Apple VP Phil Schiller Emails Steven Frank, No E-Book Rejection Policy, Working to Improve App Store

schiller time

Mac developer and Panic luminary Steven Frank's public break-up with the iPhone over Apple's capricious App Store policy was one of the few so grounded in rationale and reason we couldn't discount it, and neither could Apple's Senior VP of Marketing, Phil Schiller.

While Schiller previously responded to Daring Fireball's John Gruber over concerns about the Ninjawords app, Schiller's response to Steve Frank was different in kind, if similar in sentiment:

I haven’t sought Phil’s explicit permission to republish the letter, so I won’t do so here. But to summarize, he said: “we’re listening to your feedback”. Not all of my suggested solutions were viable, he said, but they were taking it all in as they continue to evolve the app store.

He went on to say that the rumors of widespread e-book app rejection I’d heard were false — that specifically one e-book app had been rejected because it facilitated iPhone-to-iPhone sharing of (potentially copyrighted) books. But that otherwise, there was no sweeping ban on e-book readers.

First, it's interesting to see such high level and yet fairly intimate intervention by an Apple executive when it comes to the App Store. It's not an open letter by Steve Jobs -- it's something subtler, and yet seemingly targeted to engender the type of good will that could give Apple the time and good faith they need to fix the App Store approval process if -- and it's a huge if -- they truly take the time to fix it. And that's the fulcrum of actions and results upon which Schiller's intervention will ultimately succeed or fail.

Second, Steven Frank is now left to wonder whether to continue his boycott of the iPhone given the lack of those observable actions visible results, or to extend his hand back to Apple and give them that same second chance.

It will be interesting to see what happens next...

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Apple VP Phil Schiller Emails Steven Frank, No E-Book Rejection Policy, Working to Improve App Store


In his August 8th post Steven mentioned several positive steps, including one that was at the top of his list of "good signs": namely a highlevel response from Apple.
Its odd that two people who are not iPhone developers (Gruber and Frank) get direct responses from corporate management, but iphone developers with Google Voice apps get "I can't Help you" emailed replies from flak catchers.
Frank just got his android in hand, so I bet he stays with that for a while. I believe android phones have another year of wandering in the desert, but after that I suspect it will be the platform making all the advances.
Its not JUST that Apple has a structural problem in the App store, they have a personality problem in the CEO's office. This won't be solved any time soon.

Agreed. These developers know what to do and what not to do. They get there app rejected.And know why it was rejected fix it and move on. Sick of hearing about apple rejects this and that.They can do what they want its their app store. And also with the palm pre get your own sync instead of sipping of itunes.

I agree, why do we care about this Steve Frank guy or what his boycott is? One dev, leaving thousands in the wake still. This guy is small fries and not going to influence any buyers to not get an iphone.
And I agree too, its Apple's store they can put or not put what they want in it. Should a retail store be told what product to or not to stock now too? Its their business and their choice what to or not to carry in their store. Same with Apple.

I'm glad the guy decided to quit iPhone app development. There are plenty of developers who bitch and complain about Apple's approval process yet they still stick with Apple's products. Probably the same people who bitch about their Xbox melting and then promptly go out and buy replacement.
It's a free market. If you don't agree with the way Apple does business, take your $$$/talent elsewhere.

Good riddance. Some devs are pure idiots like that who cried and whined because apple rejected his "pull my finger" app. apple gave in and now look what happened, thousands of worthless crap.
I agree, it's Apple's Store and it's their business.
@icebike: A dev's personal boycott? really? who gives crap about what he thinks. Besides, in a year we will see if your bold statement about Android will hold up. A product needs momentum to excel, not Android nor the Pre has that momentum behind them. But hey, why dont u get an Android and lets us know? :)

If you read his site, he was never a iPhone developer.
Odd, Apple’s Senior VP of Marketing obviously cares enough to write the guy a personal note, but all the 15 yearolds on this blog think nothing of it.
Do you spoze Schiller knows something the kids here don't?

@icebike: While Frank is not an iPhone developer per se, Panic does have a bit of esteem in the Apple development community. It isn't as if Phil commented on some 14 year old's facebook page.

Panic does have a bit of esteem in the Apple development community

All the more reason why I'm baffled the kids around here are all shouting "Good Riddance", when Schiller is finally showing signs that Apple is getting the message.

Anyone else feel like we're not always getting the whole story when these developers cry about getting rejected? If I had known about the iPhone to iPhone sharing from the beginning, then I would have understood apple's decision. Seems like they enjoy the free press advertisment to me.