PodcasterGate: The Great App Rejection Debate
Seems it wasn't a hair that broke the blogerati's back, it was an App. Or more precisely, it was Apple's denial of the Podcaster App that let loose the floodgates of negative internet reaction. Or even more precisely, it is the continued lack of certainty among developers as to what can and will be denied by Apple, leading many to reconsider the return on investment of hours upon hours of coding with 11th hour rejection hanging perpetually over their heads, like a virtual Sword of Damocles.
According to Read Write Web, Podcaster will be turning to Ad Hoc to distribute their App for nowwhile everyone from Daring Fireball to Roughly Drafted cover (and in some cases, recover from) the various comments and implications flinging back and forth across the blogsphere, the New York Times has decided to escalate the attention level:
I can’t see how distributing the program will hurt Apple. If anything it will make the iPhone a tad more valuable. On the other hand, treating developers capriciously is most certainly going to discourage them from spending nights and weekends working on new and useful applications that may give more people reasons to buy an iPhone.
Sure, the App Store is growing twice as fast as iTunes Music (though starting from zero is an easy way to generate an opening curve), and may well hit a billion units moved by 2009, but with Android's open marketplace on the horizon, and Microsoft me-too'ing their way in with Skymarket, there could be alternatives. If Apple doesn't take a page from their MobileMe fiasco playbook and rapidly standardize and clarify the rules of the game, they could lose their early lead. And that could cost them the Mobile Internet Platform dominance they so currently crave.
Don't get us wrong. It's Apple's platform and they, like a Nintendo with the Wii, have the absolute right to approve or deny anything developed for their platform. But developers have the same right to stop developing for a platform they don't think serves their best interests. And consumers have the same right to stop buying it for the same reason. As with the Blacklist push-back, that will be the ultimate officiator of this debate.
And a terse one-line email from Steve may not fix things if Apple waits too long...
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