iPhone Facebook app developer quits project over Apple’s App Store policies

12 Black Fridays of the SeasonJason Kincaid reports for TechCrunch, “Facebook developer Joe Hewitt, the man behind the immensely popular Facebook application for iPhone, has just tweeted that he’s done with the project: ‘Time for me to try something new. I’ve handed the Facebook iPhone app off to another engineer, and I’m onto a new project.'”

Kincaid reports, “We reached out to Hewitt for more details, and he attributed his decision to quit the project entirely on Apple’s tyrannical App Store approval policies:”

My decision to stop iPhone development has had everything to do with Apple’s policies. I respect their right to manage their platform however they want, however I am philosophically opposed to the existence of their review process. I am very concerned that they are setting a horrible precedent for other software platforms, and soon gatekeepers will start infesting the lives of every software developer.

The web is still unrestricted and free, and so I am returning to my roots as a web developer. In the long term, I would like to be able to say that I helped to make the web the best mobile platform available, rather than being part of the transition to a world where every developer must go through a middleman to get their software in the hands of users.

Kincaid writes, “I couldn’t agree with Hewitt’s sentiments more, and it’s a breath of fresh air to see such a prominent developer quit the App Store… He has essentially been the one-man show behind the iPhone’s most popular application of all time… Apple has built some truly fantastic products, but their approach to the App Store is frightening — especially given the fact that other platforms may see the iPhone’s success and start adopting a similar model.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We disagree with Hewitt as we do believe that Apple is right to have an approval process for App Store inclusion, it’s just that they seem to have arbitrary criteria. As we we stated in the previous article (please read our full Take here): Apple should make sure that apps are safe to run on iPhone OS and leave taste, or lack thereof, out of the approval equation. Apple’s only considerations should be to make sure apps do not harm the device and/or encourage physically harming others, directly or indirectly.

53 Comments

  1. While I agree that the App Store approval process isn’t a problem in theory, Apple has a lot to do to make it as seamless as possible. It’s just too cumbersome right now, and I understand developers’ frustration.

    Apple should create some sort of trusted developer status. Developers on this list would get to push updates faster (not necessarily new releases, just bug fixes and that sort of thing). This would allow things to get out faster without threatening security and take some of the volume off the approvers’ plates.

    Apple also needs to revamp the upgrade process. Developers should be allowed to offer upgrade pricing to existing users when they release a new version of their apps, which is likely to happen more and more now that the App Store is roughly a year and a half old. In-App Purchasing is a crude way to implement this. iTunes knows which apps you’ve downloaded; just have it display the upgrade price if your app is eligible. Done.

  2. In addition to the criteria cited in the MDN Take, I also appreciate Apple’s efforts to keep the platform as porn-free as possible, even though that does take some subjective judgement in some cases.

    However, they should stick to that criteria. The rejection justification of “Mocking public figures” is beyond outrageous. Apple’s process is very broken at this point.

  3. “The web is still unrestricted and free”

    Oh really. Have you talked to Microsoft lately and their little special hooks that forces users to use Internet Explorer. The web is not unrestricted or free. Better get that fact straight first.

  4. Apple’s damned if they do, damned if they don’t. Still waiting for someone on Android to come out with a Mein Kampf porn app. (I’m not even sure what that means.)

  5. Piss on him.

    All these babies want to stammer off to grab a headline, I say piss on em and let em go.

    Anybody other whiners that want to join him? If you leave, keep your ass out for good and don’t come back.

    Good riddance.

  6. Good! This is how it’s done folks, draw I line the sand. He’s leaving to make a very powerful statement and I commend him for it. I disagree with his reasoning, but I believe his actions speak louder than words, which is all we get around here!

    You listening proud american. Pffhht!

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