far with this one?


Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!


Community editor. Tech enthusiast. All-around geek.

More Posts



← Previously

TiPb Give-Away: Navigon MobileNavigator and Macworld Guided Tour!

Next up →

Ars: Slingplayer Didn't Change for AT&T, AT&T Tested and Got Comfortable with Sling

Reader comments

Apple Forces Mention of Google's Android Off App Store


I believe references to other platforms or devices have always been prohibited in App Store descriptions. They didn't allow references to previous versions of another app available on Palm OS either.

Simply, no, Apple is not going too far. Why promote another product on your platform? Plus, if it is already spelled out in the agreement with the developers as Real Truth says, then why even poke the bear?

And isn't 'Genius' a trademark infringement of Apple's Genius playlists? Looks like he will have to title his software just "Of"

Way too far. This creeps into the realm of extortion, plain and simple. Even Apple's alleged wording smacks of it...
"Nice app ya got a shame if anything were ta happen ta it."

Apple (or any other company for that matter) is under no obligation to allow even mentioning a competitor's product. It's not going too far.

What is the big deal. it's in the apple app store obviosluy people looking at it have an itouch or iPhone. Does apple really think that would make someone go out and buy an android device.

Point is: YOU agreed to the AGREEMENT, so why even question Apple for asking you to remove something that YOU AGREED not to do in the first place... smh

I agree with Patrick. I like my iPhone and would have never thought anything about the mention of Google's Android if I would have seen it. But it is Apples App Store and they can do with it want they want.

@Matt(sZ) is right, you agreed in first place!
And why the they need an iPhone for Android devs???????
Anyway, do you guys think that you can go in a Best Buy and hang some Circuit City ads on the wall?
Seriously, Android Fanboys are getting way to much out of control these days

Nothing to see here people. Pretty standard stuff. Your not going to see mention of Lowes in Home Depot ads. Apple may get deservedly slammed for some things, but this should not be one of them.
It's kind of strange what a lightning rod Apple is for criticism. Even non-issues become controversey...

@Jeff, he was referring to his app being a finalist, as it's available on both platforms...
I think his app ratings speak for themselves, adding the fact that he's a finalist in google's dev challenge, doesn't make me want to buy the app, it actually makes me interested in finding out more about the Google dev challenge, and which app actually won first place...

I don't think Apple is going too far, everyone alwasy picks up for the underdog but you people have to realize Google is not an underdog they are a HUGE company. I see it as competition, do you think a BMW salesman would be telling you about the car he designed for FORD while you're asking about buying an M5?

I haven't read this 'agreement,' but assuming the 'no competing product' language is in there, even though I'm a confirmed Apple fanboy/girl, this still seems petty to me. If they'd been a finalist in a university software competition, they would be rightly proud to put it their app description; the competition happened to be for Google instead -- if it were me, I would have had the legal boys look the other way.

@ Fastlane Yes true. One question though. If they are apple haters why are they coming on a apple enthusiast site like tipb? To troll wih jealous rage? That's MO.

your analogy is incorrect - this is not an advertisement, this is the packaging

FYI there are plenty of apps on the Andriod market that tout themselves as "winner of", "most downloaded" , "now on android" iPhone app. I don't see the big deal of mentioning one another.

Hater? Gimme a break. I cut my teeth on Applesoft BASIC on my trusty ][ , and I wager I have logged more hours on more Apple products than most people here. The truth is, my 3G is my favorite gadget ever.
What I "hate" is that in the mid 90s it became no longer viable to do my favorite type of work (game programming) on the Mac. Yeah, a few people still did it, but most of us jumped to Windows, in part because of economies of scale, but also in part because Apple's continued middle finger to developers.
I kept my Macs, of course, but sadly watched them slide towards irrelevance. When I see Apple again extend an irrational middle finger to developers, you can be damn sure I will say something, because I love my iPhone and it will sicken me to see Apple repeat the same mistakes and allow an inferior platform to get a foothold and take over. But they seem determined to do just that - if anything, they are doubling down from the old days.
In the immortal words of Pincess Leia, "the tighter you clench your fist the more star systems will slip through your grasp.". I'm truly sorry you cannot smell the foul stench of Grand Mof Tarkin in Cupertino's actions, but those who love Apple will call them on it to (try and) keep them from suffering a similar fate.
Forgive any typos - I am typing this on my iPhone - or are we not allowed to do that unless we are in total lockstep?

As much as I love Apple products, I often think that Jobs and Company behave in ways that are petty, and some of their business standards strike me as arbitrary and nonsensical (such as the App Store screening process).

Yet, no ones says anything about Sony having say in what plays on a PS3. Or MS on the XBox. All of this "Apple folk are Nazis" stuff is just offensive. Apple, like Google, and Sony, and Nokia, and MS, are all for-profit companies and face serious competition between them. These companies are not government funded social working departments who's job it is to appease everyone the best they can.
Capitalism promotes competition and competition is fierce in the mobile/electronics industry. Fighting for that top spot of success has always been what makes this country great. It used to not be a crime to try and make a buck in this country.

People are comparing apple to a group that put Jews into ovens and gaschambers just cause they were Jews. Yeah that's a fair comparison right?

Hater? I've owned every gen iPhone since it's came it. Once again the iPhone was a revolutionary product back in 2007. The os hasn't changed one bit, if it wasn't for the jb community we wouldn't even have basic features like MMS, video recording, etc. Google is learning from apples mistakes n putting it all out there. I for one am tired of the silly "upgrades" that apple gives us.
@ macboy if apple was to sell a garbage bag full of trash n called it "revolutionary" you'd probably the 1st one in line to buy it. Grow up little boy.

@evilhomer, @Dionte
I can't see anybody saying Apple is acting illegally here. Petty, yes. Shady, possibly. Illegal, no. Were Apple a monopoly, the DOJ would be taking a good, long, look, but they are not, and so they are legally in the clear.
I can't speak for Sadie, et al, but my fears are purely market based. Apple had 6 years of technical superiority and unprecedented margins with Macs, too, and famously pursued margins and discounted developers. It took MS almost a decade to get its head out of its @ss, but, when they did, those developers became Windows best salespeople, by far, and the Mac wilted.
Apple seems determined to chart the same course, and, sure, it is enormously profitable now -- but I remember 55 or bust (referring to profit margins) shirts triumphantly parading around Cupertino in the late 80s, as well. It took years for this attitude to poison the Mac, and, I don't think it will hurt the iPhone in 2010, 2011, or even 2012. But, unless Apple learns from its own history, eventually, yes, the market is going to have to teach them the same lesson.
@The real truth
Yes, the Nazi comments are embarrassingly stupid.

What Apple does is not illegal, but it really highlights the fact that they are providing a closed system with iPhone, iPod, and iPad. And they have no qualms of exploiting every petty way to muffle out dissent and competition.
I love my iPhone, but I'll hold off for a while on the iPad. For a phone I didn't care much that big brother decides what I can put on it. This is different for a computer-like device. With actions as this description censorship I won't be surprised if the iP* platform goes the way of the Mac market share vs. other more open systems.
My suggestion to Apple would be to spin off the app store to an independent institution, where apps are controlled against destructive/virus behavior, but no harmless descriptions which platforms an app is available on.

My "hater" comment wasn't even directed toward you, or anyone else disagreeing with Apple — it was directed toward the two Nazi comments (#7 and #22).

Apple is right. Would Coke allow mention of Pepsi on their domain or as part of any corporate extension. He!! NO! I am growing very tired of tech types expecting that everything related to software and hardware be free and open. Wake up fools. That is not the way business works.

This is really stupid.
Good points.
Bad points (Nazi) funny just a lil overkill.
Seriously though I think this was way too serious over being proud of what they accomplished.
I say go ahead and brag. If apple has a prob then pull your app. Obviously the developer felt like they should adjust it and did.
Personally I don't care what the crap these app dev's put in the description I read the reviews first. Because the description is to sell you on the app to me the only thing that sells me is the screenies and the reviews. ( the negative ones actually)
Honestly everyone just got way to worked up over a BS quote. Apple does what apple does nobody is going to change that. Only time will tell if history will repeat itself. (if left like it is I think it's a good possibility)
good day

The comparisons on here are asinine. It's the app they're trying to sell not Android. Let's say Honda advertises in Automobile magazine that then won car of the year in car and driver magazine. Will automobile magazine make them omit that? No.

Really? The OS hasn't changed one bit since 2007? So 3rd party apps, copy/paste, push notifications, and the like have been around since the first version of the OS? You're right. The OS has made no innovation since its inception. It has all been nothing but “silly upgrades”. Tell ya what … if you think it's all so “silly” why don't you give back your 3G and GPS. Oh, you may as well give back that silly MobileMe upgrade as well.
The funny thing about consumer electronics is that people are always griping about what they don't have. They're rarely happy with the innovation that has been done. You give someone a phone that's innovative and they gripe because it's missing this and that. Never mind the fact that it's already doing things that were impossible to find on any other phone previously. Suddenly it's a piece of crap because it won't wash your car and bail you out of jail.
I'm assuming you're mistaking when you say we wouldn't have MMS or video recording if it weren't for the JB community. I seriously doubt Steve Jobs was standing by patiently waiting for the JB community to create MMS and video recording so he could include it in the next version of the iPhone. He doesn't have a team of engineers and programmers for that or anything. The JB community TOTALLY invented MMS and video recording. AT&T didn't have anything to do with it either. You're right … Google is learning from Apple's mistakes and putting MMS and video recording “all out there”. How long did it take them to implement multitouch operations?
You know, a company can't produce a “revolutionary product” with every single software release. Things such as maintenance, bug fixes, security holes, and whatnot have to be addressed. “Silly upgrades” need to be added as well.
It's very likely Apple has a separate team of developers working on your “silly upgrades” and a team of developers working on the “next gen” version of the OS. It takes years to develop a new platform; especially if it's innovative or “revolutionary”. Do you think that every software upgrade will be revolutionary? Absolutely not. I can, However, guarantee you that they are working on something revolutionary. They always are, and it will be released as soon as it is finished being polished.
If you mean “playing catch up” when you say “Google is learning from apples mistakes n putting it all out there.” you're absolutely correct. Too bad for Google by the time they “put it all out there” Apple will be releasing the next version that will make Google go back to the drawing board and start playing catch up again.
And calling people names will not make your argument sound any more intelligent. Watch as I make my entire comment sound more dumb: Grow up little boy.
As for the post at hand, it would be one thing if the app were a finalist in the “Google Developer Challenge” but that's not the case. The app is a finalist in Google’s ANDRIOD DEVELOPERs challenge. How does an iPhone app have anything to do with it's Android brother/sister? Has Android started using Objective-C? The iPhone version has nothing to do with the Android version and bragging about his accomplishment in becoming a finalist in an Android contest is better suited for his resume, not his iPhone app description. All becoming a finalist in Google's Android Developers Challenge means is that he may be a good developer. It doesn't have anything to do with his iPhone app.
I'll have to agree with others when they say that Toyota wouldn't allow someone to sit there on their car lot and promote Ford. Maybe it would be different if becoming a finalist in the Android Developers Challenge had ANYTHING to do with his iPhone app, but it doesn't.

This information is some of the best I have found on this topic for me, I really appreciate this point of view and I've found it to be more reliable then some, I will be recommending it to others.

I love Apple and the iPhone but I think this was pointless. Seeing the Android mentioned in an app will not subliminally persuade me to ditch the iPhone and get the Droid. Secondly, we all know it exists anyway. Apple should have confidence by now.