Apple reportedly fired a number of employees working in China whose roles involved working with developers who distribute their apps via the App Store.
It's reported that the firings were the result of an internal audit that began in 2022 and concluded mid-way through 2023. It's said that more than half a dozen workers in the Chinese App Store portion of Apple's business were involved.
The employees involved reportedly worked in multiple departments involved in helping developers get their apps approved as well as aiding them in increasing revenue. Some were also involved in choosing which apps were featured in the App Store, but it doesn't appear that any were directly responsible for approving or rejecting apps via the App Store review process.
The Information reports that some of those fired were let go because of "unsanctioned contact with game developers and their consultants," with Apple enforcing strict guidelines around the communication employees can have with people creating apps. It's said that some workers accepted complimentary meals and nights out.
This all goes against what are described as strict rules around the contact employees can have with developers. "Employees working in app review and editorial roles, for example, aren’t allowed to meet with developers without prior approval," the report says. "And employees working in developer relations and business management can meet with developers but aren’t allowed to accept expensive gifts or meals."
It isn't clear what the full extent of the investigation was, but it's clear that Apple wants to ensure as much impartiality as possible when it comes to people working with app developers. Getting an app into the App Store's featured slots can make or break an app or game, for example. It's easy to see why they might be targets for special treatment.
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Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.
Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.