BlueMail app at heart of 'sherlocking' controversy restored to Mac App store

Mail (Image credit: Joseph Keller/iMore)

What you need to know

  • Blix's BlueMail app has been restored to the Mac App Store.
  • It comes a week after developer Blix had said it was considering a class-action lawsuit against Apple.
  • It claims that Apple 'sherlocked' its 'Sign in With Apple' feature before removing BlueMail from the Mac App Store.

Blix's BlueMail app has been restored to the Mac App Store, amidst a dispute between Apple and Blix over claims that Apple infringed on Blix's patent with its 'Sign in with Apple' feature.

As reported by The Verge:

Apple has restored the email app BlueMail to the Mac App Store after its developer began a campaign to rally small developers. Blix, founded by brothers Dan and Ben Volach, has been locked in conflict with Apple for several months. It alleges Apple stole its anonymous sign-in feature for "Sign in with Apple," then kicked it out of the App Store on flimsy pretenses to suppress competition. Apple, conversely, has said it removed the macOS app for security reasons.

Previously Blix had said that it had patented its own 'Share Email' technology back in 2017. It was a feature that allowed users to sign up to services anonymously without revealing their true email address. Sound familiar? It should, because it sounds an awful lot like Apple's 'Sign in with Apple feature'. Blix stated that Apple had infringed its patent on the technology and that it had also suppressed App Store search results for its BlueMail client.

Just last week. Blix stated it was exploring all options, including the potential of a class-action lawsuit against Apple. They stated that "thousands" of developers had suffered at the hands of Apple and 'sherlocking', the name given to the practice whereby tech companies take third-party practices and add them to their own operating systems (Sidecar on the Mac for example).

Apple had previously said that BlueMail was removed from the macOS App Store for security reasons, now it seems that it has been restored. A statement from Apple said:

"The App Store has a uniform set of guidelines, equally applicable to all developers, that are meant to protect users... Blix is proposing to override basic data security protections which can expose users' computers to malware that can harm their Macs and threaten their privacy."

Apple at least believes that a new build of Blue Mail released last week has fixed the issue. Blix's lawsuit against Apple over patent infringement remains ongoing.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9