“At the launch of the App Store, Apple noted the ability for developers to distribute software outside of the App Store. Essentially, Apple allows developers to issue software based on the iPhone’s serial number. This allows a company to issue an application to iPhones, without the application being on the App Store,” Christopher Price reports for PhoneNews.

“More importantly, it gave Apple an out to bypass anti-competitive business practices. If a developer doesn’t want to sell their software on the App Store, they can still sell it to customers directly. This was put to the test last week when Podcaster, an application barred from sale on the App Store, began being sold directly to customers,” Price reports.

Price continues, “Apple today shut down Podcaster’s developer once again. Essentially, Apple removed the developer’s ability to deploy software onto client (customer) devices. Prior to today, Podcaster was banned from the App Store, due to Apple’s assertion that it competes with iTunes, and that they do not have to allow iTunes competitors to be offered on the App Store.”

According to Price, “This puts Apple in a dangerous legal position. Before today, Apple had rights to assert that the App Store was only one sales channel, which they had every right to control. Now Apple is asserting rights to control any and all sales channels of software to iPhone and iPod touch owners.”

MacDailyNews Take: Apple’s Ad Hoc distribution mechanism was intended for Beta testing as well as for small in-house projects with a limited distribution group of to up to 100 users, not sales of apps. Price’s argument simply does not hold water.

More in the full article here.

If you imagine a trojan being distributed via the Ad Hoc option, then shutting down Ad Hoc app distribution is probably not a bad thing. Security trumps the benefits of podcast managers, wealth proclamations, tethering apps, and *gasp* even fart buttons. By the way, many thousands of developers seem to be able read, understand, and abide by Apple’s rather clearly spelled out SDK terms.

That said, we wish Apple would clearly explain why they are pulling/blocking apps that do no harm and/or add functionality beyond that of Apple’s offerings as it would likely aid some developers in project planning.

Apple’s getting a bad rap from certain outlets especially in comparison to Google’s supposed “open” (and dangerous, we believe) approach with Android; with some people even going as far as to state that Google will be to iPhone as Windows was to Mac* (a conclusion to that skirmish hasn’t yet arrived, by the way). These same people doubtless said the same thing about PlaysForSure devices+online outifts vs. iPod+iTunes. Didn’t happen, for obvious reasons.

*We’d rather have control than chaos which is part of the reason we choose Mac. Please see related articles below.