Seattle iPad app developer gets a call from Steve Jobs

“Frustrated by Apple’s rejection of his iPad app, Seattle developer Ram Arumugam e-mailed Chief Executive Steve Jobs,” Sharon Pian Chan reports for The Seattle Times.

“Two hours later, he picked up a phone call and heard: ‘Ram, this is Steve,'” Chan reports. “Jobs was on the other end.”

Chan reports, “The two talked about Arumugam’s app, called ‘Economy for iPad,’ and why it was rejected by Apple [it has since been approved].”

Full article here.

Arumugam’s blog post about the encounter here.


  1. This was noted in a MSFT blog? Dedicated to topics relavent to an MSFT OS? Very interesting! And a bit more civil than a similar posting might be here. Perhaps a serious case of (well deserved) admiration with “things done right”?

  2. In essence, the story is that the app developer initially violated the App Store prohibition against private APIs (for a good reason) and his app was rejected. Frustrated with the appeals process (it is not clear after how long), the app developer decided to contact SJ. After a return call from SJ, the app developer modified his UI to avoid the buggy Apple code so that the private API could be eliminated, thus complying with the App Store rules. His app was subsequently accepted. That summarizes all of the pertinent issues in the story, which actually *isn’t much of a story at all.*

    I like the hands on approach of SJ. But I believe that it is setting a very poor precedent to encourage people to contact SJ about anything and everything, potentially bypassing perfectly good processes. There is no evidence in this story that the app developer gave the appeals process a fair shake or pursued other avenues to address the iOS bug.

    The main item of interest in my opinion is the Apple software bug that leads to hanging of the keyboard on the display. Is there an effective avenue for developers to report bugs in iOS? What is it? How is that bug being handled? Are bugs only squashed at formal iOS releases? If so, we had better hope that iOS is very clean code compared to most commercial software.

  3. mike, you are correct – Jobs is “… a master manipulator …”. Which doesn’t have to mean he is always in Master Manipulator mode. Unless you figure he wanted this app available, but on his own terms?
    Also, there is no requirement that straight shooters cannot be manipulators, or vice versa. The two are not incompatible. And, a true Master can find a way to manipulate while maintaining Straight Arrow status.

  4. I have no doubt that Steve’s mailbox is flooded by individual e-mails, many of which sent in hope of getting an answer from “The Man”, more than actually just having the question answered.

    Apple is now the second most valuable company in the world, right after Exxon-Mobile. Its quarterly revenue is greater than Microsoft’s, and profits are on to exceed MS in next quarter. Not ONE single CEO of any Fortune 500 company would consider engaging ordinary clients on the level Apple’s CEO does. Perhaps Apple just grew way to quickly and is still operating in that old independent, rebellious mode of thinking.

    As for Steve himself, it seems to me that he doesn’t engage people arbitrarily. There is likely some selection process, and it also might have something to do with a time of day. You will remember, few months ago, when he got into a heated argument with a user over an issue, and exchange of e-mails transpired over several hours on a Saturday night. Steve even talked about it at All Things D, how he was just going through his e-mails and just got caught in this debate.

    No matter how big Apple becomes, it seems they’ll never allow themselves to be squeezed into that stereotypical corporate mold. Not as long as Steve has anything to say about that.

  5. It’s sweating these small details that makes Steve have the reputation that he does. He could simply sit back and let other folks deal with all this, but he is involved, and he communicates it too. If he were to change, so would the nature of Apple.

  6. Apple maintains it’s standards and the developer gets his app shipped- good for everybody. It makes sense as Jobs has stated that Apple is run as a very flat organization- much like a startup and he is very hands on.
    What amazes me is how few American CEOs ever learn the lessons Apple has laid out for business and how clueless the business community seems to be about adopting them. Most American companies are layered with way too many administrative people, managers, VPs, committees, etc. It seems most are content with mediocrity and fat bonuses ripped from the shareholders who have little or no real say in the running of the company.
    Yes, I am a Progressive and I have no problem with profit motive or generous compensation as long as it is earned. I have a real problem with crony capitalism or a CEO/Managerial Class that thinks they are entitled to a fat check for mediocre performance. That’s not a problem at Apple- a company I am proud to say I have invested in since 2001. Jobs & Co have earned every penny in pay and perks and more power to them.
    BTW- Happy Veterans Day. As a Veteran myself (1982-1990 US Army), may I personally extend my thanks to all American Veterans for their service to our country. To our troops serving around the world- our thoughts & best wishes are with you.

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